Its widely agreed, and has become conventional wisdom that China is in the process of modernizing their forces.
I feel that the hope is they adopt the Western standard across the board which means that they seek to have the most high tech force possible...even if that means that they lack numbers.
If China Defense Blog is to be believed then they're seeking not only an advanced force but will not sacrifice numerical superiority while getting there...this little blurb from a recent post covering the 163rd Motorized Infantry Division is noteworthy...
The thin-skinned ZBD04 pictured here is not successful by PLA standards, only 500 vehicles entered service when the heavier and larger ZBD05 became the new standard issue tracked APC for "swimming" units and the up-armored ZBD04A for others.Yeah.
Drink that in.
First a BMP derivative is being chided for having thin skin! In comparison to what? The new standard in their forces the ZBD05!
I hope to God that US intel is working overtime to get info on that vehicle. If this is reality and not propaganda then our open source assessments are off.
The Chinese can produce 500 vehicles then decide that they need to toss away the design and move on? We were able to do that in the 1950's but those days are long over.
Again, this is instructive. In the time that it has taken the USMC to get to a "down select" on the Amphibious Combat Vehicle, the Chinese have put into service the ZBD04, ZBD05 and two wheeled amphibious vehicles....additionally we have little visibility on the upgrades that they done to the vehicles they have in service.
If my prediction is correct. If a war in the Pacific is characterized by motorized/armored warfare....and if the USMC continues on the road of Company Landing Teams as the primary fighting unit instead of MEU's then we're going to be in a hurt locker.
The only rapid deployable force that will be able to withstand an attack by armored forces is the Marine Expeditionary Unit fighting as a combined arms team. Airborne, Air Assault and CLTs will be fixed and destroyed with little difficulty.