China’s first Type 075 amphibious assault ship has reached initial operational capabilityaccording to the Chinese state-backed Global Times newspaper in a report published earlier in March.
The People’s Liberation Army Navy ship, called the Hainan, is expected to visit ports around the world over the next year before reaching full operational capability. The ship is expected to undergo additional training over the next year, but is already capable of participating in basic operations.
The Type 075 is roughly comparable to that of the US Navy Wasp-class amphibious assault ships that have a well deck and aviation facilities.
“Often nicknamed a helicopter carrier, the ship can carry a large number of helicopters in addition to amphibious armored vehicles and tanks, and launch horizontal and vertical landing missions on islands and reefs, and even land from the sea. “said the analysts. said Global Times.
The Global Times reports that Hainan will be capable of participating in a wide range of missions, including counter-terrorism operations, humanitarian assistance and maritime defense, but also said that “military analysts expect the Type 075 plays a vital role in possible operations on the island of Taiwan.The article also mentioned potential operations in the South China Sea.
While the Type 075 represents a significant advance in amphibious warfare capabilities for the PLA Navy, the Chinese military likely still lags behind the US Navy in several areas. The PLA Navy does not have a fifth-generation aircraft capable of vertical takeoff and landing operations like the US F-35B. The American V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft and a new generation of landing craft capable of operating from amphibious warfare ships are also enhancing the capabilities of American amphibious assault ships.
The PLA Navy continues to develop its amphibious fleet. Two additional Type 075 vessels have already been launched and are in the early stages of service. The United States Navy operates nine similar amphibious assault ships; seven Wasp-class ships and two America-class assault helicopters.
Kris Osborn is the Defense Editor for the National Interest. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a highly trained expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army – Acquisition, Logistics and Technology. Osborn also worked as an on-air military anchor and specialist on national television networks. He has appeared as a guest military pundit on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also holds an MA in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.