The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy’s first Type 075 Yushen-class amphibious assault ship Hainan recently conducted helicopter takeoff and landing training.
The ship has a two-digit number 31 on its hull, indicating its likely role as a small aircraft carrier.
Several 13 ton-class Z-8 transport helicopters could be seen landing on the large, straight flight deck of the newly commissioned warship, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Tuesday.
Hainan has been conducting advanced ship-aircraft integration training since its commissioning on April 23. The drills were the first time that the ship’s interior was revealed, including the dock used to carry landing craft air-cushioned and landing craft utility, the vehicle hangar used to store tanks and amphibious armored vehicles, the helicopter hangar used to host helicopters, the flight deck at the top, and the elevators that connect them.
The warship could host ship-borne variants of the 10 ton-class Z-20 utility helicopter and armed reconnaissance helicopter drones in the future, Shi Hong, executive chief editor of the Chinese magazine Shipborne Weapons, told the Global Times.
Besides the amphibious combat capabilities, the Hainan is also equipped with missiles, guns and electronic warfare systems, which give it a strong defense capability.