At the China State Shipbuilding Corporation’s Hudong-Zhonghua shipyard on Shanghai’s Huangpu River, a giant is taking shape: the Type 075 landing helicopter dock (LHD) is nearing completion.
New photos on social media show the ship’s flight deck has been installed as well as its command island, giving it the definitive silhouette of an aircraft carrier for the first time. However, this 32,000-ton vessel will carry helicopters and amphibious landing craft, not fixed-wing J-15s or FC-31s like its bigger cousin, the Type 001A.
Several photos of China’s Type 075 amphibious assault ship (roughly analogous to the USN’s LHDs) undergoing construction have surfaced online recently. Bridge structure installed on main hull. Launch expected later this year pic.twitter.com/HEAjzWUAqp— Mike Yeo 杨启铭 (@TheBaseLeg) August 23, 2019
The Type 075 is roughly analogous to the United States Marine Corps’ Wasp-class amphibious assault ships, capable of supporting an amphibious assault by thousands of troops. It also has a hangar for holding up to 28 helicopters that can land at six points on its deck.
A rendering of China's first landing helicopter dock vessel, the Type 075. CCTV pic.twitter.com/NIgounTtwU— HV Kaltenborn--21st century edition (@crunchtimelover) July 30, 2019
Sputnik previously reported how the new warship, which might be followed by up to two others in its class, is part of a burgeoning fleet of amphibious assault vessels capable of mounting a serious threat to maritime areas across the East and South China Seas. By the time the Type 075 hits the water, which might be by the end of the year, according to Defense News, the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s eighth Type 071 landing platform dock (LPD) will be ready as well.
The PLAN has reorganized its paltry Marine Corps, planning on more than tripling its previous size from two to seven brigades, according to US defense analysts. A CCTV report this past April confirmed the branch had accomplished a size-increasing milestone in time for the 70th anniversary of the PLAN’s foundation, but made no comment as to what that size was. It’s estimated that the goal, however, is to eventually have 30,000 marines under arms.
Beijing has two full-sized aircraft carriers, the Liaoning and her sister ship, presently known only as Type 001A, which weigh in at about 58-68,000 tons each, although there are slight differences between the two ships. The carriers form the heart of China’s growing blue water navy, capable of carrying up to 40 fixed wing aircraft each.
A third aircraft carrier, also believed to be under construction in Shanghai, is expected to set sail in 2023.