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Royal Thai Navy thinks to upgrade two Chao Phraya class frigates Type 053.

| 2020

According to an article released by the AAGTH1 blog on August 4, 2020, Royal Thai Navy would like to upgrade two Chao Phraya-class frigates, which are based on the Chinese-made Type 053H2 frigate.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Royal Thai Navy HTMS Chao Phraya 455 frigate. (Picture source FlickR Middleburgh)

Currently Royal Thai Navy operates Type 053H2 Jianghu class frigate including the HTMS Chao Phraya 455, HTMS Bangpakong 456, HTMS Kraburi 457, and the HTMS Saiburi 458.

The Type 053H2, NATO codename Jianghu-III, is an improved version of Type 053H1 class frigates. Hudong Shipyard built seven hulls for the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) (three ships) and the Thai Navy (four ships) between 1985 and 1992.

The Type 053H2 frigate weapon system includes eight short-range YJ-8 and/or medium-range YJ-81 anti-ship missiles, anti-submarine rockets launchers, two twin-barrel 100mm gun and four 37mm anti-aircraft guns. The propulsion system consists of two diesel engines developing 16,000-hp and two shafts.

The Royal Thai Navy received four new Type 053Ts (based on the then-latest Type 053H2) in the early-1990s. Each cost ฿2 billion. Two were modified with rear helicopter decks. The sonar on these ships is SJD-5A, a further development of Echo Type 5 sonars on the same class of ships sold to Egyptian and Bangladesh navies, with VLSIC replacing LSIC. The interior wiring was exposed and had to be rewired. The damage control system, notably the fire-suppression system and water-tight locks, was also poor; it was expected a hull breach would lead to rapid flooding and the loss of the ship. The Thai Navy spent considerable time and effort to correct some of the issues.

Despite its 30 years of service, these frigates continue to be important for the Thai but need to be upgraded. Thailand would like to modernize two of these frigates including HMTS Chao Phraya and HMTS Bang Pakong to reach operational capabilities like a modern OPV (Offshore Patrol Vessel).

The Offshore Patrol Vessel is a highly versatile ship, designed to perform Economic Exclusion Zone management roles, including the provision of maritime security to coastal areas and effective disaster relief.

The Royal Thai Navy plans to modernize the two frigates and replace the main gun from 100 mm to a more advanced 76/62 automatic gun, replacing all four 37 mm guns with a 30 mm gun with a higher speed rate of fire and more accuracy.

The improved frigates will be also fitted with new combat management systems and surveillance systems that are better able to find and prove ground and water targets.

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