December 5, 2007: China is
apparently mass producing its new Type 022 (sometimes called 2208) patrol boat.
The design is similar to the U.S. LCS (Littoral Combat Ship), but much smaller
(220 tons and 140 feet long) and more of a patrol boat than a flexible ship (as
the U.S. LCS is). The 2208 is a stealthy, wave-piercing catamaran. It is highly
automated, requiring a crew of only twelve. It carries a 30mm multi-barrel auto
cannon (a Russian anti-missile system) and anti-ship missiles. At first it was
thought that this class was an experiment, as China had been buying, and taking
apart, Australian catamarans for several years. But now it appears that several
dozen of the Type 022 are in production. This worries Taiwan, for such ships
would be able to operate in the open waters between China and Taiwan, and play
a part in an invasion of Taiwan.