The Chinese shipyard Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding launched the future Royal Thay Navy’s Type 071E landing platform dock (LPD) HTMS Chang (LPD-792). Admiral Thaloengsak Sirisawat, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Navy presided over the launching ceremony for a new Landing Platform Dock (amphibious transport dock), with Mrs. Aranya Sirisawat as the ship godmother who presided over the launching ceremony at Pier No. 5 Hudong, Shanghai. The Royal Thai Navy had signed a contract to procure from China a Type 071E (Yuzhao)-class landing platform dock (LPD). The deal was signed in Beijing on 9 September 2019 and is reportedly worth THB4 billion ($130 million).
The Type 071 (NATO reporting name: Yuzhao) is a class of Chinese amphibious transport dock ships in service with the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). The Type 071 provides the PLAN with capabilities and flexibility not found in its previous landing ships. The China State Shipbuilding and Trading Corp. consortium offered to build a modified Type 071 for the Royal Malaysian Navy. The Malaysians had a requirement for a 13,000-ton LPD; the Type 071 would cost a third of the similar US-built San Antonio-class LPD. The Royal Thai Navy ordered one export version, designated Type 071E, in 2019. The Type 071 may operate as the flagship of a task force.
The amphibious warfare ship features a vehicle deck, well-deck, landing deck and a hangar. The People’s Liberation Army Navy ship is armed with one H/PJ26 76mm naval gun and four H/PJ-13 30mm close-in weapon system (CIWS). The H/PJ26 is a modern naval gun of Chinese derived from the Soviet AK-176 naval gun. Two types of 76mm ammunition are carried: fragmentation for use against ships and airburst for use against aircraft and missiles. The H/PJ-13 is a modern close-in weapon system of Chinese derived from the Soviet AK-630 close-in weapon system. The Chinese H/PJ13 uses a more angular housing in order to reduce radar cross section.
The Type 071 can carry a combination of marines, vehicles, landing craft and helicopters. The ship may embark 600 to 800 troops. The stern helicopter deck offers two landing spots for supporting the operations of two transport helicopters. The twin-door cantilever hangar can house up to four helicopters. The well deck houses up to four Type 726 air-cushioned landing craft, which can transfer vehicles or marines to the shore at high speed. The LCAC are launched by flooding of the docking area. The vessel can also carry landing craft on port / starboard davits. The vehicle deck can house amphibious assault vehicles including the amphibious armored vehicles. The stern ramp, two side doors and ramps allow rapid loading of the vehicles and equipment.