|The Type 071 amphibious transport dock, or landing platform dock (LPD) was built by Shanghai-based Hudong-Zhonghua Shipyard for the PLA Navy (PLAN). The first hull Kunlunshan (hull No.998) was launched on 22 December 2006 and commissioned by the PLAN South Sea Fleet on 30 November 2007. The ship is absed at Zhanjiang Naval Base in Guangdong Province.|
The Type 071 LPD is the largest indigenously designed combat ship of the PLAN to date, with an estimated full displacement of 17,000~20,000 tonnes. The cargo capacity of the Type 071 is thought to be in the same range as the U.S. Navy Austin class LPD. If this estimation was correct, the Type 071 LPD can carry a marine corps battalion, including 500~800 troops, 15~20 amphibious armoured vehicles, and their associated logistic supplies.
The Type 071 LPD offers much increased sea lifting capacity and operational flexibility not possessed by the conventional tank landing ships (LST) in the current PLA Navy service. In a possible offensive operation to seize Taiwan, the Type 071 could be used to launch an amphibious assault from the Pacific side of the island, where the islandís defence is relatively weak. However, the Type 071ís role is not limited only to the Taiwan scenario. With its strong self-contain capability the LPD could operate far from friendly shores, projecting amphibious assets over distance of several thousand nautical miles. The plenty space onboard also allows additional communications equipments to be added for the ship to act as a fleet command and control centre in an amphibious operation.
In addition to traditional amphibious assault role, the Type 071 LPD could also be deployed for a whole range of non-traditional missions, for example, providing a sea-based platform for helicopters to send humanitarian aids to a disaster area and evacuate casualties and refugees from the area; or evacuating citizens from conflict zones.