China's ability to fight island and coastal conflicts got a big boost Wednesday when the country's navy launched its first amphibious assault ship. The massive ship, which was floated at a shipyard in Shanghai, is the first in China's Type 075 class of amphibious assault ships, according to the People's Liberation Army's English language website.
Analysts said the launch is yet another indication of the growing power of the Chinese fleet.
"It highlights China's growing maritime power projection and the expansion of its amphibious warfare ambitions and forces," said Carl Schuster, a former United States Navy captain and Hawaii Pacific University instructor. Amphibious assault ships -- sometimes called helicopter landing docks -- can be described as small aircraft carriers designed for island or coastal assaults. China provided no details of the size and capabilities of the new ship.