China launches first amphibious helicopter assault ship

Navy Recognition – Sept 25, 2019

Chinese 075 amphibious assault ship. Click to enlarge

Said to be a small aircraft carrier by its appearance, an amphibious assault ship usually features a straight flight deck capable of hosting helicopters, vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft and short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft, as well as cabins that can hold amphibious tanks, armored vehicles and air-cushioned landing craft (LCAC).

The amphibious assault ship is the second complex warship built by China, after its aircraft carrier. The immense design, construction and cost allow only a few countries including France and Japan to develop such a warship, the expert said. Only China and the US are capable of making ships as powerful as the Type 075, the expert said.

Type 075 has an estimated displacement of 40,000 tons, a length of 250 meters, a width of 30 meters, a draft of 8.5 meters, and a speed of 23 knots, US-based media outlet the National Interest reported in May. This makes the Chinese ship comparable to the US’ Wasp-class amphibious assault ship.

Launch ceremony of the Type 075. Click to enlarge

Unlike amphibious landing docks like the Type 071 which China already operates, the Type 075 can carry many more helicopters, allowing it to launch land assaults from much greater distances from shore and provide greater supporting firepower from the air, Wei said. It also enables the Chinese military to more efficiently deploy troops from farther distances thanks to its large hangers, Wei said.

The launch of Type 075 not only is a gift to the People’s Republic of China’s 70th founding anniversary but also shows that China will resolutely carry out its international obligations, safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity and maintain peace in the region and around the world, the expert said.

So there appears no letup in the Chinese Navy’s growing capabilities and incredible modernization journey. Based on analysis of satellite images from last month it appears that a second Type-075 is already under construction even before the first one has hit the water.