The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) garrison in Hong Kong released footage of a live-fire drill in the South China Sea on Sunday, a day after the US Navy said a strike group led by the USS Ronald Reagan had carried out operations in the area. The Type 56 Jiangdao Class guided-missile corvette Huizhou (Hull 596) conducted multi-subject maritime military training in the waters of South China Sea. The PLAN garrison said anti-submarine training was one of the main elements of the drill. The Huizhou is one of the two warships based in Hong Kong and the corvette is mainly used for coastal defensive purposes.
The Huizhou 596 is a Type 56 Jiangdao Class corvette deployed by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). The Type 056 (NATO reporting name: Jiangdao) is a class of corvette deployed by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). They replace older patrol craft and some of the Type 053H frigates. The first Type 056 entered service in February 2013. An anti-submarine warfare (ASW) variant, commonly known as Type 056A, has also entered service. Following construction of the Aba in December 2019, China ceased building of Type 056 corvettes to focus on procuring bigger warships for high sea missions.
The Type 056 corvette fills the capability gap between the Type 022 missile boat and the Type 054A frigate. It is 90 metres long, displaces 1500 tons, and incorporates anti-radar features. The Type 056 is suited for mid-range green-water missions and littoral duties 200 nmi (230 mi; 370 km) from the coast, freeing up larger warships for open ocean deployment. The Type 056 corvette has crew of 78 people with a top speed of 25 knots (46 km/h), and a range of 3,500 nautical miles (6,500 km) at 16 knots (30 km/h). Armament is reported as an AK-176 76 mm naval gun, two 30 mm autocannons, four YJ-83 anti-ship missiles, FL-3000N surface-to-air missiles and Yu-7 triple-tube 324 mm torpedo launchers.
The Hong Kong Garrison is a garrison of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), responsible for defence duties in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) since the sovereignty of Hong Kong was transferred to China in 1997. The garrison is headquartered in Chinese People’s Liberation Army Forces Hong Kong Building in Central, Hong Kong. The combined size of the Hong Kong garrison is approximately 10,000-12,000 personnel. The Hong Kong Garrison’s first two Type 056 Jiangdao-class corvettes – Huizhou (596) and Qinzhou (597) – stationed at Stonecutters Naval Base, a year after their commissioning. Despite their induction, the PLA has retained the older Houjian-class missile patrol boat in Hong Kong.