A host of Chinese landing crafts and assault vehicles were unable to breach the defenses and establish a beachhead on an island during a recent amphibious assault drill conducted in the South China Sea due to “effective measures” by the defending forces, Chinese Central Television (CCTV) lamented, according to defenseworld.net.
All hopes of victory were lost until the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) decided to send in its newest weapon, the Zubr-class air cushioned landing craft (LCAC), a move that (surprise! surprise!) ended up turning the tide and winning the day for the assault force.
“The CCTV report described the exercise as testing the PLAN’s ability to land an amphibious assault force in collaboration with other parts of the armed forces. Screen grabs from the report show what appears to be a PLA Type 99 main battle tank (MBT) emerging from the LCAC,” is IHS Janes 360′s sober assessment of the military drill.
Displacing 550 tons when fully loaded and measuring 57 meters (187 feet) long and 26 meters (84 feet) wide, the Soviet-designed hovercraft is the world’s largest. It can carry up to three main battle tanks, or ten armored personal carriers with 230 troops, or 375 fully equipped troops in its cargo compartment and land its deadly load on just about any landmass.
The Zubr-class LCAC can withstand small arms fire and shrapnel due to its light armor and also sports a formidable defense system that includes air defense missiles, 30mm cannons, and rocket launchers. The LCAS is specifically designed to circumvent magnetic influence mines and is equipped with electronic countermeasures to evade anti-ship missiles.