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Imagery reveals new construction at Myanmar dockyard

9th February 2021 - 01:09 GMT | by The Shephard News Team in Indo-Pacific

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Significant and rapid construction of major naval vessels is apparent at Myanmar's naval dockyard.

Newly released commercial satellite imagery dated 30 December 2020 reveals that the Myanmar Navy has started constructing two new ships at its Naval Dockyard Headquarters near Thanlyin.  

Imagery shows two hulls taking shape at this facility, in addition to the second 81m Inlay-class OPV under construction since 2017. Other vessels in the image are those undergoing refits, including the extant 81m OPV UMS Inlay.

What is remarkable is the rapid pace of construction of these new hulls. For example, one hull progressed from three incomplete hull sections in late March 2020 to a hull measuring almost 100m long and with a 15m beam within nine months.

Given what little is known of Myanmar’s planned naval programmes, this hull is most likely a 135m frigate. 

Publicly revealed by the Myanmar Navy in December 2017, this programme is believed to entail the construction of two or three hulls much like the existing 108m King Aung Zeya-class and Kyan Sittha-class frigates.

Another hull section measuring 89m by 13.34m is also under construction, although it is too early to determine what type of vessel this might be.

The size of the approximately 140m-wide, 5,000t shiplift at this dockyard is a limiting factor for the size of ships that can be constructed.

To mitigate this, China’s CAMC Engineering, which built the existing facilities and shiplift between 1998 and early 2002, is building a 40,000t-capacity dry dock as part of a phased expansion of the naval dockyard. Completion of this project is slated for 2025.

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