Type 071 Yuzhao LPD - Design
In the nomenclature of the United States Navy, Landing Ship, Dock (LSD) and Amphibious Transport, Dock (LPD) have a well deck and a ballast system which allows boats to be dry docked within the ship's hull. Externally similar in appearance, the LPD carries both landing craft and aircraft, while the LSD carries only landing craft but no aircraft. Thus, reports that "this would be China's first LSD type of ship" reflect a mis-understanding of amphibious warship nomenclature.
The term "dock" is somewhat confusing, since it might be imagined that these ships are intended to land at a dock, or transport to a dock. A dock is a water-side site at which ships tie up in order to discharge and take in cargoes conveniently and expeditiously. It is typically a basin constructed for this purpose, surrounded by quay walls. But a graving dock (or dry dock) is a dock which can be sealed off by gates, and the water removed. This allows work to be done on the parts of a ship's that are normally under water. The term "graving" was more often used to denote the cleaning of a ship's bottom. The docks in the Landing Ship, Dock (LSD) and Amphibious Transport, Dock (LPD) are internal to the ship, and allows boats to be dry docked for transport, loading and maintenance.
LPD stands for Landing Platform Dock although the ship is usually referred to as an Amphibious Transport Dock (LPD). Amphibious transport docks have a well deck in the after part of the ship. The ship will ballast her stern to either completely flood the well deck for launching and recovering conventional landing craft or only partially for Expeditionary Fighting Vehicles. These will egress or enter when the stern gate is opened. The ship then de-ballasts and operates with a dry well. The well deck is not flooded for LCAC, air cushion landing craft operations. Well deck operations may be conducted pierside, at anchor, or at sea while moving through the water.
The Type 071 transport will operate helicopters, large LCACs and various self defense armament. The ship is equipped with 76 mm gun and 4 x 30 mm CIWS for self-defense. The ship will carry hovercraft and helicopters to allow assaults from greater distance and against more difficult shore terrain. The large air cushion LCACs would be able to carry tanks at high speeds at over-the-horizon range.
When launched, the Type 071 LPD was the largest indigenously designed combat ship of the PLAN to date, with an estimated full displacement of 17,000~20,000 tons. Another commentator suggests that this much larger amphibious ship, displaces "between 18,000 and 25,000 tons", noting that this "ship looks almost identical to the U.S. San Antonio-class Landing Platform Dock (LPD)". The cargo capacity of the Type 071 is thought to be at least equal to that of US Navy's Austin class LPD. If this estimation was correct, the Type 071 LPD can carry a marine corps battalion, including 400~800 troops, 15~20 amphibious armored vehicles, and their associated logistic supplies.
The large helicopter flight deck at the stern is enough to support the operation of two medium-size helicopters such as Z-8/AS-321 Super Frelon. The same helicopter has also been operating from the PLA Navy's Type 072-II Yuting class tank landing ship, carrying 30 armed troops over the beach to the landing zone behind enemy lines. It is reported that a full-scale mockup of a co-axial design helicopter was spotted on the ship's flight deck while it was under construction, suggesting that a Russian design such as Kamov Ka-29 was also considered.
The docking system is located at the stern of the ship. A floodable bay can embark air-cushioned landing craft, conventional landing craft, and amphibious vehicles. Flooding of the docking area is achieved by ballasting the stern of the ship, allowing the landing craft to float. Preliminary models of the class displayed at trade shows suggested that the Type 071 was designed to embark 4 landing craft air cushion vehicles (LCAC).
Although 071 is not a helicopter carrier, it is obviously not suitable for an amphibious ship with a displacement of more than 10,000 tons to carry only 2-4 helicopters. In the future, the helicopter hangar and flight deck area should be increased. Although it does not have to be as much as an amphibious assault ship, it must have a certain "vertical landing" capability.
Large-scale amphibious surface ships like the 071 type are definitely the target of the enemy's primary attack in future amphibious operations. Although they can have their own surface ships to escort, they must have certain self-defense capabilities. The deck in front of the ship's bridge is almost vacant. It is possible to consider the 32- unit vertical launch system in the current main gun position , equipped with the Red Flag- 16 or Haihongqi -7 ship-to-air missile to provide medium- and short-range air defense protection for the ship. Effectively reduce the operational pressure of frigates. As for the short-range air defense system, three domestic 730 systems should be used. Although the Russian AK630 short-range artillery system has a fast fire rate, its target acquisition system is very old and cannot fully meet the ship's anti-missile requirements. China has already officially installed the 730 near-defense system on the main surface ship. It not only has advanced fire control system, but also has extremely fast response capability. It is an ideal weapon for dealing with anti-ship missiles.
The Type 071 dock landing ship should have a certain amount of ground fire support capability, while the domestic 76 mm gun has a close range and low power, which cannot meet the needs. May be mounted Russian AK-130 twin tube 130. mm gun, considering the costs, made 100 mm gun can improvise.
This type of ship has a large building area and a large deck, and can be equipped with more electronic equipment, such as communication equipment, so that 071 can become a command ship. In addition, new type of sea-to-air radar should be equipped, but there is no need to install phased array radar.
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