2016 Report on the State of the PLAN

Note: For all photos in the report, refer to This Flickr Album for high resolution images of teach.


Type 072A LST:
The Chinese have continued production fot their Type 072A LST vessels. These are bow ramped vessels meant to pull up to the shore and disembark troops and armored vehicles.

The vessels, while having to proceed right to the shore, are nonetheless very capable LSTs, among the most capable and modern remaining LST vessels available.

Two new Type 072A landing ships were launched and commissioned in 2015.

Zubr Large Air Cushoned Landing Craft:
The Chinese purchased two of these large landing craft (the largest air cusioned landing craft in the world) from the Ukraine, which were built in the Ukraine and ferried to China on large, semi-submersible tranposrt vessels. But the PLAN also purchased the right to manufacture them in China.

Now they have done so.

Two new vessels have been procuded at Chinese yards, launched and commissioned in 2015. It is unclear at this point if, and how many of the vessels the Chinese may build.

These vessels have a crew of 30, displace 550 tons and can carry over 150 tons consisting of three main battle tanks, or ten armoured vehicles with 140 troops, or 8 armoured personnel carriers or 8 amphibious tanks and up to 500 troops. By comparison the US Navy LCAC vessels have a crew of five, displace 180 tons, and carry up to 75 tons of men and equipment, meaning one main battle tank, or two IFV and a few troops, or up to 180 troops. Of course the US LCAC were designed to fit into the well deck of US Navy amphibious assault vessels and the Zubr is designed to make its way across the sea on its own.

With their reclamation activities in the South China Sea, where they have created seven large bases from what used to be shoals, and with continued reclamation efforts in the Parcel Islands, these vessels make ideal patrol, security, and reinformcement vessels for those holdings.

As stated, two new Zubrs were commissioned in 2015. This makes four altogether. It is not known if the PLAN will build more.

Type 071 LPD Amphibious Assault vessel:
In 2015 the PLAN commissioned its fourth Type 071 LPD. Production had halted at three vessels for some years, but the line was reopened and the fourth vessel launched, and has now been commissioned. These vessels are similar in size and function to the US Navy San Antonio class LPD.

These large vessels displace upwards of 25,000 tons, and have a large well deck capable of carrying up to four of the PLAN's own normal sized LCACs.

Two more vessels are on order and the fifth has started building. It is expected that the PLAN will build a total of six or more of these vessels.

These vessels, in conjunctin with the current LPDs that the PLAN has also built and deployed, along with its LST fleet, could be used to form effective Amphibious Ready Groups for the Chinese.

Go to 3. Naval Air Developments of the 2016 PLAN Report


Other links of Interest:

World-Wide Aircraft Carriers
AEGIS & AEGIS-Like Vessels of the World
The US Navy in the 21st Century