China’s signature Hainan amphibious assault vessel has enhanced Beijing’s deterrence and logistics capabilities in the disputed South China Sea region a year after it was commissioned, analysts said.
However, this new combat system tested the Chinese navy’s thinking and its ability to integrate different types of vessels into a unifying framework, they added.
The Hainan is China’s first and largest Type 075-class amphibious assault ship and is the second-largest vessel type in the Chinese navy after the two aircraft carriers. Commissioned into service in late April last year, it reached initial operating capability in early March, Chinese state media reported, quoting the ship’s captain.
The Type 075 provides the People’s Liberation Army with new options for a range of missions both near China and further from its shores. In particular, the ship is useful for small island assault combat operations as well as non-war missions, including humanitarian aid, disaster relief and the evacuation of Chinese nationals.