Saturday, September 28, 2013

Zubr-class landing craft would aid PLA invasion of Dioyutai

Should the PLA attempt an amphibious landing the disputed Japan-controlled Diaoyutai (Diaoyu or Senkaku) islands in the East China Sea, the Zubr-class air-cushioned landing craft introduced from Russia will be very useful, according to the Moscow-based Voice of Russia on Sept. 26.
Vasily Kashin from the Moscow-based Centre for Strategic Technology Analysis said China has changed its previous passive attitude over the issue of the islands following their nationalization by Japan last year. Amid an outpouring of anti-Japanese sentiment in response, Beijing has begun to be more aggressive in sending maritime patrol vessels and aircraft to the islands, keeping the pressure on Japan and also pacifying nationalist sentiment among the public demanding a tough response.
Through introducing more advanced weapons systems such as the Su-35 fighter and S-400 air defense missile from Russia, the PLA has been showing Japan that it will not back down over its territorial claims. Kashin said the four Zubr-class landing craft purchased from Russia at a cost of US$315 million would allow a successful amphibious offensive to land PLA marines onto the islands and represent a very real threat to Japanese control of the islands.

As the islands lie 300 kilometers from the Chinese mainland, within the strike range of its S-400 missiles, the PLA Air Force has the capability to strike at Japanese fighters without launching its own aircraft, Kashin said. Though a tenuous peace holds as long as Japan does not physically occupy the islands, Kashin more advanced weapons are likely to be deployed in the area, making the East China Sea a new global hot spot.

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