China is reportedly planning to build an amphibious assault ship – a new type of warship, reports said on Friday citing documents. The ship will be powered with an electromagnetic aircraft catapult and an arresting gear, as per reports.
The documents that were published on July 19 dubbed the project as "Project XX6." According to experts on the People's Liberation Army, the project appeared to be a modification of Beijing's largest amphibious assault ship called the Type 075 landing helicopter dock, Financial Times reported. The vessel will reportedly be modified to load combat drones, launch fighter jets, and transport helicopters and amphibious assault troops, the report added.
The new amphibious assault ship will have an electromagnetic launch system (EMALS) to launch fixed-wing aircraft and related arresting wires for landing, according to Sputnik News. Currently, there is no warship that reportedly has this configuration.
China to Build Amphibious Assault Ship
At present, China has two Type 075 amphibious assault ships. Beijing's plans to build a modified version of these ships shoW that the country's Marine Corps is likely to resemble the US Marine Corps, Lin Ying-yu, a PLA expert at National Chung Cheng University in Taiwan, told Financial Times.
"It indicates they would become an independent fighting force and have their own close air support," he reportedly said about the role of combat drones. Beijing's fleet carriers – the Type 002-class ships are also under construction. They also have EMALS that are used on the US Navy's Ford-class carriers, according to reports.
Jinping Called PLA to Strengthen Drone Warfare
The development comes at a time when Chinese President Xi Jinping called PLA Air Force to strengthen drone warfare. "Drones are profoundly changing war scenarios. It is necessary to strengthen drone combat research, education, and training, and accelerate the training of drone pilots and commanders," Xi mentioned on Friday.
Meanwhile, Nand Mulchandani, the Acting Director of the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, said China and Russia are jointly developing autonomous drones that could attack without any human involvement or approval from any government body.
"We know that China and Russia are developing and exporting AI-enabled surveillance technologies and autonomous combat systems without providing any evidence of adequate technical or ethical safeguards and policies," Mulchandani said.