Analysis: China Naval power & the role of Type 075 amphibious assault ship

China's naval forces are the largest in East Asia and continue to expand rapidly. It is projected that China will have a battle force of 400 ships by 2025 and 440 ships by 2030. These efforts are aimed at achieving regional dominance and establishing China as a major world power.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Chinese PLA Navy's Type 075 amphibious assault ship. (Picture source: CCTV)

The People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) intends to continue developing its expeditionary warfare capabilities with its investment in amphibious vessels.

The Yushen-class/Type 075 amphibious ships will be the backbone of the future amphibious fleet and provide the PLAN with an all-aspect expeditionary capability, carrying a large number of landing craft, troops, armored vehicles, and helicopters.

The vessels are estimated to have a displacement of 30,000 to 40,000 tons and are smaller than the U.S. Navy's Wasp- and America-class amphibious but still one of the largest in the world.

The Type 075 measures an estimated 237 meters in length and features a full-length flight deck for helicopter operations, which in time could also serve as a platform for short-takeoff and vertical-landing aircraft. The vessel will reportedly be able to carry 900 troops.

A future Type 076 vessel could be equipped with electromagnetic catapults, enhancing its ability to support fixed-wing aircraft and making it more like an aircraft carrier.

The Yushen-class/Type 075 and Type 071 will offer the PLAN greater capacity, endurance, and flexibility for long-range operations relative to legacy landing ships. Additionally, they can carry several types of helicopters, as well as tanks, armored vehicles, and marines for long-distance deployments.

These amphibious vessels could be used for asserting and defending China's claims in the South and East China Seas, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, maritime security operations, and noncombatant evacuation operations. They could also be used for "naval diplomacy," such as port calls and engagement activities.

However, the vessels would also be of value for conducting amphibious landing operations in Taiwan, a self-governing territory that Beijing considers part of China and desires to bring back under its control.