China may have plans to develop tilt-rotor aircraft for its Type 075 amphibious assault ships, the second of which is scheduled to be launched soon.
Having vertical-landing and take-off ability a helicopter with the speed of a turboprop aircraft, a tilt-rotor plane may aid in the “reunification” of Taiwan with the mainland China, Global Times reported quoting China-based experts.
While not much is known about tilt-rotor aircraft development in China, its mention in a state-owned publication, the Ordnance Industry Science Technology referred to by Global Times leads credence to the possible existence of such a project.
The United States is the only nation having operational tilt-rotor aircraft, the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey used by the Marines. China is known to follow the US’s lead in defence technology and has been accused of copycat products such as the J-20 stealth jet (US F-22) and Wing Loong Drones (US MQ-9 Predator).
First two Type 075 vessels will be launched this September with the second ship already in an advanced stage of construction. “China is reportedly set to launch its second Type 075 amphibious assault ship soon following the launch of the first one in September,” analysts reportedly said.
The aviation combat equipment to be used on the amphibious assault ships is seeing smooth progress. The Navy already hasthe naval versions of Z-8 and Z-9 helicopters and mass production for the naval version of the Z-20 is also expected to start in a few years, the publication said.
China has an urgent need for amphibious assault ships to prepare for military struggles, including achieving China's reunification, because the current Type 071 amphibious landing docks and other tank landing ships lack vertical delivery capability and are not enough to transport large forces in a short period, so the Type 075 could be the most important item to make up for this shortcoming, the report said.
China is preparing for years for "eventual unification" with Taiwan by overrunning the Island by military force. It expects the Type 075 to play a vital role in carring troops and weapons for an initial attack wave to the island state.
Taiwan on its is conducting exercises to repel such an attack mainly by the use of American weapons