China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy has demonstrated the capabilities of its newly commissioned Type 075 vessel, named the Hainan 31, to enable rapid combat power buildup ashore in the face of a potential enemy.
The Hainan 31 is China’s first Type 075 amphibious assault ship capable of transporting almost the full strength of a Chinese Marine Corps, and landing them in hostile territory via landing craft or helicopters as well as providing air support. It has a full-length flight deck for helicopter operations and features a floodable well deck from which to disembark hovercraft and armored amphibious assault vehicles.
The Hainan placed in active service on Friday at a naval port in southern China’s Hainan Province, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. The ceremony took place on the same day that the People’s Liberation Army Navy celebrated its 72nd anniversary.
In a video posted by state-run China Central Television, or CCTV, this weekend, also showing Hainan 31 amphibious assault ship during drills.
For the first time, the PLA Navy demonstrated the flights of shipborne Z-8CJ helicopters from the deck of the Hainan 31 amphibious assault ship. Also, for the first time, there was shown footage of the landing operation.
The 40,000-tonne Type 075 ships are a kind of small aircraft carrier with accommodation for up to 900 troops and space for heavy equipment and landing craft, according to Western military experts who have studied satellite images and photographs of the new vessels. They will carry up to 30 helicopters at first; later they could carry fighter jets, if China can build short take off and vertical landing aircraft like the U.S. F-35B.
The PLA Navy could have seven or more of these ships, according to reports in China’s official military press.