Images have emerged on Chinese online forums showing that the hull of an eighth Type 071 (Yuzhao)-class landing platform dock (LPD) vessel for the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is at an advanced stage of construction at the Hudong-Zhonghua shipyard in Shanghai.
The ship is being built in the same dry dock used for construction of the seventh Type 071. A considerable number of modules for the latest ship were evident on the dockside before the seventh vessel was launched on 28 December 2018, which has enabled the hull of the latest LPD to be assembled in less than six months.
In a 2 May report to Congress about military and security developments involving China, the US Department of Defense (DoD) said that China will probably continue constructing Type 071s even as the PLAN pursues a follow-on class of amphibious assault ships that are not only larger but also incorporate a full flight deck for helicopters.
That new ship class, known as the Type 075, may be already being built in the same dock at Hudong-Zhonghua. Satellite images reveal that alongside the eighth Type 071 a second and larger ship is also being built. Construction of the Type 075 class has been anticipated for some time and there have been persistent rumours for several months that construction is under way.
The evidence available so far is insufficient to state conclusively that this is the first Type 075 and the particular dry dock has previously been used for naval and commercial ships.
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