Type 075 NEWCON Amphibious Assault (LHD) - Background
Traditional amphibious ships are used in the beachhead assault tactics, that is, people and equipment directly to the beach head. But with the strengthening of the coastal firepower, especially the emergence of shore-based missiles to this tactic has been a serious challenge. At this time there is a need for a new tyep of amphibious assault ship, also known as helicopter landing ship or landing helicopter carrier. It provides a set of land attack / support, amphibious force delivery, land operations command and ship defense defense functions in a large surface ship, as the core of amphibious combat Ships, usually used as the flagship of amphibious operations.
It can be equipped with helicopters, vertical / short takeoff and landing aircraft, air landing craft, landing forces, tanks, vehicles and other equipment and supplies. In combat it will carry out vertical and plane landing operations, a large number of soldiers and heavy equipment transported to helicopters, flying over the enemy defensive positions, landing in the rear and quickly into combat; this can avoid the enemy anti-landing combat defense, speeding up the landing speed. Carrying the majority of small and medium-sized aircraft carrier combat and non-war military missions, its powerful amphibious combat capability is widely favored by many countries.
There are a large number of classes of amphibious ships around the world with each having its basic specialized mission. For example, the U.S. Navy has (LCC) Amphibious Command Ship, (LHA) Amphibious Assault Ship (General Purpose), (LHD) Amphibious Assault Ship (Multi-Purpose), (LKA) Amphibious Cargo Ship, (LPA) Amphibious Transport, (LPD) Amphibious Transport Dock, (LPH) Amphibious Assault Ship (Helicopter), (LSD) Dock Landing Ship, and (LST) Tank Landing Ship. Other amphibious ships are used commercially in missions such as Roll On/Roll Off (RO/RO) vehicle carriers, container carriers, and break bulk in open top containers. The United States Navy and other navies around the world have deployed several primary classes of amphbious assault ships:
- Landing Ship, Dock (LSD) - A medium-sized ship (10,000 to 25,000 tons) that has a well-deck aft for carrying and operating embarked landing craft. An LPD also has a flight deck, usually aft over the well-deck, for operating up to five helicopters. An LSD differs from an LPD in that an LSD usually carries vehicles and cargo, while an LPD carries large numbers of troops.
- Amphibious Transport, Dock (LPD) - A medium-sized ship (10,000 to 25,000 tons) that has a well-deck aft for carrying and operating embarked landing craft. An LPD also has a flight deck, usually aft over the well-deck, for operating up to five helicopters. An LPD differs from a Landing Ship, Dock (LSD) in that an LPD usually carries large numbers of troops at the expense of vehicles and cargo.
- Amphibious Assault Ship, Helicopter (LPH) - A medium-sized ship (approximately 20,000 tons) that has a full flight deck for carrying and operating helicopters and supporting VSTOL aircraft. The Royal Navy's Ocean class is an example of a LPH.
- Amphibious Assault Ship, General Purpose (LHA) - A medium to large-sized ship (20,000 to 40,000 tons) that has a full flight deck and hangar for carrying and operating helicopters and supporting VSTOL aircraft, and a well-deck for carrying and operating embarked landing craft. The US Navy's Tarawa class is an example of a LHA.
- Amphibious Assault Ship, Multipurpose (LHD) - A medium to large-sized ship (20,000 to 40,000 tons) that has a full flight deck and hangar for carrying and operating helicopters and supporting VSTOL aircraft, and a well-deck for carrying and operating embarked landing craft. The US Navy's Wasp class is an example of a large LHD (displacing around 40,000 tons) and France’s new Mistral class is an example of a medium-sized LHD (displacing around 21,000 tons).
The primary drawback of each of the above mentioned vessels is that each class of vessels is optimized for a single specific mission. Many classes of vessels would be required to fulfill all the possible specific needs. The purchase cost for each vessel can be prohibitive as well as the maintenance and ongoing costs associated with each vessel.
Typically before construction, each amphibious support vessel must be custom configured depending upon its chosen mission. A need exists for a standardized multi-purpose amphibious support vessel having a standardized hull capable of having a plurality of optional operational structures for carrying out a variety of missions, and capable of receiving a plurality of modular habitable containers for supporting troops and the like. Because of the standardized hull design the optional operational features advantageously can be readily integrated into the vessel so that the vessel will be capable of carrying out a wide variety of operational missions with the optional operational structures selected before the vessel is constructed.
Being large and expensive, these ships have to justify their purchase by having one or more of the following that make them even larger and/or more expensive: permanent air groups as large as the ships can carry and which, because the ships are large, are quite large; full and comprehensive servicing and maintenance facilities; large fuel and weapons storage capacity; an all-weather capability and therefore a high-profile but still stable and thus large hull. This overall expense means a number of other-role ships are not built. Carriers justify their expense and this forgoing of other ships with their air groups' potency; their expense, the forgoing of other ships and this potency in turn means carriers are both unriskable and a prime target to an enemy and therefore they are either or both: armed and/or armoured and therefore even larger and more costly; provided permanently with heavily-armed escorts--making them more attractive as targets as elimination of a carrier leaves its escorts without air cover. Carriers being unriskable, such weapons, whether fitted to carriers or to escorts, are largely restricted to defense as carriers must stay as far as possible from an enemy; their air groups effectively being the sole offensive weapon.
All this in effect means that carriers are single-role vessels: even if as heavily armed as a cruiser, they will not undertake tasks a more expendable cruiser can undertake. A balanced carrier navy, unless it is certain it will only go to war accompanied by allies, will have at least two of these expensive ships, their expensive air groups, their escorts, and other ships for independent operations. Such a navy with CTOL carriers can overwhelm any non-carrier navy and most land-based air forces. STOL or STOVL carrier navies are superior to navies not so equipped. These are the advantages of carriers; the disadvantage is expense, an expense that cannot be reduced because vessels with a runway above a hangar or a runway before a hangar, as noted, must be large.
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