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China seems to have a nomenclature ambiguity, or maybe just sloppy reporting. The ZBD-03 airborne armored IFV is also known as the ZBD-2000 / ZLC-2000 paratrooper vehicle. This paratroop vehicle is apparently unrelated to the ZBD-2000 amphibious infantry fighting vehicle revealed in 2006. It was specially developed for the PLA Marine Corps and shows the high level of resources China is devoting towards the amphibious assault capabilities. This amphibious IFV is similar in concept to the US Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle.

The ZBD-2000 built by Norinco is also designated as ZBD 05, sometimes referred as ZTL-05, with the export designation of VN16. It was built replace the obsolete Type 63 amphibious tank and as the same time to the counterpart of the modernized Type 63A. It was developed especially for extended naval capability. The ZBD 2000 is launched at sea from amphibious assault ships and swims at high speed over a long distance to shore. These IFVs are launched 10 km from shore, thus reducing the threats faced by amphibious assault ships. Maximum speed on water is about 45 km/h. However this amphibious IFV may not reach the swimming performance of the US EFV.

The ZBD 2000 is armed with a 30-mm cannon. This cannon is a brand new design, probably a copy or license-produced version of the Ukrainian cannon. This IFV is also fitted with a rail launchers for HJ-73C anti-tank guided missiles, mounted on either side of the turret. Some reload missiles are carried inside the hull There is also a coaxial 7.62-mm machine gun. Vehicle can fire all it's weapons afloat. This IFV has a crew of three and provides accommodation for 6 ~ 10 fully equipped marines. Troops dismount through the rear door or roof hatches.

The hull of the ZBD 2000 infantry fighting vehicle provides all-round protection against 7.62-mm armor-piercing rounds. It is believed that it's frontal armor withstands 12.7-mm armor-piercing rounds. The vehicle uses a planning hull and is propelled on water by two waterjets. It was specially designed for high-speed swimming. This amphibious IFV is fitted with hydraulically actuated bow and transom flaps. When actuated these form a planning surface together with the bottom of the hull. It reduces hydrodynamic drag allowing vehicle to swim faster. Engine is located at the hull front.

The ZBD2000 uses a planning hull propelled by two water jets achieving water travelling speed much greater than any current amphibious armoured vehicle in the PLA Marine Corps, on top of its enhanced speed it has increase ranged allowing it to launch over-the-horizon assaults.

The vehicle is designed with hydraulic-actuated bow with transom flaps, designed to aid hull skimming across the surface of the water. When activated the bow and transom flaps with the bottom of the hull form a planning surface, allowing the vehicle to go faster from its hydrodynamic drag reduction on the vehicle's hull.

The ZBD2000 features a flat, boat-like hull, with 6 road wheels and front/rear rollers. Welded turret is mounted in the cenre of the hull, with the powerpack positioned in the front and passenger compartment in the rear. The light tank variant is operated by a crew of 4, with driver positioned left-front of the turret, and loader, gunner, and commander occupying the turret.

The IFV variant is operated by a crew of 3, driver positioned at front and the commander and gunner situated inside the 30mm cannon turret. The IFVs passenger compartment accommodates 6~8 armed soldiers, dismounting the vehicle through the rear exit door.

The light tank variant is armed with a fully-stabilised 105mm rifled gun. The 105mm rounds carried consist of armour piercing fin stabilised discarding sabot (APFSDS), high explosive (HE), and high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) rounds, and Chinese 105mm laser beam riding guidance anti-tank guided missile (ATGM). The 105mm missile offers the capability to engage shore targets whilst still swimming at sea, where conventional ammunition would perform poorly due to the motion of sea waves.

Secondary weapons include 7.62mm coxial mounted machine gun, 12.7mm anti-aircraft machine gun mounted on the roof of the turret near the loader, and 2 sets of 4-barrel smoke grenade launchers mounted on either side of the turret. The rear part of the turret have storage rack for additional equipment which also provide additional protection against HEAT rounds.

Fire accuracy is attained by a computerised fire-control system (FCS), including a fire-control computer, light spot commander sight with laser rangefinder input, and light spot gunner sight with passive night vision. For all situation amphibious assault operations, the vehicle is equipped with GPS navigation and thermal imaging system.

Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) variant of ZBD2000 was built to accompany the light tank variant in the battlefield in amphibious operations. The vehicle shares the same hull, but replacing the 3-man 105mm rifled gun with a 2-man 30mm cannon turret with HJ-73C ATGM rail launcher positioned on the roof of the turret, and a 7.62mm coxial mounted machine gun. The vehicle has a crew of 3 compared to the Light Tank crew of 4, and can carry 7~10 (Squad) armed soldiers in its passenger compartment in the rear. The 30mm cannon isn't present in any armoured vehicles within the PLA Marine Corps, indicating a possible brand new design 30mm cannon.


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