Type 04 Tracked Amphibious Infantry Fighting Vehicle
Type ZBD 04 Light Amphibious Tank
This is the new infantry fighting vehicle, to replace the Type 86 infantry fighting vehicle and to operate with the new third generation of main battle tanks Type 96 and Type 99. The ZBD-04 is currently equipped by the amphibious mechanised divisions in South Military Region of China.
The ZBD97 / ZBD-04 is equipped with a two man turret located in the middle of the chassis. This turret is armed with is a dual-way stabilised, semi-automatic 100mm rifled gun / missile launcher, capable of firing both HE-FRAG rounds and the 3UBK10 (or its Chinese copy) ATGM. The secondary weapon include a 30mm coaxial automatic cannon, with 500 rounds. To supplement its armament, the ZBD-97 / ZBD-04 is equipped with one,7.62mm coaxial machine gun located to the left of the main gun, and two other 7.62 mm machine guns at the front of the hull. Three smoke grenades discharger are fitted to each sides at the front of the turret.
The turret is made in steel and the hull in aluminium. The turret and the hull provide to the crew a protection against the firing of small weapons and shell splinters of the battle field. The high flat sides and the highly combustible 100mm ammunition make this vehicle highly vulnerable in the event of a hull penetration. Similarly armed Russian vehicles in combat have performed poorly on having the hull penetrated have exploded along the weld beads.
The ZBD97 / ZBD-04 has six unevenly spaced road wheels, with three track support rollers and a front drive sprocket on each side. The road wheels and rollers are all rubber-tyred. Torsion bar suspensions with hydraulic shock absorbers are fitted on the 1st, 2nd, and 6th road wheels. The metallic tracks are fitted with removable rubber pads to improve the comfort of the passenger. According to Chinese sources the ZBD97 / ZBD-04 is motorised with a newly developed liquid-cooled diesel, giving a maximum road speed of 65km/h and swimming speed of 20km/h.
The ZBD97 / ZBD-04 is fully amphibious, in the water the vehicle is propelled thanks of two large water jet ports are fitted on the rear of the vehicle for high-speed swimming. A hydraulically actuated wave fence is located at front, which, when raised, can prevent the front section of the vehicle from being overflowed during swimming. The ZBD- 04 / ZBD97 is fitted with a collective NBC-protection system, with its air filter located behind the turret to the right. The gunner has a main sight and a combined image-intensified day / night sight and a standby day sight. The commander has a day sight and a combined day and image-intensified night sight. Fire-control system includes a ballistic computer, an electro-mechanical gun stabiliser and a laser rangefinder.
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