The Royal Thai Navy (RTN) has confirmed that the HTMS Chang, a Type 071E amphibious transport dock or landing platform dock, is scheduled to arrive in Thailand on April 27, having completed construction and trial runs in China. Capt Chukiat Thepalai, Chairman of Equipment Inspection for the Royal Thai Navy’s Tenders Procurement committee, recently signed a delivery certificate for the HTMS Chang with Shanghai-based shipyard Hudong-Zhonghua. The HTMS Chang – named after the island in Trat province – will be used to assist the HTMS Ang Thong until construction of a S26T submarine is completed, after which it will be used to support the submarine mission.
The HTMS Chang will depart Shanghai on April 17 and is scheduled to arrive at Sattahip Naval Base 10 days later. The ship was originally purchased as part of the Navy’s 20-year plan to commission four large amphibious vessels for various operations by 2036. In September 2019, the Royal Thai Navy has signed a contract with China for the acquisition of a Type 071E design (Yuzhao-class) landing platform dock (LPD) ship. The agreement, inked with state-owned China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC,) involved the delivery of an amphibious transport vessel for the Royal Thai Navy. (Photo by Chinamil).
The Type 071E is the export variant of the Yuzhao class (Type 071) amphibious transport dock already operating with China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy. The PLAN fields six such vessels, with two more currently under construction. 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 Type 071 may operate as the flagship of a task force. The Type 071 may also conduct and support humanitarian, disaster relief, and counterpiracy missions, in addition to amphibious assaults.
The Type 071 would cost a third of the similar US-built San Antonio-class LPD. The amphibious warfare ship features a vehicle deck, well-deck, landing deck and a hangar. It can carry a combination of marines, vehicles, landing craft and helicopters. The stern helicopter deck offers two landing spots for supporting the operations of two medium transport helicopters. The ship may embark 600 to 800 troops. The vessel can also carry landing craft on port / starboard davits. The stern ramp, two side doors and ramps allow rapid loading of the vehicles and equipment. The ship is armed with one 76 mm gun and four 30 mm close-in weapon systems.