- 2 * diesel engines MTU V16 396 TE74L 13730 hp
- 4 * waterjet propulsors by KaMeWa 71 SII
- 1 * Surface search radar Type 362
- 1 * Navigational radar
- Electro-optics: HEOS 300
- Anti-ship missiles: 8 C-801/802/803
- Surface-to-air missiles: Possible QW class MANPAD missiles
- 1 * licensed copy of KBP AO-18 6-barrel 30 mm gun (AK-630) by ZEERI
The Houbei-class missile boat is a ship class in the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy. The first boat was launched in April 2004 by the Hudong-Zhonghua Shipyard at Shanghai. The boats incorporate stealth features and are based on Australian-designed wave-piercing catamaran hulls that are more stable than other fast missile craft in high sea conditions. Approximately 83 of these missile boats are currently in service with three flotillas having been produced over a span of seven years.
The Houbei-class missile boat fast attack craft are China's entry into a growing list of missile-armed attack craft which include Finland's Hamina class missile boat, and Norway's Skjold class patrol boat. The Australian AMD catamaran design may mean as much as a 50% reduction in vessel speed penalty in high sea conditions (in which monohulls may only perform at half or less of their maximum capability). Further, seasickness and disorientation is significantly reduced, improving the combat readiness/situational awareness of the small-craft operators during such conditions.
The polygonal-designed superstructure with its similarly angled gun mount indicates a reduced radar cross-section, although probably not enough to be a full stealth-ship as it is built from aluminium rather than composites, and also has a lot of reflective «clutter» in form of rails, searchlights and launchers on the deck. The Houbei-class missile boat has an advanced C4 datalink that may represent some kind of capability to allow AWACS planes or other ships to vector the Type 22's missiles. The aluminium hull is reported to use friction stir welding.
The Houbei-class missile boat is designed to patrol China's coastal areas and operate within its littoral zone. As each of the 83 ships is armed with eight anti-ship missiles, it is speculated by some observers that many missile craft firing in salvos can potentially overwhelm an enemy fleet, including an aircraft carrier battle group. Although an offensive missile attack poses a threat to hostile surface ships, historically small missile boats have fared poorly in major naval confrontations against larger vessels and aircraft, so the Houbei-class missile boat is vulnerable when operating outside of air defense cover.