Saturday, May 29, 2010

071 deploying to Aden + More photos

I've noticed on CDF that they posted a blog entry on 071 possibly going down to Gulf of Aden. There are some photos here showing a PLAN Z-8 helicopter pilot leaving his 1-year old son to "train for a long range" mission. At present time, Z-8s are pretty much only operating on the large ships like 071 and the new hospital ship. It also makes sense that they would want to send 071 down there to test it out a little bit in a long range deployment. They have already sent all of their other new toys down there. We have seen recent photos of gun pod armed Z-8s flying around. This is similar to the modifications they made on Z-9s that were part of the Gulf of Aden expedition. Here are some of those photos:

As a sign of confidence to the 071 platform, they are building a new ship that looks like another unit or a successor of 071 in HuDong shipyard. Here are some of the pictures of its modules. We should have a better idea of its configurations in a few months.

Now, we have a bunch of photos from different shipyards recently. Most of these are coming from HuDong shipyard in Shanghai.
Here is the photos of the recently launched 054A. It is the 4th unit launched from HD shipyard. I don't think there are any new units currently under construction, so this is probably the last 054 series ship we see for a while (like a year). They normally build in bunches of 4s. The next 4 might just have minor improvement on this 4 or might have major changes to become 054B. We will see.
I do find the development for this ship kind of amazing because it was actually launched last week. Meaning, we went from the last set of pictures (which was still unpainted and without many sensors) to launched in 10 days.

Here is the final one of the 3 F-22Ps being built for the Pakistani Navy. It's given the number 253. And it should be sailing off to PN sometimes this year.

Also, we have elint ship 853 getting all of the sensors added and scaffolding removed. This is an improvement upon the current elint ship 851. This ship should be going on sea trials any day now.

And finally, we have some updated photos of Varyag. The sensors still have not been installed on the island yet. And there are still plenty of sheds on the deck indicating the amount of work left to be done.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Latest pictures from Shanghai

I haven't posted anything recently, because I've been extremely busy at work and there is not many new extraordinary things coming out. But when I got home today, there was a host of new pictures coming out that I thought was worth sharing. Most of them come from Shanghai.
The first one is showing 092 SSBN after the major refitting that it underwent recently. It's not a new ship by any stretch of imagination, but we don't normally get to see PLAN SSBNs.

Now, we also got a bunch of pictures from Shanghai.
The first two shows the 4th 054A (or 8th overall) under construction from HD shipyard. Now, this one has actually seemed to have taken a lot longer than expected. The 4th one from HP shipyard launched a while ago and this one probably has another month to go before launching. And from that latest pictures coming out of HP shipyard, there won't be another 054A coming out anytime soon. Looks like they are continuing the policy of building ships in batch of 4s.

This ship is 112 (of 052A class). It was built in the early 90s and is powered by LM2500, which was purchased prior to the embargo. It looks like they are doing are major works on this ship by pretty much taking it apart. It has been sitting next to HD for the past 6 months. It'd be interesting to see if they will actually do anything to it.

This is PLAN's new ELINT ship. It was launched a while ago, but it looks like all of the sensors have been installed now and the scaffolding are all removed. Looks like this might be ready for sea trial soon. Unlike with frigates and destroyers, the big ships like this only get built one at a time. Or maybe they are just experimental unit until mass production. Although, PLAN doesn't really need to have the kind of numbers that would require mass production.

The pictures below are probably the most important development recently. The first one shows a module of a new LPD under construction. It looks like after all of the testings they did with the experiment class of 071, they are finally ready to mass produce it with whatever modifications they put in.

The two pictures below show the "Chinese LCAC" being delivered to PLAN. Now this is kind of interesting. We actually saw pictures of this starting in 2007. However, it took a good 3 years for it to complete all the work and testing needed to actually join service with PLAN. And with follow-ups coming in the 071 class, more of these units should join in.

And finally, more pictures of the first 071, 998 sailing around in Shanghai. 071 really represents the first major step that PLAN took in becoming a blue water fleet. So, it's quite significant that we are seeing its mass production starting and LCACs finally accompanying it.