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Chinese Air-Cushion Landing Craft

Chinese Air-Cushion Landing Craft

Qi One of the most recent innovations in landing ships is the air-cushion landing craft. Hovercraft or Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC - deng l ting q din / Air cushion transport boat) type ships allow rapid movement of tanks and equipment from ships at sea to beaches and even further inland. Importantly, their design allows them to navigate environments where other amphibious ships (like landing tank ships) or amphibious tanks are unable to approach. These large hovercrafts further expanded the operational area of the amphibious assault ship and increased the transfer speed of landing materials from ship to shore.

As is well known, the air-cushion landing boat hovercraft is an amphibious landing transport tool that uses high-pressure air to form an air cushion between the bottom of the ship and the water surface (or the ground), so that the hull is fully or partially raised to reduce the resistance of the hull during navigation. The unique performance gives the air landing craft a higher speed and a unique amphibious landing capability. According to statistics, only 25% of the world's beaches suitable for landing operations are suitable for landing landing ships, and air-cushion landing crafts do not have such restrictions. Therefore, after its birth, it gradually became a new type of amphibious combat transportation tool developed by various military powers.

Air-cushion landing craft (also known as hovercraft) uses high-pressure air at the bottom of the ship and the surface of the water. An amphibious landing transport tool that forms an air cushion between the ground and the hull, so that the hull is fully or partially raised to reduce the resistance of the hull during navigation. Its unique performance gives the air landing craft a higher speed and a unique amphibious landing capability. According to statistics, only 25% of the world's beaches suitable for landing operations are suitable for landing landing ships, and air-cushion landing crafts do not have such restrictions. Therefore, after its birth, it gradually became a new type of amphibious combat transportation tool developed by various military powers.

The air-cushion landing craft is a landing combat boat that transports the landing troops and their weapons and equipment to land directly on the shore. In the land-to-shore landing, the landing soldiers, vehicles, tanks and materials can be directly landed; or in the land-to-shore landing, as a transfer tool.

A hovercraft is a vessel that uses a high-powered wind turbine on the ship to generate air above the atmospheric pressure and into the bottom of the ship, forming an air cushion with the surface of the water or the ground, and hoisting all or most of the hull away from the surface of the water at high speed. The hovercraft is divided into a full-lift hovercraft and a side-mounted hovercraft according to the state of navigation.

Full-padded hovercraft is also known as a full-floating hovercraft. There is a flexible apron made of nylon rubber cloth around the ship. The lift fan of the door is used to fill the bottom of the ship to form an air cushion, so that the hull is fully floated on the "air cushion". The propulsion power of a full-pad-lift hovercraft is an air propeller or a jet propeller. This hovercraft not only has a speed of 50 to 70 knots, but also has good amphibiousness, can overcome obstacles and complex terrain, and its magnetic field, water pressure field and sound field are very small, and its anti-explosion performance is also good, so it is carried. It is an ideal tool for landing soldiers and anti-mines. However, when sailing in heavy winds and waves, the stall is large and it is easy to produce side drift. Currently used only in the military to manufacture small ships, such as landing craft, minesweeping boats, missile boats, patrol boats, etc.

Due to the good passability of the full-cushion hovercraft, due to the tidal, water depth, lightning barrier, anti-landing obstacles and the near-shore seabed slope and sedimentation restrictions, it can be used for landing operations on more than 70% of the world's coasts. Landing craft can only land on 17% of the world's coastline. In addition, the landing hovercraft can still sail at a speed of 30-40 knots or higher in the case of combat loading, which greatly shortens the time for the landing troops to be exposed to the enemy's firepower, speeds up the landing speed, and improves the landing and the safety of the troops.

In 1959, the United Kingdom made the world's first full-lift hovercraft SRN1. It sailed from Calais, France, and successfully crossed the English Channel in 2 hours and 5 minutes. The emergence of hovercraft sensationalized the world.

The US Navy's new full-lift-type air-cushion landing craft LCAC air cushion landing craft is the most typical. This type of boat was developed by NASA on the basis of the JEFF test boat. It is mainly used on American amphibious warships to transport tanks, vehicles and Marines to carry out landing operations. The LCAC air cushion landing craft has a standard displacement of 87.2 tons, a length of 26.8 meters and a width of 14.32 meters. It is welded with aluminum alloy and the apron is covered with a skirt. The power system adopts four TF-40B gas turbines, two of which are driven by one four-blade pitch air propeller, and two of the two are driven by two double-intake centrifugal pad lift fans. The maximum speed of the boat is 50 knots. 5 people. The boat can carry 24 Marines and 60 to 75 tons of supplies or 1 MIAI main battle tank or 4 light armored vehicles.

The American LCAC air-cushion landing craft began construction in 1982 and was delivered in 1984. The US Navy purchased 91 ships and delivered 89 ships in 1997. This type of boat has been collaboratively tested with various landing ships. It can rely on its own power and control to enter and exit various landing ships. In the Gulf War, LCAC boats participated in the war and participated in a large-scale exercise called "Lightning Strike Near" as an amphibious incitement. Later, he participated in the conflicts in Somalia, Haiti and the disaster relief in Bangladesh. The use was very successful, and Japan also purchased two ships.

For example, air-cushion landing craft built by the Soviet Leningrad Shipyard in the early 1970s was mainly used to carry Marine Corps soldiers, tanks and other landing equipment to carry out landing operations. The Soviet Union s achievements in ptero-effect machines (a type of vehicle between ships and aircraft) also provided new ideas for future amphibious landing operations. In the United States in the 1970s, the Soviet Union had an air-cushion landing craft. Its speed was 90-130 km/h, and the landing personnel and vehicles were free from the process of crossing the water. It was a unique amphibious and transitive high-speed landing vehicle.

With the PLA Navy Marine Corps undergoing rapid expansion, there is a need for commensurate number of ship-to-shore connectors. However, Chinas experience in developing successful hovercraft has been anything but easy. In the 1950s, relevant units in China began to explore hovercraft technology. Work began on small passenger hovercraft in the 1960s with the first trials in 1971. These first hovercraft were limited to river journeys on the Yangtze River.

  1. The 716-type air-cushion landing craft was launched in the early 1980s, and only one vessel was built, mainly for testing. In the late 1960s, in order to meet the needs of transportation between coastal islands, the Logistics Department of the People's Liberation Army commissioned the 708 Institute to design a Type 716 hovercraft, which was built in 1978 by Hudong Shipyard. The Type 716 air cushion landing craft was the first type of military hovercraft developed by China. The main engine is a 12L413FC air-cooled diesel engine . The boat is 17.94 meters long, 8.3 meters wide and 4.55 meters high. It has a full displacement of 18.6 tons and a speed of 40 knots. It can carry 32 fully armed soldiers.

  2. The 722 (Dayu class) air cushion landing craft was launched in 1979 and only one vessel was built, mainly for testing. Development of an ocean capable craft, the 50-70 ton Type 722 began in the late 1970s, with long-distance tests in the Bohai Gulf in 1980. Difficulties with power plants and other aspects of the technology, however, limited the capabilities of these hovercraft. The boat is equipped with two 1530 hp aviation piston engines for the lift engine; two 1850 hp aviation piston engines for the propulsion engine. The boat is 27.2 meters long, 13.8 meters wide and 9.6 meters high. It has a full displacement of 68 tons, a speed of 50 knots, and a maximum range of 165 nautical miles. It can carry 15 tons of materials such as a reinforcement company or 2 Jiefang trucks. The self-defense weapon is a two-seat 14.5 mm double-barrel machine gun.

  3. Type 721 transport boat is 42 meters long, 8.8 meters wide and 2.14 meters high. It has a full displacement of 140 tons, a speed of 33 knots and a maximum range of 300 nautical miles. It can carry 70 people and 2 tons of materials.

  4. Type 724 air-cushion landing craft is 12.4 meters long, 4.7 meters wide and 3.7 meters high. The full-load displacement is 6.35 tons. The main engine is two BF12L913C engines. The speed is 40 knots and the maximum range is 100 nautical miles. It can carry 10 fully armed soldiers. For many years the Model 724 was the only Chinese-made air-cushion landing craft (LCAC) in the PLA Navy operational service. About 20-30 ships were deployed by the PLA Navy amphibious fleet for the transportation of people and cargo between large landing ships and beachheads. Each 072-2 (Yuting class) large landing ship can carry two Type 724 landing craft and enter/depart from the docking bay directly through the stern door of the landing ship.

Purchases and license-production deals have been more successful. The Type 726 (Yuyi class) LCACs have been purchased from Ukraine (the primary shipyard responsible for them at Feodosia in Crimea is now under Russian control). China continued to attempt to indigenize the design, manufacturing more at its own shipyards and adopting engine domestic engine technology for later variants. China also has purchased two of the 550+ton Ukrainian Zubr LCAC and produced two more under license. More appeared to be under construction.

China has built seven Type 071 (Yuzhao) amphibious assault ships each of which can accommodate four Type 726 LCACs. A total of at leasat 8 of these ships are anticipated. The 250-meter long Type 075 LHD built in Shanghai is likely capable of transporting at least two of the Type 726 LCACs, and at least three or four of these ships are anticipated. Open source analysts observing building programs at Chinas major shipyards via commercial satellite imagery have noted more Type 726As under construction.

China is rapidly expanding its amphibious and expeditionary power projection capabilities. Given defense priorities such as contested islands in the South and East China Seas and Taiwan, developing fast ship-to-shore connectors to move troops and material into a beachhead will remain a major construction priority for Chinese shipbuilders for the foreseeable future.

PLAN LCAC




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Page last modified: 09-10-2019 10:22:01 ZULU