Before we begin the conversation about what the next PLAN Frigate/Destroyer will be, we need to understand what role this vessel will play in an ocean-going fleet? Will it be a general purpose vessel, or will it focus on ASW? ASW is an identified area for development by the PLAN. We should expect the PLAN to be focused on addressing this area. If they do, we should expect that the next fleet-capable ship to have a focus on ASW, rather than being a very useful but broad spectrum support vessel. If it does, we should expect it to be able to hangar two Z-20s, and have the full suite of ASW weapons and sensors. While vessels around 4000 tonnes can hangar 2 x medium sized helicopters (such as the old FFG7 Oliver Hazzard Perry Frigates at c. 4200 tonnes), they do not have the full ASW capability. At a minimum we should expect the next major surface combatant to be at c.5000 tonnes or greater. Remembering the adage that "steel is cheap and air is free", additional tonnage is not really a cost imperative, dependant upon sensor fit.
This kind of question is better answered when we finally get pictures of the ship. I do hope and sure it should be common sense, that the helo deck should be long enough for the Z-20 naval helicopter. Now its a question if they want to put one or two.
Anyway, I noticed Icloo posted this in the PDF, although he's also a member in the SDF, probably forgot to post here too.
No surprise that the new 054A++ frigates are going to be made in Guangzhou Huangpu, with HDZ tied up with the 075, the Thai 071E and the Pakistan 054A/P projects.
During the height of Type 054A and 056 construction, we used to have a ton of pictures coming from these shipyards. They also made the new ELINT ships (Type 815G?), the new blue water tugboat, and that SWATH SURTASS ships. They have been making 054A derived cutters for the CCG. Their CCG contracts may have done at this point.
Given the size of these sheds, I don't expect the new 054A to fall far from the tree. Might be interesting to see if there is any length extension on the helicopter deck for larger helicopters.