The Type 054A frigate Ziyang of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy recently made its training debut, with observers saying on Wednesday that the newly commissioned warship will enhance the PLA Navy’s capabilities.

A report by China Central Television (CCTV) on Tuesday showed that the Ziyang, with the hull number 522, conducted a training exercise featuring live-firing of its main gun and anti-submarine depth charges.

The sailors on the Ziyang will focus on training with future battlefields in mind, and will ensure the vessel can fight successfully on command, the CCTV report quoted Ma Shaoli, head of the Ziyang’s main gun operating team, as saying.

The Ziyang is affiliated with the PLA Eastern Theater Command Navy, according to a press release published by the PLA Eastern Theater Command on its WeChat account earlier this month, when sailors on the vessel celebrated the National Day on October 1.

With the commissioning of the new Type 054A frigate, the PLA Navy will get enhanced capabilities in safeguarding China’s national sovereignty, territorial integrity and development interests, a Beijing-based military expert told the Global Times on Wednesday, requesting anonymity.

As a type of warship capable of sailing in distant seas, the Type 054A frigate plays an important role in China’s goal of building a blue water navy, the expert said.

Foreign media reports in 2021 suggested that China had at that time started to build another batch of Type 054A frigates for the PLA Navy, as the PLA Navy had reportedly transferred a batch of smaller Type 056 corvettes to the China Coast Guard.

Having a displacement of about 4,000 tons and capable of conducting anti-air, anti-ship and anti-submarine operations, the Type 054A frigate is a well-balanced warship to rapidly expand the PLA Navy’s fleet, Shi Hong, executive chief editor of the Chinese magazine Shipborne Weapons, told the Global Times in a previous interview.