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Type 85 Armored Personnel Carrier
YW 307
YW 531H (M-1967)
VTT-323 (M-1973)

The Type 85 Armored Personnel Carrier, also known as YW 531H and the M-1967 APC, is the successor to the YW 531 with 5 roadwheels rather than the 4 roadwheels of its predecessor. With a hull of all-welded steel construction, the Type 85 is fully amphibious, propelled in the water by its tracks.

The Type 85 is almost identical to the Type YW 534 with some minor differences. It is slightly lighter, shorter and narrower, and does not have the four smoke dischargers on each side of the forward part of the hull.

The driver sits at the front of the vehicle and the commander sits to the rear of the driver. The engine compartment is to the right of the driver.

The Type 85 has a torsion-bar suspension with each side having five dual rubber-tired road wheels, with drive sprocket at the front, idler at the rear and track return rollers.

The engine compartment is to the right of the driver with the air-inlet and air-outlet louvers in the roof and the exhaust pipe on the right side.

The Type 85 has a driver's left-opening single-piece hatch cover and three forward-facing periscopes, one of which can be replaced by an infrared device for night driving. There is a commander's single-piece hatch cover with an integral vision device.

The troop compartment is at the rear with the troops entering through a large door that is hinged on the right. This door has a vision block and a firing port.

There are two firing ports and periscopes in the left side of the vehicle and three or four firing ports on the right side with a similar number of periscopes. (Other vehicles have been observed with three firing ports and periscopes in the left side and four in the right: there may well be differences between production vehicles.) The firing ports are provided with ball and socket type mountings for rifles.

The Type 85 has a single circular roof hatch on each side in the forward part of the troop compartment, two oblong roof hatches to the rear of the 12.7mm machine gun and a trim vane that is erected before the vehicle enters the water.

The Type 85 can cross a 2.2-meter trench, mount a 0.6-meter vertical step, climb a 60-percent grade, climb a 40-percent side slope and can ford amphibiously.

The Type 85 has one layer of armament that consists of a single 12.7-mm heavy machine gun with a basic load of 1120 rounds.

A large number of variants have been developed on the Type 85 chassis, including the YW 309 Infantry Combat Vehicle, Type 85 armoured command post, WZ 751 armoured ambulance, and the Type 85 120mm self-propelled Mortar.

VARIANTS

  • Type YW 309 Infantry Combat Vehicle. This is essentially the Type 85 fitted with the turret of the WZ 501 Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) which itself is a copy of the Soviet BMP-1, discussed in a later section. In addition to the single firing port in the rear hull door there are three firing ports and periscopes in the left side of the hull and four firing ports and periscopes in the right side of the hull. The YW 309 has a crew of three and carries eight fully equipped infantrymen. A 7.62-mm machine gun is mounted coaxially with the main armament and there is a red Arrow 73 ATGW launcher over the main armament. This is also called the Infantry Fighting Vehicle Type 85.
  • Type 85 Armored Command Post. This version is similar to the Type 85 but has a crew of two and carries six staff officers plus extensive communications equipment for which three radio antenna are provided. The driver sits at the front left and the commander, who also mans the 12.7-mm anti-aircraft gun is seated to his rear. The command area is at the very rear and has four circular roof hatches, one in each corner. The armored command post weighs 13,800 kg loaded. In addition, a four-barrelled smoke discharger is mounted on each side of the forward part of the hull.
  • Type WZ 751 Armored Ambulance. This vehicle is also based on the Type 85 but has a new raised hull rear and a larger commander's cupola to the rear of the driver that is fitted with an externally-mounted 12.7-mm anti-aircraft machine gun. This vehicle has a crew of two plus room for medical personnel, patients and supplies. This vehicle is now called the Tracked Armored Ambulance Type 85.
  • Armored Command Vehicle Type 85. This is the basic vehicle with its turret removed for use in the command role. It has a crew of two plus six command staff and an assortment of communications equipment. Externally it is recognizable by its pintle-mounted12.7-mm machine gun and three radio antenna.
  • 120-mm Self-propelled Mortar Type 85. This version is similar to the above and has a 120-mm mortar mounted in the rear which fires to the rear. A total of 50 rounds of ammunition are carried. This version carries a six-man crew, including the commander and driver.
  • 82-mm Self-propelled Mortar Type 85. This version is similar to the above but with a slightly different hatch arrangement and the 82-mm mortar. The mortar is also capable of being deployed away from the vehicle if required. This version has a seven-man crew.
  • 122-mm Self-propelled Howitzer. This is essentially the basic vehicle with its turret removed and with the 122-mm Chinese-built version of the 122-mm D-30 towed howitzer mounted at the top of the hull rear.
  • Recovery Vehicle Type 85. This is a basic Type 85 retaining its cupola-mounted 12.7-mm machine gun but fitted with a hydraulic crane on the left side of the hull with a lifting capacity of one ton, a generator, welding equipment, special mounting and dismounting tools, tool cabinet and a five-man crew.
  • Maintenance Engineering Vehicle Type 85. This version has a similar hull to the Type 85 ambulance with a raised roof at the rear but is fitted with a cupola-mounted 12.7-mm machine gun on the roof rather than the forward part of the hull. Equipment includes generator, boom, inertia dynamometer, air filter cleaner, oil filter cleaner and other special tools.
  • Thai purchase of Type 85. These versions are having their Chinese 12.7-mm machine guns removed and replaced by US 12.7-mm machine guns which are standard on Thai tanks. Some specialized versions of the Type 85 include a 30-round multiple rocket launcher. The launcher is believed to be a 130-mm (30 round) Type 82 truck-mounted multiple rocket launcher system.
  • M1973 -- The North Korean produced M1973 Sinhung VTT-323 is a licensed copy of the Chinese YW 531 APC. The vehicle features a welded steel, box-like hull with a small turret positioned just to the rear of the hull centerline. The VTT-323 has five roadwheels and a turret which mounts a 14.5mm and a 7.62mm machine gun, or a turret with twin 14.5-mm guns. Some versions have Susong-Po (AT-3/SAGGER variant) ATGM launcher and SA-7/16 manportable SAMs. It is nicknamed the "VET." The VET has a crew of four, consisting of a commander, gunner, loader and a driver. The vehicle can carry 10 fully-equipped infantrymen. In mechanized battalions, it is also used to mount 82mm mortars to form self-propelled batteries. The VTT-323 has been observed with a 107mm multiple rocket launcher (MRL) mounted on the rear. The VTT-323 has become the NKPA standard armored personnel carrier. It is organic to mechanized battalions of mechanized and armored brigades.



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