Media speculate on China's possible next generation amphibious assault ship Type 076
By Liu Xuanzun Source: Global Times Published: 2020/7/24 1:08:35
A set of procurement request notices released by China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) 708 Institute recently stirred wild speculations among foreign and Chinese media and military enthusiasts about a new type of Chinese amphibious assault ship dubbed Type 076, which is purported to feature electromagnetic catapults, fixed wing aircraft and integrated electric propulsion system.
Citing procurement request notices originally posted on the Chinese military's weapon and equipment procurement website weain.mil.cn over the past few months, Forbes reported on Thursday that the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy is likely building a new type of amphibious assault ship.
According to the notices, the in-development new warship will likely feature an electromagnetic aircraft launch system, which would allow it to carry fixed wing aircraft including fighter jets and drones that don't require short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) such as the US' F-35B fighter jet, reports said.
Forbes speculated that China could develop a fighter aircraft suitable for the ship, or use smaller, stealth-capable drones.
The Chinese military has not yet announced development of a new type of amphibious assault ship.
Chinese media, including Ordnance Industry Science Technology, a Xi'an-based magazine on the national defense industry, and Shanghai-based news portal guancha.cn, also covered the speculations about the Type 076 on Thursday.
Ordnance Industry Science Technology said the warship could be equipped with electromagnetic catapults to launch fixed wing aircraft. An integrated electric propulsion system was indicated in the procurement request notices which suggest the speculated Type 076 could provide enough power to support the catapults, it said.
China has developed stealth attack drones like the GJ-11, which made its debut at the 2019 National Day military parade, and the Type 076 could be equipped similar drones, the Chinese magazine said, noting that the Type 076 could become more like a medium-sized aircraft carrier while still maintaining amphibious landing capabilities.
Military analysts reached by the Global Times said the US has developed the F-35B fighter jet and is also selling many of them to Japan, making their amphibious assault ships and landing helicopter docks de facto aircraft carriers, which would bring huge threats to China's national defense.
China does not possess a STOVL fighter jet like the F-35B, but it has mastered technologies in electromagnetic launching systems, so it makes sense for China if it uses electronic catapults to launch aircraft from amphibious assault ships as an alternative to STOVL aircraft to defend itself from hostile F-35B-equipped warships, analysts said.
Like China's Type 075 amphibious assault ship, the Type 076, if it exists, could be deployed in island seizing operations in the South China Sea and the island of Taiwan, analysts said, noting that it could also be used to safeguard China's overseas interests, as China now has many citizens, investments, projects and strategic assets in countries around the world.
China has launched two Type 075s in Shanghai since 2019. They are expected to carry only helicopters and amphibious landing craft and vehicles, but no fixed wing aircraft.
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