CHINA / MILITARY
PLA uses large civilian ferry ship for vehicle transport in cross-sea landing drills for 1st time
Published: Aug 19, 2021 08:29 PM
Several rigid-hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) attached to a brigade of the PLA Navy Marine Corps make their way to the beach-head during a maritime amphibious assault training in mid July, 2021. (eng.chinamil.com.cn/Photo by Liu Yuxiang)

Several rigid-hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) attached to a brigade of the PLA Navy Marine Corps make their way to the beach-head during a maritime amphibious assault training in mid July, 2021. (eng.chinamil.com.cn/Photo by Liu Yuxiang)



A Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) amphibious unit recently conducted a series of cross-sea landing drills, in which the troops for the first time used a 10,000 ton-class civilian ferry ship instead of previously used thousands ton-class civilian vessels, with analysts saying on Thursday it could provide a good addition to transporting troops on a large scale in amphibious landing missions.

An armored vehicle unit of an amphibious combined arms brigade affiliated with the PLA 73rd Group Army recently used a civilian port and a civilian ferry ship in the cross-sea, long-distance troop transport exercises, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Wednesday.

It is common that the PLA makes use of civilian ferry ships for similar exercises. But this time, the ship used was a large one with a displacement of more than 10,000 tons, instead of smaller, thousands ton-class ones, drill participant Staff Sergeant Wang Hua was quoted as saying.

More than a dozen types of vehicles, including self-propelled howitzers, amphibious armored vehicles and military trucks were loaded into the Bohai Pearl ferry ship, CCTV reported, noting that the drills also simulated hostile ground and aerial attacks as well as hostile satellite and drone reconnaissance during the loading process.

Owned by Bohai Ferry Group, the Bohai Pearl ferry ship has a displacement of 24,000 tons, with a length of 164 meters and width of 25 meters, and can carry more than 300 vehicles in three vehicle decks, according to the company's website.

The exercises lasted four days, and laid down the foundation for the troops' systematic cross-sea and multidimensional maneuvering in the future, the CCTV report said.

The use of large ferry ships is a good addition to transporting troops on a large scale in amphibious landing missions, a Chinese military expert who requested anonymity told the Global Times on Thursday.

In a large-scale amphibious landing operation, landing troops will likely take specially designed, military-grade landing ships in initial waves of landing, but the number of those ships remains limited compared to civilian ferry ships, the expert said, noting that once sea lanes and landing zones become secure, civilian ferry ships would join the transport.

On Tuesday, the PLA Eastern Theater Command dispatched warships, anti-submarine warfare aircraft and fighter jets in maritime and aerial areas near the southwest and southeast directions of the Taiwan island for military exercises including joint live-fire assaults.

Analysts said at that time that the Tuesday exercises practiced a step ahead of the amphibious landing operation, which is the seizure of air superiority and control of sea.


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