China recently conducted a maritime exercise featuring what is being hailed as the world's most advanced medium-sized amphibious assault vehicle, the ZTD-05s, a weapon that can join amphibious landing ships in land assault missions.
With the ZTD-05s and other domestically designed hardware, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) is well positioned to deal with Taiwan secessionists and potential island disputes, analysts said on Monday.
The evaluation exercise, conducted by the 74th Group Army of the PLA, was held recently in the eastern part of South China's Guangdong Province. Multiple types of amphibious vehicles entered the sea and ran through various training exercises, state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Saturday.
Multiple ZTD-05 amphibious assault vehicles took part in the exercise.
The ZTD-05 is a domestically made, high-speed amphibious assault vehicle and is the most advanced medium-sized amphibious assault vehicle in the world, CCTV reported.
Equipped with a 105-millimeter tank cannon and capable of firing while at sea, the ZTD-05 is highly stable and can reach speeds of 40 kilometers an hour on water, china.com.cn reported.
The highly mobile vehicle has very lethal fire power, CCTV said. The ZTD-05 can be dispatched for land assaults, or join the PLA Navy's amphibious landing ships for other types of military operations, the broadcaster's report noted.
The PLA Navy also has the Type 071 amphibious transport dock and Type 072 landing ship. China is reportedly also developing the Type 075 amphibious assault ship.
The exercise came after a US Department of Defense report released earlier this month. It said China lacks adequate amphibious capabilities. Some Western reports claimed that the Chinese mainland is not capable of launching an assault on the island of Taiwan.
China's amphibious landing capabilities may indeed lag behind those of the US, but this will not impact China's ability to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity, Zhang Junshe, a senior research fellow at the PLA Naval Military Studies Research Institute, told the Global Times on Monday.
There would be no problem for the mainland to crush Taiwan secessionists' scheme should they attempt to separate from the mainland, Zhang said.
The PLA holds an overwhelming advantage over the island's military forces, military experts say.