Launched this summer, the Mexican Navy patrol craft Democrata is the first of a new series intended to replace the 17 Auk and 11 Admirable class former U.S. Navy minesweepers still employed on offshore patrol duties. Unlike the sedate Auks and Admirables , however, the 400-ton Democrata and her sisters are intended to reach 30 knots, making them far more useful for combating the drug trade, smugglers, and poaching fishermen. The 172-foot overall by 29.5-foot beam Democrata is armed with a recycled twin Bofors 40-mm mount of U.S. origin and has a crew of 34. Also under construction in Mexico are the first two of a planned 20 "Holzinger-2000" class, 244-foot patrol ships whose design is based on that of a quartet of patrol ships completed in the early 1990s but will feature a superstructure reminiscent of that of the French La Fayette -class "stealth" frigates.
The Myanmar (Burma) Navy's Chinesebuilt Houxin-class guided missile patrol craft Maga, with sister Saittra in the background, is one of a half-dozen of the 478-ton craft delivered between early 1996 and late 1997. To date they have not been fitted with their intended complement of four C.801 (CSS-N-4 Sardine) antiship missiles; note the empty racks at the extreme stern. Other armament on the 203-foot craft includes two twin, automatic 37-mm Type 76A antiaircraft gunmounts (controlled by a "Rice Lamp" radar director) and two twin, manned 14.5-mm machine gun mounts. A copy of the 1950s Russian "Square Tie" radar is used for surface search and missile target designation. Powered by four 3,300-horsepower diesels, the Houxin class can reach 32 knots and has a range of 750 nautical miles at 18 knots. The basic design is an expansion of that of the 1960s Hainan-class antisubmarine patrol craft, of which Myanmar received ten used units from China from 1991 to 1994.
The Tan Chiang , first of 11 series-production Project Kuang Hua-III patrol craft for the Taiwanese Navy, just prior to launch on 18 June 1998. A second ship, the Hsin Chiang , followed on 14 August, and all 11 are planned to be in service by May 2000, joining the class prototype, the Jing Chiang , which was completed in December 1994. The 580-ton (full load), 201-foot craft normally will carry a single Bofors 40-mm gun, a 20-mm Type 75 cannon (adapted from an M-39 aircraft weapon), two machine guns, and two depth charge racks, but they also can be quickly equipped to lay mines or to mount four Hsiung Feng-I antiship missiles. Equipped for search and rescue and firefighting duties, the craft are powered by two MTU 16V1163 TB93 diesels; they can achieve a modest 25 knots but have an impressive range of 3,500 nautical miles at 15-knot patrol speeds. All are named for Taiwanese rivers.