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PLA Navy commissions amphibious assault ship, destroyer

15 January 2019
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A PLAN Type 071 LPD at a commissioning ceremony held at what is believed to be China’s Zhanjiang naval base on 12 January. Source: Via haohanfw.com

China's People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has commissioned its sixth Type 071 (Yuzhao)-class amphibious assault ship and another Type 052D (Luyang III)-class destroyer.

Although there has been no evident coverage of the commissioning in Chinese state-owned news media, photographs posted on online forums show a combined ceremony held for both warships that is said to have taken place on 12 January.

The latest Type 071 landing platform dock (LPD) vessel to enter service has been given pennant number 987 and is thought to have been named Wuzshi Shan . The location of the commissioning ceremony is unconfirmed but it appears that the event took place at the Zhanjiang naval base, with both ships likely joining the South Sea Fleet.

The first three Type 071 LPDs were allocated to the South Sea Fleet and are based at Zhanjiang. The first entered service in November 2007, the second in October 2011, and the third in September 2012. There was a pause in construction of nearly four years before the fourth entered service with the East Sea Fleet in early 2016.

The fifth Type 071 is believed to have been commissioned in September 2018 and also allocated to the East Sea Fleet but received no coverage in Chinese state-owned news media, nor were any images circulated online.

A similar news embargo appears to have been in place for the launch of the seventh Type 071, which is believed to have entered the water on 28 December 2018 at the Hudong-Zhonghua shipyard, which has built all ships of the class.

There is also some uncertainty about the number of Type 052D destroyers now in service, as the previous confirmed commissioning ceremony took place on 22 January 2017, when the fifth ship of the class, Xining , entered service.

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