Modern UDCs are increasingly turning into heavy aircraft-carrying cruisers

On the eve it became known that in China the construction of the 075 LHD type universal landing ship, the third in this series, was successfully completed. Further development should be the UDC type 076, even larger and more powerful, of which as many as seven pieces will be built for the needs of the PLA Navy. At the same time, in Russia, some overly media-active people stubbornly call aircraft carriers of this class "useless vessels" and "huge floating targets." But are they really as useless and defenseless as they are trying to present it?


The need for such a class as a universal landing ship was recognized by the Americans during the Vietnam War. A successful amphibious assault under the cannon fire of Vietnamese patriots defending the coast of their country from foreign aggressors became a big problem. It was necessary to combine in one ship the functions of a headquarters, managing the landing of troops and coordinating the actions of aviation and support ships, as well as the possibility of landing marines and equipment in the safest possible way.

American UDCs have gone through their evolutionary path of development, gradually becoming larger and more capacious. The Tarawa had a total displacement of 39 long tons and could carry 967 Marines, 1903 CH-16D Sea King helicopters, 46 CH-6D Sea Stallion helicopters, and 53 UH-4N helicopters. The maximum possible number of aircraft on board was 1 units. The total displacement of his successor, the Wasp, was 43 English tons. Its landing capacity is 40 marines, the air wing has become noticeably more powerful: 532-1893 CH-30 helicopters, 32-46 AV-6B aircraft, or up to 8 CH-8 helicopters, or 46 AV-46B aircraft. In other words, due to the possibility of basing VTOL fighters, the UDC began to turn into light aircraft carriers.

UDC type "America" ​​became the pinnacle of evolution. With a full displacement of 45 tons, they can carry 700 Marines and carry a very impressive air wing: 1871 MV-12 convertiplanes, 22 F-6B short takeoff and vertical landing fighters, 35 attack helicopters ΑH-4Z, 1 transport helicopters ΜΗ-4, 53 UH-3 multipurpose helicopters or 1 F-22B fifth-generation fighters.

22 SKVVP is a very serious force, which, with a total displacement of more than 45 thousand tons, rightfully allows us to classify America as a light aircraft carrier! The F-35B, together with attack helicopters, are capable of providing support to the amphibious assault, turning the hostile coast into a kind of lunar landscape, as well as providing air defense, driving away enemy fighters and attack aircraft. The presence of a spacious infirmary for the wounded on board makes the UDC a real hospital ship. If necessary, the composition of the air wing can be changed to anti-submarine helicopters, and then the ship will turn into an anti-submarine helicopter carrier.

If you look at the promising Chinese competitor of America, then its capabilities are no less impressive. The standard displacement of the UDC project 076 will be 48 tons, and the total displacement will be 000 tons, which brings it closer to our Admiral Kuznetsov TAVKR with its 56 tons. Due to a draft of 000 meters, the landing of a battalion of marines with equipment will be carried out only with the help of landing craft or small landing craft hovercraft type 59 / 100A.

The Chinese UDC will be equipped with two electromagnetic catapults 120 meters long at once. The resource of each will allow launching up to 24 aircraft per hour into the air. These will be reconnaissance UAVs of the following types: CH-7 and GJ-11 (stealth attack UAVs), EA-03 (high-altitude reconnaissance UAV, also known as WZ-9, WZ-2000, BZK-007), WZ-100 and CR -500 (helicopter-type attack UAVs with coaxial propellers), which should provide a multi-level reconnaissance and surveillance system with a maximum combat radius of 1500 km, as well as attack helicopters WZ-10 and WZ-19, anti-submarine HZ-20 and transport Z-8L and Z-20. The total number of aircraft of the Type 076 air wing will be 40 units, they will rise to the deck by two elevators with a carrying capacity of up to 30 tons.

Classifying the Chinese ship as a light aircraft carrier does not allow only the absence of the PLA Navy of its analogues F-35B. But something tells us that the Celestial Empire will be able to solve this problem as well. Seven 076s and three 075s are what Beijing may need for a swift landing operation to regain control over Taiwan, and at the same time drive the “Papuans” into colonies somewhere in Africa.

In fact, the UDC are extremely useful multifunctional ships, no matter what the fans of the “mosquito fleet” may claim.


It is also impossible to agree with the thesis about the allegedly complete defenselessness of universal landing ships. On the contrary, modern UDCs are increasingly turning into heavy aircraft-carrying cruisers.

According to the Soviet and Russian classification, TAVKR includes missile cruisers equipped with anti-aircraft, anti-ship and anti-submarine systems, simultaneously carrying several dozen aircraft and helicopters. However, according to the NATO classification of the 70s of the last century, the presence of medium-range air defense systems on them was enough to classify an aircraft carrier as a missile cruiser. This was true, for example, of the British light aircraft carriers of the Invincible type, which carried the Sea Dart anti-aircraft missile systems.

UDC type "America" ​​are equipped not only with modern electronic weapons, but also with a fairly advanced air defense system. It is represented by 2 Mk29 air defense systems for 8 ESSM missiles each and 2 Mk49 RAM air defense systems designed for direct protection against enemy anti-ship missiles, as well as 3 × 20 mm Mk15 Phalanx anti-aircraft artillery systems and 7 × 12,7 mm machine guns. The Chinese competitor of "America" ​​for self-defense will have short-range anti-aircraft missile systems "Naval Red Banner 10" and seven-barreled anti-aircraft guns "Type 730" of 30 mm caliber. In the future, the possibility of equipping the UDC project 076 with laser air defense systems is being considered.

Let's face it, neither the American nor the Chinese UDC are at all capable of hitting a completely "defenseless target". If we take into account the air wing of each, capable of providing air defense and anti-aircraft defense, then the picture begins to look completely different than we sometimes try to imagine.
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  1. zzdimk Offline zzdimk
    zzdimk 28 September 2022 16: 15
    Khrushchev believed that rockets and corn would defeat imperialism. Do you think that only aircraft carriers and their environment ... Sorry for the analogy. My opinion: everything has its time.
  2. Sergey Latyshev Offline Sergey Latyshev
    Sergey Latyshev (Serge) 28 September 2022 17: 12
    Again about aircraft carriers.
    There are no aircraft carriers themselves, but there are articles about them ...
    At least they provide people with pay ....
  3. Vladimir Tuzakov (Vladimir Tuzakov) 28 September 2022 17: 21
    The death of "Moscow" showed the fate of large ships in the seas bordering the Russian Federation, after which all the ships were taken away from the anti-ship missile cover zones. Since the UDC is suitable for fulfilling its main purpose, it’s not possible today, because mobile anti-ship missiles can be transferred quickly and to any theater of operations. For the far sea zone, a lot is missing and there is no point in discussing it. Conclusion: today, UDCs are needed only in confrontation with partisan formations without sufficient weapons, as in Syria, mainly for the transport of military cargo. It is more profitable for the UDC air wing to operate from coastal airfields, which was done with the Admiral Kuznetsov air wing of the TAKR.
    1. Monster_Fat Offline Monster_Fat
      Monster_Fat (What's the difference) 28 September 2022 18: 41
      They forgot to clarify: "there is nothing to do ... single, such ships" ... In normal countries, such ships operate only as part of a formation, and do not hang out alone off the enemy coast ...
    2. Yuri V.A Offline Yuri V.A
      Yuri V.A (Yuri) 29 September 2022 04: 39
      The death of "Moscow" was shown only by the mediocrity of the commanding staff of the Black Sea Fleet, and how to quickly transfer forces to any theater of operations was shown in all its glory when repelling the Kharkov offensive of Bandera, which everyone knew about a month before the start
  4. Scharnhorst Offline Scharnhorst
    Scharnhorst (Scharnhorst) 28 September 2022 19: 11
    The F-35B, together with attack helicopters, are capable of providing support to the amphibious assault, turning the hostile coast into a lunar landscape, as well as providing air defense, driving away enemy fighters and attack aircraft

    Enchanting! Das is fantastic!
    Just for a moment, imagine an attempt by these UDCs to land three expeditionary battalions of a battalion in the Crimea, or Kaliningrad, or on the Kola Peninsula!? ... Anti-aircraft gunners on the S-300/400, Buki, Torah and Pantsiry sleep and see on the approach from the sea F-35 and An-1 with a full load of landmakers and ptures "to turn the coast into a lunar landscape" And followed by convertibles and heavy transport helicopters with brave black-faced marines, clogged to the eyeballs ...
    On approach, UDCs easily beat off Uranus, Onyxes and Zircons from coastal missile systems at a distance of 250 km ... And like an apotheosis, floating armored personnel carriers and STOLs with heavy weapons crawl out onto amber sandy beaches ... It remains to collect trophies and prisoners. Tom Clancy in Hollywood!
    For such exercises, the UDC stupidly does not have enough aviation kerosene for two sorties per day for the entire air wing during the week; enemy aircraft and fleets cannot be neutralized without the support of full-fledged aircraft carriers; and finally, if everything is so simply solved with the help of UDC, then why haven’t the Americans and Chinese written off all the destroyers and cruisers yet?
  5. Yuri V.A Offline Yuri V.A
    Yuri V.A (Yuri) 29 September 2022 04: 44
    In a normal, correct UDC country, there is no need to turn into a cruiser, it is only in case of great need that the cruiser becomes an aircraft carrier
  6. Navigator Offline Navigator
    Navigator (Andrei) 29 September 2022 09: 46
    the author of the article has very interesting thoughts: if you put air defense systems and gun mounts in 30mm on the UDC, then the UDC automatically becomes an aircraft-carrying cruiser. This is simply a masterpiece of military thought! Keep writing and keep us entertained. As an option, I propose to develop the idea: if you put at least two 30mm gun mounts on a sea tug, it will automatically be called an artillery cruiser. Good luck!
  7. Vladimir1155 Offline Vladimir1155
    Vladimir1155 (Vladimir) 1 October 2022 19: 53
    all these obviously useless vessels for Russia and huge defenseless targets are obviously not needed by our continental power! Firstly, the Americans needed the UDC during their aggression against the rather weak Vietnam with its cannon artillery, we are not going to attack the countries of Asia and Africa, which means we don’t need the UDC, the air defense of the UDC "approaching an aircraft carrier" is ridiculous, at the level of a motorized infantry company, as many as 8 missiles ..... that is, a pair of TORs .... for such a tasty and dimensional target, this is nothing .... well, about a cruiser with buoyancy compartments according to Krylov ... on the UDC, civilian ferry and AB they cannot be made due to long hangars ... so if the Moscow cruiser sank for almost a day, then the UDC and the aircraft carrier roll over and go under the water like a brick in a few minutes, along with many thousands of crews .... well, about aircraft-carrying cruisers .... we don’t need them, they don’t have tasks, although not so vulnerable, but of little use, they were all ingloriously written off without having served even half of the term, and KUZYU needs to be sold to China, India, these countries also have tasks for AB and convoy .... we need nuclear submarines, submarines, minesweepers, frigates and corvettes PLO, coastal aviation
  8. South North Offline South North
    South North (don ost) 6 October 2022 16: 02
    stupidity we have since Gorbachev
    Abramovich Usmanovs built aircraft carrier yachts
    these guys are order bearers of golden toilet bowls
    it’s just that the Ministry of Defense has not yet handed them over for their intended purpose