The PLAN commissions fourth Type 071 LPD

The People’s Liberation Army Navy’s (PLAN’s) fourth Type 071/Yuzhao-class landing platform dock (LPD) vessel was commissioned at the Wusong naval base in Shanghai on 1 February. Yimengshan (pennant number 988) is the first LPD to enter service with the East Sea Fleet, the other ships of the class being allocated to the South Sea Fleet.

All four ships have been built at the Hudong Zhonghua shipyard in Shanghai, with informed sources anticipating that a total of eight ships may be built, although at present there is no evidence of further construction in progress.

To date ships of this class have been observed conducting training and operations in the South China Sea as well as undertaking counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden. Changbaishan (989) visited Portsmouth and other northern European ports in early 2015.

The ships are capable of embarking an amphibious force of more than 600 troops and up to four medium-lift helicopters as well as amphibious armoured vehicles such as the ZBD-05 or four Type 726 Yuyi-class hovercraft.

Another recent addition to the East Sea Fleet is the Type 903A/Fuchi-class replenishment ship Gaoyouhu (966), which was commissioned on 29 January. The East Sea Fleet now has three Fuchi-class modern replenishment ships and also an older Type 905/Fuqing-class oiler. The Fuchi-class vessels have been used extensively in supporting PLAN ships deployed on counter-piracy operations and have also been observed with ships operating in the western Pacific.

The Type 056A/Jiangdao-class corvette Jingmen (506) entered service on 25 January with the South Sea Fleet. The Type 056A is the anti-submarine warfare variant of this 1,500-tonne ship, fitted with towed-array and variable-depth sonars. Six of this variant are now in service, equally allocated to the North, East and South Sea Fleets.

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