On April 17, 2023, the Royal Thai Navy officially received the new Type 071 amphibious ship.
The ship was built by China’s Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding Group, and was named HTMS Chang (LPD-792). This is an important milestone for China’s military shipbuilding industry, and be the first Type 071 LPD to be exported.
For the Royal Thai Navy, HTMS Chang will be the second LPD after HTMS Angthong (LPD-791), the Endurance class manufactured by Singapore. The ship is the result of a $200 million deal between Thailand and China signed on September 2019, as part of improving bilateral and defense relations between the two countries. HTMS Chang was launched on January 4, 2023. Sea trials were conducted prior to delivery to RTN.
HTMS Chang was built on the Type 071ET, the export version of the Yuzhao-class Type 071 of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). Modifications and subsystems specified by Thailand to suit the needs of the RTN. HTMS Chang is the largest ship in the Royal Thai Navy’s fleet, even larger than the small aircraft carrier HTMS Chakri Naruebet. HTMS Chang has a length of about 213 meters, a width of 28 meters, and a full load displacement of about 20,000 tons. She has a top speed of 25 knots and is designed to carry around 600 soldiers including corresponding equipment.
As an amphibious assault ship, HTMS Chang is capable of carrying two Type 726A landing craft air cushioned, two hangars and a flight deck for transport and medium-sized helicopters like the SH-60B Seahawk, as well as UAVs like the Camcopter S-100.
Type 071 is a Chinese amphibious transport dock that has been in service since 2007. For self-defense, the Type 071 is equipped with an AK-176 76mm naval gun system at the bow. The vessel is also armed with four 30mm AK-630 close-in weapon systems. Countermeasures are provided by four 18-tube Type 7 26-4 decoy or chaff launchers.
The Type 071 LPDs are powered by integrated combined diesel and diesel propulsion, controlled by an automated propulsion control system. The propulsion system integrates four Shaanxi V-400 diesel engines driving two controllable pitch propellers through twin shafts. Each engine produces a maximum power of 35,197kW. The power plant provides a maximum speed of 25 knots and a range of 10,000nm at 18 knots. The maximum endurance of the vessel is 60 days. Type 071 is equipped with a Type 360 surface search radar operating on E and F-band frequencies, a Type 3 64 G-band air search radar, a Type 3 44 I-band fire control radar, and a navigation radar. The vessel may operate as the flagship of a task force. She may also conduct and support humanitarian, disaster relief, and counterpiracy missions, in addition to amphibious assaults.