Surface Forces: Chinese Catamaran Gunboats Proliferate


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.


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