The Chinese Type 073 is a family of landing ships, with the forerunner being the Type 073.
The commissioning of China’s Type 075 Hainan landing helicopter dock in April 2021 has raised concerns in the South China Sea. It shows that China has gone one step further in increasing its amphibious power in this sea. China’s emphasis on amphibious capabilities is not new. In the early 1960s, to prepare for its ambition to liberate Taiwan, the Chinese navy urgently needed large and medium landing ships. Type 073 medium-sized landing ships was born.
The Chinese Type 073 is a family of landing ships, with the forerunner being the Type 073. Very soon the class evolved into the Type 073II, Type 073IIY, Type 073III, and Type 073A. Basically, The Type 073 is a medium-sized tank landing ship with a bow-door open main deck, a covered high-tank deck, and a diesel double propeller. The main task of this type of ship is to transport the landing troops directly at the beachhead during the landing operation of the sea, assisting the mine-breeding ships to deploy defensive mines in the offshore area, and to serve as transportation tasks. It has the characteristics of simple structure, convenient use and low cost, and can be built in large quantities in the second and third line shipyards.
The first ship of its class, the Type 073, was launched in 1969. Many tests were carried out in 1970. It had a displacement of only 850 tons, a length of 69 m, and a beam of 10.5. m.
The most recent and modern model of the class is the Type 073A, which were built and commissioned in the 2000s. After the completion of the first unit, the 990, it takes a decade for more units to follow, and 10 more entered service between 2001 through 2002. These later units are slightly larger in displacement at 2,000 tons, and more advanced equipment, mainly in electronics and on board machinery.
The successful construction of the Type 073 medium-sized landing ship marks China’s remarkable maturity in shipbuilding capabilities, contributing to bringing the Chinese Navy to a new level.