China’s First Helicopter Carrier Type 075 Nearing Completion

At the China State Shipbuilding Corporation’s Hudong-Zhonghua shipyard on Shanghai’s Huangpu River, a giant is taking shape: the Type 075 landing helicopter dock (LHD) is nearing completion.

Chinas First Helicopter Carrier Type 075 Nearing Completion 925 002 China’s first Type 075 amphibious helicopter assault ship (Picture source: Chinese Internet)

New photos on social media show the ship’s flight deck has been installed as well as its command island, giving it the definitive silhouette of an aircraft carrier for the first time. However, this 32,000-ton vessel will carry helicopters and amphibious landing craft, not fixed-wing J-15s or FC-31s like its bigger cousin, the Type 001A.

The Type 075 landing helicopter dock (LHD) will be the People's Liberation Army Navy's (PLAN) most powerful amphibious assault ship and will usher in a new era of capabilities for the PLAN. Some think it will displace around 40,000 tons, nearly equaling the displacement of America's own Wasp-class LHD, while others put it a bit lower, between 30,000 and 35,000 tons. Either way, this is an impressive warship that outsizes the vast majority of its international counterparts. These ships—three of which are on order—will become the centrepiece of China's increasingly concerning amphibious force. It also has a hangar for holding up to 28 helicopters that can land at six points on its deck.

The first Type 075 looks remarkably complete in recent photos of it being constructed in Shanghai’s Hudong Zhonghua shipyards. I would imagine that it would be ready to be launched by early next year. When that happens, it will be yet another wakeup call for many that China is rapidly expanding the quantity and quality of its maritime capabilities. The fact that they are investing so heavily into amphibious capabilities, in particular, ones that have bluewater reach no less, is an indication not just of China's territorial ambitions, but also of its global ones, as well.

Chinas First Helicopter Carrier Type 075 Nearing Completion 925 001
China’s first Type 075 amphibious helicopter assault ship suggests the vessel may be completed in the next few months (Picture Source: Mike Yeo)

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