China’s third Type 075 LHD ship (image via Twitter)
China launched the third Type 075 landing helicopter dock (LHD), and second Type-054 frigate ordered by the Pakistan Navy at Hudong-Zhonghua Shipyard today.
Development work on Type 075 helicopter carriers began in 2011. The first and second ships of the class were launched in September 2019 and April 2020 respectively.
In July, China revealed a helicopter (likely Z-8) and an unmanned reconnaissance helicopter model on the ship’s deck which resembled AR500C. It is a new drone that was test-flown for the first time on May 20 last year.
The displacement of the Type 075 amphibious assault ship (AAS) is expected to be between 35,000 and 40,000 tons, nearly similar to that of the U.S. Navy’s Wasp class amphibious assault ships.
Chinese media leaks reveal that the Type 075 AAS will can carry between 28 and 30 helicopters of various types, including the large Z-8, the smaller Z-9 utility and the Z-10 light attack helicopters.
Armaments aboard the 237 meter-long ship include two H/PJ-11 30 mm (1.2 in) close-in weapon systems and two HHQ-10 surface-to-air missiles that are developed from TY-90.
Pakistan Navy’s Type-054 frigate
Pakistan’s Type-054 Frigate
China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) scored a deal to provide four Type-054 battle ships to Pakistan in 2017 and 2018. The Navy was originally slated to receive all ships by 2021.
The warship will come fitted with latest surface, sub-surface, anti-air weapons, Combat Management System and sensors.
Pakistan is the launch customer of the Type 054A frigate. The cost of the vessels was not mentioned. However, various independent estimates have put a price tag of $350-$400 million apiece including the electronics systems which should make it substantially cheaper compared to a US, European or even a Russian warship of similar size, features and capability.
Under the PN’s program, the acquisition is being designated as “F-22P Batch II”, i.e., alluding to a reported plan in 2015 to procure another batch of F-22P frigates which would be improved versions of the Zulfiqar-class in the PN’s fleet.
The Type 054A class of missile frigates is derived from the Type 054 (Jiangkai Class), integrates advanced weapons and sensor systems. The first frigate in class, Xuzhou (530), was commissioned into Chinese Navy service in January 2008 and the last ship in 2015.