Algerian Navy takes delivery of Chinese-built corvette

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Three years after placing an order with China’s Hudong Zhonghua Shipbuilding Group, the Algerian Navy has taken delivery of a single Type 056 corvette.

The El Moutassadi (940) departed Shanghai on 28 February on its journey home, stopping in Malaysia on 3 March and Mumbai, India, between 13 and 16 March. It arrived in the port of Algiers on 2 April.

The vessel’s acquisition was revealed in mid-2020 after United Kingdom-based maritime classification society Lloyd’s Register said it had been selected to provide assurance and certification services to Hudong Zhonghua Shipbuilding Group for two significant naval projects with the Algerian and Thai navies. Hudong Zhonghua is a subsidiary of the China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC).

The Algerian navy’s new corvette is designed for patrol, escort and maritime protection missions within the nation’s Exclusive Economic Zone. The corvette incorporates a helipad and a crew of 78 people, has a range of 3 500 nautical miles and is capable of top speeds in excess of 27 knots.

Unconfirmed reports suggest Algeria is acquiring six Type 056 corvettes from China, with some domestic production.

Algeria has in the past acquired corvettes from China, ordering three 2 800 tonne vessels in 2012; these were built between 2013 and 2016. The 120 metre long C28A corvettes are armed with a 76 mm main gun, FM-90N launcher for HQ-7 surface-to-air missiles and YJ-82/C-802 anti-ship missiles.

The El Moutassadi is similar to the Pattani or Type 056 classes. The Pattani class is 95.5 metres long and is currently in service with the Royal Thai Navy. The type displaces nearly 1 500 tonnes and is armed with a 76 mm main gun, two GI-2 20 mm cannons and two 12.7 mm machineguns.

The Type 056 is in service with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy and has been exported to Nigeria as the 95 metre long 1 800 ton P18N patrol vessel and Bangladesh as the 90 metre long 1 300 ton C13B corvette.

Algeria has received a significant amount of military hardware from China in recent years, from ships to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). This includes Norinco SM4 120 mm self-propelled mortars, W86 120 mm mortars, PLZ45 self-propelled howitzers, SR5 multiple rocket launchers, WA-021/Type-88 155 mm towed guns and CH-3 and CH-4 UAVs built by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC).