Maiden voyage of China’s first amphibious assault ship coming soon: report

By Liu Xuanzun Source: Global Times Published: 2020/7/14 20:24:33

China held a launch ceremony for its first Type 075 amphibious assault ship in Shanghai on September 25, 2019. Photo:

The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy 's first Type 075 amphibious assault ship, which is believed to be built to play a vital role in island seizing operations, is expected to soon make its maiden voyage, as outfitting work is progressing smoothly, media reported on Tuesday, at a time when Taiwan island is holding its annual Han Kuang exercises.

Having caught a minor fire in April, the under-construction Chinese warship did not suffer any major damage, which showed the ship's superior damage control mechanism over the USS Bonhomme Richard. The latter caught a major fire on Sunday, which analysts said may render the US warship beyond repair.

Latest photos circulated on Chinese mainland social media show that the construction of the first Type 075 amphibious assault ship, which was launched in September 2019 in Shanghai and started outfitting work since then, is nearly completed, as the scaffolds on the ship's superstructure have been removed, Singaporean news outlet Lianhe Zaobao reported on Tuesday.

It recently underwent cleaning, indicating that its first sea trial could be coming soon, the report said.

The report added that the Type 075's recent construction progress is happening at a time of Taiwan island's Han Kuang exercises, which started on Monday. Citing experts, it said that the Type 075 can be used in a reunification-by-force operation by the PLA, and the amphibious warship's progress can serve as a warning to Taiwan secessionists and recent US arms sales to the island.

Judging from the photos, the construction of the Type 075 is progressing according to the normal pattern of shipbuilding. So it is not likely related to the ongoing Han Kuang exercises. But from a wider perspective, the ship will be a powerful addition to the PLA's arsenal if Taiwan is to be reunified by force, a Beijing-based military expert told the Global Times on Tuesday on the condition of anonymity.

This type of vessel can also be used to safeguard territorial integrity and sovereignty in the South China Sea, the expert said.

A second Type 075 was launched in Shanghai in April.

Also in April, the first Type 075 caught on fire in a minor accident. But well-informed sources told the Global Times then that it was not significant and would not have any major impact on further construction.  

Compared to China's Type 075, the USS Bonhomme Richard, an amphibious assault ship that was undergoing renovation at a port in San Diego, California, was not as fortunate. A devastating fire broke out on the ship on Sunday, which has not been extinguished after nearly two days.

The US warship might end up beyond repair, news website Business Insider reported, citing US military experts.

Accidents are normal, and sometimes inevitable in ship construction, but damage control mechanisms should be applied to contain any major impact, the Chinese expert said, noting that China's shipbuilding industry pays heavy attention to production safety.

Posted in: MILITARY

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