14 December 2015
By Bilal Khan
On 11 December the Bangladesh Navy received two new-build C13B corvettes, BNS Shadhinota (F11) and BNS Prottoy (F112), from China Shipbuilding and Offshore International Company (CSOC). The C13B corvette is a custom-built variant of the Type-056 corvette in service with the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). Bangladesh has two additional C13B corvettes on order.
The C13B design is broadly similar to the Type-056, except that it is lighter (at 1,330 tons versus the 1,500 tons of the Type-056) and lacks anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities, i.e. sonar and ASW torpedoes. The design also omits a helicopter hangar, but retains the landing/take-off pad.
Besides that, the C13B corvette is a well-equipped combatant, it is armed with four (2×2) C-802 anti-ship missiles (AShM), 1 (8-cell) FL-3000N point-defence missile system (PDMS), a 76mm main gun and two 3mm naval turrets. The PDMS is a particularly interesting addition considering that Bangladesh would be among the first (if not the first) to adopt the FL-3000N, which is similar in concept and execution to the American RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM), which was designed to intercept incoming anti-ship missiles.
With a total of four ships on order, the C13B corvette will form the core of Bangladesh’s littoral patrol and defence fleet. Granted, the omission of anti-submarine warfare systems is curious and definitely worth addressing in the coming years, especially since the inclusion of which would position these C13B corvettes to be potent littoral defence assets. Although the C13B corvettes lack helicopter hangars, they do have pads that can receive utility helicopters such as the AugustaWestland AW109 in service with the Bangladesh Navy.
The C13B corvettes will be joined by two retrofitted Type-035G diesel-electric submarines, surplus U.S cutters (for maritime policing purposes), and additional patrol ships and boats in the coming years.