Type 075 LHD Hainan (31), note the many Changhe Z-18 helicopters on deck

The ceremony took place on 23 April 2021 at the naval base in Sanya (Hainan island) in presence of Chinese president Xi Jinping:

The historic (over 70,000 tons combined commissioned on a single day) event coincided with the 72th anniversary of the PLAN.

The Type 055 Destroyer commissioned yesterday is named Dalian (pennant number 105). It is the third ship of the class and the second one commissioned this year (The 2nd Type 055 joined the PLAN in March 2021).

The Type 055 destroyers are the largest surface combatant currently being built in the world with a length of 180 meters, a beam of 20 meters and a draft of 6.6 meters for a full load displacement of about 13,000t (compared to the US Navy’s Ticonderoga-class cruiser and the Flight III Arleigh Burke-class destroyer both at 9,800 tons or the Royal Navy Type 45 at about 8,500 tons). Their official PLAN designation is “10,000-ton class destroyer.” while the US Department of Defence have been calling them “cruisers” since 2017.

First ship of the class, ‘Nanchang’ was launched on June 28, 2017 at the Jiangnan Changxing Shipyard in Shanghai and the second one was launched in April 2018 at the same shipyard. Two more Type 055 were launched in 2018, two more in 2019 and and additional two in 2020 bringing the total of hulls currently in the water to eight. The first ship-in-class, Nanchang (101) was commissioned on 12 January 2020.

The current Type 055’s weapons fit includes:

A 130 mm H/PJ-38 main gun
112 VLS silos
A H/PJ-11 CIWS with a fire rate of 10,000 rd/min
A HQ-10 short-range missiles
Decoy launchers

The silos are split in two areas: 64x cells forward and 48x cells aft, just in front of the ship’s double hangar. They are of the same model as those used on Type 052D, compatible with both hot and cold launch missiles thanks to the Concentric Canister Launcher (CCL) concept. The PLAN is set to fit its first few Type 055 with HQ-9B anti-aircraft missiles with a range of 200 km, YJ-18A anti-ship missiles, a new type of medium range anti-aircraft missile and land attack cruise missiles based on the YJ-18 family, ie, practically the same as those already found on Type 052D destroyers. It is also likely that the new anti-submarine missile Yu-8A is among the ship’s weapons fit.

The Type 075 Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) commissioned yesterday is named Hainan (pennant number 31). It is the lead ship of the class. The vessel was launched in September 2019 and started sea trials in August 2020 . The Hudong Zhonghua Shipyard in Shanghai already built two more vessels in the class. The second one was launched in April 2020 and started its sea trials in December 2020. The third one was launched in January this year. This represents an impressive rate of one LHD launched every 6 months.

The Chinese Navy officially started development work on the Type 075 in 2011. The project called for a helicopter carrier displacing more than 30,000 tonnes. Its aim is likely to increase the “vertical” amphibious assault capability with the very mountainous East Coast of Taiwan in mind.

As for its specifications, rumours speak of “36,000 tons of displacement”, “capacity of 28 helicopters”, “diesel engine with the 12,000 kW 16PC2-6B” and “four CIWS including two HQ-10 and two H/PJ-11”.

The first Type 075 was constructed in record time (this has become the norm nowadays, for Chinese shipbuilding: extremely fast construction pace that no one can match). A total of eight LHDs are said to be on order for the PLAN while a larger version is rumoured to be planned (sometimes referred as Type 076).

The third (and not the least important) vessel to be commissioned during the historic event was a Type 094 nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN). The Changzheng (Long March ) 18 is likely the 6th (or 7th?) Type 094 (also known as Type 09-IV) submarine of the class for the PLAN. It received pennant number 421. The lead boat of the class was commissioned in 2007.

The Type 094 is armed with 12 JL-2 SLBMs, each with an estimated range of 7,400 km (4,600 mi). Submarines of this class have a length of 135 meters.