China’s Guangzhou's Wenchong shipyard has handed over first mobile landing platform (MLP), known as vessel 868, to the PLA Navy on Friday.
Vessel 868 is similar to its American MPL counterpart. The MLP is developed specifically to carry the PLA Navy's Zubr-class air-cushioned landing craft in future amphibious operations, Chinese news outlet Duowei News reported on Friday.
MLP was launched on February 27 with a displacement of 3,200 tonnes, and completed its sea trial a month later. If joined with other MLPs, the vessel will enhance China's force projection capabilities.
In the case of military conflict over the disputed South China Sea, the PLA would be likely to launch amphibious landings with MLPs against the islands and reefs, which are now under the control of Vietnam and the Philippines.
The mobile landing platform is "half-submarine and half-boat" as it has a semi-submersible deck for ease of transferring cargo and equipment. The ship is built for transporting heavy weaponry and combat supplies. Further, it can act as a transfer point between large ships and small landing craft. It also can conduct large-scale landing operations in a potential conflict with Taiwan.
MLPs have received media attention after the US Navy released footage of its first Montford Point-class MLP, built by General Dynamics.