China May Be Building Completely New Kind of Aircraft Carrier, Reports Suggest

Rumors are swirling that the Chinese navy is looking to build a new type of warship. A recently leaked request for proposals (RFP) points to an amphibious assault ship with an electromagnetic aircraft catapult and arresting gear.

In a request for proposals posted on July 19 and subsequently leaked on social media, the project is referred to only as “Project XX6,” but observers have been calling the ship the “Type 076.”

Judging from some of the details included in the RFP, the Type 076 will be much like the Type 075 landing helicopter dock (LHD), of which China has already built two. The Type 075 is a kind of amphibious assault ship, which combines a flight deck for helicopters and vertical takeoff and landing aircraft with docking bays for amphibious landing craft to carry marines ashore.

One person even made a potential graphic model of the Type 076, although it is really little more than fan art.

​Rumors of such a warship design began swirling in online military circles earlier this week. The general consensus seems to be that the Type 076 will likely not be much larger than the Type 075, will use its catapult system to launch combat drones instead of manned jets and is in general an adaptation for the fact that the People’s Liberation Army has no equivalent to the F-35B. The US Navy and the navies of several US allies make use of the short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) capabilities of the F-35B, allowing the stealth jet to fly from helicopter…

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