Type 082-class minesweeper

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Class overview
Name: Wusao class minesweeper
Builders: Jiangxin Shipbuilding Factory, Jiangxi
Operators:  People's Liberation Army Navy
Built: 1984–unknown
In commission: 1987–present
General characteristics
Type: Minesweeper
Displacement: 320 t (315 long tons; 353 short tons) full load
Length: 44.8 m (147 ft 0 in)
Beam: 6.8 m (22 ft 4 in)
Draught: 3.3 m (10 ft 10 in)
Propulsion: 2 or 4 × diesel engines
2,000 hp (1,491 kW) or 4,400 hp (3,281 kW)
2 or 4 shafts
Speed: 25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph)
Range: 500 nmi (930 km; 580 mi) or 900 nmi (1,700 km; 1,000 mi) at 15 kn (28 km/h; 17 mph)
Complement: 40 (including 6 officers)
Sensors and
processing systems:
Type 753 I-band navigational radar
Armament: 2 × twin Type 61 37 mm (1.5 in) guns
6 mines

The Type 082 class minesweeper is a Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy ship class. It is also known as Wosao class in the west, but the correct Chinese name is actually Wusao, short for armed (Wu-zhuang, 武裝) mine sweeping boat (Sao-lei-ting, 掃雷).

Type 058 minesweeper[edit]

The origin of Type 082 series mine countermeasure vessel can be traced back all the way in November 1967, when People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) issued an request of building riverine and gulf minesweeper constructed with low magnetic signature, which resulted in two minesweepers developed, one of which was Type 058 minesweeper. Design of Type 058 minesweeper was completed by the 708th Research Institute and China Shipbuilding Shipyard at Shanghai (上海中华造船厂) begun construction of Type 058 in the same year. The program experienced huge difficulties because the manufacturing technique of low magnetic steel, which was a type of manganese - aluminum - iron alloy. The biggest problem was that when this type of alloy was heated, it often left cracks behind in welding. The shipyard spent huge research effort and concluded that these micro cracks would not affect the strength and performance of alloy, and the project was able to continue. Type 058 minesweeper was the first Chinese low magnetic minesweeper in service, and construction of the first unit of this class begun in July, 1970, launched two months later in September 1970, and entered service in on December 12, 1970. This first unit and subsequent units were immediately sent to North Vietnam to clear mines laid by USA in the following year. Specifications:

  • Length: 40 meter
  • Beam: 5.5 meter
  • Draft: 3 meter
  • Displacement: 275 ton
  • Minesweeping speed: 4 - 8 knots
  • Max width of mine clearing path: 100 - 120 meter
  • Min width of mine clearing path: 20 meter
  • Depth of mine clearing path: 30 meter
  • Max sea state allowed for minesweeping: 4
  • Armament: 2 x twin 37 mm gun
  • Propulsion: two M50F-4 and two 12D6 diesel engines, 4220 hp total

Type 7102 minesweeper[edit]

The other minesweeper resulted from PLAN's request of building riverine and gulf minesweeper constructed with low magnetic signature is Type 7102 minesweeper, which is constructed with fiberglass. Construction begun at Wuhu Shipyard in May 1972, and after two years, it was launched in December 1974. From April to September 1975, a lengthy trial was conducted in Yangtze River and Wusong, and the boat finally entered service in November 1975. For mine clearing operation, a specially designed Type 6135 generator with 1850 rpm was adopted, and Type 7102 minesweeper won an award from National Science Conference in 1978. Specifications:

  • Displacement: 142 ton
  • Length: 38.9 meter
  • Beam: 5.4 meter
  • Draft: 1.62 meter
  • Speed: 19 kts
  • Range: 500 nm
  • Propulsion: two 12V180 diesel engine
  • Armament: small caliber AAA

Type 082 minesweeper[edit]

Although both Type 058 and Type 7102 minesweepers met their requirements, the backwardness of Chinese industrial and manufacturing capabilities limited both classes from being mass-produced, resulting in only 20 Type 058 minesweeper and a single Type 7102 minesweeper being built. Decision was made to have a new class of minesweeper based on the technical experience gained from both classes, along with lessons learned from the deployment of Type 312 minesweeper in North Vietnam, and this is the origin of 082 minesweeper. This project was first issued in 1976 during the 3rd Conference on Mine Countermeasure Equipment, but due to the political turmoil in China, namely, the Cultural Revolution, actual construction did not begun until 1984. The boat is jointly designed by the 708th and 710th institutes, and Jiangxin (江新) Shipbuilding Factory in Jiangxi was the contractor, with the first unit entering service in 1987. The general designer was Mr. Ma Jinghua (馬錦華), the same general designer of Wolei class minelayer. This class was consequently upgraded by doubling the number of engines and shafts, and most units were built by the Wusong Shipyard at Shanghai.

This minesweeper carries Type 317 magnetic sweeping gear, Type 318 mechanical sweeping gear, Type 318 acoustic sweeping gear, and Type 319 infrasonic sweeping gear, and it can also be used as a minelayer with capability to carry 6 mines. The boat is powered by 4 M50 diesel, and more than half a dozen have entered Chinese service. The Pennant number of these units changed to 800's series in 2004 from the original 4400's.

Type 082II minesweeper (Wozang class)[edit]

The first unit of the Type 082II class, named Huoqiu on April 23, 2005, was launched in 2004 and entered Chinese service in June 2005 with pennant number 804. From the design to its completion, it took more than a decade and cost over 600 million Yuan Renminbi. The Chinese industrial and manufacturing capability are finally mature enough to produce minesweepers with components built of fiberglass and steel with low magnetic signature at an acceptable price, but the exact content is unknown due to lack of official / governmental sources. Some Chinese internet websites claim that the superstructure is built with fiberglass and the hull was built with low magnetic signature steel, while others claim that the entire boat was built of fiberglass. The second unit with pennant number 818 named Kunshan, entered service in December 2011. Some Chinese internet sources have claimed that this second unit is an all fiberglass construction boat, while the first was fiberglass superstructure mounted on low magnetic signature steel hull, because it took about half a decade for Chinese shipyards to master all fiberglass construction for boats of this size, but as with other claims about this class, all have yet to be verified by official or governmental sources. Built by Qiuxin Shipyard at Shanghai, Type 082II minesweeper / minehunter is known in the West as the Wozang class. Specifications:

  • Length: 55 meter
  • Beam: 9.3 meter
  • Draft: 2.6 meter
  • Displacement: 575 ton
  • Armament: 1 twin 25 mm gun

Heshan class[edit]

The Heshan (844), first of a new class of minesweeper, was commissioned into the South China Sea Fleet on 10 October 2013.[1]

Type 529 minesweeper[edit]

Type 082II minesweeper / minehunter can work independently, but it can also work as a mother ship of a smaller minesweeper / minehunter, which can be operated remotely. Reported to be Type 529 minesweeper / minehunter, three units of this class have been observed, with pennant numbers 8181, 8182 and 8183 respectively, and they are observed usually with Type 082 II class # 818 Kunshan. Designed to work mainly in conjunction with Type 082II, these boats can also work independently or other larger mine countermeasure vessels in Chinese navy. Type 529 minesweeper / minehunter appears to be the logical successor of Type 312 minesweeper, in that like its predecessor, Type 529 minesweeper / minehunter can be either manned or operated remotely.

References[edit]

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