Commercial satellite imagery of China’s Jiangnan Shipyard near Shanghai shows that the country is producing additional Yuyi-class (Type 726/726A) air-cushioned landing craft (LCACs).
Five Type 726As that appeared to be nearly completed could be seen at the yard on 24 November.
Six Yuyi-class LCACs are believed to be in service with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), with the first one (3320) being seen at the end of 2007. It is thought that the vessels were delivered in two batches, with the first three LCACs reportedly powered by Ukrainian UGT 6000 engines, while the remaining three are believed to use the indigenous QC-70 gas turbines.
Up to four Yuyi-class LCACs can be carried in the well deck of the 210 m-long Yuzhao-class (Type 071) landing platform dock (LPD). The first of these 20,000-tonne amphibious assault ships was commissioned in 2007, and a fifth LPD, which was recently launched at Shanghai’s Hudong-Zhonghua Shipyard, is expected to be commissioned in 2018.
One reported reason for the lag in Type 726 production could be technical difficulties with the integration of the QC-70 engines.
Designed with assistance from the Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group, the Type 726 looks similar to the US Navy’s LCAC, but is larger and has its driving/command module located on the port side instead of the starboard side.
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