Poly Technologies W-87 AGL

Notes: In the early 1980s, the Chinese had been able to obtain some copies of the Russian AGS-17 automatic grenade launcher. Though impressed by the AGS-17, they still felt it was to large, heavy, and cumbersome to be an effective support weapon for their purposes; they also felt they could make some improvements in the round itself. They essentially took the core idea and went back to the drawing board, developed a lighter action, made their new weapon drum-fed instead of belt-fed, and fitted it with a bipod, stock, and pistol grip as well as giving it fittings for mounting on a tripod. (The W-87 can be fired from the standard Pact Medium Tripod, or a special tripod that allows both ground support and antiaircraft fire, with a weight of 17.7 kilograms.) Recoil is also manageable enough that it can be fired from the hip like a machinegun. The approximately 20-inch barrel is tipped by a compact muzzle brake, with the bipod at the point of balance; the magazines are side-mounted on the right side. A simple optical sight is mounted above the receiver. The butt has a rubber recoil pad.

While the W-87 yielded satisfactory results, the Chinese felt it was far from perfect. It was less than reliable, and still had a little too much kick, with the muzzle brake giving little or no benefit. The result was the QLZ-87. It was approximately the same size as the W-87, but a bit stronger and heavier; the muzzle brake of the W-87 was also replaced with a simpler, yet more effective, slotted muzzle brake. The QLZ-87 uses gas operation that is actually quite similar to the M-16ís operation, suitably scaled up. Another new tripod was developed; this one weighs a mere 8 kilograms. It should be noted that the 15-round drum of the QLZ-87 cannot be used on the W-87.

Despite the improvements, the Chinese still werenít satisfied with the QLZ-87. It was thought that the QLZ-87 was too heavy, that the side-mounted drums were too cumbersome, that the 15-round drum in particular was too big, and that in general the QLZ-87 was just not an ergonomically efficient weapon. Further improvements led to the QLB-06 (usually referred to as the QLZ-87B for export purposes). Though internally, the QLB-06 is basically the same design as the QLZ-87, externally it looks like a different weapon. In short, it does not have the crude appearance that earlier versions have. The receiver is of aluminum alloy, and a lot of polymer is also used to lighten the weapon. Perhaps the largest difference is that due to the light weight, the QLB-06 is not an automatic weapon, like its predecessors; this also fits better with the QLB-06ís small drums. These drums are also tucked in a small well underneath the receiver, streamlining the weapon. The optical sight is of higher power than earlier versions and mounted on a MIL-STD-1913 rail. The QLB-06 is currently being issued to Chinese forces, though the QLZ-87 is also said to still be in medium-scale use. The QLB-06 cannot use magazines designed for the W-87 or QLZ-87.

Twilight 2000 Notes: In the Twilight 2000 timeline, examples of the W-87 could be found in the hands of US, Canadian, and ROK forces, and as far away as Europe, Alaska, Canada, and Iran in the hands of Bloc and NATO forces by 2000. The other versions of this weapon do not exist in the Twilight 2000 timeline.

Weapon

Ammunition

Weight

Magazine

Price

W-87

35mm Chinese Low-Velocity

12 kg

6, 12 Drum

$1140

QLZ-87

35mm Chinese Low-Velocity

14 kg

6, 9 Drum, 12 Drum, 15 Drum

$1140

QLB-06

35mm Chinese Low-Velocity

9.1 kg

4 Drum, 6 Drum

$1443

Weapon

ROF

Round

SS

Burst

Range

IFR

W-87 (Hand/Bipod/Tripod)

5

HE

2/1/1

5/2/1

80/110/170

Nil/535/825

 

5

HEAT

2/1/1

5/2/1

80/110/170

Nil/535/825

 

5

HEDP

2/1/1

5/2/1

80/110/170

Nil/535/825

QLZ-87 (Hand/Bipod/Tripod)

5

HE

2/1/1

4/2/1

80/110/170

Nil/535/825

 

5

HEAT

2/1/1

4/2/1

80/110/170

Nil/535/825

 

5

HEDP

2/1/1

4/2/1

80/110/170

Nil/535/825

QLB-06 (Hand/Bipod)

SA

HE

2/1

Nil

80/110/170

Nil/535/825

 

SA

HEAT

2/1

Nil

80/110/170

Nil/535/825

 

SA

HEDP

2/1

Nil

80/110/170

Nil/535/825