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China Started Serial Production of New Type 726A LCAC for PLAN

Naval Industry News - China
China Started Serial Production of New Type 726A LCAC for PLAN
Our partner East Pendulum is reporting that the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN or Chinese Navy) is in the process of starting mass production of its equivalent to the US Navy's LCAC, the Type 726A, at the Jiangnan Changxing Shipyard in Shanghai. This observation is based on satellite images from December 9, 2016.
PLAN Type 726A LCAC China 1 PLAN Type 726 LCAC with hull number 3332 during a recent amphibious exercise
Type 726A are 150-ton air-cushion craft (hovercraft) designed to enter the raft of PLAN's Type 071 LPD amphibious vessels. The early variant, the Type 726, would have encountered a number of technical problems that temporarily halted production after just four units were built. This forced the four Type 071 LPDs displacing more than 20,000 tons to limit their projection capabilities to amphibious IFVs and helicopters exclusively (not main battle tanks).<
PLAN Type 726A LCAC China 2 Vessels currently under construction at the Jiangnan Shipyard. Picture via East Pendulum.
Based on the recent sattelite image (above), in addition to the two Type 055 and six Type 052D destroyers, one can see four Type 726A LCACs: Two in the water and two on land (in yellow rectangles).

The four Type 726 were built at the same shipyard six years ago. These LCACs were fitted with UGT-6000 ??71 gas turbines from Ukraine. And these were the source of the Type 726 issues: The most widespread rumors mentionned concerns to replace Ukrainian turbines with local ones, and also a problem with the steering system. But according to a source working at the shipyard in question, the problems were rather:
- low-frequency vibrations
- high noise levels.
PLAN Type 726A LCAC China 3 A pair of PLAN Type 726 LCACs during amphibious landing exercise
The newer and improved Type 726A is fitted with a Chinese propulsion system: The QC-70 gas turbine developed from the WS-10 aviation engine.

In terms of development, it is interesting to note that Chinese aeronautical group AVIC had a role in the design of the Type 726 / Type 726A. For example, the assembly of the propeller fairing is made by the CAC (Chengdu Aircraft Corporation), a subsidiary of AVIC, which today produces J-10B and J-20 fighter jets.
Video: Recent amphibious exercise with Type 726 LCAC
Meanwhile a fourth Type 726 surfaced in a recent video report (above). It shows that LCAC 3332 entered service and participated in an amphibious landing exercise. To date, only three Type 726 - numbers 3319, 3320 and 3321 - had been seen.

Each Type 726 / Type 726A can carry up to 60 tonnes of payloads, the mass of a Chinese combat tank such as ZTZ-96A or ZTZ-99A. The distance is estimated at 320 km, sufficient to cross the Taiwan Strait at a speed up to 80 kn, one way, if the sea situation is unknown.

In terms of the number of LCACs to be delivered to the PLAN, no official figures have been released yet, but there are now at least four Type 726 in service and four Type 726A under construction. Knowing that each Type 071 LPD can accommodate two LCACs in their well deck, and that the PLAN could eventually operate up to six Type 071, the final number of these Chinese LCAC is likely tol increase.

More picture at East Pendulum