China launches largest amphibious augmentation platform yet
By J Michael Cole
The Chinese military launched a 36,000-tonne 'Bohai Sea Green Pearl' ferry vessel on 8 August at Yantai Port in Shandong Province.
The vessel has a dual design that allows it to serve as a civilian transport ship and as an 'amphibious augmentation platform' allowing troop and heavy equipment transport.
According to Chinese media, the platform is Asia's largest, most advanced and most luxurious commercial cruise ship and was developed as part of a civilian-military integration strategic development project intended to enhance passenger transport in Bohai Bay while reinforcing strategic maritime delivery capabilities for continental Chinese military forces.
A Chinese official has described the vessel as "a new leap forward for Chinese military/civilian vessel strategic projection".
The State Commission for National Defense Mobilization, under the State Council and the Central Military Commission, carried news and pictures of the ceremony on its website.
Prior to the maiden voyage, dozens of armoured vehicles, artillery pieces and other heavy equipment performed a boarding drill on the ship, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Daily reported. A Jinan military area command officer told Chinese media that the ship can also serve as temporary barracks for military personnel.193 of 319 words
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