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January 14, 2014

By hovercraft.org

Military Hovercraft

Military Hovercraft

Military Hovercraft – According to media reports China’s Navy received the first of two Ukrainian-built Zubr-class hovercraft ordered in 2009 in May 2013, from Feodosia Shipbuilding for $315 million.

The contract includes a technology transfer agreement for another two to be built in China. The 500-ton Zubr is the biggest hovercraft ever built, and can transport three medium tanks or 10 armored personnel carriers or a landing force of 500 troops.

Patrol Hovercraft

Military Hovercraft

If China adopts the normal armament, the craft will be outfitted with two 30mm gun mounts of AK-630 type and two launchers for 140mm unguided rocket shells. However, China is more likely to fit the Zubr with locally developed weapon systems. Unlike the smaller Chinese-built 150-ton Yuyi-class (Type 722) hovercraft, four of which can fit in the well deck of the Yuzhao-class (Type 071) landing platform dock, the Zubr craft are far too big for a ship. China has a total of three confirmed, and one possible build in progress, of the Yuzhao. Assuming there are four in total, that would bring the number of expected Yuyi hovercraft to 16.

The Chinese military can more quickly execute a smash-and-grab campaign for disputed islands, including the Sakashima Islands, which are part of the Ryukyu chain, greatly decreasing warning time. The Zubr could deliver a sizable force of several hundred marines to any number of locations.

According to an editorial published in July by the Chinese-language Wen Wei Po newspaper, China will retake the Diaoyu Islands along with the Ryukyu island chain from Japan in the East China Sea and seize the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea within the next 30 to 40 years,

“Six Wars China is Sure to Fight in the Next 50 Years” suggests China will fight a war with Vietnam over the South China Sea, place troops on the Spratly Islands and build ports, and intimidate others who “dare to challenge Chinese domination.”

The war over territories in the East China Sea would be more difficult against Japan’s advanced military, but “payback” is necessary for what the editorial calls Japan’s illegal occupation of the islands. The result of China’s victory would turn the East China Sea into an “inner lake of China,” according to the editorial.

Analysts are paying attention to China’s procurement of hovercraft with special interest.

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