China is continuing with its blistering shipbuilding speed with the launch of a third Type 075 landing helicopter dock for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) in just 17 months.
The third unit was launched at the Hudong-Zhonghua shipyard in Shanghai on January 29. The first ship in the class launched in September 2019, while the second entered water in April 2020.
In addition to the launch of the yet-to-be named third ship, Hudong-Zhonghua also launched the second Type 054A/P frigate for the Pakistan Navy on the same day.
It is worth noting that China is completing work on its first Type 002 aircraft carrier and expanding shipyard capacity for the construction of a second Type 002 carrier. The country already has two Type 001 aircraft carriers; the first built on the hull of an unfinished Ukrainian aircraft carrier and a second, improved version, referred to as the Type 001A and named ‘Shandong.’
Type 075 LHDs are a follow-on project to the smaller 20,000-ton Type 071 landing platform dock (LPD) ships which are already in service with the navy.
Type 075 LHDs displace between 35,000 and 40,000 tons, according to analysts and measure some 235 meters in length, which makes them slightly smaller than US Navy’s Wasp- and America-class big deck ships.
China’s LHDs will be able to carry 30 helicopters, and will have enough space for the simultaneous operation of up to six helicopters, according to reports. A more substantial difference between the LHD ships operated by the US and PLA Navy is the ability to launch short takeoff and vertical landing fighter aircraft, which are already operational on a number of US Navy ships.