The Sri Lankan navy on Monday, received a P-625 naval frigate at Colombo port, as a ‘gift’ from China.
In June 2018, China had decided to send a naval frigate to Sri Lanka as a bequest and provide various training courses for the Sri Lankan tri-forces.
“The navy will take the donation as a suggestion of the good friendship between China and Sri Lanka,” Piyal De Silva, Commander of Sri Lanka Navy Vice Admiral was quoted as saying by Xinhua.
The "P625" frigate will be mainly used for offshore patrol, environment monitoring, and anti-piracy combats.
“We are facing several maritime challenges with the sea being used by perpetrators for many unlawful acts including drug trafficking. With the acquisition of the Chinese frigate, the surveillance capabilities of the navy will be greatly enhanced,” he added.
The Chinese navy also recently held a two-month professional training for over 110 Sri Lankan naval officers and sailors in Shanghai, China.
China has considerable economic interests in Sri Lanka. It took control of a port and 15,000 acres of land around it in December last year. The transfer gave China control of territory just a few hundred miles off the shores of India, and a strategic foothold along a critical commercial and military waterway.
The P625 frigate is 112m long and 12.4 in width. It has a displacement capacity of 2,300 tons. Its four diesel engines allow a maximum speed of 28 knots and an operational range of 5,000 Nm at 16 knots. Main weapon systems include YJ-82 surface-to-surface missiles, HQ-61 surface-to-air missiles and one 100 mm naval gun.