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Type 86 WZ501 Infantry Fighting Vehicle
Boragh armored infantry fighting vehicle

The Chinese version of the BMP-1 is called the WZ 501. The WZ501 family is a derivative of the the Soviet BMP-1, with a slight reduction in weight and maximum road speed. It features a similar low pressure 73mm gun and the Sagger ATGM, along with six roadwheels per side. The Type 86 IFV is fully amphibious and is fitted with an NBC system and infra-red night vision equipments for commander, driver, and gunner.

The Soviet BMP-1, which was born in 1967, is the world's first tracked mechanized infantry fighting vehicle, and its birth kicked off the development of the Army infantry fighting vehicles worldwide. Infantry vehicle is designed to meet the mechanization of the regiment with the rise of tank operations. It was completely different from any previous armored personnel transport vehicles. It combined the high mobility, protective and firepower of armored combat vehicles.

Before the advent of infantry fighting vehicles, infantry usually moved on foot, by vehicle or armored transport vehicles. These vehicles found difficult to achieve effective cooperation with the mobility, speed, protection and firepower and other aspects of the tank. The advent of infantry fighting vehicles, the end of the thousands of years of infantry walking or riding assault, achieved the real sense of the Army mechanization. At present, infantry fighting vehicles have become the main combat forces of various national forces.

As the Chinese army's first practical dedicated tracked infantry fighting vehicles, the ZBD-86 infantry fighting vehicles played a big role in the development of the Chinese army. However, because it is imitated from the former Soviet Union's first generation of BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicles, the Type 86 inherited a lot of deficiencies. First of all, due to the pursuit of mobility and amphibious fugitive capacity, the Soviet BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicle protection is very low. In the war in Afghanistan, the body side armor was not able to resist 12.7 mm machine bullets.

This is unacceptable for infantry fighting vehicles for infantry as the main combat equipment. At the same time, the vehicle's firepower was also a problem. The BMP-1/86 main vehicle weapon is a 73mm low pressure gun and AT-3 / Red Arrow-73 anti-tank missiles. The 73mm smoothbore gun, due to the low chamber pressure, cannot launch anti-armor APFSDS ammo. This caused its anti-armor target capacity to be very limited, its armor-piercing power was even worse than 30 mm cannon. And the AT-3 / Red Arrow -73 anti-tank missiles were the first generation of products, the accuracy and power was limited. Due to low resistance and equipped with 40 rounds of 73 mm shells, resulting in a large number of BMP-1 battlefield casualities in Afghanistan and Iraq by 12.7 mm machine gun hits, causing ammunition and vehicle destruction. The BMP-1 combat performance was very poor. And these factors also appeared in the Chinese army equipped with Type 86 tracked infantry fighting vehicles, so the Chinese army's combat effectiveness would not have a great impact.

The vehicle known as WZ-501, was put into operation in 1992. It retained the structure of BMP-1, using 73mm smoothbore and red arrow-73 anti-tank missiles. Although it has a simple structure, it featured low cost, good mobility, and the advantages of amphibious combat. But after all, the former Soviet Union 1960s design was unable to adapt to the requirements of modern war environment. In particular, its firepower was seriously inadequate the artillery and missile range was low, the power was small.

China maintains roughly 1,000 Type-86 IFV's in operation.


  • WZ501 (BMP-1) IFV 73mm gun, Red Arrow 73 (ATGM)
  • WZ503 (WZ501) No turret, taller hull Type
  • WZ504 (WZ501) ATGM Red Arrow 73
  • WZ505 (WZ501) Armored Ambulance - Raised rear compartment
  • WZ506 (WZ503) Armored Command Post (4 radios)
  • Boragh - Iranian-made modification of the Chinese Type WZ 501/503 armored infantry fighting vehicle. It was reported in early May 2002, that three additional variations of the Boragh had been unveiled by the Iranian Defence Industries Organisation (DIO) of Iran's Vehicle and Equipments Group (VEIG). These consisted of a 120mm self-propelled mortar variant, of an ammunition resupply vehicle and of an APC fitted with improved armaments.

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Page last modified: 06-12-2017 14:59:28 ZULU