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PLA Navy buoyed by 3 new landing ships and wave of upgrades

By Zhao Lei (China Daily) Updated: 2016-03-10 08:07

The People's Liberation Army Navy has commissioned three new landing ships with designs it said will improve amphibious capabilities.

The three vessels, CNS Wuyishan, CNS Culaishan and CNS Wutaishan, were delivered to the East Sea Fleet at an unidentified naval port on Monday, the Navy said in a news release.

It said the ships have a displacement of 5,008 metric tons and a maximum speed of 20 knots (37 km/h). Compared with predecessors, the new design has a lower radar signature, which makes it harder to detect it at sea, and a streamlined design that helps speed up the loading of amphibious vehicles.

The ships are armed with close-in weapons systems capable of hitting mid- and short-range targets, and include a flight pad that can accommodate a helicopter.

The ships will strengthen the Navy's capabilities in joint landing operations and transportation, the news release said.

According to IHS Jane's Navy International, the new-type vessel is able to transport 10 armored vehicles and 250 fully armed troops, which means that three ships can ferry roughly an entire amphibious assault battalion.

This is the first time the PLA has received three ships in a single day, even at a time of unprecedented upgrades since 2012. At least 100 new ships and submarines have joined the Navy since then, including an aircraft carrier, three Type-052D guided missile destroyers that have cutting-edge air defense abilities, 13 Type-054A large multi-role frigates and four Type-903A supply ships. In February, the Navy commissioned the CNS Xiangtan, a Type-054A frigate, the CNS Tongren, a Type-056A corvette and the CNS Yimengshan, a Type-071 amphibious transport dock.

However, much of the Navy's new equipment is still not as good as that of their counterparts in the United States Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, according to a PLA officer who wished not to be named.

"There are a great number of things that we need to catch up on - for instance, the technological level of ships and submarines as well as our crew's skills and experience," he said.

zhaolei@chinadaily.com.cn

 PLA Navy buoyed by 3 new landing ships and wave of upgrades

Three vessels, CNS Wuyishan, CNS Culaishan and CNS Wutaishan, are delivered to the East Sea Fleet at an unidentified naval port on Monday. Zhou Pengcheng / China News Service

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