When a Chinese ferry joined the People’s Liberation Army Navy for an amphibious landing exercise in July 2020, observers noticed something different.
It’s not unusual for Chinese merchant vessels to participate in the PLA’s operations and Bang Chui Dao, a 15,560-ton roll-on roll-off ferry, has been used before to support military transportation exercises. But where such ships might have been limited to accessing port terminals before, the ferry’s stern ramp had been converted to enable it to launch and recover a 26-ton ZTD-05, an amphibious armored vehicle used by the Chinese military, according to a brief published by The Jamestown Foundation earlier this month.
With about 2,740 feet of vehicle capacity, Bang Chui Dao, which was built in 1995 and can also carry 1,200 passengers, is estimated to have space to move an amphibious mechanized infantry battalion.
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