Cruiser Type 055, LHD Type 075: the frantic expansion of the Chinese fleet continues

Since the blackout imposed by the Chinese authorities on the dissemination of information relating to the People's Liberation Army, and the Chinese defense industry, the collection of information on the expansion of the Chinese fleet has become good. more difficult in the civil domain. In the naval field, the information collected is mainly based on pictures taken by Chinese enthusiasts during a civil flight near the country's major shipyards, on the few satellite pictures that reach the public domain, and on the rare official announcements published by the Chinese press itself. This is how we learned today by an article from the CCP-related site Globaltimes.cn, that the third unit of the class of Type 075 assault helicopter carrier, had left the Hudong Zhonghua shipyard this week to carry out its first sea trials, thus respecting the pace followed for three years with the first unit, each following ship preceding it by some 300 days in its evolution.

The Type 075 assault helicopter carriers, often referred to as LHD for Landing Helicopter Dock in the US Navy taxonomy, are the largest military ships under construction in Chinese shipyards, except for the aircraft carrier Type 003 which, according to the latest pictures, would be in the process of receiving its electromagnetic catapults, and should be launched in the next few months. 237 meters long, the Type 075 have an estimated loaded tonnage of 40.000 tonnes, the equivalent of American Wasp and America class assault ships, and almost twice the size of the French Mistrals. Intended to give Chinese amphibious assault forces similar capabilities to US Marine Corps Amphibious Assault Groups, each ship can deploy up to 30 helicopters, and project a full Chinese Marine battalion with its equipment. using its on-board helicopters, as well as its barges and hovercraft. In total, the Chinese Navy plans to have 8 of these ships, which will reinforce the 8 LHD Type 071 assault ships already in service, and which will, in all probability, be supported by as many Type 076 assault drone carrier derived from Type 075 itself.

Renhai-class Type 055 cruisers are among the most powerful modern combatant surface units, with 112 vertical silos and latest generation AESA plate radar

At the same time, we learned thata 4th Type 055 heavy destroyer, designated by NATO as a Renhai-class cruiser, had been admitted to service, and had received the baptismal name Anshan, even though the 5th unit of the class, the cruiser Yan'an, is also due to enter service before the end of 2021, bringing the number of ships of this class to be entered into service in the year 4 alone, after the arrival of Lhasa in March and Dalian in April. Two other ships are expected in 2021, while the last unit of the class will enter service in 2022. These ships, 2023 meters long and 180 tonnes loaded, are the equivalent of the largest western combatant surface units, like the American destroyers Arleigh Burke Flight III or the South Korean Sejong the Great. Very heavily armed, they carry 112 vertical silos for different types of anti-ship, anti-aircraft and anti-submarine missiles, as well as powerful detection systems, making formidable and feared adversaries of Western navies including the United States. 'US Navy. It is likely that a new class of cruiser will be launched soon, once the construction of the 8 Type 055 units is completed.

The production of smaller tonnage units is more difficult to follow. According to observations made in Chinese shipyards, at least 4 or even 5 new anti-aircraft destroyers Type 052DL have also been launched this year, as well as at least 3 Type 54A frigates. A new class of submarines, currently referred to as Type 039C, and sporting a stealthy booth comparable to that of the new Swedish A26s, was also seen, suggesting that at least one such unit is being tested, if not more. Obviously, Chinese shipyards continue to produce major naval units at a steady rate, with on average 7 cruisers and destroyers, at least 3 frigates, 2 submarines and 1 major ship (LHD or PA) per year, a rate higher than that of the US naval industry and its allies in the Pacific zone, except in the field of submarines. sailors.

Type 052DL anti-aircraft destroyers have an extended hangar to accommodate the new Z-20 anti-submarine warfare helicopters and low-frequency radar (center) to detect stealth aircraft

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