New satellite images show the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) recently conducted war games to simulate an invasion of Taiwan, reported ThePrint.
The PLAN used Type 071 (NATO reporting name: Yuzhao), an amphibious transport dock, designed to carry 800 fully armed troops, dozens of vehicles and landing crafts, and four helicopters, was used to practice circular deployment with other vessels ahead of a beach assault.
"This formation [circular deploymen] provides safety from shore fire as well as aerial attacks, since most landing ships carry only short-range air defence and close-in weapon systems (CIWS)," said ThePrint.
A Type 072A vessel (NATO reporting name: Yuting II), a landing ship designed to carry 250 fully armed troops ten tanks, four landing craft, a medium helicopter, was used to transport amphibious vehicles near the beach landing. Ahead of the invasion simulation, reconnaissance aircraft surveilled above.
The amphibious exercise used landing craft air cushion vessels to bring troops and vehicles ashore. Some of the first vehicles on land were type-08 amphibious armored vehicles and/or Type 05 amphibious fighting vehicles.
The PLAN’s recent upgrade of landing craft air cushion vessels demonstrates that these hovercraft will be used in future military exercises.
ThePrint said the PLAN also practiced re-embarkation after the landing exercise and regrouping to fine-tune their amphibious warfare tactics.
"The re-embarkation is rarely caught on satellite imagery. This exclusive satellite image displays the process of re-embarkation with five amphibious fighting vehicles lined up in the queue for loading on Type-72 Yukan and Yuting class vessels," ThePrint said.
China has vigorously criticized any action by Taiwan to acquire Western armament, claiming that the militarization of the Taiwan Strait is damaging the 'One-China policy,' which states that Taiwan will eventually be reunified with the mainland.
While China has never ruled out the possibility of invasion and it has continued acquiring the military capability to do so, Taiwan's air, sea and land forces, conducted a war exercise Thursday to repel an invading army.
Regional tensions have also grown due to China's territorial claims and aspirations in the South China Sea, something which has prompted Japan to cast aside its postwar pacifism.
With the probability of China taking Taiwan by force is rising, the military balance in the Taiwan Strait is firmly in China's favor.
With both sides preparing for a cross-strait war, it's only a matter of time before the powder keg is ignited.