THE DRAGON FLEET EXPANDS:
New Frigate For The South China Sea Fleet
|Image Courtesy Fran Hogan via Public Domain Images.Net http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=8716&picture=china|
China commissioned the first in a new class of Frigate for service with the South China Sea Fleet of the People's Liberation Army's Navy (PLAN) back in May of 2013.. We noticed that this announcement came shortly after the acquisition by the Philippines of former Hamilton Class Coast Guard cutters, a public declaration of support for a Japanese naval build up (unusual for the Philippines considering their brutal occupation by Japan during WWII), signaling very strong opposition to China's expansion of territorial seizures in the Spratly Islands; and an announced Philippine naval build up.
China had and continues not to have any need of an additional frigate in the South China Sea they already have enough ships to overwhelm the other more legitimate claimants to the various Spratly Islands, the Philippines and Vietnam. This latest frigates however are a qualitative improvement over much of the existing PLAN frigates and a qualitative advantage over most war ships in the Philippine and Japanese inventory. More over these frigates are trans ocean capable and adds to the potential escort fleet for future Chinese Air craft carriers ( they have one, a refurbished Russian that they are training crews with now, but have announced plans for an eventual fleet of eight. The second one is under construction now. The new PLAN frigate YUEYANG gives the Chinese South China Sea fleet, a fleet pointed like a dagger at the heart of the Philippines a distinct qualitative advantage, the PLAN has long had a numerical advantage in the area but has utilized mostly Coast Guard like vessels in seizing Islands and making claims of "effective administration" over an area that is at points over 930 miles from the Chinese mainland and at other points virtually within sight of Philippine beaches. China also has an over whelming advantage in armed "law enforcement" vessels which they have now formed into the World's largest Coast Guard. The rise of the Chinese Coast Guard is the first aggressive use of Coast Guard forces in literally leading the vanguard of illicit territorial acquisition that we know of in modern naval history. To view pictures of the YUEYANG and read the English language Chinese news releases click on the link below: