First visuals of a new Chinese amphibious assault ship have surfaced on social media. This is reportedly the second Type 075 ‘aircraft carrier’ that has started sea trials.
According to the information released by Defense Studies, this landing helicopter dock (LHD) is comparable to the American Wasp-class ships that have started sea trials on January 3, 2021.
Earlier, The Eurasian Times reported that this Type 075 amphibious assault ship can serve the same purpose as any western aircraft carrier equipped with F-35 fighters.
Instead of fixed-wing aircraft, Type 075 carries a variety of rotorcraft — Z-8, Z-20, Z-10, Z-19 as well as rotorcraft UAVs. It has combat potential similar to aircraft carriers equipped with the American F-35B fighter jets, The Eurasian Times reported this quoting Chinese experts.
China Navy Second type 075 LHD pic.twitter.com/RkbObnB0PN
— 龙龑之 (@Loongnaval) May 12, 2021
The idea of helicopters providing combat air support for an amphibious assault unit equivalent to fixed-wing fighter jets is itself contradictory. The fixed-wing combat aircraft can deliver more variety and quantity of payloads with precision at enemy encampments and assets, while the idea of a helicopter dropping a heavy bomb and escaping quickly from the anti-aircraft fire and missiles looks good only on paper.
Nevertheless, the Chinese experts assert these amphibious assault ships can conduct their missions only around the Chinese coastlines (in the near future) rather than the global approach of the US Navy.
This makes these ships more versatile as they would operate in the vicinity of Chinese aircraft carriers from which fixed-wing fighter jets would launch to provide air cover and precision bombing.
Type 075 is more advanced than the American AAV-7, Shi Hong, executive chief editor of the Chinese magazine, Shipborne Weapons, said. The Chinese ship is three times faster in water than its US counterpart, giving it an edge in landing missions and a better ability to survive under enemy fire, according to Global Times.
The PLA Navy expects to operate three Type 075 vessels, with one already commissioned as Hainan on 23rd April 2021. The carrier has a full-length flight deck for helicopter operations and features a floodable well deck to disembark hovercraft and armored amphibious assault vehicles.
The Type 075’s size and tonnage are estimated to be greater than most contemporaries, with exceptions being the US Navy’s Wasp-class and America class.