China's Fifth Type 071 LPD 'Longhushan' Commissioned with the PLAN

Our colleagues from East Pendulum are reporting that China's fifth Type 071 amphibious transport dock (LPD) Longhushan (龙虎山 with hull number 980) was commissioned with the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN or Chinese Navy) on September 12, 2018 in Shanghai.

Chinas Fifth Type 071 LPD Longhushan Commissioned with the PLAN 1 The 5th Type 071 LPD Longhushan 龙虎山 was commissioned into the PLAN's East Sea Fleet. Photo ©老年

Longhushan was built by Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding, a wholly owned subsidiary of China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC, the largest shipbuilding group in China) as was the case for the first four Type 071 vessels. The LPD was launced on 15 June 2017 and it is the second in the class to join the East Sea Fleet. The first three Type 071s, built between 2005 and 2012, were all assigned to the South Sea Fleet even though this class of vessels had been specifically designed to enhance the Chinese Navy's amphibious capabilities in the "Armed Liberation" scenario of the island of Taiwan.

Originally designed after the Taiwan Strait crisis in 1996, the Type 071, measuring 210 meters long and 28 meters wide, is capable of carrying an 800-man marine battalion and some 20 amphibious tanks.

In the event of an amphibious assault, each Type 071 well deck may deploy at least two Type 726 / Type 726A, a Chinese LCAC of approximately 150 tonnes. Each LCAC itslef is designed to deploy a battle tank (ZTZ-96A for example). The ship is also fitted with two large hangars and a flight deck, where two Z-8J helicopters can be operated simultaneously. The ship is armed with one 76 mm gun and four 30 mm close-in weapon systems.

Chinas Fifth Type 071 LPD Longhushan Commissioned with the PLAN 2 The 5th Type 071 LPD Longhushan 龙虎山 was commissioned into the PLAN's East Sea Fleet. Photo ashh

The East Pendulum blog notes that for unknown reasons, each Type 071 takes more and more time between launching and entering service. This period goes from 344 days for the first series building, to 363 days for the third vessel, to 454 days today for the 5th unit.

This extended cycle for the fitting out could be explained either by an increase in the complexity of installed systems requiring a longer duration for the works and tests.

The sixth Type 071 is set to be launched this year at the same shipyard, and the seventh is already in the dry dock.

Meanwhile, the Longhushan is likely the 15th warship commissioned by the PLAN this year.

Additional comment:
East Pendulum explains that the commissioning ceremony of this 5th Type 071 took place in the presence of GUO An (郭 安), secretary of the Communist Party of Yingtan City (鹰潭 市). The reason for his presence at the ceremony is simple - the new LPD is named after a mountain in this city, Mount Longhu (龙虎山), a World Heritage site by the UNESCO. According to the rule defined by the Chinese Navy, all amphibious transport ships should bear the name of a mountain in China. This Type 071 is named Longhushan.

It is thanks to the presence of this local personality that East Pendulum became aware of the commissioning of the ship. The trip of GUO for the event is listed in the administrative newspaper of the city which is public record.

For some reasons, the PLAN started to keep a low profile on all ship commissionings from January this year, while video and local media coverage was common practice during such events in the years 2016 and 2017...