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Sri Lanka commissions ex-Chinese navy frigate

The Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) has commissioned a frigate that was formerly in service with the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN).

The vessel, which has been renamed SLNS Parakramabahu (P625), was commissioned on 22 August in Colombo in the presence of the Sri Lankan and Chinese governments and military leaders. It was previously in service with the PLAN as the Jiangwei I (Type 053 H2G)-class frigate, Tongling (542).

The warship was handed over to Sri Lanka in June 2019, with the vessel arriving in Colombo the following month. It has an overall length of 111.7 m, an overall beam of 12.4 m, and displaces 2,286 tonnes at full load.

        Seen here is
        before it was commissioned.
       (Sri Lanka Navy)

Seen here is Parakramabahu before it was commissioned. (Sri Lanka Navy)

An official video of Parakramabahu ’s commissioning ceremony indicates that the vessel has been handed over to Sri Lanka with its primary weapon, a twin 100 mm naval gun system, intact.

The video also confirms the presence of two Type 76A 37 mm cannon turrets in the forward section just ahead of the bridge, with two further turrets each on the port and starboard sides.

Seemingly absent, however, are missile launcher systems, or close-in weapon system (CIWS) turrets.

When contacted via a phone call by Jane’s on 23 August, the SLN’s media co-ordinating office in Colombo declined to comment on these systems, citing confidentiality regulations.

However, the service has confirmed that Parakramabahu has been designated by the service as an offshore patrol vessel (OPV), instead of a frigate, and will take on maritime patrol, search-and-rescue, counter-piracy, and fishery resources-protection duties within the country’s exclusive economic zone.

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