Saturday, October 2, 2010

More detailed look at Chinese "LCAC"

Before, we starting looking at the Chinese version of LCAC, I have a couple of pictures showing the new amphibious ship under construction in HuDong shipyard. They have finally assembled all the modules together so that we can see the hull of the ship as a whole sitting in the dry dock. It broadly takes the hull shape of Type 071's lead ship 998. A bunch of fanboys have tried to point out minor differences here and there, but I don't want to really conclude anything before it really takes shape. For LPD, China seemed to have taken the typical path of building one lead ship, learn how to use it, sort out the problems and then mass producing later. We seemed to have moved onto the mass production phase now with this second unit.

Speaking of mass production, the 5th 054A of HD shipyard has been uncovered and is shown below. For those counting, we have basically 6 054A in service. We have 2 054A launched at HP shipyard. One of which already had number painted, but returned for some reason. We also have another 054A launched at HD shipyard that's getting the electronics installed right now. At this point, I don't know if they will build any more pairs of 054As after this 5th pair.

And finally, a more close look at the Chinese LCAC. Once in a while, we actually get a detailed description of a new PLAN asset. Although I can't be sure this is 100% accurate, it's still a good source to look at.
In the first picture, we see a nice diagram with description of each part. We can see that the steering cabin (or bridge? Not sure what I should be calling it) is on the right side of the picture and the left side if we are on the craft looking forward. On the American LCAC, it's on the other side. Following that, we see 1 large engine cabin on each side with a smokestack pointing out. After that, we see 2 lift fans on both side. And finally, we see the large propellers. The deck of the Chinese LCAC is 28.8m long, 50% longer than American counterpart and can carry 2 light armored combat vehicles.

This one really does a nice comparison. It states that the Chinese LCAC has much inferior maneuverability compared to the American LCAC. Then, it describes in what ways the American LCAC can move and shift that the Chinese one just can't. I think the author is attributing this to American one having 2-shrouded reversible pitch airscrews.

The specs themselves are more interesting. According to the table, the Chinese one is 33 m in length vs 26.8. It is 16.8 m wide vs 13.3 m. The deck is 28.8 m vs 20.4 m in length but 7.2 m vs 8.24 m in width. It makes sense since the Chinese propeller and engine cabin take more space. Front ramp is 7.5 m vs 8.65 m and the rear ramp is 4.9 m vs 4.5 m. The Chinese LCAC has a payload of 60 ton and displacement of 170 ton vs 68 ton and 165 ton for the American one. They both have maximum speed of about 40 knots and range of 200 nm. Chinese one is powered by 2 QC-70 engines (7000 kw each) and American one is powered by 4 TF-40B (3400 kw each).

No comments: