A video shared by a local ship spotter on Bilibili (Chinese video platform) on November 25, shows the landing helicopter deck being towed by tug boats and leaving Shanghai harbour to commence its sea trials. For the record, the vessel was launched in January 2021.
The Hudong Zhonghua Shipyard in Shanghai already built the first two vessels in the class. The first Type 075 for the PLAN was launched in September 2019 and started sea trials in August 2020 while the second one was launched in April 2020 and started its sea trials in December 2020. This represents an impressive rate of one LHD launched every 6 months.
A total of eight LHDs are said to be on order for the PLAN. At the moment the same yard is also building the Type 054 A/P frigates for the Pakistan Navy and, it appears, a Type 071E LPD for Thailand.
The first Type 075 LHD, Hainan (pennant number 31), was commissioned with the PLAN during a grand ceremony on 23 April 2021 at the naval base in Sanya (Hainan island) in presence of Chinese president Xi Jinping. The second ship of the class, Guangxi (pennant number 32) should be commissioned by the end of 2021 or early 2022. It was recently spotted arriving at a military port in the East China Sea.
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 12,000 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 total of eight LHDs are said to be on order for the PLAN while a larger version is rumored to be planned (sometimes referred as Type 076).
When fully operational, the new Type 075 LHD will bolster the PLAN’s amphibious capabilities, which today rely on the Type 071 LPD design.