Marines: March 20, 2004

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US government officials report the construction of the lead ship of  the first class of Chinese LSD's (Landing Ship Dock, or large amphibious ship) is well along at Shanghai. They say some of the first reports about this class made by laymen, seeing the flight deck structure aft, described it as an aircraft carrier. The ship is very nice looking, and heavily armed, with the Chinese version of Crotale SAM forward, and three Gatling gun mountings on each side for defense against anti-ship missiles. On the starboard side is a single LCVP (a small landing craft) high up, and 4 small air cushion landing craft of a new type, nested into the side. Likely there is a similar arrangement to port. The flight deck has spots for two Chinese copies of the Super Frelon helicopter, known locally as the Z-8. There is an ample hanger to maintain these aircraft. The ship is in the 16,000-20,000 ton size range, and probably can carry a mixed standard load of 120 motor vehicles, and 500-800 troops. It likely is designed to carry a complete Amphibious Mechanized Infantry Battalion of the new type. The well deck could carry two of the large Yuhai or Yuling class LCU, or two medium air cushion vehicles, either Jingsah II or a new model.

 


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