Type 64 / WZ-521 Wheeled Armored Carrier
The WZ521 wheeled armored vehicle developed by China in the 1950s was only a partial temporary replacement. Due to the weak industrial foundation of New China, this wheeled armored vehicle is actually just an armored vehicle, not a real wheeled armored vehicle. The WZ521 wheeled armored vehicle is the first armored personnel carrier designed by the People’s Republic of China in the 1950s . The vehicle is modified on the basis of a Soviet-made transport truck. It was the first domestically-made armored vehicle equipped by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.
China imported a large number of Soviet-made military vehicles and also modified some of its self-made off-road trucks with a layer of armor protection on the body. Equipped with light firepower, it was officially named WZ521 wheeled armored vehicle. At that time, the United States did not provide these militants with effective anti-armor weapons such as RPG, so such armored cars were enough to make militants afraid. In view of China's weak industrial base at that time, the mobility and combat effectiveness of this wheeled armor was far inferior to that of a dedicated wheeled armored vehicle. It can only be regarded as a kind of armored car, which only played a part of temporary replacement role at the time, and did not have a large amount of equipment.
This first-generation wheeled armored vehicle of the army, developed in the 1960s, was developed under the spirit of "self-centered, all based on domestic" by the Armored Forces Command. Its combat area is mainly in the area north of the Yangtze River, the northeast frigid zone, the northwest and parts of the southwest. The combat purpose is to transport ammunition, logistic supplies, and personnel transportation to the frontier and enemy fire contact areas. The development task of this vehicle is led by the Armored Forces Science and Technology Research Institute, and various cooperative factories carry out the development and testing of vehicle accessories.
The production of trucks was launched at the Changchun plant in 1956 with the participation of the USSR. The first model was the Jiefang CA-10, which was produced until 1986. It was a copy of the Soviet ZIS-150 car. In 1958, the plant began production of the Jiefang CA-30, which differed from its predecessor in the 6x6 wheel arrangement. This model was in production until 1979. The plant's largest customer was the People's Liberation Army of China, but the truck was also supplied to various civilian customers. In the armed forces, the car was used to transport goods and personnel; a fuel truck, repair vehicles and a command and staff vehicle were created on its basis.
The research and development work started in late 1960. The CA30 series, 3-axle 6-wheel drive military off-road truck chassis produced by FAW was used as the basis for secondary development. According to the actual combat requirements and environment, in order to improve the trafficability of the vehicle, the wheelbase of the first steering drive axle and the second drive axle was shortened by 76.5MM. In order to improve the armor protection of the vehicle, the beamless structure was adopted to steer the drive axle. The mechanism and engine suspension mechanism are all installed on the body of the armor plate welded. The first is to demonstrate the structure on a 1:1 mud-wood model. Secondly, at the end of 1961, through the cooperation of Xishan Machinery Factory and spare parts support from Beijing Auto Repair Factory, the first full-structure prototype was produced. In April 1962, the first round of sample car road test was carried out. The road test distance exceeded 2,200 kilometers. The road conditions included simple roads such as northern mountain roads and muddy river beaches.
The Type 64 wheeled armored personnel carrier achieved better test results. In accordance with FAW's product structure adjustment, the CA30A series off-road trucks were used for secondary development and demonstration, as well as three developments and improvements, and comparative tests were completed with imported and domestic high-performance tires. In the middle of 1964, after the finalized equipment of the armored service arms, it was officially named the wheeled armored transport vehicle in 1964 (the definition of troop carrier is too narrow and it is no longer used). After a small batch of troops were installed in parallel, satisfactory results were achieved after a small modification. Because the power, transmission and steering system are highly common with the CA series off-road trucks, a lot of manpower and material resources are saved for logistic maintenance, and the driver training is also easier.
Its overall performance is equivalent to that of the Soviet-style BTP-152 series wheeled armored transport vehicle (this vehicle was introduced in a small amount by the army in the 1950s), but it is more in line with the characteristics of China's road conditions. However, because the highest decision-making level of the military determined that the tracked armored vehicles were more in line with the preparations at the time, they were finally dismounted and only modified some 64-wheeled armored transport vehicles into communication vehicles with a small amount of equipment.
However, the research and development and equipment of this vehicle gave the Northern Vehicle Research Institute a complete scientific research process from demonstration to research and development to improvement, and accumulated a lot of wealth and valuable experience for the research and development and equipment of wheeled vehicles in the future.
The reason why the army had higher requirements for wheeled armored vehicles at that time was because of the Lhasa rebellion in the mid to late 1950s and the war with India. The poor road conditions on the Sichuan-Tibet line and the Qinghai-Tibet line affected the army’s ammunition and supplies were supplied to the front line, and rhe transportation line was too long and was often harassed by the Lhasa insurgents, resulting in a large amount of material consumption and casualties. This situation directly led to China’s attention to the performance and production efficiency of wheeled transport vehicles in the future, and insists on building roads and railways to Lhasa in various difficult times. This is to better control this border area in the future.
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