China LHD – DSA 2018 Shorts

The China made LHD model (right) with the LPD model from Istanbul Shipyard.

KUALA LUMPUR: China LHD. Its appears that I was misinformed about one of the MRSS models that was displayed at the RMN’s booth at DSA 2018. I posted earlier that it’s mini-Dokdo type LHD. I was told that’s its actually a model of a China made Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD). Its called an LHD as it has a well dock for amphibious operations just like the other two MRSS models

The China made LHD model (right) with the LPD model from Istanbul Shipyard.

Its not cheap I was told, though it will be cheaper compared European or South Korean designs.

The three MRSS designs. The models are not to scale.

It will still be more expensive than any LPD however as a helicopter carrier it needs an air-wing. That said it must be China made ones as well as it is unlikely any one else would sell us aircraft to operate on board a China made carrier.

A rear view of the China made LHD model.

Even though it’s a China made design it remains the high end MRSS type incorporating the features of similar ships as well

–Malaysian Defence

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13 Comments

  1. I very much doubt the RMN needs a design with so much deck space. It’s one thing if the MAF has an expeditionary or force projection role but it doesn’t. An argument can be made that for disaster relief a design with 4 landing spots will come in useful but in our case; areas affected by natural disasters will still be accessible by road – unlike in the Philippines or Indonesia. Given that Chinese yards have come a long way over the years; I wonder how the Chinese design compares to others with regards to DC standards; as well as shock/sound reduction.

  2. Maybe that’s the surprise the admiral was talking about. By the way isn’t the Damen still in the running? A bit sad that M’sia defence spending is an election issue. While I applaud spending on schools and hospitals first, a defence budget of 1.1 gdp is very very modest. M’sia must not spend less than that! Target should be around 1.5%. National defence is not an option and everyone needs to realise that, it’s not as if the government ignores the rakyat!

    Reply
    Damen is still in the mix as nothing has been finalised. But again funding or the lack of it is, is the main driver for the project. As for why defence has become an election issue it is because of what had happened in the past.

  3. The issue with small LHDs.

    As for now, there has been only 1 class of ship like this that is in service, the italian San Giusto class for italy, algeria and 1 more ordered for qatar.

    Yes it will have lots of landing spots for helicopters. But the problem is that it does not have a hangar for the helicopters, as the small size does not accommodate one. So there will be issues with long deployments with helicopters.

  4. Azlan,
    Is there any possibility the extra deck space might come in handy one day in the future when vertical take off aircraft like the Osprey become the norm?

  5. Rather liked the Chinese LHD. All the better IF it incorporates a lift to partially stow some helicopters below deck! Maybe it’s also better for TLDM in the long run. Power projection or not, it will fulfill a huge vacuum in the navy. My take? Get 1 plus 2 small Damen LPDs.

  6. Mini Type 075?

    Even with mini size LHD, there should a space or two for a heli hanger below deck

    mistral 140 concept which would be good comparison have a rear heli ramp for helo hanger.

  7. Nice to have one small LHD. Better if it has a lift to stow a few helicopters below deck. We may not require one now, but it basically fulfills the MRSS criteria and some for the next 20 years 😉

  8. Taib,

    Adding a lift significantly increases the overall costs. If we had a power projection role then maybe we might need a design with 4 or more landing spots but we don’t. What vacuum will it fill?
    Also at present army hellis are not rated to operate from ship decks so reliance would ya e to be placed on RMAF assets to move troops from ship to shore by air.

    First look at the likely roles a MPSS will most likely perform in our context of things and the roles that navies which go for such designs perform. The last thing we need is to go down the RTN route by having something impressive looking but with little utility and too expensive to put to sea.

    Tom Tom,

    None of us are prophets or can predict the future but do you seriously see us getting such an aircraft in the next few years. Others have a need for fleet defence or to provide troops ashore with support; we do not have such requirements.

  9. Depend on how much more expensive the Chinese LHD is compared to the “mid range” LPD, it might be a viable option, especially if the Chinese government throw in a generous ultra long term loan or ramping up direct investment. Although I think an LHD is a bit of an overkill for RMN and might be very expensive to fully equipped and operate… Then again the Thais have a “aircraft” carrier without any aircraft…

    Btw, anyone heard the belated April Fool’s joke about a certain local university “professor” claiming Malaysia could have its indigenous 5th gen. stealth fighter by 2030… As if the local unis global rankings are not disastrous enough…

  10. kerberos – ” Although I think an LHD is a bit of an overkill for RMN and might be very expensive to fully equipped and operate…”

    Like I said in an earlier post : we have to first look at the likely roles a MPSS is likely to perform in our context of things. Those roles don’t include power projection or expeditionary type roles; operating for long periods at sea or operating in a high threat environment. There is a reason why certain navies go for very large designs with a lot of deck space and a reason why certain navies go for smaller designs with only space for 2-3 helos.

    Reply
    The LHD was actually the design envisaged when I first was told of the MPSS program now MRSS around 2003

  11. Marhalim,

    Yes at one time we were quite excited about Dokdo but the RMN Chief later said it was too big for our needs. Then the Koreans came up with a mini Dokdo offer and the offer [which you reported on in the Malay Mail] for the ex Korean LST if we bought mini Dokdo. Around the same time the Chinese offered us a design.

    The RMN people I have asked [a couple who have served on the Saktis] maintain that we only need a design with a couple of landing spots or 3 at the most. Lets see how things pan out; my guess is that despite the offers we’ve received and interest we may have shown to certain designs; ultimately we’ll get something the likes of a Makassar or a Damen design. I could be wrong of course.

  12. P.S.

    Even before the loss of Inderapura we had a requirement for a MPSS; as you indicated in 2003 but I’m not sure what was on offer then. Things only gained momentum after the loss of Inderapura in 2009 and the MPSS was made a priority. We know the rest of the story.

  13. Thanks for pointing out that these flush deck sub ~150m long LHA / LHD do not have a lift deck. And I thought they have 1 or 2 lift deck like the big American LHA’s.

    Might as well get 5 enlarged 150m version of the Makasar class as an MRSS and be done with it.

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