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Mysterious photos of a new China Navy frigate have emerged.

According to information published by 聊聊军情 on May 14, 2024, new photos of a new class of Chinese PLA Navy frigate have emerged during her sea trials.
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The Chinese PLA Navy's new frigate during her sea trials. (Picture source: TikTok)

China's naval capabilities are advancing as the country's comprehensive national strength grows, particularly in technology and shipbuilding. New main battle ships for the Chinese Navy are emerging rapidly, ranging from the Type 052DL and Type 055 destroyers to the Type 054A and Type 054B frigates, as well as the Type 075 and Type 076 amphibious assault ships, and the Shandong and Fujian aircraft carriers. This year, the 054B frigate began sea trials, and another new frigate model has also entered this stage.

Recently, a new frigate undergoing sea trials was spotted. Its futuristic design, with a sleek superstructure even more streamlined than the latest Type 054B, resembles the U.S. Navy's Zumwalt-class destroyers and the Swedish Navy's Visby-class corvettes. This frigate, first revealed online at the end of last year while still being outfitted at the shipyard, is undergoing trials.

Photos from these trials reveal features such as an advanced stealth design with a very clean, uncluttered hull and an integrated mast higher in integration than the Type 054B. The main gun is fully enclosed by a stealth turret, a design that significantly reduces radar detection. Currently, only the U.S. Zumwalt-class and Swedish Visby-class use such gun designs, outpacing even China's Type 055 and Type 054B.

When this frigate was first seen at the shipyard, some speculated it might be for export, considering China often bases export models on active service designs, like Pakistan's Type 054AP frigates and Algeria's Type C-28A corvettes. However, this new design's innovation suggests it might not be intended for export. No foreign country has been reported to have imported such a frigate yet.

The frigate's purpose might be twofold. It could serve as an experimental platform to test new technologies in appearance, radar, masts, and main guns, indicating it might also be formally commissioned into the Navy as a completely new type of frigate.

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