The Chinese military has been increasing its amphibious combat skills and command capabilities, which were displayed during a recent landing exercise aired by state broadcaster CCTV. The People’s Liberation Army Marine Corps used multiple types of weapons, equipment, and combat models for the exercise, including amphibious armored vehicles and assault boats. These militarized watercraft are designed to provide enhanced mobility in maritime environments and can be used to launch surprise attacks against an enemy.

“In such a joint landing exercise, the operations of sweeping out obstacles, reconnaissance force penetration and attack, combined with assault force maritime firepower strike operations, previously required a high degree of cooperation among multiple battalions of the brigade,” Wu Dan, commander of the brigade’s combined arms battalion was quoted as saying by CCTV.
“Now, we only need one combined arms battalion to do it independently.”

Chinese AAVs

The People’s Republic of China’s Type 05 amphibious armored vehicle (AAV) is designed to rapidly deploy marines onto austere beachheads from amphibious assault ships. It is a tracked, ship-to-shore vehicle capable of high-speed travel and excellent maneuverability. Its features make it uniquely suited for its purpose, allowing it to reach destinations more rapidly than other vehicles of its kind.

Type 05 has a long hydraulic bow flap that extends outwards when in the water. This allows the vehicle to skim over the surface of the water, similar to how normal boats do at high speeds. It also folds onto the front glacis when not used, providing additional armor protection to the hull.

The Type 05 also has retractable road wheels and tracks on the underside of the vehicle that can be stowed away when not needed, streamlining both sides and bottom while traveling across land or through shallow waters. This feature helps decrease drag and increase speed so that it can reach its destination faster than other vehicles without this feature would be able to.

It also has a system specifically designed for navigating rough terrain with ease and agility. This includes an independent suspension system featuring eight shock absorbers per side which enhances maneuverability by allowing each wheel to move independently from one another as needed for crossing obstacles on land or sea floor. The increased range of motion also helps reduce maintenance costs due to improved wear on individual parts over time.

Finally, there is an advanced waterjet propulsion system that offers powerful thrust toward desired destinations with minimal fuel consumption. This combination of features gives it an advantage over other AAVs by decreasing travel time and increasing fuel efficiency compared to different designs without such a complex powertrain design.


Chinese ZBD-05
Naval landing operation held within the Russian-Chinese exercise Naval Interaction-2015 (Source: Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation/Wikimedia)

All these features combined make China’s Type 05 AAV one of the most versatile vessels available today, with significant capabilities currently unmatched by any other vehicle in its class thanks to its engineering and design technology offered by Chinese military contractors. From skimming over shallow waters to navigating rugged terrain,  no other veghicle offers such performance at such a low-cost point like China’s Type 05 AAC does.  Currently, the Chinese version of the Marine Corps is a mere shadow of the US Marine Corps with only 10,000 personnel on active duty, versus 180,000 US Marines.  The US also has more than two centuries of experience landing naval infantry on foreign shores, formally beginning with the landing of Marines in Tripoli in 1805.  The first landing by Marines actually predates the creation of the United States when Navy officer John Paul Jones raided New Providence island in the Bahamas in 1776.  China has a lot of expanding and experience still to attain before they could hope to pull off a contested landing on an island the size of Taiwan.

In addition to these vessels, the Chinese Navy also has an array of specialized amphibious crafts that are capable of launching assaults from the sea or providing support for ground troops. These include Type 071 Yuzhao Class Landing Platform Dock ships (LPD), which have three decks that span over 210 meters long and 28 meters wide with a maximum load capacity of 800 troops plus cargo. Each type has its own advantages depending upon what type of mission they will be performing, but they could all be employed in an attack against Taiwan if necessary.

Getting Ready for Taiwan Invasion

Amphibious armored vehicles are essential components in any major maritime operation due to their ability to rapidly move troops over land and sea while providing significant firepower when engaging enemy forces. Their use would likely be key in any potential Chinese invasion force targeting Taiwan. The Peoples Liberation Army(PLA) Navy’s fleet includes dozens of these Amphibious Assault Craft (AAC) that can be deployed at short notice to launch simultaneous direct-fire missions along coastlines or islands before inserting infantry onto an invasion beach.

“The Marine Corps are at a critical stage of accelerating transformation and development,” said Li Wei, deputy chief of staff of the brigade, as he called for a speed boost to combined capabilities and quick response capacity, according to CCTV.

The Chinese military could potentially use these AACs against Taiwan the moment they decide to invade. Such vehicles would provide a much-needed mobility advantage over Taiwan’s mountainous terrain, enabling China’s forces to quickly deploy across the island’s rugged landscape with relative ease. Furthermore, their superior firepower could be used to suppress enemy positions and capture strategic positions. Additionally, AACs could also be used for amphibious assaults on coastal regions in order to gain a foothold on Taiwanese shores before launching further offensives into the heartland.

While China currently does not have a large enough force to invade Taiwan unilaterally, Beijing could use its growing maritime capability along with Amphibious Assault Vehicles to launch surprise attacks from the sea should tensions between both countries escalate further in the future. Such an action would require substantial preparation, including the deployment of naval reinforcements and special forces along with significant logistical planning but would enable China to gain a foothold within Taiwan’s waters quickly if put into action correctly.