Type 22 missile boat
The Type 22 (NATO designation: Houbei class) missile boat is a ship class in the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy. The first boat was launched in April 2004 by the Hudong-Zhonghua Shipyard at Shanghai. The boats incorporate stealth features and are based on Australian-designed wave-piercing catamaran hulls that are more stable than other fast missile craft in high sea conditions. Approximately 83 of these missile boats are currently in service with three flotillas having been produced over a span of seven years.
|Builders:||Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding, Shanghai|
|Preceded by:||Type 037-II-class missile boat & C 14-class missile boat|
|Cost:||Estimates vary from $14.3 million to $50 million per boat|
|Displacement:||220 long tons (224 t) full load|
|Length:||42.6 m (139 ft 9 in)|
|Beam:||12.2 m (40 ft 0 in)|
|Draught:||1.5 m (4 ft 11 in)|
|Propulsion:||2 diesel engines @ 6,865 hp (5,119 kW) with 4 waterjet propulsors by MARI|
|Speed:||36 knots (67 km/h; 41 mph)|
|Sensors and |
|Notes:||Details remain speculative|
The Type 22 fast attack craft are China's entry into a growing list of missile-armed attack craft which include Finland's Hamina class missile boat, and Norway's Skjold class patrol boat. The Australian AMD catamaran design may mean as much as a 50% reduction in vessel speed penalty in high sea conditions (in which monohulls may only perform at half or less of their maximum capability). Further, seasickness and disorientation is significantly reduced, improving the combat readiness/situational awareness of the small-craft operators during such conditions.
In addition to the stealthy polygonal-designed superstructure with its stealthy gun mount, the Type 22 has an advanced C4 datalink that may represent some kind of capability to allow AWACS planes or other ships to vector the Type 22's missiles. The aluminium hull is reported to use friction stir welding
The Type 22 is designed to patrol China's coastal areas and operate within its littoral zone. As each of the 83 ships is armed with eight anti-ship missiles, it is speculated by some observers that a large number of missile craft firing in salvos can potentially overwhelm an enemy fleet, including an aircraft carrier battle group. Although an offensive missile attack poses a threat to hostile surface ships, historically small missile boats have fared poorly in major naval confrontations against larger vessels and aircraft, so the Type 22 is vulnerable when operating outside of air defense cover.
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