Sea Platforms

China increases construction rate of amphibious assault ships

10 June 2019

The eighth Type 071-class amphibious assault ship on order for the PLAN was launched at the Hudong-Zhonghua shipyard in Shanghai on 6 June. Source: Via Weixin website

The eighth Type 071 (Yuzhao)-class amphibious assault ship on order for China's People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) was launched at the Hudong-Zhonghua shipyard in Shanghai on 6 June, making it the fourth of these 20,000 tonne landing platform dock (LPD) vessels to have entered the water since June 2017.

Construction of the seventh LPD began in April 2018, with the ship entering the water on 28 December 2018: a period of eight months to assemble the complete hull and launch the ship. Assembly of Hull 8 was carried out in the same part of the dock vacated following the launch of Hull 7, meaning that Hull 8 was completed in just six months. Fitting out and trials are likely to take a further 12 months before the ship is ready for commissioning.

As previously reported by Jane's, another hull is being constructed in the same dock as the LPDs, and it seems certain that this will be the PLAN's first Type 075 helicopter assault ship. Progress on this ship has also been rapid, as assembly must have commenced after the dock was drained following the launch of the seventh Type 071 in December 2018 and a large part of the Type 075 was sufficiently complete to be watertight and float when the dock was flooded again for the most recent LPD launch.

Although assembly of the Type 075 may take longer than the repeat builds of the Type 071, given that it is both larger and a new design, it looks likely that it will be launched before the end of 2019.

The most recent satellite imagery shows that the hull of the Type 075 in its current state has a beam of about 32 m. As the bow and stern sections have yet to be added, its length cannot yet be established but it seems likely that the displacement will be about 35,000-40,000 tonnes.

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