Chinese Type-075 LHD starts sea trials
As reported in ADBR on July 29, the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLA-N) has commenced sea trials of its first Type 075 landing helicopter dock (LHD) vessel.
Broadly similar to the US Navy’s Wasp class, the 40,000 tonne Type 075 has also been referred to as an Amphibious Assault Carrier in some reports, and has been built at a remarkable pace.
Reports indicate it is the first of up to four vessels currently nearing completion or in construction. Intelligence imagery shows a second vessel that was launched in April 2020, and that one and possibly two more are in various stages of build in Shanghai.
South Korea unveils F-35B carrier design
South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense has unveiled plans for a new light aircraft carrier as part of the country’s defence spending plans for the next five years. A rendering of the ship – dubbed LPX-II – released by the ministry on August 10 shows a flattop design larger than the Dokdo-class Landing Platform, Helicopter (LPH) ships currently operated by the Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN).
The rendering shows that the ship will have two side-mounted aircraft elevators at the stern of the ship, with a total of nine landing spots for helicopters or aircraft.
It was reported in 2019 that Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) will be building the ship, which is expected to displace 30,000 tons. South Korea had recently decided to acquire the Short Take-Off Vertical Landing (STOVL) F-35B variant of the JSF for its second tranche of jets, instead of more Conventional Take Off and Landing (CTOL) F-35As to add to the 40 currently being delivered.
B-2 bombers conduct training over Australia during global deployment
Three USAF Northrop Grumman B-2A Spirit stealth bombers have conducted a training exercise over northern Australia, as part of a much longer non-stop global strike deployment from their base at Whiteman AFB in Missouri to the Indian Ocean island base on Diego Garcia.
The bombers – using the callsigns REAPER 11-13 – took off on the afternoon on August 11 Australian time, and were refuelled in mid-air by several USAF tankers for the mission including four KC-135s currently operating out of RAAF Base Darwin.
The tankers took off Wednesday morning for their leg of the mission, underscoring the amount of logistics effort required to support such a mission, and rendezvoused with and dragged the three bombers across the top of the Northern Territory into the Timor Sea.
Chinese fighter jets cross median line with Taiwan
Taiwan has alleged that Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLA-AF) fighter jets have crossed the unofficial boundary between the two, prompting the self-governing island to scramble fighters and put its air defence systems on alert.
The Taiwanese air force said PLA-AF J-10 and J-11 fighter jets crossed the median line running down the Taiwan Strait on Monday morning. The median line serves as the unofficial airspace and maritime boundary between China and Taiwan, and the incident comes as US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar visiting Taiwan, prompting protests from China’s government.
China views Taiwan, whose current political setup was formed when Nationalist forces fled to the island in 1949 following defeat by Communist forces during China’s civil war, as a renegade province and has vowed to retake it by force if necessary.