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Chinese Armored Conveyors

The infantry fighting vehicle is a further development of the armored transport vehicle. As armored transport vehicles [aka "battle taxi"] usually do not have firing ports for infantry in vehicles, the infantry needs to get out of the vehicle to fight on foot after reaching the battlefield. This makes it difficult for the infantry to cooperate with the tanks to advance and attack under some battlefield conditions, and is vulnerable to enemy fire. Infantry fighting vehicles can enable infantry to fight with tanks and increase the attack speed of combat troops. Since the 1950s, some military powers have begun to develop infantry fighting vehicles.

The People's Liberation Army is rapidly modernizing, and a large number of advanced equipment is continuously equipping the troops. However, it should also be noted that the PLA has a large scale, a weak foundation, and historical debts that have not yet been resolved, and there are still many old equipment in the army. Some are even more than half a century old, older than most of the soldiers who operate them. Especially the army, the army is relatively large, so it has more old equipment than the navy and air force and the rocket army.

Thanks to the rapid development of the modern automobile industry, wheeled armored vehicles have demonstrated unique advantages in a series of military operations, such as strong mobility, easy operation, and high cost-effectiveness. Wheeled armored vehicles ushered in their own golden age in the 21st Century.

Since the 1990s, the international political and military landscape has undergone tremendous changes, and local wars, mainly in the form of urban combat, riot control, counter-terrorism, and peacekeeping, have increased day by day. In this new combat situation, rapid deployment and high-speed mobile operations have become the main factors determining the outcome of a war. Wheeled armored vehicles are developing rapidly in this context and gradually becoming one of the most important weapons used in modern warfare. The world’s military powers are actively developing and equipping wheeled vehicles that meet the needs of different forms of combat, national security, and counter-terrorism peacekeeping. Many types of armored vehicles have matured, equipped with large-scale troops, and have withstood the test in actual combat.

Military armored vehicles are divided into two types: wheeled and tracked. At the beginning of its appearance, tracked armored vehicles were favored for adapting to the complex terrain of the battlefield. However, due to the advancement of the automobile industry and the improvement of tire technology, wheeled armored vehicles are no longer inferior to the crawler type in terms of site adaptability, and compared with the crawler type, they have advantages in lightness and speed.

The main tracked armored transport vehicles of the People's Liberation Army are ZSD-63, ZSD-89 and ZSD-89. Among them, ZSD-63 is old and is waiting to be replaced. ZSD-89 is the current main equipment, and ZSD-89 is not only the future armored personnel carrier of the People's Liberation Army, but also the future medium-sized general-purpose chassis of the People's Liberation Army. Strictly speaking, the PLA now equipped with Type 89 armored vehicles/89A armored vehicles is also considered the descendant of Type 63 armored vehicles.

The Type 63 armored vehicle was designed in 1958. The qualitatively designed armored transport vehicle was designed in 1963. The comprehensive "ZSD-63 armored personnel carrier" is the first self-developed armored transport vehicle of the People's Liberation Army. It subsequently derived the huge WZ531 armored vehicle family. During the period of more than 20 years, they were mass-produced, equipped with Chinese troops and used for foreign trade. The status and performance are similar to the American M113 armored vehicle.

The ZSD-63 armored vehicle was once the main armored vehicle of the Chinese army. It was used on a large scale in the war against Vietnam and was also widely used for foreign aid. However, with the changes of the times, this type of armored vehicle is no longer sufficient for the national defense military construction needs. Therefore, the People's Liberation Army ordered the development of a new type of armored vehicle in 1985. The vehicle was developed based on the 63C armored vehicle. The engineering code was WZ-531H, which entered service in 1987 and was officially numbered ZSD-85. However, in other units, Type 63 armored vehicles are still the main equipment, especially in some infantry fighting vehicles that do not have troops. Type 63 armored vehicles also served as infantry fighting vehicles.

At present, the performance of the Type 63 armored vehicle can no longer meet the needs of the PLA, and it is gradually being retired and replaced by various Type 89/89A infantry fighting vehicles or armored transport vehicles. Since ZSD-85 is a follow-up development model of ZSD-63, the difference between the two in terms of car body is very small. The main difference is in the road wheels. ZSD-63 has four pairs of road wheels, while ZSD-85 has become five pairs of road wheels because of the need to accommodate more infantry, the car body has become longer.

ZSD-85 is still an improved model of ZSD-63, and the basic design has not been changed (the engineering code is the same WZ-531). In 1982, in order to replace the old Type 63 armored vehicle, the military ordered the development of a new type of armored vehicle. In the course of development, the experience of ZSD-85 was absorbed, and the project code was WZ-534, which entered service in 1990 and officially numbered ZSD-89. The difference between ZSD-89 and ZSD-85 is very small, mainly because the body is larger, the armor is thicker, and the double-pin crawler with longer service life increases the stroke. Other details such as mudguards, smoke generators, etc. are different.

Before the 1980s, China had almost no wheeled armored vehicles. Although my country's wheeled armored vehicles started late, they have developed rapidly, and the improvement of their manufacturing level is closely linked to the ability of my country's auto research and development.

The wheeled vehicle chassis can be divided into two major series: one is the "center-moving" solution in which the engine is placed in the middle of the car body, the WZ-551 series is such a layout, and the military industry unit develops on its 6×6 chassis. An 8×8 magnified model was produced. The official model did not disclose its model, but official data stated that there is a 60% commonality rate between the two cars, which seems to have indirectly confirmed this speculation. The other series is the "rear motion" solution with the rear engine. The 6×6 chassis is called BK1970, and the 8×8 chassis is called BK1990. This BK series is quite innovative in terms of model and appearance, and is obviously newly developed. Series, similar to WZ-551, the 6×6 and 8×8 bodies of the BK series are quite common.

European and American countries did not pay much attention to wheeled armored vehicles for a long time after World War II. A large number of simple and cheap M113 tracked armored personnel carriers constituted the main force of NATO's mechanized infantry. It was not until the rise of the theory of rapid response operations in the 1970s that wheeled combat vehicles achieved full development.

At present, the research and development of wheeled armored vehicles of Western military powers is flourishing. In the past 10 years alone, brand-new models such as the German "Boxer", the Swiss "Sawfish IV" and the Italian "Sagittarius" have appeared. Although they started late, due to their late-comer advantages, these new tanks have outstanding overall performance. They have not only won the favor of their own military, but have even become popular items on the international arms market.

Different from NATO countries, the Warsaw Pact countries during the Cold War adhered to the principle of "integration of wheel and track" and invested a lot of energy in the development of wheeled armored vehicles. It is understood that the Soviet Union introduced the BTR-60 wheeled armored transport vehicle as early as the 1960s. Since then, it has developed improved models such as the BTR-70 and BTR-80, with a total production of tens of thousands.

During the Kosovo War in 1999, the Russian airborne assault squad took a BTR-80 armored vehicle to seize Pristina Airport in one fell swoop, demonstrating the powerful maneuverability of wheeled armored vehicles to the world.

The BTR-90 new-generation wheeled armored vehicle manufactured by the Russian Arzamas arsenal entered the stage of small batch production. Compared with previous models, the vehicle not only has better protection capabilities, but also has a significantly improved firepower level. It is equipped with a variety of weapons including 30mm cannons, coaxial machine guns and AT-5 anti-tank missiles. The overall combat effectiveness is comparable to that of light Tanks contend.

China received a batch of Soviet BTR-152 armored vehicles in Lushun in 1955. After examining and studying the vehicles, the leaders believed that my country should also independently develop wheeled armored combat vehicles to deal with various threats. Most of the wheeled combat vehicles developed in China in the early days were modified from truck chassis. Although they are still useful, they cannot meet the needs of modern combat due to their technical level. In the early 1980s, my country introduced the TAB-77, a replica of the Soviet BTR-70 wheeled infantry fighting vehicle from Romania, and thus came into contact with modern wheeled fighting vehicles.

WZ-523 is the first wheeled combat vehicle developed in my country that meets some of the modernization indicators. Its prototype made its debut at the 35th anniversary military parade in 1984. WZ-523 is based on my country’s old wheeled chariot and combined with advanced foreign designs. Its chassis comes from the Dongfeng EQ-245 6×6 off-road truck. After continuous improvement, WZ-523 has become my country’s first new wheeled combat vehicle with a relatively mature design.

The mature design of WZ-551 was born in 1984, and its chassis basically got rid of the truck configuration structure and became the first fully modernized wheeled chariot chassis in China. The first model of the WZ-551 series is a Type 90 armored vehicle, weighing about 10 tons, and a weapon station equipped with a 25mm machine gun and a 7.62mm machine gun is installed on the top of the car body. After the 90-type improved type 92-type was finalized, the WZ-551 chassis was selected as China's first wheeled chariot general chassis.

Although the finalization of the WZ-551 successfully solved the urgent need for a lack of new wheeled combat vehicles, its smaller size and lighter carrying capacity could not fully meet the needs of the People's Liberation Army, and the "big eight wheels" came into being. China's "big eight wheels" is enlarged on the basis of WZ-551, and many improvements have been made according to the characteristics of heavy-duty wheeled vehicles. The Although the finalization of the WZ-551 successfully solved the urgent need for a lack of new wheeled combat vehicles, its smaller size and lighter carrying capacity could not fully meet the needs of the People's Liberation Army, and the "big eight wheels" came into being. my country's "big eight wheels" is enlarged on the basis of WZ-551, and many improvements have been made according to the characteristics of heavy-duty wheeled vehicles.

Looking at the development of wheeled armored vehicles in various countries since the end of the last century, three major trends can be found:

The first is heavy tonnage. Although traditional 4-wheel and 6-wheel models still have a certain market nowadays, 8-wheel drive is destined to become the trend of the 21st century. Compared with the previous two, the 8-wheeled armored vehicle has obvious advantages in off-road performance, load capacity and internal space, so it has higher flexibility and room for improvement. The maturity of modular technology also enables designers to better control the size and weight of vehicles, and seek the best performance ratio between combat effectiveness and rapid deployment capabilities.

The second is the increase in defense. Most of the wheeled armored vehicles before the 1990s could only resist light weapons. Most of the above-mentioned new types of combat vehicles can increase their resistance to damage by attaching additional armor, so that their defense level can reach the same level as that of tracked vehicles. It is worth mentioning that the U.S. Stryker armored vehicle fighting in Iraq were temporarily equipped with special "grid-type" armor and radio jamming devices to cope with ubiquitous rocket-propelled grenades and remote-controlled bomb attacks.

The third is the concept of car family. All wheeled armored vehicles with a large number of equipment have a wide range of modifications, including not only command vehicles, engineering vehicles, ambulances and fire support vehicles, but also radar vehicles, electronic reconnaissance vehicles and even missiles in recent years. Launch cars and other new concept models. Due to the high degree of commonality of parts and components, the troops do not need to increase additional support workload while obtaining comprehensive combat capabilities, so it is very consistent with the "lean and reliable" future army building ideas.

China's wheeled armored vehicles started late, but the speed of development is not slow. The WZ551 (Type 92) series models put into production in the 1990s have applied a large number of mature technologies and developed a variety of variants, reflecting the design concept of versatility and economy. One of the tank destroyers equipped with 100mm artillery also participated in the "Peace Mission 2007" joint military exercise held in Russia, and showed their talents on training grounds in foreign countries.

With the gradual advancement of the modernization of the People's Liberation Army, there will be more new wheeled vehicles in service. These wheeled vehicles will serve as the main equipment of the light armored forces and become an important rapid-reaction armed force of China.

Tracked Armored Conveyor

  • (1)Early introduction of the BTR-50 type armored personnel carrier (introduced) (retired)
  • (2) Early development of the type 58-72 armored personnel carrier (test, suspension of development)
  • (3) 531 / Type 63 vehicle family

    (1) A531 series

  • 60/531 armored transport vehicle
  • 63 / 531A armored transport vehicle
  • A531 armored transport vehicle
  • WZ531G armored transport vehicle
  • WZ531K armored transport vehicle
  • WZ701 divisional armored command vehicle
  • WZ701C divisional armored vehicle Command vehicle
  • WZ701D division division armored command vehicle
  • WZ721 division division armored communication vehicle
  • 70 / WZ303 type 130mm nineteen tube self-propelled rocket launcher
  • WZ303A type 130mm nineteen tube self-propelled rocket launcher
  • YD801 type forest fire truck
  • YD801A type forest fire truck
  • key refill vehicle

    (2) B531 series

  • B531 type armored delivery vehicle (fixed)
  • 70 / WZ302 type 122mm self-propelled howitzer
  • 70-1 / WZ302A type 122mm self-propelled howitzer
  • 70-2 / WZ302B type 122mm self-propelled howitzer

    (3) YW531C / 81 series

  • YW531C / 81 type armor
  • YW531D Armored Conveyor (outside)
  • YW531E Armored Conveyor (outside)
  • YW701A division armored command vehicle (outside)
  • YW701B division armored command vehicle (outside)
  • WZ750 type armored ambulance
  • YW304 type 82mm self-propelled mortar
  • YW381 type 120mm self-propelled mortar
  • 60C type amphibious armored transport vehicle

    (4) YW531H / Type 85 series

  • YW531H / 85 armored transport vehicle
  • YW703H / 85 division armored command vehicle (outside)
  • YW309 / 85 armored infantry fighting vehicle (fixed, outer)
  • YW382 120mm self-propelled mortar (outside)
  • YW383 82mm self-propelled Artillery (outside)
  • YW306 type 130mm 30-tube self-propelled rocket launcher (outside)
  • YW323 type 122mm self-propelled howitzer (fixed and external)
  • WZ751 type armored ambulance
  • NVH-1 type armored infantry combat vehicle (trial and external)
  • Type 85 armored repair vehicle
  • Type 85
  • Type 85 armored artillery reconnaissance vehicle
  • Type 85 armored artillery reconnaissance vehicle Type 85 armored transport vehicle
  • YD804 forest fire truck

    (4) Type 532 vehicle family (prototype)

    (5) Type 534 / ZSD89 vehicle family

  • YW534 armored transport vehicle (outside)
  • WZ534I / ZSD89 Type Armored
  • Conveyor WZ534II / YW307 (90) Type Armored Infantry Fighting Vehicle
  • ZDF-1 / 89 Type HJ-8B / C Anti-Tank Missile Launcher
  • Type 89 Armored Reconnaissance Vehicle
  • Type 89 Armored Ambulance
  • GCL-45 Artillery Frontier Reconnaissance car
  • ZCY-45 artillery battalion command vehicle
  • ZCL-45 artillery company command vehicle
  • ZJX-93 armored repair vehicle
  • Type 89 / ZHB-94 armored supply vehicle
  • Type 89 armored refueling vehicle
  • Type 89 television reconnaissance vehicle
  • Type 89 radar detection vehicle
  • Type 89 Handling Vehicle
  • Type 89 Electronic Countermeasure Vehicle
  • Type 89 Throwing and Disarming Armored Vehicle
  • Type 89 Armored Minesweeper Vehicle
  • Type 89 Armed Police Clearance Vehicle
  • Amphibious Refueling Vehicle

    (6) Type 535/90 Vehicle Family

  • YW535 / 90 Type Armored Conveyor Vehicle (Outside)
  • Type 90 Armored Command Vehicle (Outside)
  • Type 90 armored ambulance (outside)
  • Type 90 120mm self-propelled mortar (outside)
  • Type 90 82mm self-propelled mortar (outside)
  • Type 90 130mm 30-tube self-propelled rocket launcher (outside)
  • Type 90 anti-tank missile launcher ( Outside)
  • Type 91 armored infantry combat vehicle (outside)
  • Type 91 122mm self-propelled howitzer (outside)
  • Type 91 engineering repair vehicle
  • Type 91 armored supply vehicle

    (7) Third generation armored transport vehicle family (under development)

    II. Wheeled Armored Conveyor

    (1) Early development model

  • WZ533 6 × 6 Wheeled Armored
  • WZ533 Conveyor Series 6 × 6 Wheeled Armored Command Vehicle
  • WZ533M 6 × 6 Wheeled Armored Command Vehicle
  • WZ521 (64) 6 × 6 Wheeled Armored
  • Conveyor (Trial) WZ522-1 Type 8 × 8 Wheeled Armored Conveyor (Trial)
  • WZ522-2 Type 8 × 8 Wheeled Armored Conveyor (Plan)
  • Type 523 Old 8 × 8 Wheeled Tracked Armored Conveyor (Trial)

    (II) Type 523 Wheeled Armored Conveyor Family

    (1) 6 × 6 Series

  • WZ523 (ZSL-93) Armored Conveyor
  • HN-5C Low-altitude Air Defense Missile Launcher (Plan)
  • HJ-8B Anti-tank Missile Launcher (Plan)
  • WZ523A / 93 Armored Conveyor (Plan)
  • ZFB-91 Armored Safety Vehicle
  • Infrared Laser Reconnaissance radar vehicle (plan)

    (2) 4 × 4 series

  • Z4Q foreign affairs security vehicle

    III. Amphibious Armored Conveyor

    (I) 77 (WZ511) Series

  • 66 (WZ511) Amphibious Armored Conveyor (Trial Production)
  • 77-1 (WZ511-1) Amphibious Armored
  • Conveyor 77-2 (WZ511-2) Amphibious Armored Conveyor

    (2) Second-generation Amphibious Armored Conveyor

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    Page last modified: 01-08-2021 14:07:05 ZULU