Type 010 minesweeper
|General characteristics |
|Displacement:||590 long tons (599 t) full load|
|Length:||196 ft 8 in (59.94 m)|
|Beam:||27 ft 6 in (8.38 m)|
|Draught:||6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)|
|Speed:||14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph)|
|Range:||3,000 nmi (5,600 km) at 10 kn (19 km/h)|
|Complement:||70 (10 officers)|
The Type 010 class minesweeper is the Chinese versions of the Russian Soviet T-43 class oceangoing minesweeper.
Type 6605 is the Chinese version of the original Soviet Project 254K minesweeper, with several modifications to meet Chinese needs, which include converting Russian oven to Chinese oven, conversion of fuel tanks, and the addition of fans for air conditioning. A total of four was completed from March, 1955 thru December 19, 1957.
Type 6610 is the Chinese version of the original Soviet Project 254M minesweeper, with a dozen modifications to meet Chinese needs, which include all conversion made in Type 6605, and furthermore, additional modifications included conversion of storage room, upgrade of ventilation system and electric power generator. A total of four were completed.
Type 05 is also referred as South Sea Design (Nan-Hai Fang-An, 南海方案), a design built by Guangzhou shipyard, tailored specifically for operations in South China Sea. The most important upgrade includes the replacement of the forward twin 37 mm gun with a single 85 mm gun, and the replacement of manual loading of the ammunition by electrical ones. The water heater and heating system were deleted and replaced by air conditioning system. Diesel power generator is also upgraded to meet the demand of the new air conditioning system. Subsequently, the design was adopted by most units in the Chinese navy.
The origin of this class is rooted from the need to solve the typical problem of minesweepers: due to the special needs of the mine countermeasure requirement, the minesweeper is the most expensive type of warship to acquire and operate in terms of tonnage. In order to reduce the operational and life cycle cost, the People's Liberation Army Navy has adopted the same practice of the Royal Navy: using the minesweepers as patrol boats, and the heavy patrolling duties thus has significantly reduced the overall cost of minesweepers.
To strengthen the ship for long range heavy patrol duties, the Chinese added more weapons to their Type 010 class minesweeper, resulting in a more heavily armed version than the original Soviet T-43 class: four extra Chinese Type 61 25 mm guns (II x 2) and a single Type 90K 85 mm gun were added, while eight Chinese 14.5 mm heavy machine guns (II x 4) replaced the less powerful 12.7 mm machine guns of the original T-43 class. In addition, living accommodations were also upgraded to have some limited crew comfort improvement for the long patrol duties. This class proved itself as a good class of patrol boats during the Battle of the Paracel Islands, the 1974 naval battle fought between South Vietnam and China in the South China Sea, being the largest Chinese naval unit fought in the battle, taking on the South Vietnamese frigates eight times its size, and successfully sinking one South Vietnamese frigate and damaging the other two. Although both of the Type 010 class suffered damage, some severe, all were rapidly repaired and back on patrol with a few months. Two boats fought the battle were # 389 & # 396, and # 396 was heavily damaged in the battle and was forced to beach itself, but was repaired after the battle and was back in action. The repair cost of # 396 was the most costly among all Chinese combatants in the naval engagement.
In addition to the increased armament, the Chinese version is slightly larger than their Soviet counterparts and instead of the 58 meters length of the original Soviet T-43 class minesweeper, the Chinese Type 010 class minesweeper is 60 meters long. The Chinese Type 010 class minesweeper also has greater displacement: 590 tons instead of the 570 ton of the original Soviet T-43 class minesweeper. In order to man the extra weaponry, the numbers of total complement is increased from the original 65 - 70 of the Soviet T-43 class minesweeper to 80. Both of Type 010 and T-43 class minesweepers can be used as minelayers and submarine chasers, but the T-43 class cannot be used for patrol roles. Drastic changes were made in comparison to the original Soviet Project 254 design, with total of 818 modifications / upgrades were applied to the Type 010 design, which was finalized in December 1981, 23 years after the first Type 6610 entered service, and the prolonged development was mainly due to the political turmoil in China.
The several units of the original T-43 class minesweepers transferred from former-Soviet Union have all being retired from active service, placed into reserve fleets subordinated to naval militia for weapon training, while some of the Type 010 class minesweepers remain active despite their age and obsolescence.
Shuguan (曙光, meaning dawn) class is the conversion of Type 6610 for ocean surveillance duties, which was the fifth unit built. Later on, a dedicated unit was built for ocean surveillance role from the start. Pennant numbers for these two ships are Beidiao (北调, meaning Northern Investicate) 994 and 998, and both served in the North Sea Fleet. Both units have since retired.