Sea Platforms

PLA trials 'training ship' with potential amphibious capabilities

10 December 2013
A front view of the PLA's new small multirole assault ship. Source: via FYJS website

The People's Liberation Army's (PLA's) ground forces recently began trials of a new small multirole support ship, which along with the PLA Navy's (PLAN's) testing of its new Zubr-class hovercraft, suggest the development of a growing capability to contest disputed islands in the East and South China Seas.

The PLA has long maintained a fleet of of medium-sized, flat-bottomed landing and assault ships to supplement the larger ships of the PLA Navy. The new ship, which resembles a smaller version of Russian's new 5,000-ton Project 11711 Ivan Gren assault ship, is designed for open-ocean transit. The designation for the estimated 2,000+ ton-displacement PLA ship has not been disclosed.

While Chinese sources indicate that the new ship's primary purpose is training, its design suggests it could support opposed landing and mine-laying missions: two roles that would be part of actions against islands and reefs in the East and South China Seas.

The ship features bow and stern ramps that allow for roll-on/roll-off operations. However, the front ramp may only allow for light vehicles and the bow will not allow for beach deployment. An aft flat deck is configured for helicopter or vertical unmanned aerial vehicle (VTUAV) operations, but there are no hangar facilities. It also has four turrets for twin 23 mm cannon.

China's PLA began trials in 2013 of a new small multirole assault ship. The stern ramp is visible in this image. (via FYJS website)China's PLA began trials in 2013 of a new small multirole assault ship. The stern ramp is visible in this image. (via FYJS website)

When images of the ship under construction by Dalian Songliao Shipyard first appeared in August 2013 many analysts thought it was a new export design. Later images showing PLA troops participating in a launching ceremony undermined this, as did a May 2011 article on the website of Dalian Songliao Shipyard noting the award of a contract in December 2010 for a new "comprehensive training ship" for the PLA.

While the PLAN's larger landing platform dock (LPD) or landing ship tank (LST) vessels could also perform combat or training support roles for PLA forces, this new smaller multirole ship for the PLA Army likely follows on from its large investment in special operations forces. Some units, such as the 155th Special Operations Brigade, have been 'mechanised' with new armed jeep and 8x8 wheeled all-terrain vehicles that would be ideal for this ship.

In terms of the Zubr-class (Project 1232.2 class, 'Pomornik') hovercraft, four craft have been acquired, two of which are being built in China. Images posted on Chinese military forums in early December indicate the first, delivered in April, could be undertaking trials.



(395 words)
By posting a comment you confirm that you have read and accept our Posting Rules and our Terms of Use of this site.

RELEVANT PROFILE LISTINGS

  • Bay class

    Fleetlist Comment: The size, manoeuvrability and other operational characteristics of these vessels are tailored for operations in harbours and other restricted waters and for fulfilling present and anticipated multimission requirements. All units are ice strengthened for operation on the Great

  • Coast guard patrol craft

    Fleetlist Comment: Built in 1957 at Montevideo. Overhauls are planned.

  • Container ship

    Fleetlist Comment: Owned and operated by Sealift, Inc. under charter to MSC. When fully loaded the ship can carry 916 20 ft containers of various aviation munitions intended to re-supply forward-deployed fighter and attack squadrons. The ship is fitted with an extensive cocoon system enabling it to

  • Container ships

    Fleetlist Comment: LTC John U D Page and SSGT Edward A Carter were first chartered by MSC in February and June 2001 respectively. Both operated by Maersk Lines Limited and are APS-3 ships for army prepositioning in the Indian Ocean.

  • Dassault HU-25 D Guardian Falcon.

    Operational speed: 420 kt (774 km/h). Service ceiling: 42,000 ft (12,800 m). Range: 1,500 n miles (2,777 km). Role/Weapon systems: Medium-range maritime surveillance role. The final three HU-25 D are to be withdrawn from service in 2014. Sensors: APS-127 weather/search radar (A variant).

ADVERTISEMENT

Industry Links

IHS Jane's is not responsible for the content within or linking from Industry Links pages.
ADVERTISEMENT