Type 69-II Recovery Vehicles
WZ-653 Armored Recovery Vehicle
The WZ-653 Armored Recovery Vehicle, also known simply as the Type 69 Armored Recovery Vehicle or as the Type 653 medium tank rescue vehicle, was a Type 69-II tank with the turret removed. In its place the vehicle mounted a winch, hydraulic lifting frame, and dozer blade, and was designed to recover vehicles damaged in battle, stuck in soft terrain, or otherwise immobilized and unable to self-recover. In addition, the vehicle could be called on to perform other repair and maintenance functions such as replacing engines and other heavy components. The dozer blade also allowed for the vehicle to perform rudimentary combat engineer tasks. Production of the vehicle began in 1982 and the vehicle passed a technical appraisal in 1983, subsequently being assigned the industrial designator WZ-653. The vehicle's mobility and high armor protection, made it suitable for recovery and towing operations under field conditions. The vehicle was also equipped with lighting and a driver's night vision viewer for night time operation.
The vehicle has the same basic layout as the Type 69-II hull, with the driver in the front, a crew compartment in the middle, and the engine and transmission in the rear. The hydraulically operated dozer blade is fitted to the vehicle and assisted in providing traction for towing and lifting operations, capable of being depressed up to 200 millimeters. The vehicle had a maximum towing force of 687 kilonewtons (70,000 kilogram-force). The vehicle also featured welded rear tow hooks and a rigid towing frame usually fixed in the manipulation of the left compartment armor plates outside. A crane was also mounted on the upper body, controlled by the hydraulic system, with 2 jibs. The crane was telescopic, could be rotated 360 degrees, and was capable of lifting up to 10 tons.
For self-defense, the vehicle was fitted with a 12.7mm machine gun that could be used to deal with low-level enemy aircraft and ground targets. The vehicle featured an communications suite similar to that of the Type 69-II tank, but with the addition of an external telephone box for talking to the from outside.
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