Monday, October 18, 2021

With An Eye On Taiwan, China’s Amphibious Assault Ship ‘Hainan’ Conducts ‘Invasion’ Drills

The Chinese PLA Navy’s first Type 075 amphibious assault ship, ‘Hainan’, has recently conducted helicopter drills. This comes days after the PLA carried out an amphibious landing exercise near the Taiwan Strait in response to US senators’ visit to the island.

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The interiors of the warship were revealed for the first time by the state-owned China Central Television (CCTV) on June 22. 

The Hainan carried out helicopter take-off and landing exercises in undisclosed waters, as reported by CCTV. The report also added that several Z-8 transport helicopters were also spotted as they were landing on the huge, straight flight deck of the recently commissioned warship.

Ever since the commissioning of The Hainan on April 23, it has been carrying out advanced ship-aircraft integration training. This indicates that the warship is adopting operational capability very quickly, observers said. It has also been reported that more advanced helicopters are going to conduct aviation training on The Hainan in the near future.

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The Hainan amphibious assault ship. (via Twitter)

In addition to the 13 ton-class Z-8 helicopters, ship-borne variants of the 10 ton-class Z-20 utility helicopter and armed reconnaissance helicopter drones could become some of the main aviation equipment of the Type 075 ship, Shi Hong, executive chief editor of the Chinese magazine Shipborne Weapons, told the Global Times.

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In what came as a rare move, The Hainan revealed some details of its interior which included the dock used to carry landing craft, the vehicle hangar which stores tanks and amphibious armored vehicles, the helicopter hangar which hosts helicopters, the flight deck at the top, along with the elevators which connect them.

A slogan was also spotted on the wall of the hangar which read, ”The victory of the landing troops is our victory”.

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Helicopter landing drills on the deck of the Hainan. (via Twitter)

Captain Lü Yongjun introduced the insignia of the Hainan and said that its design was a reflection of the elements of joint operations which feature the amphibious assault ship, air-cushioned landing craft, ship-borne helicopters and armored vehicles.

Apart from these combat capabilities, The Hainan is also equipped guns, missiles, and electronic warfare equipment, further bolstering its defense competence. Talking about its navigational capabilities, Lü said that Type 075 is designed in a way that despite its large size and displacement, the warship is easy to steer.

Assigned to the PLA South Sea Fleet, the Hainan could conduct missions involving not only the South China Sea but also the island of Taiwan, Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times.

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The Hainan is named after a Chinese province, like all the other aircraft carriers, and is given a two-digit hull number ‘31’.

Captain Zhou Yandong, the political commissar of the Hainan, was quoted in the CCTV report saying, “the commissioning of the Hainan will provide powerful support to safeguarding national sovereignty, security and developmental interests”. Two more Type 075s have been launched and are expected to soon join the PLA Navy.

Recently, the Chinese PLA had conducted amphibious landing exercises in the troubled waters off South China Sea’s Fujian Province, overlooking the Taiwan Island.

The move was seen as China’s response to the visit of three US senators to Taiwan. The three lawmakers reached Taipei by a military transport aircraft carrying 750,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses. 

Written by Kashish Tandon

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