Updated: Jun 8, 2020
The PLA Navy's first Type 075 Landing Helicopter Dock burst into flames on April 11, 2020. Early in the day, posts on social media showed plumes of black smoke billowing out of the vessel as it lay aimlessly alongside its pier at Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding Yards in Shanghai. From video footage and photos of the incident, it appears as though the fire began in the ship's well deck, a floodable space that is used for receiving and launching ship-to-shore vehicles, such as AAVs, AFVs, or hovercraft. The Type 075 was set to launch tomorrow, although that will most definitely be delayed.
Similar to the United States Navy's America Class amphibious assault ship, vessels such as the Type 075 is an intricate part of China's strategy to project power in the Pacific Ocean and South China Sea. The LHD is able to launch various types of helicopters at a moments notice and is able to strike enemy vessels, targets on land, or submarines below the surface.
The Type 075 that caught fire was the first of its class. The second Type 075 is completing construction in the dry-docks next to where the first is currently tied up. The incident will surely delay the entire production program, although for how long is unknown.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the United States Army, Department of Defense, or the United States Government.