The lead vessel in the new People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) Type 075 class amphibious assault ship series is now out on sea trials, according to photos posted to Chinese social media.
The first ship in the class was laid down at Hudong Zhonghua Shipyard in Shanghai in the spring of 2019. She was launched in September of the same year and has now put to sea for the first time – a remarkably fast timetable for a first-in-class vessel of her size and complexity. The Type 075 is nearly as large as a U.S. Navy Wasp-class amphib, making it among the largest of the type.
The rapid development schedule included time for any needed repairs after a fire broke out on board during outfitting (likely in or near her well deck). The fire occurred in April, but dark discolorations comparable to smoke marks were still visible on her port quarter as she sailed out of the harbor on Tuesday.
Finally clear images of the first Type 075 leaving port …
— @Rupprecht_A (@RupprechtDeino) August 5, 2020
Type 075 LHD a view . pic.twitter.com/A9QyV9yzKo
— jimmie chan (@71Arifin) August 4, 2020
Chinese PLAN 075 LHD from above pic.twitter.com/GAQEAEpJrC
— AirForceWorld.com (@AirForceWorld) August 5, 2020
PLA navy first type 075 amphibious assault ship, will soon make its maiden voyage.. pic.twitter.com/rVu5gJRrji
— Geo_monitor (@colonelhomsi) August 5, 2020
State-owned outlet Global Times confirmed the vessel’s apparent departure, pointing to a local notice to mariners about a sea trial. The outlet said that the voyage will likely serve as an initial opportunity to test her propulsion and navigation systems.
The Type 075 is designed to carry up to 30 helicopters, along with ship-to-shore amphibious craft and a complement of marines. Photos taken during outfitting indicate that it may also be deployed with a unmanned rotary-wing aircraft comparable to the U.S. Navy’s Fire Scout.
“This type of Chinese warship is widely expected to play a major role around the Taiwan Straits and the South China Sea,” Global Times suggested, confirming the views of Western analysts. “The fast progress of the Type 075’s construction is also an indication of China’s urgent need of this type of ships.”
If all proceeds as planned, the lead ship is expected to enter service in 2021-22. The second ship in the class has already been launched, and it is currently undergoing outfitting alongside the pier.
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