China's fifth Yuzhao-class (Type 071) landing platform dock (LPD) vessel was launched on 15 June at the Hudong-Zhonghua shipyard in Shanghai. Fitting out and sea trials of the previous ship took 12 months: an indication that the newest vessel of the class is likely to enter service in about June 2018.
The Type 071 LPDs are 210 m long and displace more than 20,000 tonnes. Equipped with a hangar that can accommodate up to four medium-lift helicopters, such as the Harbin Z-8, they can also fit four Yuyi-class (Type 726) air-cushioned landing craft in the well deck. For amphibious operations the Type 071 LPDs are likely to embark between 600 and 800 troops.
The lead ship of the class was commissioned in 2007 and the first three ships all were allocated to the South Sea Fleet of the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). After a four-year gap in production, the fourth ship of the class emerged and entered service with the PLAN's East Sea Fleet in February 2016. The latest ship to be launched is also expected to be allocated to this fleet.
All ships of the class have been built at the Hudong-Zhonghua shipyard and recent satellite imagery showed more LPD modules on the dockside, indicating that assembly of the hull of a sixth ship is likely to commence shortly.
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