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China Boosts its Amphibious Options

by christian on April 1, 2011

Our good friend Martin Andrew forwarded us his latest analysis newsletter of the Chinese military and in it we noticed a profile of the PLAN’s new ZBD05 Amphibious Fighting Vehicle.

According to Andrew, the new ship-to-shore APC sports a 30mm cannon, a 7.62 coaxial machine gun and anti-tank guided missiles. The vehicle is armored against artillery and 12.7mm armor-piercing rounds.

The ZDB05 has a maximum speed in water of 30 km/hr which equals 16 knots, with the crew of three navigating by GPS.  It can transport between five and seven infantry with two in tandem behind the driver with their own roof hatches and five behind in the rear behind the turret.  It uses a small hinged door for rear entry and egress.  There are also two roof hatches behind the turret.

Andrew writes about an exercise that occurred last year where Chinese commanders conducted a simulated amphibious assault against a contested shoreline. This was the first time the PLAN could do a Marine Corps-style landing, he said.

This was the result of ten years of planning, training and the re-equipping of the PLA’s amphibious units and the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN Marines). Prior to this upgrading the PLAN Marines admitted that when compared to the United States Marine Corps, any talk of a battlefield capability was ‘only idle talk’.  The PLA’s amphibious forces and the PLAN Marines now believe they can breakout from the beachhead and fight outside of it.

The interesting thing to me is that the PLAN has managed to produce, field and successfully test an amphibious fighting vehicle, the same year the US Marine Corps had to cancel its Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle.

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