The first-in-class amphibious vessel, which was launched 6 months ago, is currently at fitting out stage at CSSC’s Hudong-Zhonghua shipyard in Shanghai.
The images show that fire broke out inside the hull of the ship. Smoke can be seen coming out close to one the aircraft elevator and large smoke marks left around well deck opening at the stern:
According to Chinese netizens, the fire was put out relatively quickly. And new pictures taken today (12 April 2020) show that most of the “apparent” signs of the fire (black marks from the smoke) have been cleaned up, especially around the stern:
The vessel, intended for the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN or Chinese Navy), was set to begin sea trials by the end of the year. A sistership, the second LHD in the class, is set to be launched any day now according to Forbes. According to local media, both Type 075 ships’ production schedules have already been affected by the nation-wide factory shutdown following the COVID-19 epidemic. While the fire damage looks superficial on the outside, there is no way to tell what kind of damage was done inside the LHD and if the incident will affect the expected start of sea trials.
About China’s Type 075 LHD
The Chinese Navy officially started development work on the Type 075 in 2011. The project called for a helicopter carrier displacing more than 30,000 tonnes. Its aim is likely to increase the “vertical” amphibious assault capability with the very mountainous East Coast of Taiwan in mind.
As for its specifications, rumors speak of “36,000 tons of displacement”, “capacity of 28 helicopters”, “diesel engine with the 9,000 kW 16PC2-6B” and “four CIWS including two HQ-10 and two H/PJ-11”.
While the Type 075 appears to slightly smaller than the U.S. Navy’s LHA, it is larger compared to French or Spanish/Australian LHD equivalents. It is actually pretty close in size to Italy’s future Trieste LHD.
The first Type 075 was constructed in record time (this has become the norm nowadays, for Chinese shipbuilding: extremely fast construction pace that no one can match). A second vessel of the class is about to be launched while a larger version is rumored to be planned.
When fully operational, the new Type 075 LHD will bolster the PLAN’s amphibious capabilities, which today rely on the Type 071 LPD design.