PLA Chinese Marine Corps holds amphibious landing drills with world largest hovercraft

The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy Marine Corps recently conducted a series of round-the-clock joint amphibious landing drills with Navy surface vessels and the world's largest hovercraft, a Zubr-class air-cushioned landing craft, enhancing and displaying the PLA Navy's amphibious landing capabilities. Liu Xuanzun reports in Global Times.
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In 2009, China placed an order for four Zubr-class air-cushioned landing craft from Ukraine as part of a deal worth 315 million USD (Picture source: PLAN)

A brigade affiliated with the Marine Corps collaborated with the PLA Navy's surface vessels in recent training courses and drills on loading and offloading amphibious vehicles from landing ships at sea, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on March 27. The Type 05 series amphibious vehicles and the Huadingshan, Type 072A amphibious landing ship with hull number 992, took part in the drills, CCTV reported.

At the same time, a Zubr-class air-cushioned landing craft carrying marine troops rushed from the sea toward its designated area on a beach, CCTV reported. The Zubr-class air-cushioned landing craft is the largest hovercraft in the world, capable of delivering 360 troops or three battle tanks onto beaches at speeds of up to 60 knots, according to media reports. In 2009, China placed an order for four vessels from Ukraine as part of a deal worth 315 million USD. Ukraine has successfully performed its part of the contract for the construction of the first two ships at the facilities of FSK More in Feodosia and has already handed them over to the customer. Two more vessels were built in China with the participation of Ukrainian specialists. This class of military hovercraft is the world’s largest, with a standard full load displacement of 555 tons. In Ukraine, this craft is named «Bison».

In addition to the equipment featured in the recent drills, China has also developed main amphibious combat hardware like the Type 726 air-cushioned landing craft, the Type 071 amphibious landing ship, the Type 075 amphibious assault ship and vessel-based helicopters for those crafts.

The Type 726 LCAC (Yuyi class) is a class of air-cushioned landing craft used by the People's Liberation Army Navy. Six Yuyi-class LCACs are believed to be in service with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), with the first one (3320) being seen at the end of 2007. It is thought that the vessels were delivered in two batches, with the first three LCACs reportedly powered by Ukrainian UGT 6000 engines, while the remaining three are believed to use the indigenous QC-70 gas turbines. Up to four Yuyi-class LCACs can be carried in the well deck of the 210 m-long Yuzhao-class landing platform dock (LPD). The Type 726 LCAC is larger in size than the US LCACs in service but smaller than the Zubr-class LCAC.

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Type 726 Landing Craft Air Cushion 3325 (Picture source: Chinamil)


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