BLUF

Roll-on Roll-off ferries with built-in military capabilities are a significant force multiplier for China.

Summary

China is developing and utilising its maritime resources to enhance its military capability. Key points in this article are:
  • An invasion of Taiwan would need a massive number of vessels.
  • The Chinese Navy is building up its amphibious assault fleet.
  • Civilian roll-on/roll-off (RO-RO) (modified and purpose-built) ferries could move troops and equipment ashore in amphibious landing operations.
  • New civilian vessels are built to national defence specifications for carrying military equipment.
  • Ferries are already used for military transportation along the Chinese coast.
  • The RO-RO ferries use an ‘offshore mobile debarkation platform’ (modular floating piers) to deliver personnel and equipment directly onto a beach. 
  • A variety of modules, including powered modules, lighters and tugs, are used.
  • A semi-submersible barge can raise or lowers its height above the water to accommodate different size RO-RO vessels.
  • Modules can operate in sea state 3, similar to U.S. Navy Improved Naval Lighterage System.
It is worth noting that nearly all countries exercise their military capability in various situations and scenarios, even though they may have no intention of carrying out the exercise for real.