2.5 GROUND FORCE SYSTEMS
Purchase of Russian T-80U Main Battle Tanks
Status: reports that in 1993 the PLA purchased 200 T-80U
tanks Weight: 46 tons Engine: 1,250 hp gas turbine;
power-to-weight ratio, 27.2 hp/ton Performance: road speed, 70 km/h, range, 335 km Armament: MAIN GUN: 125 mm cannon/missile launcher
with up to 39 rounds; up to 6 x 9M119 REFLEKS (AT-11 SNIPER) gun-launched
laser-guided anti-tank missiles, 5km range; 1 x 12.7 mm MG with 450
rounds; 1 x 7.62 mm MG with 1,250 rounds
Status: reports that in 1993 the PLA purchased 200 T-80U tanks
Weight: 46 tons Engine: 1,250 hp gas turbine; power-to-weight ratio, 27.2 hp/ton
Performance: road speed, 70 km/h, range, 335 km
Armament: MAIN GUN: 125 mm cannon/missile launcher with up to 39 rounds; up to 6 x 9M119 REFLEKS (AT-11 SNIPER) gun-launched laser-guided anti-tank missiles, 5km range; 1 x 12.7 mm MG with 450 rounds; 1 x 7.62 mm MG with 1,250 rounds
Jane's reported that China purchased 200 T-80U tanks in late1993 that were delivered by 1995. This sale could have followed a reported late 1993 Russian display in Beijing of the T-80U and other armored equipment to include the BMP-3, Smerch MLRS and a 152 mm self-propelled artillery gun. If true, China may have purchased a small number of T-80U tanks to outfit a few "Fist" Army units to develop new tactics and doctrine, and to learn from advanced Russian technology. However, since this report there have been no subsequent reports or publicly available image information that would confirm this sale.
But if this sale had occurred, in the T-80U China would have received a modern Russian main battle tank with many features that China had yet to develop indigenously. The T-80U emerged in 1988 and is powered by a gas turbine engine-probably the only tank to be so powered in the PLA. It features improved armor protection, a better 125 mm gun and space for additional rounds over its predecessors. It would have also served to introduce the laser-guided 9M117 REFLEKS tank gun-launched missile. PLA failures during export competitions point to a continued requirement to acquire and absorb new Russian tank technology. In 1997 the PLA lost out to the Ukraine's T-80UD in a hotly contested battle for Pakistan's new tank. The PLA offered an indigenous tank with a British diesel engine, but a defective turret in hot weather caused the PLA to lose the deal. Ukraine and the PLA later cooperated on Pakistan's Al Kalid tanks.
Foreign Influence on PLA T-98 Main Battle Tank
Status: T-98 in limited service, T-98Gai in production Weight: 51 tons Engine: 1,200hp diesel, perhaps
based on British Perkins technology; power to weight ratio, 23.5hp/ ton Performance: SPEED, about 60 km/h, RANGE, about 450km Armor: Frontal arc of turret in RHA: KE Round, 700mm,
T-98Gai, 830mm; CE Rnd: 800mm, T-98Gai, 1060mm Armament: MAIN GUN: 125mm smoothbore cannon/missile
launcher, 41 rnds; PENETRATION: KE, 800mm; 960mm reported w/ new DU rnd,
CE, 680mm est; 9M119 REFLEKS (AT-11 Sniper) gun-launched
laser-guided anti-tank missiles, 5km range; 1 x 12.7 mm MG
Status: T-98 in limited service, T-98Gai in production
Weight: 51 tons Engine: 1,200hp diesel, perhaps based on British Perkins technology; power to weight ratio, 23.5hp/ ton
Performance: SPEED, about 60 km/h, RANGE, about 450km
Armor: Frontal arc of turret in RHA: KE Round, 700mm, T-98Gai, 830mm; CE Rnd: 800mm, T-98Gai, 1060mm
Armament: MAIN GUN: 125mm smoothbore cannon/missile launcher, 41 rnds; PENETRATION: KE, 800mm; 960mm reported w/ new DU rnd, CE, 680mm est; 9M119 REFLEKS (AT-11 Sniper) gun-launched laser-guided anti-tank missiles, 5km range; 1 x 12.7 mm MG
In the October 1999 CCP 50th anniversary military parade the PLA revealed its new third-generation main battle tank (MBT), the Type-98 or ZTZ-98. Adding some confusion, the tank's designer has called it the ZTZ-99. A clear derivative of earlier experimental tanks like the Type-90, and while also incorporating significant Russian tank influences, the Type-98 nonetheless demonstrates that the PLA is capable of producing a world-class MBT. In terms of gun lethality and armor protection, the Type-98 and a new improved Type-98Gai outclass Taiwan's existing U.S. M-60 and modified M-48 tanks.
An unusually detailed PRC analysis of this tank notes that it weighs 51 tons, is armed with a PLA-modified version of the Russian 125mm tank gun, and has a 1,200 horsepower diesel engine. While the hull resembles that of the T-72 it is larger and the engine is very likely a development or copy of the British Perkins CV12-1200 imported in the 1980s and which was used in the Type-90 revealed in 1991. The Type-98 departs from Russian practices in that it features a Western-style "bustled" turret that holds some of the tank's ammunition. The turret employs removable armor cavities that could utilize special spaced armor and composites that could be upgraded as new armor systems are devised. These may be similar to the spaced armor "cheeks" used by the Russian T-72. Early 2002 saw the revelation of an experimental larger and boxy Type-98 turret design with sharp arrowhead forward edges. This is similar to the German Leopard 2A5 which uses this turret design to better withstand armor-piecing fin-stabilized discarding sabot (APFSDS) and chemical high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) rounds. This configuration has been incorporated into a new production version, called the T-98Gai (Improved). In addition, this version employs a new type reactive-armor (ERA)) on the turret sides and rear.
The Type 98 uses a new 125mm smooth-bore main gun that is said to be an improved version of the Russian 125mm smoothbore. It also apparently uses an auto-loading system for the main gun that is similar to if not a copy of that used by the T-72. The 125mm gun is thought to be computer-stabilized so that the tank can fire accurately while moving. It fires a range of high-explosive (HE) and APFSDS shells, that may include super-hard depleted uranium (DU) technology possibly obtained from Israel. The Type-98 also employs either a copy or a development of the Russian 9M119 REFLEX gun-launched laser-guided anti-tank missile.
What surprised observers in 1999 was the presence of a box on the turret that was variously reported to be a laser guidance system for anti-tank missiles, a laser communication device, or a laser dazzler to blind infantry or enemy anti-tank guidance systems. There is more recent speculation that the device may be designed both to block laser guidance and infrared/lo-light sensors, and detect the location of laser emitters and infrared sensors, in order to provide immediate counter-fire coordinates to the main gun. The device can be extended on a collapsible pole. While the Type-98 is not thought to have been produced in large numbers, it is thought to be serving with three PLA armored units as of 2002. One of these may be the 38th GA's 6th armored division. Production has very likely shifted to the more advanced T-98Gai.
The PLA is apparently going to produce many more of the less-expensive 48-ton Type-96 (Type-88C) MBT. In 2002 the Pentagon noted that the PLA is expected to deploy 1,800 Type-96 tanks by 2005. In 2003 the Pentagon reduced this estimate to 1,500. The Type-96 employs the same 125mm computer stabilized smoothbore gun, autoloader, turret and composite armor as the Type-98. However, it does not have the Type-98's laser countermeasure/counter-fire device. It may also be able to fire gun-launched anti-tank missiles. The Type-96 also has a less powerful 730hp diesel engine. Nevertheless, its main gun, composite-based armor and higher speed makes it superior to Taiwan's most powerful M-60 MBT.
Russian BMP-3 Infantry Combat Vehicle Components on New PLA ICV
Status: PLA revealed new IVF in early 2003 that uses the
turret from the BMP-3, for comparison data is for later. BMP-3 Weight: 18.7 tons Engine: 500 hp diesel;
power-to-weight ratio, 26.7 hp/ton Performance: speed, 70 km/h on roads, 10 km/h in water; range,
600 km, carries a crew of 3 and up to 7 infantrymen Armament: 1 x 100 mm gun with up to 34 rounds, 7km range; 1
x 30 mm gun with up to 500 rounds; 3 x 7.62 mm MG with up to 6,000 rounds;
up to 4x 9M117 ARKAN laser-guided anti-tank guided missiles, 5.5km range,
600mm armor penetration
Status: PLA revealed new IVF in early 2003 that uses the turret from the BMP-3, for comparison data is for later.
Weight: 18.7 tons Engine: 500 hp diesel; power-to-weight ratio, 26.7 hp/ton
Performance: speed, 70 km/h on roads, 10 km/h in water; range, 600 km, carries a crew of 3 and up to 7 infantrymen
Armament: 1 x 100 mm gun with up to 34 rounds, 7km range; 1 x 30 mm gun with up to 500 rounds; 3 x 7.62 mm MG with up to 6,000 rounds; up to 4x 9M117 ARKAN laser-guided anti-tank guided missiles, 5.5km range, 600mm armor penetration
For many years the PLA has delayed the development of a badly needed next-generation armored personnel carrier (APC). When its new ACP was revealed in February 2003, earlier speculation was confirmed that it would be heavily influenced by the Russian BMP-3 armored infantry fighting vehicle (AIFV). The first possible reference to a Russian sale of the BMP-3 armored infantry vehicle to China seen by the author was in the August 1997 issue of the Russian magazine Military Parade, which featured a picture of Chinese officers taking instruction on a BMP infantry combat vehicle. A second reference to this possible sale pertains to disagreements over pricing leading to a possible delay in delivery of the BMP-3. It was reported that in 1997 the PLA purchased the fire control system and associated missile laser guidance system from the BMP-3.
Pictures of the new APC reveal that it in fact uses the whole BMP-3 turret, although it may be slightly modified. As with the Russian AIFV, the PLA APC is very likely armed with a unique auto-loading 100mm gun that fires HE, APDS rounds, and the 5.5km range ARKAN laser-guided anti-tank missile. The missile can also penetrate the armor of all of Taiwan's main battle tanks. The ARKAN is also capable of attack slow-flying aircraft like helicopters. Along side the main gun is a co-axial 30mm cannon, better for dealing with lighter vehicles. The gunner's aiming system is capable of automatic target tracking in day or night conditions. The PLA APC differs from the BMP-3 in that it is taller and has a greater internal volume. This is likely to allow a PLA infantry unit to carry more heavy equipment into battle. The new APC also is amphibious, but it is not known whether it is capable of ocean assaults like the new T-63A/T-99 amphibious tank.
But this design also shares the disadvantages of the BMP-3 design. First it combines combat and transport functions that could present temptations to use it unwisely against superior armor. If that happens, its large volume of gun or missile rounds would be vulnerable due to the vehicle's light armor. In addition, using the BMP-3 gun turret removes a great deal of space that could be used to transport troops and equipment, and greatly increases the expense of the vehicle. It is likely that this new PLA APC will be developed into several other less-armed variants to include those for pure troop transport, command, intelligence and medevac.
Possible Russian Weapons for T-63A/T-99 Amphibious Tank
Status: Production of 500 by 2005 expected for PLA Army
and Marine amphibious armor units Weight: 20 tons, est. Engine: 1,000hp diesel,
est. Performance: Unknown Armor: Unknown, but likely makes greater use of
composite-based armor Armament: MAIN GUN: 1x 105mm, 40x rounds, PENETRATION in
RHA, KE: 540mm; 600mm w/ DU round rnd
;CE: 390mm est.; 750mm w/ SPEAR rnd; may also have copy of Russian 9M117 BASTION, 4
km range, 600mm RHA penetration
Status: Production of 500 by 2005 expected for PLA Army and Marine amphibious armor units
Weight: 20 tons, est. Engine: 1,000hp diesel, est.
Armor: Unknown, but likely makes greater use of composite-based armor
Armament: MAIN GUN: 1x 105mm, 40x rounds, PENETRATION in RHA, KE: 540mm;
600mm w/ DU round rnd ;CE: 390mm est.; 750mm w/ SPEAR rnd; may also have copy of
Russian 9M117 BASTION, 4 km range, 600mm RHA penetration
Unique to the world's militaries, the PLA Army persists in producing modern dedicated amphibious tanks. Early models of PLA amphibious tanks, also called the T-63, were modified copies of the Soviet PT-76. In 1999 the PLA began to reveal its new Type-99 amphibious tank, also known as the T-63A, or ZTS-63A. It is thought that this tank was not added to the large October 1999 military parade so as not to alarm Taiwan, the primary motivation for its design. It is known to be in service with the 1st GA in the Nanjing MR and is also reported to be entering the PLA Marines. It succeeds the 19 ton T-63 series in that it uses a longer hull with welded armor and 1,000hp diesel engine. Armed with a 105mm main gun and a computerized fire control system, it is perhaps the most powerful amphibious tank in the world. According to a Taiwanese source, it is also armed with the Russian 9M117 BASTION laser-guided gun-launched anti-tank missile with a range of 5.2km. Firing this missile, or new Depleted Uranium tank rounds, the T-99 is able to penetrate the frontal turret armor of Taiwan's M-60 and M-48 based tanks. This means the T-63A has a good chance of defeating Taiwan's main battle tanks from the moment of landing, which was not possible for its predecessor. However, given the lightness of its armor, T-63A would not survive should it get within range of the 105mm guns on Taiwan's tanks.
Purchase of Russian PTS-2 or PTS-M Large Amphibious APC
In 2001 internet source pictures from CCTV showed a T-63 tank followed by what was a Russian PTS-2 or PTS-M large amphibious troop carrier. It first entered Soviet service in 1965 and the PTS-M is an improved version with the motor from a T-72 tank. They are intended to carry a large number of troops ashore. It is not known how many are in PLA service. If indeed the PLA has purchased a substantial number that would be an indicator of their seriousness in expanding their amphibious assault capability. However, its lack of armor and open troop carrying compartment requires a fairly secure landing area.
Russian BMD-3 or BMD-1P Airborne Combat Vehicle
Status: reported sale to China's airborne forces around
1995 Weight: BMD-3, 13.2 tons; BMD-1P, 8 tons Performance: BMD-3, speed, 71 km/h, range, 500 km, can carry up
to 5 extra soldiers; BMD-1P, speed, 61 km/h, range 500 km, can carry up to
6 soldiers Armament: BMD-3: 4x AT-4/AT-5 anti-tank missile, 1x 30 mm
gun with up to 500 rounds, 1x 7.62 mm machine gun, 1x 5.45 mm machine gun;
BMD-1P, AT-3/ AT-4 anti-tank missile, 1x 73 mm gun with 50 rounds, machine
guns; BMD-3M: 1x 100mm gun, w/ 18x unguided and 4x ARKAN missiles w/ 5.5km
range; 1x 30mm gun w/ 350 rounds
Status: reported sale to China's airborne forces around 1995
Weight: BMD-3, 13.2 tons; BMD-1P, 8 tons
Performance: BMD-3, speed, 71 km/h, range, 500 km, can carry up to 5 extra soldiers; BMD-1P, speed, 61 km/h, range 500 km, can carry up to 6 soldiers
Armament: BMD-3: 4x AT-4/AT-5 anti-tank missile, 1x 30 mm gun with up to 500 rounds, 1x 7.62 mm machine gun, 1x 5.45 mm machine gun; BMD-1P, AT-3/ AT-4 anti-tank missile, 1x 73 mm gun with 50 rounds, machine guns; BMD-3M: 1x 100mm gun, w/ 18x unguided and 4x ARKAN missiles w/ 5.5km range; 1x 30mm gun w/ 350 rounds
A 1997 report out of Hong Kong noted that since 1995 the PLA Airborne forces had been equipped with a "paratroop combat vehicle...light tank...12 metric tons...uses anti-tank bombs...large-caliber artillery...used to be exclusively owned by Russia's paratroops...."  While the combat weight mentioned in this article is less than but closer to the BMD-3, the mention of the large-caliber gun also raises the possibility the PLA purchased the older BMD-1P. Both BMD models are amphibious and three can be airdropped from an Il-76 heavy transport. Russians did not like the BMD-1 inasmuch as it tended to break down in rough terrain. The latest version offered by Russia is the BMD-3M, which incorporates a smaller and lighter version of the 100mm gun and missile launcher used on the BMP-3.
While it is not possible from available information to confirm the exact type of BMD employed by the PLA Airborne forces, it logical to speculate that the PLA will be buying more of the most recent BMD-3M version if, as recent reports indicate, the PLA is in the process of forming another Airborne army to build up for possible conflict over Taiwan. In the BMD the PLA Airborne forces received a significant increase in combat capability by providing them with a respectable light-weight infantry fighting vehicle. But even more than that, should the BMD-3M version be acquired then PLA Airborne forces will immediately have a tank gun that can out-range Taiwan's tanks and handily penetrate their armor. The ability of the ARKAN missile to shoot down helicopters only further complicates Taiwan's defensive response.
Coproduction of Russian Gun Launched Laser Guided Missiles
Status: Reported co-production of BASTION gun-launched
BASTION w/ 9M117M missile REFLEKS w/ 9M119M missile Caliber: 100mm
4 km 5
RHA 700mm RHA Weight: 27.5kg
Status: Reported co-production of BASTION gun-launched laser-guided missile
BASTION w/ 9M117M missile REFLEKS w/ 9M119M missile
Caliber: 100mm 125mm
Range: 4 km 5 km
Armor Penetration: 600mm RHA 700mm RHA
Weight: 27.5kg 24.3kg
Press reports and Mainland military magazines indicate that the PLA is co-producing at least one type of Russian tank gun-launched laser-guided anti-tank missile. This known system is the 3UBK10M-1 BASTION with the 9M117M missile. This missile was originally made in a 100mm size to allow upgrades for early Soviet-built tanks, but the PLA apparently has modified the missile to fit the 105mm tank gun used by more of its tanks, and to make it "unique" and thus exportable. This missile is now outfitting the new T-59D modification of this older PLA-built tank. It is also arming the newer T-63A amphibious tank and may also arm other tanks like the T-79. It is not known whether the PLA is co-producing the longer-range REFLEKS missile which is known to equip the T-98 tank, or the ARKAN, which presumably will arm the new AIFV. Israel remains another potential source for this technology, as it markets a similar gun-launched laser-guided missile called the LAHAT.
The advantage of these gun launched missiles is that they allow much greater range than conventional chemically propelled tank rounds. Their disadvantage is that they are very expensive relative to the cost of a tank and their laser guidance systems can be obscured by smoke. In addition, because they are missiles and have HEAT warheads, they are vulnerable to ERA. It is likely, however, that the PLA has judged their advantages justify their expense as they apparently are seeing wider use in the PLA tank corp.
Possible Israeli Influence for HJ-9 Anti-Tank Missile
Status: Their similarity suggests new HJ-9 ATGM is
influenced by Israeli MAPATS ATGM
HJ-9 MAPATS Length:
missile) 18kg Range:
5km 5km Penetration: 1,200mm RHA Guidance:
IR-laser beam riding
IR-laser beam riding
Status: Their similarity suggests new HJ-9 ATGM is influenced by Israeli MAPATS ATGM
Diameter: 152mm 156mm
Weight: 37kg (encased missile) 18kg
Range: 5km 5km
Penetration: 1,200mm RHA
Guidance: IR-laser beam riding IR-laser beam riding
During the 1999 October parade the PLA revealed a new guided anti-tank missile, the HJ-9. Subsequent Mainland military magazine reporting reveals the HJ-9's close similarity to the Israeli TAAS MAPATS laser-commanded anti-tank missile. The shape of the two missiles, to include the control fins, is almost identical, as are the diameter and range. There is no other published reporting to confirm an Israeli sale of this missile. If Israel is not the source, it may have also come via South Africa, which makes a copy of the MAPATS called the ZT-3. Both the HJ-9 and the MAPATS use the same guidance system in which the target is acquired and maintained in an optical low-light capable sight and then guided to the target by commands transmitted by a laser beam. MAPATS was designed by TAAS as a successor to U.S. TOW wire-command-guided anti-tank missiles. In the PLA the HJ-9 arms a 4x wheel version of the WZ551 APC and has been seen on an Iveco NJ2046 airborne truck. A brochure for the HJ-9 says it can also be fitted to helicopters and claims a penetration capability of 1,200mm of RHA, meaning it can handily deal with any of Taiwan's tanks not protected by ERA.
Italian IVECO Light Trucks for the PLA Army, Airborne and Police Forces
Status: 1996 joint venture with Italy's Iveco now
producing light trucks for PLA Army, Airborne and Police forces
NJ2054 NJ2046 Seating:
1+8 1+10 Configuration:
4x4 4x4 Weight: 2,850kg
2,950kg Max Load:
Status: 1996 joint venture with Italy's Iveco now producing light trucks for PLA Army, Airborne and Police forces
Seating: 1+8 1+10
Configuration: 4x4 4x4
Weight: 2,850kg 2,950kg
Max Load: 1,600kg 1,600kg
In 1996 Italy's Iveco Corporation, part of the larger Iveco Fiat-Otobreda combine, entered into a joint venture with the Nanjing Yuelin Motor Corporation to produce light trucks. A May 2003 report noted Iveco's intention to increase production to 30,000 units annually over the following two years, especially to meet a growing need for "special vehicles - fire engines, ambulances and military trucks." This joint venture reportedly uses CAD/CAM computer systems made by the Israel's Cimatron Company. This truck is apparently seeing growing use within the PLA. At the Zhuhai Airshow an Iveco truck was displayed configured as a canteen. In 2003 reports emerged that Iveco trucks were being used to fulfill another purpose: mobile lethal injection execution stations for the police.
In 2002 Internet source pictures began to emerge of a new airborne light truck in connection with PLA Airborne forces. The Airborne versions apparently are based on the heavier NJ2046 version. These pictures have shown the truck deploying by parachute and one Airborne version is armed with the HJ-9 anti-tank missile. Their light weight means that small transports like the Xian Y-8 can transport airborne vehicles that carry a considerable punch. It can be expected that the PLA will develop other combat roles for this versatile truck platform.
Two PRC Copies of U.S. General Motor's HUMVEE
Status: Two PRC truck makers are making very close copies
of the U.S. General Motors HUMVEE, one apparently going to the PLA
Shanghai SQF2040 DongFeng EQ2050 Seating: 1+4
1+4 Configuration: 4x4
2,437kg 2,950kg Max load: 1,135kg 1,750kg
Status: Two PRC truck makers are making very close copies of the U.S. General Motors HUMVEE, one apparently going to the PLA
Shanghai SQF2040 DongFeng EQ2050
Seating: 1+4 1+4
Configuration: 4x4 4x4
Weight: 2,437kg 2,950kg
Max load: 1,135kg 1,750kg
Since 2000 Internet source pictures have emerged of not one, but two apparent made-in-the-PRC copies of the ubiquitous General Motors HUMVEE. It is called the M998 High-Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) by the U.S. Army and friendly militaries around the world. One is manufactured by a truck-making subsidiary of the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation and another by the DongFeng truck making company. It is not known if the copies of the HUMVEE are being made with the full consent and cooperation of the General Motors Corporation. The DongFeng company is reported to be importing U.S.-made parts for its vehicle. It is possible they could be unauthorized copies; there is now fierce competition among Western auto makers to secure alliances and market share in the PRC. Some may judge that ignoring a potential copyright violation may be better for long-term corporate interests.
Inasmuch as the PLA is buying more light-weight Iveco trucks, it may also be attracted to the U.S. HMMWV concept. Both would be worthy successors to the current smaller Soviet-inspired jeep-size vehicles used by the PLA. The successor to the WWII "Jeep," the HMMWV was made larger to accommodate modern weapons like anti-tank missiles. But it has also helped to drive down the size of military systems as its use became more widespread. The U.S. military uses these vehicles for troop transport, ambulances, command centers, weather centers, and to carry a range of weapons from anti-tank missiles to a SAM version of the AIM-120, called the SLAMRAAM. This vehicle is also widely used by the Taiwan military. While it is not clear that the PLA wants to fully commit to this model of light-weight transport, it would help the PLA to set a template for future "mechanization." Internet source pictures of the Dongfeng model have shown them coming off a production line in military camouflage, a good indication that the PLA may be buying this version. DongFeng also markets a version armed with a 23mm cannon.
France's Crotale/ HQ-7 /FM-80/FM-90 SAM
Status: In production for the PLA Army, PLA Air Force and
PLA Navy Launch weight: 84.5 kg Performance: SPEED, Mach 2.3,
RANGE, 12 km; FM-90, SPEED, M 2.6, RANGE: 15km Guidance: Radio command guidance by target acquisition and
guidance radar, range, 15 km, with TV-tracker to counter ECM; FM-90, radar,
25km range, plus IR and TV tracking Mobility: road mobile and air mobile in an Il-76, two units,
missile and tracking radar, plus search radar unit
Status: In production for the PLA Army, PLA Air Force and PLA Navy
Launch weight: 84.5 kg Performance: SPEED, Mach 2.3, RANGE, 12 km; FM-90, SPEED, M 2.6, RANGE: 15km
Guidance: Radio command guidance by target acquisition and guidance radar, range, 15 km, with TV-tracker to counter ECM; FM-90, radar, 25km range, plus IR and TV tracking
Mobility: road mobile and air mobile in an Il-76, two units, missile and tracking radar, plus search radar unit
The HQ-7 is a copy of the French Crotale short-range SAM sold to the PLA in the early1980s. The HQ-7 was first revealed at the Dubai Air Show in 1989 and is said to have entered PLA service in 1991. A version of the HQ-7 equips the Luhu-class destroyer. The Crotale entered French service in the 1970s, having emerged from a cooperative program with South Africa to build an advanced air-defense missile. Later versions like the Crotale NG have a higher speed up to Mach 3.5 and more advanced all-weather guidance systems. In PLA service the HQ-7 is used by the Army, Air Force and Navy. It is a capable short-range air defense system. At the 1998 Zhuhai Airshow the PLA unveiled a more capable FM-90 version, which features a faster and longer-range missile and the addition of an infrared camera to compliment the TV tracking camera.
Russia's 9M330 TorM-1 (SA-15 Gauntlet) SAM
Status: China reported to take delivery of up to 60 SA-15
systems Missile Launch weight:
167 kg Performance: Missile Speed, 850 m/s, range, 12 km, 8 missiles
per TELAR vehicle Guidance: radio command guidance, integral surveillance and
engagement radar on the TELAR, each with a range of 25 km, can data link
with other air defense systems
Status: China reported to take delivery of up to 60 SA-15 systems
Missile Launch weight: 167 kg
Performance: Missile Speed, 850 m/s, range, 12 km, 8 missiles per TELAR vehicle
Guidance: radio command guidance, integral surveillance and engagement radar on the TELAR, each with a range of 25 km, can data link with other air defense systems
Russian and U.S. press reports noted that in 1997 the PLA was to take delivery of 15 Russian SA-15 systems. This would include at least 120 missiles, but likely many more would be acquired. An early 1998 report notes that 14 SA-15 systems were delivered to China in 1997. Another report notes that 20 more systems were purchased in 1999. And in 2002 a report noted an order for a third batch of 25. In 1997 Russian sources said that it would be very difficult for China to reverse-engineer the TOR M-1. There are unconfirmed reports that this missile was slated for co-production by the PLA with the intention of building up to 160 units, enough for 10 regiments. The PLA has also purchased simulators for the TOR M-1. This missile is only known to be used by the PLA Army. It is reported to be deployed with the 38th GA in the Beijing MR and may also be deployed to other units by now.
The TOR M-1 represents for China a significant improvement in automated short-range air defenses. Reaction time is 5 to 8 seconds from detection; missiles can be launched at 3 second intervals. A pulse-Doppler C-band surveillance radar can detect up to 48 targets at 15 miles, and track the 10 most threatening. A phased-array K-band target tracking and guidance radar can engage two targets traveling up to 1,500 mph, by day or night, in all weather, and in a dense ECM environment. A TV tracking system with a 12 mile range complements the TOR's performance in all weather and in dense ECM. For China, the TOR M-1 will be able to defend not only against helicopters and low-flying aircraft, but also a range of PGMs, UAVs, cruise missiles, and some ballistic missiles. It is intended to be deployed in conjunction with the S-300 but inasmuch as they are controlled by the PLA Army, they may not be so paired.
Russian BM 9A52 "Smerch" MLRS Influence on A-100 MLRS
Status: Russian "Smerch" purchased, PLA adaptation, the
CPMIEC A-100 is in production
Smerch A-100 Rocket Size: 300mm
diameter 300mm diameter Rocket Range: up to 70km;Smerch-M, 90km 100km, up
to 120km Warheads:
HE, Cluster, Mines, Fused
Sensor HE, Cluster, Mines, Fused Senor in dev. TEL
tons 22 tons Speed/Range:
850km 60 km/h TEL
Tubes: 12 10
Status: Russian "Smerch" purchased, PLA adaptation, the CPMIEC A-100 is in production
Rocket Size: 300mm diameter 300mm diameter
Rocket Range: up to 70km;Smerch-M, 90km 100km, up to 120km
Warheads: HE, Cluster, Mines, Fused Sensor HE, Cluster, Mines, Fused Senor in dev.
TEL Weight: 40 tons 22 tons
Speed/Range: 60km/h, 850km 60 km/h
TEL Tubes: 12 10
According to a 1997 report the PLA took delivery of an unknown number of Russian SMERCH multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS), and an unknown number of artillery rockets. That same year Russian sources said the related rockets sold to China are a downgraded version with only a 50 km vs a 70 km range. While plausible, this cannot be taken seriously. Nevertheless, the PLA was so taken by this concept that in 2000 its China National Precision Machinery Import & Export Corporation (CPMIEC) revealed a near facsimile, the A-100 MLRS.
China's purchase of the SMERCH MLRS demonstrated an interest in upgrading its artillery capability. The significance of this system is that it opens the door to "deep strike" tactics and capabilities that combine advanced reconnaissance and smart munitions, which enable Army units to defeat large armored formations with less effort. It is consistent with the PLA's priority to "imformationize" the PLA, or to make greater use of information as a weapon. The purchase of the SMERCH compliments to drive PLA investment in the direction of more capable UAVs and toward usage of advanced satellite imaging systems to support long-range targeting.
Somewhat comparable to the U.S. MLRS, the SMERCH 300 mm rocket can carry up to 5 Bazalt parachute-retarded munitions which use a two-colored sensor to find the target and fire a 1 kg penetrator at 2,000 m/s. This can penetrate 70 mm of armor at a 30 degree angle. It is very likely that China will purchase this submunition, which it may copy and use to equip its own artillery rockets or longer-range cruise missiles. For the SMERCH, the Russians were also able to achieve accuracies previously difficult to achieve with unguided rockets of that range. A future SMERCH-M version promises 90km range rockets.
The CPMIEC A-100 for all practical purposes looks like the SMERCH, save for having 10 tubes instead of 12. What is interesting is that CPMIEC claims to have developed missiles with a 120km range, which is greater than what the Russian can make even for an upgraded SMERCH-M. In its arms show advertisements, missile range is indicated as 100km, which is still an improvement over the SMERCH. As the U.S. is moving to put GPS guidance and movable fins on its MLRS rockets, it probable that the PLA is looking to do the same. There are indications that A-100 rockets may use a "gas-dynamic" or small thruster system for guiding these rockets at long ranges. It is not known whether the PLA has developed fused-sensor munitions, but it is known to be an important priority. So armed, the A-100 will help to advance the PLA's goals for "informatization."
Purchase and Possible Co-Production of 2S23 Nona-SVK Self-propelled mortar
Status: Reported sale of 100, possibly delivered in
1997, now produced as the 2S23 Nona-SVK Mortar: 120 mm, SHELL, 25 kg; range, 7.5 km, 30x rounds APC: BTR-80, weight, 14,500 kg, speed, 80 km/h, range,
500 km , crew: 4x, Norinco 120mm Self
Propelled Mortar Mortar: 120mm, SHELL: 8.5-9.5km range, 36x rounds APC: WZ551
Status: Reported sale of 100, possibly delivered in 1997, now produced as the
Mortar: 120 mm, SHELL, 25 kg; range, 7.5 km, 30x rounds
APC: BTR-80, weight, 14,500 kg, speed, 80 km/h, range, 500 km , crew: 4x,
Norinco 120mm Self Propelled Mortar
Mortar: 120mm, SHELL: 8.5-9.5km range, 36x rounds
In 1997 the Washington Times reported that the PLA was to take delivery of about 100 of the Russian 2S23 Nona-SVK self propelled mortars. This system combines features of a howitzer and a mortar, in that it fires mortar ammunition through a breach-loading tube. It has no western equivalent. This purchase increases the mobility and flexibility of the PLA's artillery support forces and the power of its airborne forces. Of particular interest would be the possibility that China would purchase the Gran laser-guided mortar round that can be used with the Nona-SVK. The Gran may have a 14 km (8.4 mi) range and up to a 0.9 hit probability. It also may have a tandem-warhead capable of defeating explosive-reactive armor. Another round developed for the 2S23 may contain 35 HEAT anti-armor submunitions. The Nona-SVK is transportable in China's Il-76s. When used with airborne forces it will supply a mobile artillery system capable of defeating tanks and stationary targets with a high degree of accuracy.
In mid-2001 the PLA revealed that it has produced a close facsimile to the Nona-SVK. Mounted on a WZ551 APC, it featured a 120mm mortar with a slightly improved performance over the Russian model. It is not known whether this self-propelled mortar system will enter the PLA. However, if adopted, this system would give PLA amphibious forces, and possibly Airborne forces a new potent mobile artillery platform.
Co-Production of Russian Laser-Guided Artillery and Tank Missiles
Status: Kitolov 122mm and new 155mm laser-guided artillery
shells being co-produced by the PLA Specs for 122mm: Weight: 25 kg Range: Kitolov-2, 12 km, Kitolov-2M, 14 km Guidance: laser designator, range, 7 km, hit probability, up
Status: Kitolov 122mm and new 155mm laser-guided artillery shells being co-produced by the PLA
Specs for 122mm:
Weight: 25 kg
Range: Kitolov-2, 12 km, Kitolov-2M, 14 km
Guidance: laser designator, range, 7 km, hit probability, up to 0.9
The PLA's purchase of the Russian KITOLOV-2 laser-guided artillery shell was also reported in 1997. The latter laser-seeker components may also be used the GRAN mortar round. For the PLA the KITOLOV allows a simple howitzer to become a PGM delivery system. While there must be coordination between the forward observer/laser designator and the howitzer crew, the KITOLOV allows one gun to do what previously required many guns to accomplish.
At the 2001 Moscow Airshow Russian official confirmed that the KITOLOV was being co-produced by the PLA. In January 2003 a Mainland military magazine revealed that a new 155mm version of the round had been produced. This is significant as this Western caliber is seeing increasing usage by the PLA and its already widespread use in Western armies increases prospects for exports. This also indicates not only a mastery of a new technology but an ability to improve upon the original.
Co Production of Instrument Design Bureau (KPB) SHMEL Personal FAE
Status: China has signed a contract to produce up to
10,000 of this system Weight: 12 kg Warhead: Thermobaric, fuel-air-explosive Max range: 1,000 m
Status: China has signed a contract to produce up to 10,000 of this system
Weight: 12 kg
Warhead: Thermobaric, fuel-air-explosive
Max range: 1,000 m
China has obtained a license to co-produce the Instrument Design Bureau's Shmel infantry-artillery system. A Russian source notes that after a rocky start which included Chinese engineers being caught trying to smuggle out plans for this rocket, both the Russians and the Chinese then worked to successfully conclude a co-production agreement. This contract also may be delayed due to pricing conflicts. While often called a flame thrower this unique system can be likened more to a personal fuel-air-explosive. It fires a can that upon impact produces "excess pressure, blast wave and high temperature field," according to KBP promotional literature. KBP also notes that Shmel has the same explosive power of a 122 mm high-explosive fragmentary shell. Pictures of its handiwork are rather impressive, to include exploded buildings, bunkers and burning aircraft and trucks. In 2001 Mainland military magazines began to carry articles on the co-produced version. It is likely that the PLA will begin to sell its copy, which may increase the danger that this weapon will fall into the hands of terrorist elements connected to early probable customers, like Iran and Pakistan.
Western and Russian Counter-Artillery Systems for the PLA
Status: Both the SPR-2 jamming system and the ZOOPARK-1
radar have been sold to the PLA SPR-2 Artillery Fuse
Jamming System Jamming Area: 50ha Number of fuses: 40 or more ZOOPARK-1 Fire positions
detected per min: 70 Number of simultaneous
targets tracked: 12
Status: Both the SPR-2 jamming system and the ZOOPARK-1 radar have been sold to the PLA
SPR-2 Artillery Fuse Jamming System
Jamming Area: 50ha
Number of fuses: 40 or more
Fire positions detected per min: 70
Number of simultaneous targets tracked: 12
Given the great emphasis the PLA Army places on its artillery forces it is no surprise that it has had a long interest in counter-artillery technologies. In the 1980s it purchased the British Racal (now Thales) CYMBERLINE counter-artillery radar. Recent Internet-source pictures from a 2003 PLA military electronics show indicate the Huanghe Machine Building Factory in Xian is building a copy of the CYMBERLINE. In the 1980s the U.S. sold the PLA four AN/TPQ-37 artillery-locating radar. This pioneering radar, still in use in the U.S. Army in more capable versions, is able to track incoming artillery and SRBMs and immediately provide counter-fire targeting data to friendly artillery.
The PLA has also purchased Russian counter-artillery systems. At the 1997 Moscow Airshow the makers of the Ukrainian ZOOPARK-1 counter-artillery radar demurred that the PLA was only interested in a few of their radar to make a sale worth while. Their fear was that the PLA was only interested in reverse-engineering their technology. But at the 2001 Moscow show this same company stated that it had sold a small number of their ZOOPARK-1 radar to the PLA. This mobile counter-artillery radar is able to detect 70 or more enemy fire positions per minute and provide immediate counter-fire targeting solutions to friendly artillery systems. It can track small mortar rounds as well and SRBMs.
In 2002 the Hong Kong magazine Conmilint carried pictures of a PLA Army exercise in which a new type APC with Yagi-type antennae was advancing with tanks. This was the first indication that Russia had sold the PLA its SPR-2 artillery fuse jamming system. Artillery rounds require fuses to detonate their explosive or other types of warheads. As most of these fuses use an electrical mechanism to set the time, altitude or point of impact for the explosion to occur, the SPR-2 manages to jam that electronic signal. It is able to jam an area of about 50 hectares. It is not known how many SPR-2 systems were sold to the PLA.
Mil Mi-8/17/17I/ Kazan Mi-17-V5 HIP
Status: The PLA has purchased/ordered 216 of the Mil
Mi-8/17 family of helicopters and is likely to purchase more
Mi-8 Mi-17 Mi-17I
Mi-17-V5 Mi-17-V7 Powerplant: 2xKlimov TV2-117A TV-3-117MT TV-3-117MT
TV-3-117VM VK-2500 Max Weight:
13,000kg 13,000kg 13,000kg 14,000kg Payload int/ext: 4,000/3,000kg 4,000/4,000kg
4,000/4,000kg 4,000/5,000kg 5000kg internal Range:
690km 690km 590km 890km Accommodations: 24 troops
30 30 34-40 34-40 Armament: All versions capable of outfitting for rocket
pods, pintle-mounted MGs Number in PLA: 30
47 45 69 25
Status: The PLA has purchased/ordered 216 of the Mil Mi-8/17 family of helicopters and is likely to
Mi-8 Mi-17 Mi-17I Mi-17-V5 Mi-17-V7
Powerplant: 2xKlimov TV2-117A TV-3-117MT TV-3-117MT TV-3-117VM VK-2500
Max Weight: 12,000kg 13,000kg 13,000kg 13,000kg 14,000kg
Payload int/ext: 4,000/3,000kg 4,000/4,000kg 4,000/4,000kg 4,000/5,000kg 5000kg internal
Range: 464km 690km 690km 590km 890km
Accommodations: 24 troops 30 30 34-40 34-40
Armament: All versions capable of outfitting for rocket pods, pintle-mounted MGs
Number in PLA: 30 47 45 69 25 ordered
According to an authoritative count, as of late 2003 the PLA had about 191 of all members of Russia's Mil Mi-8/17 family. This will reportedly increase to 216 with the order of 25 new Kazan-built Mi-17V-7 versions. In 2002 Russia also offered the PRC a proposal to co-produce helicopters, presumably the Mi-17. The PLA reportedly stole its first Mi-8 helicopters from rail shipments traveling through the PRC to Vietnam in the 1960s. After the Tiananmen embargo closed off further supply of the Sikorsky S-70 and curtailed access to European helicopters, and because domestic helicopter development was slow, the Mi-17 became the helicopter of choice for the PLA. Recent purchases have shifted to the Kazan factory's Mi-17-V5 version, which features a new "dolphin" nose and flat rear fuselage ramp for easier access. Purchases are now shifting to Kazan's improved Mi-17-V7 version, which features a more powerful engine and greater payload and range. These will be more suited to high-altitude work in Tibet. It is also possible that Mi-17-V5s may be upgraded to V-7 standard. One deficiency for the PLA's Mi-17s is a lack of electronic counter-measure devices. One report suggests Israel may be angling for some of this business.
The Mi-8 and the Mi-17 are the standard Russian transport helicopter and more than 12,300 have been built since the first one flew in 1961. Their export success is attributed to a robust design, high reliability, ability to take punishment, ease of maintenance and a low purchase price relative to Western helicopters. The price is roughly a third to a quarter of the price of a Sikorsky S-70. While larger than most Western medium helicopters it can also carry more troops and a greater payload. Specific versions of the M-8 and Mi-17 are designed for transport, medevac, anti-tank, ELINT and ECM missions. In the PLA they are used mainly for troop/Special Forces transport and medevac. Some have been viewed on the Internet equipped with internal long-range fuel tanks. Many have been modified with external racks that can carry bombs or unguided rockets. Absent a decision to co-produce the Mi-17, and until indigenous medium/heavy helicopters are firmly established, the PLA may continue to purchase Mi-17s.
A possible alternative however was test-flown for the first time in December 2003. The Mil Mi-38 is a 15,600kg helicopter powered by two Pratt-Whitney Canada PW-127T/S engines. It can carry up to 6 tons internally, 8 tons externally and in one configuration, 30 seats for passengers. Troop accommodation is likely higher. Mil is marketing this helicopter as the successor to the Mi-17 line.
Mil Mi-6 Hook
Status: In PLA service since early 1970s, only 3 believed
in service today Powerplant: 2x Aviadvigatel D-25V turboshafts, 5,425 shaft
horsepower Weight: 42,500kg max weight Performance: SPEED, 250km/h; RANGE, 620km w/ max payload Accommodation: up to 12,000kg external, or 70 fully equipped
Status: In PLA service since early 1970s, only 3 believed in service today
Powerplant: 2x Aviadvigatel D-25V turboshafts, 5,425 shaft horsepower
Weight: 42,500kg max weight
Performance: SPEED, 250km/h; RANGE, 620km w/ max payload
Accommodation: up to 12,000kg external, or 70 fully equipped troops
In early 1998 reports began to appear that the PLA had a limited number of what was once the largest and fastest transport helicopter in the world. A photo appeared in the Hong Kong magazine Comilt of two PLA Mi-6s at night. Additional references also mention sightings of the Mi-6 around the Beijing area. The PLA is reported to have stolen some Mi-6s transiting China on their way to Vietnam in the early 1970s. Vietnam eventually acquired 11 of these helicopters. Only three are believed operational in the PLA in 2003.
The PLA's obtaining the Mi-6 is important in that it illustrated unknown heavy-lift capability. The Mi-6 can carry either troops or small armored vehicles. After the Mi-6 first flew in 1957, it set several performance records that remained until broken by its successor, the Mi-26 Halo. The PLA's use of the Mi-6 at least raises the possibility that the PLA may seek eventually to purchase the Mi-26. This remarkable helicopter can carry as much weight as a U.S. C-130 cargo aircraft.
French and Italian Assistance for "Z-10" Helicopter Program
With the help of European, and possibly other foreign technology, the PLA is developing its own Third Generation helicopter. Often referred to as the "Z-10," it is actually a program to build three distinct helicopters around a common dynamic system-engine, transmission, rotor and blades. A 5.5 ton transport version is informally referred to as the Chinese Medium Helicopter (CMH), and there may be a 5-6 ton civilian version. The engine, transmission and rotor from the CMH will also be used to build a new attack helicopter (ATH). The CMH/ATH program has taken the PRC back to Europe which is eager to advance cooperation in this field and skirt Tiananmen related arms embargos. In March 1999 Italy's AugustaWestland helicopter company entered into a co-development program with AVIC-II to help design the new helicopter's engine transmission. This cooperation was expended in July 2000 to other aspects of the CMH program. Eurocopter has also been engaged to validate the helicopter's new rotor system. While the engine choice is not yet known, CHRDI is known to have acquired two Pratt&Whitney Canada PT6-67C 1,700 shaft horsepower engines. This engine also powers the new Augusta AB-139 medium helicopter, which is thought to be comparable to the CMH. At the 2002 Zhuhai Airshow an image of this new helicopter was displayed in the AVIC-II pavilion. The dynamic area containing the engine and rotor bore a strong resemblance to that of the AB-139, perhaps confirming strong Italian influence on this design.
The ATH, also called the Z-10, reportedly flew for the first time in early 2003. This will likely be a 6 ton helicopter that will strongly resemble the Eurocopter TIGER, which weighs about the same. An Internet source photo from 1999 showing a model indicating this helicopter's likeness to the TIGER was inadvertently confirmed by a CHRDI official during the 2000 Zhuhai Air Show. This new helicopter will feature tandem crew seating, twin engines, and modern sensor and targeting equipment. Very likely, it may also have the ability to share networked targeting information. It will be armed with a nose-mounted cannon and a variety of guided and unguided missiles. When it enters service, perhaps in this decade, this new attack helicopter will greatly increase the PLA Army's long-range precision strike capability.
Eurocopter Dauphin/ Harbin Z-9/WZ-9/Z-9C
Status: About 61 Z-9 utility and 31 Z-9 combat helicopters
plus some electronic warfare variants in PLA service, small number of Z-9C
in PLA Navy service Powerplant: 2x Turbomeca Arriel 1C/ 1C1 (WZ 8/ WZ 8A, 734 shp)
Weight: max, 9,039 lbs Performance: speed, 177 mph, range, 534 mi, payload, 4,439 lbs Armament: WZ-9: up to 4x HJ-8 guided anti-armor missiles;
rocket pods and cannon
Status: About 61 Z-9 utility and 31 Z-9 combat helicopters plus some electronic warfare variants in PLA service, small number of Z-9C in PLA Navy service
Powerplant: 2x Turbomeca Arriel 1C/ 1C1 (WZ 8/ WZ 8A, 734 shp)
Weight: max, 9,039 lbs
Performance: speed, 177 mph, range, 534 mi, payload, 4,439 lbs
Armament: WZ-9: up to 4x HJ-8 guided anti-armor missiles; rocket pods and cannon
The Z-9 is a co-produced version of the Aerospatiale Dauphin medium transport helicopter. The contract between Harbin and Aerospatiale was signed in 1980 and the initial batch of 50 was completed in 1992. This helicopter was an advance for China's technology base in that it was an opportunity to produce a modern turbine-powered helicopter with then-new "fenstron" tail-rotor technology. The latest utility version in production is the Z-9B, which has a slightly more powerful engines and greater PRC content. It serves in the PLA Army as a troop carrier, though a small number have been modified for electronic warfare missions. The first attack version, the WZ-9, or Z-9W, first flew in 1989 and so far, about 31 have been built. It is armed with up to four guided anti-tank missile, or rocket pods or side-mounted cannon. One example serves to test the TY-9, a new helicopter air-to-air missile revealed in 1998. Small number of Z-9Cs serve in the PLA Navy. These are equipped with a French-derived search radar and carry a dipping sonar and one ASW torpedo.
Eurocopter AS 350 Ecureuil, AS 550 Fennec/ Changhe Z-11/WZ-11
Status: China has at least 53 Z-11 training helicopters
and is now producing an armed anti-armor variant Powerplant: 1x Turbomeca Arriel turboshaft Weight: T-O weight 2200 kg Performance: SPEED, 220 km/h, RANGE, 560km, ENDURANCE, 3.7 hr Armament: 4x stations for guided anti-armor missiles or
Status: China has at least 53 Z-11 training helicopters and is now producing an armed anti-armor variant
Powerplant: 1x Turbomeca Arriel turboshaft
Weight: T-O weight 2200 kg
Performance: SPEED, 220 km/h, RANGE, 560km, ENDURANCE, 3.7 hr
Armament: 4x stations for guided anti-armor missiles or unguided rockets
In something of a surprise for PLA observers, the PLA was revealed to be making a copy of the AS 350 ECUREUIL (Squirrel) helicopter at the 1996 Zhuhai Air Show. A Changhe brochure shows the Z-11 in military camouflage. According to Kenneth Munson, editor of the China section of Jane's All the World's Aircraft, China acquired two AS 350s from a U.S. operator in 1994, and France sold China another 8 in 1996. If France did sell these aircraft to the PLA then it represented an attempt to sustain their business relationship with the PLA despite the European Community embargo. The PLA has since built over 50 training versions of the Z-11 which are used to train PLA helicopter pilots.
At the 2002 Zhuhai show Changhe revealed that it was developing an armed version of the Z-11, called the WZ-11 Combat Songshu.. A twin-engine Z-11 is being developed with the help of Rolls Royce, that will be comparable to the AS-555 FENNEC. This may yet be the real basis for the WZ-11 as it would have more power. The WZ-11 employs a sight mounted on top the fuselage and has weapons pylons for either four guided anti-armor missiles or four unguided rocket pods. In late 2003 the PLA was reported to have built six of these WZ-11 Combat Songshu versions. The WZ-11 may turn out to be an important weapon in the PLA's ongoing preparations for a war over Taiwan. Cheap and relatively simple to produce, a large number of WZ-11s could inflict significant damage and provide much needed scout functions and initial air cover for invading PLA troops. This may prove to be a more important attack helicopter for the PLA than the indigenous WZ-10.
Eurocopter SA-342L Gazelle
Status: reported 8 sold to the PLA in the 1980s Powerplant: Turbomeca Astazou XIVM, 858 shp Weight: 2,000kg lbs Performance: speed, 260km/h, range, 710km Armament: four anti-tank missiles
Status: reported 8 sold to the PLA in the 1980s
Powerplant: Turbomeca Astazou XIVM, 858 shp
Weight: 2,000kg lbs
Performance: speed, 260km/h, range, 710km
Armament: four anti-tank missiles
A reported 8 GAZELLES are in PLA service. These likely were sold by France in the mid-1980s. In French service they are armed with the HOT wire-guided anti-tank missiles. The PLA GAZZELLES are said to be armed with the HJ-8 anti-tank missile. There are no reports available to the author to indicate that China has purchased more GAZELLES, and thus, these helicopters represent a modest increase in airborne anti-tank capability. Recent Internet-source picture data suggests that the GAZELLEs are being used by a PLA Army "Blue Team" which simulates enemy tactics during Army exercises.
Spare Parts for the U.S. Sikorsky S-70Cs in PLA Army Service
Status: Powerplant: 2x General Electric CT7-2C, 1,625 shp Weight: max T-O, 9,185kg Performance: SPEED: 268km/h; RANGE: 550km; 3,630kg max external
load, up to 19 passengers
Powerplant: 2x General Electric CT7-2C, 1,625 shp
Weight: max T-O, 9,185kg
Performance: SPEED: 268km/h; RANGE: 550km; 3,630kg max external load, up to 19 passengers
The sale of 24 S-70C BLACKHAWK helicopters to the PLA dates back to the 1980s, and the then flourishing U.S.-China military relations, during the period of anti-Soviet comity. The BLACKHAWK is the standard U.S. Army transport helicopter, standard U.S. Navy ASW helicopter, is used by U.S. Special Forces, and is used by the ROC Navy for ASW. In 1992 they were said to be offered for sale following a dearth of spare parts caused by the Tiananmen embargoes. However, these helicopters are still used by the PLA, and very likely were featured during large-scale PLA exercises in 1996. They appear often in PLA generated pictures of Army exercises and have been photographed in high-altitude locations, most likely Tibet. The PLA is looking for spare parts to keep its fleet operational. Before the October 1997 visit to the U.S. of Chinese President Jaing Zemin, a wire story quotes "an official at US helicopter maker Sikorsky" saying that "The visit to the US of President Jaing Zemin may give us some relief...the discussions we have with the Chinese are on how we can try to persuade the US government to waive the [1989 arms export] sanctions." Though not granted in conjunction with that summit, Sikorsky apparently continued to seek a waiver into 1998. At one point, Secretary of Defense William Cohen was reported to have supported the waiver, only to be countered by the White House.
Again in October 2002 the issue of relieving U.S. arms sanctions to allow for spare parts sales for the S-70 was revived. This time the initiative appeared to come from the National Security Council of the new Administration of George W. Bush. The reported reason was to reward Beijing and to entice its further support for the new War on Terror. However, the idea was quickly quashed by high State Department officials and was even denied by the White House Spokesman. However, U.S. Congressmen who support the U.S. helicopter industry are pushing for a relaxation of U.S. export rules to the PRC that would allow the sale of "older" helicopters to the PRC. At a March 12, 2003 hearing of the House Armed Services Committee Congressmen Curt Weldon (R-PA) stated that he would "make an all-out push" to convince the State Department to relax export rules.
Sikorsky S-92 Helibus Joint Venture
Status: Joint venture civil development and production
program including the Jingdezhen Helicopter Group. Powerplant: 2x General Electric CT7-8, with 2,400 shaft
horsepower Weight: 12,020kg with max external load Performance: SPEED, 260km/h, RANGE, 890km, max range, up to 22
Status: Joint venture civil development and production program including the Jingdezhen Helicopter Group.
Powerplant: 2x General Electric CT7-8, with 2,400 shaft horsepower
Weight: 12,020kg with max external load
Performance: SPEED, 260km/h, RANGE, 890km, max range, up to 22 troops
Started in earnest in 1995, the S-92 represents an attempt by Sikorsky to provide an evolution to the S-70 series that more effectively competes with European EH-101 and NH-90 advanced technology transport helicopters. To assist its marketing, Sikorsky has enlisted five development partners including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (7.5%), Gamesa (7%), Taiwan Aerospace (6.5%), Embraer (4%) and China's Jingdezhen Helicopter Group (2%). Including Jingdezhen is clearly an attempt to break into the China market. The latter will build the tail pylon and tailplane. All of the development partners are linked by the CATIA three-dimensional design system that allows drawing and documents to exchanged over an encrypted computer network.
Originally designed as a companion for the S-70 helicopter series, the S-92 has come to incorporate a great deal of advances in drive and electronic systems. The dynamic system, or rotor, will be 20 percent more powerful than that of the S-70. Instrumentation will be formatted on liquid crystal displays and the S-92 will have an automatic hovering and navigation system. The S-92 will use a 1553 computer data bus will provide an "open architecture" for adding sensors or weapons.
From this project China will gain the most in the areas of advanced computer design, and depending on its level of access to the design process, possible invaluable assistance in helicopter design integration. Actual sale of the S-92 in China will depend on a U.S. relaxation in military use export controls. But if China does acquire the S-92, its civil sector, at least initially, will obtain a modern helicopter that represents the American state of the art. As of early 2004 the S-92 is in competition with the August/Westland-designed, Lockheed co-produced EH-101 to the build the future helicopter to transport the President of the United States. Sikorsky officials have commented that if they win the competition they need not build any S-92 parts in the PRC. A decision between the contenders is expected in early 2005.
Continued Interest In Selling The Boeing 234 Helicopter
Status: Near 1989 deal for PLA co-production, attempts to
revive sales to PRC in mid-1990s and in 2002 Powerplant: 2x Avco Lycoming AL-5512 turboshafts, 4,075 shp
Weight: max, up to 22,680kg Performance: SPEED, 256km/h range, 425km with max internal
load, about 9,126kg, or 50 troops
Status: Near 1989 deal for PLA co-production, attempts to revive sales to PRC in mid-1990s and in 2002
Powerplant: 2x Avco Lycoming AL-5512 turboshafts, 4,075 shp
Weight: max, up to 22,680kg
Performance: SPEED, 256km/h range, 425km with max internal load, about 9,126kg, or 50 troops
The civilian version of the U.S. CH-47 heavy transport helicopter, the Model 234 made a promotion trip to China in 1987. At that time negotiations with Harbin were underway to co-produce the Model 234 and a deal was nearly done by 1989. But the deal broke down after Tiananmen and Boeing had to return money to the PRC. However, in 1995 there were reports that these negotiations resumed. There have been no further reports. The latest move to sell this helicopter to the PRC came in 2002, promoted mainly by U.S. Congressional interests seeking to protect employment. In China this helicopter was promoted mainly to support the offshore petroleum industry. However, its utility as a heavy transport must not have gone unnoticed by the PLA. Taiwan's Army operates 3 Model 234 transport and 9 CH-47D helicopters. Whoever owns them on the Mainland, their danger is that they will repainted in Taiwan colors and used to deploy PLA Special Forces squads.
 Christopher S. Foss, ed., Jane's Armour and Artillery 1996-97, Coulsdon: Jane's Information Group, 1996, p. 79; information repeated in Jane's Armour and Artillery, 1997-98.
 William C. Triplett, "Inside China's Scary New Military-Industrial Complex," The Washington Post, Outlook, May 8, 1994, p. C3.
 Wang Hui, "ZTZ-98," Battlefield Magazine, translation by Daniel Fencheno, posted on the web page Tank Net, http://126.96.36.199/cgi-bin/ubbcgi/Ultimate.cgi?action=intro&BypassCookie=true ; the author was reportedly arrested after publication; also see, James M. Warford, "The Chinese Type 98 Main Battle Tank: A New Beast from the East," Armor, May-June 2000, pp. 12-14.
 David Miller, The Illustrated Directory of Tanks of the World, Osceola: MBI Publishing, 2000, p. 34.
 For analysis of this armor see James R. Warford, "The First Look at Soviet Special Armor, The Soviet T-72B Main Battle Tank," Journal of Military Ordinance, May 2002, pp. 4-7.
 Simon Dunstan, Modern Tanks and AVFs, Shewsbury: Airlife Publishing Ltd., 2002, p. 61.
 Wang Hui, op-cit.
 James M. Warford, "The New Chinese Type 98 MBT: A Second Look Reveals More Details," Armor, May-June, 2001, p. 22.
 Warford, op-cit, p. 23; Zhang, op-cit.
 DoD PLA Report, p. 4.
 This new PLA APC was revealed on several Chinese web pages on February 24, 2003; see also, "China Introduces Second Generation IVF, Kanwa News, March 20, 2003; Christopher F Foss, "China Develops Powerful New Infantry Fighting Vehicle," Jane's Defence Weekly, June 18, 2003.
 Colonel-General Valentin Bodanchikov, "Training Of Military Personnel In Russia For Foreign Armies," Military Parade, July and August 1997, p. 65.
 "'Slowdown in Russia-China Arms Trade," Interfax, November 10, 1997, in FBIS-UMA-97-314.
 Yihong Zhang, "China acquires BMP-3 fire-control system," Jane's Defence Weekly, November 10, 1999, p. 22.
 The author thanks Steven Zaloga for these observations.
 Christopher F. Foss, "China develops Type 99 amphibious tank," Jane's Defence Weekly, November 22, 2000, p. 14.
 Liu Hsiao-chun, "Chinese Armed Forces Improve Sea-Crossing Offensive Capabilities," Kuang Chiao China, July 16, 1997, in FBIS-CHI-97-225.
 The author is indebted to Steven Zaloga for this point.
 "China plans airborne unit near Taiwan Strait," Agence France Presse, August 26, 2003.
 "Chinese New Gun Launched ATM & Upgraded IVF," Kanwa News, April 21, 2003; Yihong Chang, "Russian-Chinese Arms Trade is Developing," Vremya Novostei, May 27, 2003, p. 6
 Luca Ciferri, "Fiat, Iveco build more to meet China demand; But car, commercial vehicle operations struggle to expand quickly enough," Automotive News Europe, May 5, 2003, p. 16
 Globes correspondent, "Cimatron establishes subsidiary in China," Globes [online] September 30, 2002.
 "China Opts for Execution Trucks," Fleet Owner, December 19, 2003.
 For pictures and specifications see, "Nanjing NJ2405 Troop Carrier Vehicle, Nanjing NJ2046 High Mobility Vehicle," China Defence Today, http://www.sinodefence.com/army/transport/nj2046.asp .
 "High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle," China Defence Today, http://www.sinodefence.com/army/transport/hmmwv.asp .
Christine Tierney, "Joint ventures in China expose Big 3 to piracy; Rivals are now partners; technology is vulnerable," Detroit News, December 8, 2003, p. 1A.
 "FM-80 (HQ-7)," Jane's Strategic Weapon Systems--Issue 15.
 Nickolay Novichkov, "Russian Arms Technology Pouring Into China," Aviation Week and Space Technology, May 12, 1997, p. 73; Anatoliy Yurkin, "Russia: Delivery of Missile Systems to China To Be Stepped Up," ITAR-TASS, March 31, 1997, in FBIS-TAC-97-090.
 Nikolai Novichkov, "Russian exports hit by crises," Jane's Defense Weekly Defense Industry Report, March, 1998, p. 1.
 "Tor M-1 (SA-15) Surface-to-Air Missile," China Defence Today, http://www.sinodefence.com/airforce/airdefence/torm1.asp .
 Kanwa News, October 2002.
 Interview, Moscow Airshow, August 1997.
 Tony Cullen and Christopher F. Foss, eds., Jane's Land-Based Air Defence, 2001-2002, Coulsdon: Jane's Information Group, 2001, p. 169.
 Bill Gertz, "Russia sells China high-tech artillery," The Washington Times, July 3,1997, p. A1.
 "Russian company leads the way in sensor-fused munitions," Jane's International Defense Review, February, 1997, p. 10.
 Christopher F. Foss, "Russian gun/mortar system detailed," Jane's Intelligence Review, March, 1996, p. 112.
 Jane's Armour and Artillery, 1996-1997, p. 635.
 Foss, p. 113.
 Christopher F. Foss, ed., "Norinco 120mm SP mortar," Jane's Armour and Artillery 2003-2004, Coulsdon: Jane's Information Group, 2003, p.721.
 Gertz, op-cit.
 "France to evaluate Russian guided artillery round," Jane's International Defense Review, May, 1997, p. 6.
 Interview, Moscow Airshow, August 2001.
 Barbara Opall, "China Seeks Arms for World-Class Military," Defense News, October 13-19, 1997, p. 98; "Russian Official on PRC 'Strategic Cooperation,' Arms Trade," Moscow Interfax, November 6, 1997, in FBIS-TAC-97-310.
 "'Slowdown'...," op-cit.
 Luke Colton, "Airborne iron fist," Flight International, November 4, 2003, p. 40.
 Alexander Mladenov, "Hips Forever," Air International, September 2003, p. 54.
 "Russia interested in increasing aircraft deliveries to China," Interfax-AVN, August 20, 2002.
 Luke Colton, "Vertical strike," Flight International, November 11, 2003, p. 30.
 Mladenov, op-cit.
 Howard Gethin, "EuroMil's Mi-38 collaboration makes first flight," Flight International, January 6, 2004, p. 6.
 Picture available on Hui Tong's web page Accessed on May 6, 1998.
 Yuan Lin, "Cross-Strait Military Helicopter Contest," Kuang Chiao Ching, April 16, 1998, pp. 24-29, in FBIS-CHI-98-127.
 Correspondence with Hui Tong.
 Colton, "Airborne.," op-cit.
 Farina, op-cit.
 Colton, "Vertical Strike," op-cit.
 Author interview, November 2000.
 Kenneth Munson, "Chinese mystery, Talkback," Air International, June, 1997, p. 383.
 Colton, "Airborne.," op-cit.
 Reported on Hui Tong's web page, email@example.com, August 17, 1997.
 Jane's All The World's Aircraft, 1987-88, p. 64.
 Jane's All The World's Aircraft, 1993-94, p. 567.
 "Military Links High on Jiang Zemin Visit To US," Hong Kong AFP, October 14, 1997.
 Jefferson Morris, "Weldon vows to get older helicopters off State Department munitions list," Aerospace Daily, March 14, 2003, p. 1.
 Graham Warwick, "Helibus speeds up," Flight International, January 14-20, 1998, p. 55.
 Interview, Washington, D.C., September 2003; see also, Robert Wall, "U.S. Pitch," Aviation Week and Space Technology, January 12, 2004, p. 32.
 "Offers in to supply US presidential helicopter," Flight International, January 6, 2004, p. 14.
 Jane's All The World's Aircraft, 1987-88, p. 397.
 Gilles Campion, "China eyes
US, Russian helicopters," Agence France Presse,
October 13, 1997.
 Sherman, Jason, "U.S. may ease utility copter export rules; Boeing's Chinooks might be sold to China, Defense News, April 8, 2002, p. 1.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|