Bangladeshi Navy received two Chinese Type-053H3 frigates, Jiaxing (Hull 521) and Lianyungang (Hull 522), in Shanghai Jiangnan Shipyard on December 18. The two missile frigates, purchased by the Bangladesh side in 2018, will steam to Bangladesh after the hand-over ceremony. The Type 053H3 (NATO codename Jiangwei II) were Chinese frigates that entered service with the People’s Liberation Army Navy Surface Force in the 1990s and 2000s. The Zulfiquar-class frigate used by the Pakistan Navy was based on the Type 053H3.
In 2019, the 2,200-ton diesel-powered ships, formerly Lianyungang (pennant number 522) and Putian (pennant number 523), have been undergoing overhaul at the Shenjia shipyard in Shanghai and at facilities close to the East Sea fleet’s primary base at Zhoushan, respectively. THe ships have been painted on the hulls of the ships, which are likely to be renamed BNS Umar Farooq and BNS Khalid Bin Walid once in BN service. At present, the PLA Navy still has eight Type 053H3 frigates in service.
Type 053H3 frigates are the second generation of the PLA Navy’s frigates that equipped of a twin 100 mm gun, eight YJ-83 anti-ship missiles fired from slant-mounted containerised launchers, an octuple launcher for HHQ-7 short-range surface-to-air missiles, and four twin 37 mm gun mountings. None of these have been removed, although the YJ-83 and HHQ-7 systems may have been modified in line with the C-802A and FM-90N export versions, particularly with regard to the missiles supplied.
Rear Admiral Bai Yaoping, deputy commander of the navy under the Chinese PLA Eastern Theater Command, and Admiral Aurangzeb Chowdhury, chief of naval staff of the Bangladesh Navy, attended the handover ceremony in Shanghai. The Bangladesh Navy signed an agreement in June 2018 to import two Type 053H3 frigates from China that would retire. The BN currently operates four frigates; an elderly Type 053H1 (Jianghu II)-class ship acquired from China in 1989, a modified Ulsan-class platform procured from South Korea in 2001, and two former PLAN Type 053H2 (Jianghu III)-class vessels transferred from China in 2014. It also operates two larger, 3,250-ton former US Coastguard Hamilton-class cutters, each armed with a 76 mm Oto Melara gun, acquired in 2013 and 2015.