Two Type 053H3 (Jiangwei II)-class frigates decommissioned by China's People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) appear close to being transferred to the Bangladesh Navy (BN), judging from photographs that have appeared in Chinese online forums.
The 2,200-ton diesel-powered ships, formerly Lianyungang (pennant number 522) and Putian (pennant number 523), have been undergoing overhaul at the Shenjia shipyard in Shanghai and at facilities close to the East Sea fleet's primary base at Zhoushan, respectively. Pennant numbers F 16 and F 19 have been painted on the hulls of the ships, which are likely to be renamed BNS Umar Farooq and BNS Khalid Bin Walid once in BN service.
The date for the handover of the ships to the BN as well as their departure from China has yet to be announced.
No obvious modifications have been made to the ships in preparation for the handover. In PLAN service their primary armament consisted of a twin 100 mm gun, eight YJ-83 anti-ship missiles fired from slant-mounted containerised launchers, an octuple launcher for HHQ-7 short-range surface-to-air missiles, and four twin 37 mm gun mountings. None of these have been removed, although the YJ-83 and HHQ-7 systems may have been modified in line with the C-802A and FM-90N export versions, particularly with regard to the missiles supplied.
The BN currently operates four frigates; an elderly Type 053H1 (Jianghu II)-class ship acquired from China in 1989, a modified Ulsan-class platform procured from South Korea in 2001, and two former PLAN Type 053H2 (Jianghu III)-class vessels transferred from China in 2014. It also operates two larger, 3,250-ton former US Coastguard Hamilton-class cutters, each armed with a 76 mm Oto Melara gun, acquired in 2013 and 2015.
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