Naval Warfare

Royal Thai Navy’s HTMS Chang (III) Receives Royal Anointing Ceremony and Enhancements

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Royal Thai Navy’s HTMS Chang (III) Receives Royal Anointing Ceremony and Enhancements

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Royal Thai Navy's HTMS Chang (III) Receives Royal Anointing Ceremony and Enhancements
Royal Thai Navy's HTMS Chang (III) Receives Royal Anointing Ceremony and Enhancements

On May 18, 2024, His Majesty King Vajiralongkorn presided over the royal boat anointing ceremony for the HTMS Chang (III), the Type 071ET Landing Platform Dock (LPD), at Chuk Samet Pier, Sattahip Naval Base in Chonburi Province. This auspicious event marked a significant blessing for the Royal Thai Navy and its personnel. The previous anointing ceremony for a naval vessel was for the frigate HMS Bhumibol Adulyadej on October 16, 2019, also at Chuk Samet Pier, highlighting a five-year interval between these significant ceremonies. HTMS Chang (III), a Type 071ET Landing Platform Dock (LPD), is part of the Amphibious and Combat Support Service Squadron (ACSSS) of the Royal Thai Fleet. This vessel is an export version of the Type 071 class landing craft utilized by the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). Built by Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding Group in Shanghai, a subsidiary of China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC), HTMS Chang arrived in Thailand in April 2023 and has since been engaged in qualification testing and various training exercises.

In April 2024, the Mahidol Adulyadej Naval Dockyard conducted limited repairs and inspections of HTMS Chang in dry dock to assess the condition of the ship below the waterline before the end of its warranty period from China Shipbuilding Trading Company (CSTC). On May 15, 2024, the Royal Thai Navy’s Naval Equipment Procurement Office announced a budget allocation for upgrading HTMS Chang’s combat capabilities. The project, with a budget of 920 million baht (approximately $25.3 million), aims to enhance the ship’s combat management, surveillance, fire control, and weapon systems. This procurement will be executed through a selection method, involving seven companies: Leonardo SpA, Thales Nederland BV, Navantia SASME, Aselsan Elektronik Sanayi Ticaret AS , Israel Aerospace Industry (IAI), Hartech Technologies Ltd, and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.

Currently, HTMS Chang is equipped with four M2 .50 caliber heavy machine guns and two Oerlikon GAM-CO1 20mm guns. Future plans include the installation of a 76mm gun at the bow, two 30mm or 40mm machine gun launchers, and four decoy launchers. The enhancements from the selected companies will provide advanced combat management systems, radars, fire control systems, and other vital equipment. The participation of renowned defense companies underscores the Royal Thai Navy’s commitment to maintaining a robust and modern naval force. HTMS Chang’s new systems will significantly enhance its operational capabilities, ensuring the vessel remains a key asset in Thailand’s maritime defense strategy.

Royal Thai Navy (RTN) held ship anointing ceremony for LPD-792 HTMS Chang (III), the Type 071ET Landing Platform Dock (LPD) at Chuk Samet Pier, Sattahip Naval Base, Chonburi Province, Thailand
Royal Thai Navy (RTN) held ship anointing ceremony for LPD-792 HTMS Chang (III) at Chuk Samet Pier, Sattahip Naval Base, Chonburi Province, Thailand. (Photo RTN)

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