Norinco Type 63

     Notes: The Type 63 is the first Chinese armored vehicle that was built without any Soviet assistance.  The Chinese ended up with a vehicle that, while it does not resemble them, has about the same capabilities of contemporaries such as the US M-113 and the British FV-432.  Some 3000 were produced by the Chinese for the Chinese, and several countries also had licenses to build them; all in all, some 15 countries use or used them, and they can be found almost everywhere except the Western hemisphere (though they can also be found operationally in small numbers at the NTC in California and the JRTC in Arkansas and Louisiana). Like many Chinese vehicles, the Type 63 was planned as a family of related armored vehicles, with over 10 versions planned or built.  The Type 63 is also called the A-531, YW-531 (its Norinco designation), the ZSD-63 (the PLA designation), the A-63 (the Vietnamese designation), and the VTT-323 (the North Korean designation, though this also has a few differences from the standard Type 63).  Other designations include the earlier NATO reporting designations of M-1967, or M-1970 for later versions.

 

The Type 63 APC

     The standard Type 63 is a ďbasic boxĒ type of APC, essentially a battlefield taxi, designed to get troops to the battlefield in reasonable safety instead of being a fighting platform.  Armor is notably thin, and it is critically susceptible to mines and overhead hits.  Initial operational prototypes appeared in 1963, and series production began in 1964; however, service use revealed numerous deficiencies, particularly in the area of reliability, and widespread issue did not begin until 1970.  Construction is of welded steel. With a sharply-sloped glacis and moderately-sloped sides, armor protection is improved despite the lack of thickness of the plating itself.  Initial versions were not amphibious, though this was added in later with the advent of the Type 63C.  The driver is on the front left, with a commanderís hatch on the right front and a gunnerís position in the center of the passenger compartment.  The driver has three vision blocks ahead of him; initially, no night vision capability was provided, though toward the end of its production run, provision was made to remove and replace the front vision block with a night vision block.  The gunner may be a dedicated crewmember, or the squad leader of the infantry in the rear; up to 15 troops are meant to be jammed into the Type 63, though it seems to me that some may be sitting in each othersí laps.  The commander and gunnerís positions have cupolas which hand-rotate and have all-around vision blocks with no provision for night vision.  The gunnerís position has a pintle-mounted machinegun and almost never is found with gun shields (they would take up too much room). The commanderís position also has a pintle mount for a light weapon. Behind the driver is another hatch, more for observation by passengers than anything else. At the rear are a pair of long, narrow hatches for use by standing passengers.  Suspension is by simple torsion bars and is said to be rather rough.  The engine of the initial versions is a Type 6150L 260-horsepower diesel, making the Type 63 a bit underpowered, and the transmission is manual and difficult to change gears.  Four rubber-tired roadwheels are found on each side; they are large, and no return rollers are used.

     The initial version, produced only in small numbers, had a Type 56 (PKM) as a gunnerís weapon.  The Type 63A was then requested by the PLA, which had the change of having a heavier machinegun as a gunnerís weapon.  (Thai versions use an M-2HB instead of a DShK.) The North Korean VTT-323 is based on the Type 63A.  Initial operational use revealed the poor suspension, and this was considerably beefed-up and the ride smoothed out somewhat.  This version, the Type 63-I, also had a pair of small circular roof hatches on either side of the gunnerís position and two firing ports on each side as well as one in the rear door, and also adds a heater for the crew compartment.  This version is also called the B-531, and less commonly, the Type 63B.  The Type 63C is identical, but with the addition of a trim vane and bilge pump for amphibious operations.  Water propulsion is by motion of the tracks.

     Later, the Type 81 version was produced.  This model has the commanderís position moved to the left of the vehicle and the left-side position deleted, to make room for a 320-horsepower turbocharged KHD BF8L engine and a matching transmission.  The new commanderís position has no pintle mount for a weapon, but does have a rotating cupola.  The Type 81 version was designed for export and is not used by the PLA; Thailand is known to use some of them, and other export sales have also probably been made. A Type 89D version was also produced; this is identical, but only has one firing port per side (though it still has two vision blocks per side).  The Type 89E is also the same as the Type 81, but is equipped with an additional radio.  Export versions of the Type 81 were built as ACVs and armored ambulances as well.  The commanderís machinegun of the ACV version is typically lighter than the corresponding Type 63 variant.

 

The VTT-323

     The North Korean Sinhung VTT-323, known to the West as the M-1973, is a based license-built copy of the Type 63A.  The VTT-323 is a bit more than a meter longer than the Type 63; this allows for the mounting of a Susong-Po ATGM (North Korean copy of the AT-3 Sagger), along with some reload missiles, and a mounted SA-7 or SA-16 SAM launcher, along with some reload missiles for that launcher. These launchers are on either side of the gunnerís position. A full infantry squad can also be carried, though things do get a bit cramped inside.  Though standard Type 63As are used by the PRK, the standard North Korean APC is the VTT-323.

 

Other APC-Type Type 63s

     Other than these standard APC-types, the Type 63 had a number of versions built for more specialized roles.  The Type 63 Armored Command Vehicle, ACV, or WZ-701, or the Norinco designation, the YW-701A, is similar to other such vehicles in that it has a raised roofline.  This version is generally fitted with at least one short-range, two medium-range, and two-long-range radios; later, when radios were being built smaller, some were also fitted with a teletype machine.  These vehicles also had the usual equipment for a command vehicle: a map board, various office and plotting supplies, less bench seats and suchlike.  Several variations of this basic idea were produced, such as the WZ-721 communications relay vehicle and the ZZM-88 cryptographic communications vehicle, equipped with various radios and computers for the dissemination of codes for other radios in the net.  The ACV version typically carries a pair of hand-held passive IR viewers, an image intensifier, and a laser rangefinder for the command staff to use.  The commanderís cupola also has an artillery plotting circle inscribed on it. These versions typically carry a 5kW generator on the roof to power the electronics and the heater when the vehicle is switched off. The commanderís machinegun is typically lighter than on an APC version of the Type 63.

     An armored ambulance version was built, able to carry four stretcher cases, two stretcher cases and four sitting casualties, or eight sitting casualties.  This version has a small refrigerator for perishable medical supplies, two hot plates, and the equivalent of four doctorís medical bags and 20 personal medical kits as medical supplies.  It is unarmed.  This version also has a raised roofline.

 

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

Type 63

$21,000

D, A

1.1 tons

12.6 tons

3+12

9

Headlights

Enclosed

Type 63A/Type 63-I

$23,792

D, A

1.1 tons

12.6 tons

3+12

9

Headlights

Enclosed

Type 63C

$34,792

D, A

1.1 tons

12.6 tons

3+12

9

Passive IR (D)

Enclosed

Type 81

$35,392

D, A

1.1 tons

12.8 tons

3+12

9

Passive IR (D)

Enclosed

WZ-701

$170,932

D, A

600 kg

14 tons

2+6

11

Passive IR (D)

Enclosed

Type 81 ACV

$52,740

D, A

600 kg

14.2 tons

2+6

11

Passive IR (D)

Enclosed

Type 63 Ambulance

$43,966

D, A

835 kg

12.8 tons

*

10

Passive IR (D)

Enclosed

Type 81 Ambulance

$44,724

D, A

835 kg

13 tons

*

10

Passive IR (D)

Enclosed

VTT-323

$63,527

D, A

900 kg

12.9 tons

3+10

10

Passive IR (D)

Enclosed

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Config

Susp

Armor

Type 63/Type 63A/Type 63-I

131/92

32/20

450

109

Stnd

T3

HF6  HS3  HR2

Type 63C

131/92

32/20/3

450

109

Stnd

T3

HF6  HS3  HR2

Type 81

154/108

38/24/4

450

170

Stnd

T3

HF6  HS3  HR2

WZ-701

119/84

29/18/3

450

120

Stnd

T3

HF6  HS3  HR2

Type 81 ACV

140/98

35/22/4

450

187

Stnd

T3

HF6  HS3  HR2

Type 63 Ambulance

128/90

31/20/3

450

111

Stnd

T3

HF6  HS3  HR2

Type 81 Ambulance

151/106

37/24/4

450

173

Stnd

T3

HF6  HS3  HR2

VTT-323

129/90

31/20

450

111

Stnd

T3

HF6  HS3  HR2

 

Vehicle

Fire Control

Stabilization

Armament

Ammunition

Type 63

None

None

PK (C)

2000x7.62mm

Type 63/Type 63-I/Type 63C/WZ-701

None

None

DShK (C)

1120x12.7mm

Type 81 ACV

None

None

PK (C)

2000x7.62mm

VTT-323

None

None

DShK (C), AT-3 ATGM Launcher, SA-7 or SA-16 SAM Launcher

1000x12.7mm, 4xAT-3 ATGM, 2xSA-7 or SA-16

*See Notes above.

 

Norinco Type 77

     Notes:  The Type 77 was originally to be a Chinese copy of the Russian BTR-50PK, but China made various improvements, modifications, and alterations not only to make it better suited to Chinese manufacture methods and service, but to give it capabilities the BTR-50PK did not have.  Other than China, Albania is the only known user; both countries are in the process or replacing the Type 77, but both still have them in service. Design work began around 1978, and it was produced during the first half of the 1980s.

     For the most part, details of the Type 77 conform to the BTR-50PK.  Differences include the all-welded steel hull, with almost no rivets to fly around the interior upon a hit.  The Type 77 supposedly has a smoother ride (though sources differ on this, most say it does have a better ride).  I tend to doubt this, as the Type 77 has a conventional torsion bar suspension with no special provisions for shock absorption; it canít be all that different from that of the BTR-50PK.  There are no return rollers; the large roadwheels are rubber-tired.  The commander has a cupola on the right side of the vehicle; he has vision blocks that allow him to see to the front and to a limited extent, to the sides; the vision blocks are quite small and he cannot see much when buttoned up.  He has a pintle mount for a weapon, normally a Type 56 Heavy Machinegun (the Chinese copy of the DShK). His position projects forward of the main hull. The commanderís position is often found with gun shields that may extend completely around the cupola, but this is not a standard installation.  The driver is on the left side of the hull with forward vision blocks.  In the sides of the hull, in the raised part of hull in the forward half of the rear compartment, on the right side, is a hatch which is primarily for loading and unloading of equipment and supplies, but are also large enough to allow crew and passenger access.  The lower rear part of the passenger compartment has a pair of large hatches, though they cover only a little over half of this rear section.  In the rear face is a large door for ingress and egress.  In the raised part of the passenger compartment are three firing ports, one on the right side and two on the left.  The rear door has a vision block, but no firing port.  Atop the raised portion of the passenger compartment, at the front left, is a white-light searchlight which is steerable from under armor by either the crew or the commander.  The Type 77 is amphibious with a minimum of preparation (turning on a bilge pump and erection of a trim vane, and is propelled in the water by waterjets.  The engine, a Type 12150L-2A 400-horsepower diesel, is more powerful to that fitted to the BTR-50PK, giving it an increase in speed and agility; this is also aided by wider tracks.  Nonetheless, the Type 77 is still The Type 77 also has a fairly low center of gravity, giving it added stability in rough terrain.

     There are two primary and several minor variants of the Type 77; only the second of the primary variant will be tackled here in detail.  The first version is a field gun or howitzer carrier; I say carrier because when the guns are being transported, they are carried atop the Type 77 and locked down.  The guns which may be carried are an 85mm antitank gun or a 122mm field howitzer, as well as ramps for the gun. The gun is removed from the vehicle and emplaced before firing. In this case, the version is the Type 77-1, and the interior is stocked with racks for ammunition, seats for the gun crew, and their equipment for the gun and items.

     The Type 77-2 is the APC variant.  This version has room for an astounding 16 passengers as well as the two-man crew. The sit on fold-up seats, and the rear door, while it can cause a bottleneck, allows for rather fast egress.  A weak point of the Type 77-2 is armor protection, though at least you donít have to hump it all the time.  There is no overpressure or even a collective NBC system.  Fire extinguishing requires pulling manual handles, and the fuel tanks are in the walls of the lower part of the passenger compartment.  The overhead hatches allow for eight of the troops to stand and fight in them if youíre being nice, or twelve if you want to be more cramped.  Itís a ďbasic boxĒ type of APC.

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

$241,581

D, A

1.2 tons

15.5 tons

2+16

6

WL/IR Searchlight

Enclosed

 

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Config

Susp

Armor

180/126

44/27/4

416

169

Stnd

T3

HF3  HS2  HR2

 

Fire Control

Stabilization

Armament

Ammunition

None

None

DShK(C)

500x12.7mm

 

Norinco Type 85

     Notes: The Type 85 was developed from the old Type 63, and itself was later developed into the Type 89.  It is also called by its Chinese Army designation, the ZSD-85, and its Norinco designation, the YW-531H.  Though developed from the Type 63, the Type 85 is in appearance and performance much different than the Type 63.  The Type 85 was developed in tandem with the Type 89; the Type 85 was meant for export, while the Type 89 was designed primarily for PLA service.  The primary user of the Type 85 is, in fact, the Thai Army and not the Chinese.  The Thai Army began use of the Type 85 in 1987; production continued until 1990, when it was superseded, even in export use, by the Type 89 and later, the Type 90.

     In layout, the Type 85 is virtually identical to the Type 89, with the driver on the front left and having three vision blocks to the front.  The center block can be removed and replaced with a night vision block.  The hull is of welded steel, with a sharply-sloped glacis and mildly-sloped sides.  To the right of the driver is the engine.  Behind the driver is the commanderís cupola; this cupola is unarmed, but has all-around vision blocks. To the rear and right of the commander is a gunnerís cupola with a pintle-mounted weapon.  The rear passenger compartment has fold-up bench seats and can literally crammed full of troops; up to 13 passengers can be accommodated, though most countries use a 10-man infantry squad.  The troops enter and exit through a large door in the rear face.

 

Type 85 and 89 APC

     The Type 85 and Type 89 look much like a larger, stretched version of the Type 63 APC.  The Type 89 can also be easily mistaken for the Type 85, and is essentially a slightly larger version of the Type 85. The front armor is sharply-sloped, and the side armor is moderately-sloped, providing good armor protection in relation to the thickness or the armor.  The engine is at the front left, with the driver to the right of it; his hatch opens to the left, and he has three vision blocks to the front.  The center block can be removed and replaced with a night vision block.   The commander is to the rear of the driver.  He has a cupola that gives him all-around vision, but no night vision.  The Type 89ís weapon is pintle-mounted and on a third hatch opening, usually manned by the commander of the troops in the rear or a dedicated gunner. This gunner of the Type 89 also has a rotating cupola and protection is almost always seen around the gunnerís cupola in the form of thick (AV2) gun shields, but no overhead protection.  The Type 85ís gunnerís station normally does not have these gun shields, though some vehicles have been seen with them. On either side of the hull front, about halfway down the glacis and to the sides, are a cluster of four smoke grenade launchers.  The passengerís compartment is roomy compared to most APCs, but that seems to mean that the Chinese simply cram more troops into it.  (Most other armies do not shove so many troops into their Type 85s and Type 89s; for example, the Type 85s of the Thai Army normally carry 10-man squads.) The passengers enter and exit through a large door in the rear, which has a firing port; there is also a hatch atop the rear of the passenger compartment which opens to the rear.  In addition, two small circular hatches are found near the front of the passenger compartment (though these have no vision blocks; they are just simple hatches). The passenger compartment has four vision blocks on the right side and three to the left, but the each side has only three firing ports. (Some Type 89s have been seen with this situation reversed Ė four vision blocks on the left and three on the right.  The reason for this is unknown.) The Type 85 and 89 have a collective NBC system for the crew and passengers, as well as an automatic fire detection and suppression system for the crew compartment, passenger compartment, engine compartment, and fuel tanks. Vision blocks for the Type 89 are fitted with defoggers for use in cold conditions, a rarity on military vehicles.

     The Type 85 and 89ís engine is German-designed and license-built, a BF8L413F 320-horsepower turbocharged diesel.  Both can be equipped with external fuel tanks for long-range operations in addition to its internal fuel; these are mounted at the rear.  The Type 85 and 89 are amphibious with a minimum of preparation Ė a trim vane must be erected at the front of the vehicle. The roadwheels of the Type 89 have an uneven distribution, with a gap between the third and fourth roadwheels (of the five roadwheels present); the roadwheel distribution of the Type 85 is even. The Type 85 has a bit less armor protection and is a bit smaller in size Ė but this makes it an overall lighter vehicle, giving it better speed and agility than the Type 89.  Thai Type 85s use the M-2HB heavy machinegun instead of the W-85 as main armament, but are otherwise identical to the standard Type 85 (other than the ammunition they use, .50 BMG instead of 12.7mm).

 

The ZSD-85 IFV

     The ZSD-85 (also Type 85 IFV or YW-309) is the Type 85 with the turret and commanderís position replaced with the complete turret of the WZ-501 IFV (a Chinese near-copy of the BMP-1).  This gives the ZSD-85 enormous firepower and though is much heavier than the Type 85 APC, still has decent performance and agility.  The WZ-501 turret not only gives the ZSD-85 a 73mm cannon, but a coaxial machinegun and a launcher above the main gunís barrel for HJ-73 (Red Arrow-73) ATGMs. (One prototype is armed with an HJ-8 launcher to the side of the commanderís station instead, but was not proceeded further with.) The inclusion of the turret does considerably reduce the number of troops that can be carried in the rear, however, as much room is taken up by the turret and ammunition.  Each side of the turret has a pair of smoke grenade launchers. The Chinese did not bite, as they already had the WZ-501 in service, and so far, no known other countries have bitten either, though it is rumored that both North Korea and Iran may have some in service.

 

The ZSD-90 IFV

     The ZSD-90, also called the YW-307 or Type 307, is a variant of the Type 89 shopped around by Norinco.  This version replaces the gunnerís position with a small turret with an externally-mounted 25mm KBA autocannon.  This greatly increased firepower, but also drastically increased the weight of the vehicle.  The Chinese felt that the increase in firepower was unnecessary and the increase in weight unacceptable, and chose not to accept the ZSD-90 into service.  The design is otherwise the same as the Type 89, though passenger capacity is greatly reduced by the turret and ammunition stowage for its weapons.

 

The Type 90 APC

     The Type 90 APC (not to be confused with the ZSD-90; itís Norinco designation is YW-535) is a slight upgrade of the Type 89; it has a similar basic hull design to the Type 89, and like the Type 89, was designed as part of a large family of related vehicles.  Many of these versions remained unbuilt, as the Type 90 did not have the increase in performance and capabilities that the PLA hoped for, and was seen as unnecessary duplication of effort.  The Type 90 was therefore offered up for export. The Type 90 is larger than the Type 89, but not a lot heavier; however, the automotive components and suspension are essentially the same.  Likewise, the layout is almost identical to that of the Type 89. Perhaps the biggest difference is the gunnerís station Ė the weapon is housed in a small turret instead of being on a pintle mount.  This turret, however, has no provision for night vision. The hull sides are vertical instead of the moderate sloping on the Type 89. The additional vision block on the right side has been eliminated.  It is not known for certain how many export sales of the Type 90 were made Ė the UN says none were made between 1992 and 2005 except to Iran, and it is unknown if or how many have been made since 2005.  (Iran calls the Type 90 APC the Boraq, sometimes written as ďBoragh,Ē and it differs primarily in the radios that are used and the markings of vehicle components and instruments.)

 

The Type 91

     The Type 91 APC is a minor variant of Type 90, differing primarily in the use of a license-built version of the German BF8L513C 360-horsepower turbocharged diesel engine and a matching transmission which is simply a slight modification of that used in the Type 90 APC (it has a new hydraulic gearbox).  It otherwise conforms to the design of the Type 90 APC.  So far, the only known exports of the Type 91 APC have been the 55 sold to Myanmar.

     There is also a Type 91 IFV; this version has a turret which looks similar to that of the BMP-2 on the outside, though it has no ATGM launcher.  In this turret can be mounted a 23mm, 25mm, or 30mm autocannon, and a coaxial machinegun.  The Type 91 IFV is longer than the Type 91 APC, with six roadwheels per side; this allows it to carry more troops but also increases its weight considerably. No known sales have been made or the Type 91 IFV.

 

The Type 97

     The Type 97 (PLA designation ZBD-97) may or may not be a part of the extended Type 85 family Ė the hull certainly looks like a lengthened Type 85 hull (with six roadwheels per side), and the very few interior shots Iíve seen look quite similar to those of the Type 85.  The Chinese, on the other hand, appear to have gotten the idea of the turret from the Russians; itís a bit smaller than a BMP-3 turret (but not much), and carries the same armament.  The Type 97 started development in the mid-1990s, but operational examples were not seen until a parade in Beijing in 2003, and large scale deployment does not appear to have started until 2006.

     On the other hand, the addition of what is still a much larger turret than other Type 85 IFV-type vehicles does not make for a cramped interior, and unlike the BMP-3, the engine is at the front of the vehicle instead of at the rear.  The rear passenger compartment is like most Type 85s in basic layout, but carries only six troops Ė the squad leader sits in the front hull to the left of the driver (though he has direct access to the rear passenger compartment, and has his own vision blocks and overhead hatch.  There are small overhead hatches atop the passenger compartment. There are three firing ports on each side of the passenger compartment, and one in the rear door.  The passengers sit down the middle, facing outwards. The turret has hatches on the deck for the commander and gunner.  The crew and passengers are protected by an NBC overpressure system with a collective NBC system backup. The night vision system is comprehensive and includes an image intensifier for the driver, though a day/night vision block; the Type 97 also has a hunter/killer capability, with separate observation heads for the commander and gunner.

     The two-man turret is armed with a copy of the same 100mm main gun found on the BMP-3, and it does fire Chinese copies of the ATGMs that the 100mm Russian gun fires, in addition to more conventional rounds.  On each side of the main gun is a coaxial weapon; to the right is a 30mm autocannon, while to the left is a machinegun.  The main gun has a ballistic computer and laser rangefinder of modern design. At the front of the turret, on either side of the weapons, are three smoke grenade launchers.  The Type 97 has a laser warning system as well as a chemical and radiological alarm system.  The laser warning system can automatically trigger smoke grenades to obscure the incoming laser beam.

     The suspension is similar to the extended-length versions of the Type 85 family, and therefore the ride may be a bit rough. The engine is to the right of the driver and squad leader, the engine is more powerful than that of most members of the Type 85 family, and is possibly a more advanced form of the German BF8L513C.  The Type 97 has excellent amphibious capability, powered by strong waterjets and using a power-extended wave fence to the front.  The Type 97 is therefore capable of extended-range swims, even in heavy surf, from offshore amphibious assault ships.

     Note that it is believed that the Type 97 is believed to be serving alongside license-built copies of actual BMP-3s.

 

Other APC-Type Versions

     The Type 89 ACV (Armored Command Vehicle) starts with a Type 89 chassis, but raises the roofline about a meter and lengthens the vehicle by about a half a meter, including the addition of a sixth roadwheel on each side.  The dedicated gunnerís station is deleted, and the commanderís station has a simple cupola without powered rotation and armed with a pintle-mounted machinegun.  Of course, the biggest changes are internal Ė at least one short-range, two medium-range, and two-long range radios are installed, along with a long-range radio designed for data transmission.  A small computer is also installed, along with a teletype machine.  The usual map board and storage for office supplies and materials for plotting battlefield information is present.  More internal lighting is also provided. A 5kW APU is provided to power the vehicleís electronics while the engine is switched off; this APU can be dismounted (and usually dug in, to dampen the noise), and connected to the vehicle with a cable. A hand-held image intensifier, thermal imager, and laser rangefinder is included in the price below (though not noted in the stats), and the commanderís station has an artillery plotting circle inscribed on it.  A version of the Type 90 was also designed as a command vehicle, with sales being made only to Iran; this conforms to the Type 89 ACV for game purposes. The Type 91 was also designed with a command version, though no known sales have been made; it differs (for game purposes) only in the engine used and the size of the fuel tanks.  The Type 85 ACV is similar in concept to the Type 89 ACV, except for the lesser armor and weight.  It is otherwise identical to the Type 89 ACV.

     The Type 89 Armored Ambulance, also called the WZ-752, has the same basic chassis as the ACV, but is unarmed.  Instead of a lot of command and communications equipment, it carries medical equipment, including the equivalent of four T2K doctorís medical bags, twenty T2K personal medical kits, a portable defibrillator, two oxygen tanks and sets for administering it to casualties, a heater for blankets (for hypothermia victims), and plates for the heating of rations and water (again, supposedly for treating casualties. Also present is a small refrigerator.  The Ambulance version has a heater, and an air conditioner is optional. The Ambulance version can carry up to four stretcher-borne patients and two seated patients, two stretcher-borne and six seated patients, or one stretcher-borne and eight seated patients.  The crew are normally all medical personnel, and includes a third crewman who tends to the patients full-time.  The vehicle has a 5kW APU to power the equipment when the engine is off, similar to that of the ACV. As with the ACV, a version of the Type 91 was designed as an Armored Ambulance, but appears to have had no sales; a Type 90 Armored Ambulance was also designed and some of them bought by Iran, and this mostly conforms to the Type 89 Armored Ambulance for game purposes.  The Type 85 also has an Armored Ambulance version; it can carry four stretcher-borne patients and two seated patients, two stretcher-borne and six seated patients, or one stretcher-borne and seven seated patients.

     The Type 89 Supply Vehicle, or ZHB-94, is essentially an armored truck on tracks.  It has a number of tie-down and lock-down points in the interior, as well as attachment points for lockers and supply boxes that are to be mounted in a more permanent form.  The flooring is reversible, with one side having rollers to aid in unloading.  On the left side of the roof is a light crane with a capacity of 2 tons, and the roof hatches over the rear compartment are much larger than in the APC version.  The gunnerís position is removed, and the commanderís cupola has a pintle-mounted machinegun.  Similar versions were also designed for the Type 90 and Type 91, but none of the three appear to have gone into service anywhere.

 

     Twilight 2000 Notes: No version of the Type 91 exists in the Twilight 2000 timeline.  The ZSD-90 is a very rare vehicle in the Twilight 2000 timeline, and normally used by the PLA as a scout vehicle.  A decent amount of Type 90-based vehicles were taken into PLA service. One Chinese warlord north of Beijing is known to have a Type 97; where he got it is unknown.

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

Type 85

$33,862

D, A

1.7 tons

13.6 tons

3+12

6

Passive IR (D)

Shielded

Type 89

$34,708

D, A

1.8 tons

14.3 tons

3+12

6

Passive IR (D)

Shielded

ZSD-85

$220,858

D, A

1.5 tons

15.3 tons

3+7

8

Passive IR (D, G, C), Image Intensification (G)

Shielded

ZSD-90

$111,996

D, A

1.2 tons

15.4 tons

3+7

8

Passive IR (D, G)

Shielded

Type 90

$37,737

D, A

2 tons

14.5 tons

3+12

7

Passive IR (D)

Shielded

Type 91 APC

$37,787

D, A

2 tons

14.5 tons

3+12

7

Passive IR (D)

Shielded

Type 91 IFV (23mm)

$116,347

D, A

1.4 tons

15 tons

3+9

8

Passive IR (D, G)

Shielded

Type 91 IFV (25mm)

$115,169

D, A

1.4 tons

15 tons

3+9

8

Passive IR (D, G)

Shielded

Type 91 IFV (30mm)

$118,242

D, A

1.4 tons

15 tons

3+9

8

Passive IR (D, G)

Shielded

Type 97

$330,973

D, A

1.3 tons

20 tons

3+7

9

Thermal Imaging (C, G), Image Intensification (C, G, D)

Shielded

Type 85 ACV

$258,289

D, A

900 kg

14.5 tons

2+6

10

Passive IR (D)

Shielded

Type 89/90 ACV

$264,456

D, A

1 ton

15.2 tons

2+6

10

Passive IR (D)

Shielded

Type 91 ACV

$264,506

D, A

1 ton

15.4 tons

2+6

10

Passive IR (D)

Shielded

Type 85 Ambulance

$43,036

D, A

1.3 tons

13.8 tons

*

9

Passive IR (D)

Shielded

Type 89 Ambulance

$44,106

D, A

1.4 tons

14.5 tons

*

9

Passive IR (D)

Shielded

Type 91 Ambulance

$44,156

D, A

1.4 tons

14.5 tons

*

9

Passive IR (D)

Shielded

ZHD-94/Type 90 Supply Vehicle

$51,700

D, A

2 tons

14.3 tons

2

7

Passive IR (D)

Shielded

Type 91 Supply Vehicle

$51,750

D, A

2.2 tons

14.5 tons

2

7

Passive IR (D)

Shielded

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Config

Susp

Armor

Type 85/Type 85/Ambulance

156/109

38/23/4

400+300

160

Stnd

T4

HF6  HS3  HR2

Type 89/Type 89 Ambulance/ZHD-94

150/105

37/22/3

500+300

170

Stnd

T4

HF8  HS3  HR2

ZSD-85

130/91

34/20/3

400+300

181

Trtd

T4

TF10  TS4  TR4  HF6  HS3  HR2

ZSD-90

141/99

35/21/3

500+300

180

CiH

T4

TF5  TS3  TR3  HF8  HS3  HR2

Type 90/Type 90 Ambulance/Type 90 Supply Vehicle

148/104

35/21/4

520+300

173

CiH

T4

TF6  TS4  TR4  HF8  HS3  HR2

Type 91 APC/Ambulance/Supply Vehicle

163/114

39/23/4

520+300

190

CiH

T4

TF6  TS4  TR4  HF8  HS3  HR2

Type 97

129/90

31/18/10

520+300

261

Trtd

T4

TF11  TS4  TR4  HF8  HS3  HR2

Type 85 ACV

148/104

35/21/4

400+300

173

Stnd

T4

HF6  HS3  HR2

Type 89/90 ACV

141/99

35/21/3

500+300

180

Stnd

T4

HF8  HS3  HR2

Type 91 ACV

163/114

39/23/4

520+300

190

Stnd

T4

HF8  HS3  HR2

Type 91 IFV

158/110

38/22/4

520+300

196

Trtd

T4

TF10  TS6  TR6  HF8  HS3  HR2

Type 89 ACV

141/99

35/21/3

500+300

180

Stnd

T4

HF8  HS3  HR2

Type 91 ACV

153/103

37/22/4

520+300

201

Stnd

T4

HF8  HS3  HR2

 

Vehicle

Fire Control

Stabilization

Armament

Ammunition

Type 85/89/Type 85 BRV

None

None

W-85

1120x12.7mm

ZSD-85

+1

Fair

73mm 2A28M gun, PKT, HJ-73 ATGM Launcher

40x73mm, 2000x7.62mm, 4xHJ-73 ATGM

ZSD-90

+2

Fair

25mm KBA Autocannon, PKT

400x25mm, 1000x7.62mm

Type 90/91 APC

+1

None

W-85

1050x12.7mm

Type 91 IFV (23mm)

+2

Fair

23mm ZU-23 Autocannon, PKT

685x23mm, 1000x7.62mm

Type 91 IFV (25mm)

+2

Fair

25mm GIAT or M-242 Chaingun, PKT

630x25mm, 1000x7.62mm

Type 91 IFV (30mm)

+2

Fair

30mm 2A46 or M-230 ChainGun

525x30mm, 1000x7.62mm

Type 97

+3

Good

100mm gun, 30mm 2A46 autocannon, PKT

22x100mm, 8xATGM, 300x30mm, 1200x7.62mm

Type 85/Type 89/Type 90 ACV/Type 91 ACV/ZHB-94/Type 90 Supply vehicle/Type 91 Supply Vehicle

None

None

W-85 (C)

1000x12.7mm

*See Notes above.

 

Norinco Type 86 (WZ-501)

     Notes: The Type 86, also called the ZSD-86 (itís PLA designation), is probably more familiar in its Norinco industrial designation, the WZ-501.  And you may say, itís just a Chinese BMP-1, right?  Well, sort of.  It did start out as simply an unlicensed copy of the BMP-1, and has basically the same armament, configuration, and appearance as the BMP-1.  However, there are a number of differences, enough for the Type 86 to warrant its own entry.  The Chinese began reverse-engineering the Type 86 in the early 1980s, probably from vehicles traded-for from the Middle East (most likely Egypt), and it entered service in 1992, except for a small batch that entered limited service in 1987.  The Chinese, in turn, not only use about a thousand of them, but have sold them to several other countries, most notably Iran, Iraq, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka.  (It should be noted that by the time Norinco began reverse-engineering them, they already realized the design was obsolete, despite the fact that eventually 1000 were put into Chinese service.  Arenít central government decisions great?) Nonetheless, the PLA considers the Type 86 an important vehicle type, despite the fact that it is beginning to update the design at a breakneck pace, trying several subtypes and modifications. Norinco has also designed several variants and updates of the basic design, some of which are also in Chinese service and available on the export market.

 

The Type 86

     The basic Type 86 is in effect a BMP-1, but with a bit lower weight, a little less engine power (not enough to have effect in game terms), and the ATGM launcher fires the indigenously-designed HJ-73 missile.  Most changes were made to suit local production methods and use local electronics, but the hull, especially the hull front, is a bit longer and better-suited for amphibious operations than the BMP-1, and the turret is lower in profile than the BMP-1.  There are a number of small difference details, such as the shape of the headlights. And the damn thing is just as cramped inside as the BMP-1, but the smaller stature in general of Chinese troops makes this less of a problem.  (It does beg the question, though, of how this is going to hold up as the Chinese become more well-to-do, and start getting taller and bigger in stature.  The South Koreans, after all, have had the same problem.)  The turret has a top hatch for the commander, with the HJ-73 ATGM launcher above of the 73mm main gun (identical in design to the BMP-1ís gun).  Unlike the BMP-1, space is provided for a Red Tassel SAM, (a Chinese copy of the SA-7) and a reload missile, for use by the infantry squad in the rear (the gunner and commander would have to be world-class gymnasts to reach them from their positions). The glacis is sharply-sloped, but the sides and rear are straight, with shallow side skirts which have more to do with flotation than protection.  The troops seats for the eight passengers go down the middle of the passenger compartment, with four firing ports down the sides and one in the right rear door.  The pair of rear doors, as with the BMP-1, are the primary means of entry and exit for the passengers and have the same vulnerability in that they contain most of the fuel.  A pair of rectangular roof hatches are found on the roof of the passenger compartment.  The driver is on the front left, with a right-opening pivoting hatch, and the gunner has a hatch to the left of the turret (though not on the turret itself).  The low turret silhouette and the resulting almost nonexistent capability to depress the main gun make hull-down firing positions almost impossible.  Like the BMP-1, the Type 86 has an NBC overpressure system, but reloading the HJ-73 launcher completely breaks this sealing and requires the crew to don MOPP gear if this is necessary in NBC conditions, as the Type 86 has no collective NBC system.  The Type 86 has a fire detection and suppression system.  It can lay a smoke screen by injecting diesel fuel into its exhaust, but unlike most Chinese vehicles, has no smoke grenade launchers.  The gunner, driver, and commander all have night vision devices; these are better than their BMP-1 counterparts, and recently they have been seen retrofitted with thermal cameras. Atop the turret is also a smallish, wide-angle IR/white light searchlight.

     The engine of the Type 86 is a CV150 292-horsepower diesel, which is possibly also a design that the Chinese got through Egypt and may be a derivative of a US Cummins design (again, unlicensed).  Suspension is by conventional torsion bar with very little thought to shock absorption, which can lead to motion-sickness among its passengers and crew, especially when buttoned up. The Type 86 is amphibious with almost no preparation (a trim vane must be erected and bilge pumps turned on), though freeboard is very low.  Propulsion in the water is by its tracks.

 

The WZ-505 and NFV-1

     These two vehicles currently have only Norinco industrial designations; the PLA appears to be ready to accept production of the WZ-505 on a limited basis, while the NVH-1 appears to have been an export-only version that has died on the vine and is no longer being offered for sale.  The WZ-505 is topped with the larger turret used by the Type 92 wheeled IFV; this turret is armed with a 25mm autocannon and a coaxial machinegun.  Gun control includes a computer and a laser rangefinder. Both are externally-mounted (though internally-fed and controlled), and the gunner is seated primarily under armor protection. The WZ-505 has one cluster of four smoke grenade launchers mounted on the right side of turret; a second cluster of grenade launchers is mounted on the left side of right side of the hull.  The gunner has a small hatch just forward of the externally-mounted main gun (a tight squeeze), while the commander has a hatch behind the driver on the left of the hull behind the driver.  The turret does take up a bit more room, reducing internal capacity. The commander has all-around vision blocks and night vision heads, but does not have access to the weapons. The driver has an automatic transmission instead of the manual transmission of the Type 86. Improved shock absorbers are present at the first and last roadwheels on each side, improving the ride. The internal arrangements of the passenger compartment are basically identical to those of the Type 86. 

     The NVH-1, produced as prototypes only and shown as some arms shows, is a Type 86 with a new turret (larger than the Type 86ís turret) with a 300-horsepower turbocharged diesel engine, and a few more improvements to the electrical system and transmission.  Armament is a 25mm M-242 ChainGun and a coaxial machinegun; the NVH-1 has a hunter/killer capability (as both the commander and gunner have independent vision heads) as well as a comprehensive night vision and enhanced vision block set.  On the turret front, on either side of the main gun, is a cluster of four smoke grenade launchers.  The commander and gunner both have turret roof hatches. Installation of a pair of Red Arrow 8 launchers (one on each side of the turret) were an option, but again NBC seals would have to be broken to reload the launchers; therefore, a collective NBC system was installed.  Only one such prototype was built, and when showed at an arms show, these tubes and the reloading hatches were probably dummies. The tubes themselves are reloaded from small hatches to the rear and on either side of the turret, which like the US Bradley, open just enough to reload the Red Arrow 8 tubes. The PLA regarded it as a great improvement, but too expensive both in money and technology transfer restrictions; other countries may have felt the same.

 

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

Type 86

$226,726

D, A

1.5 tons

13.3 tons

3+8

8

Passive IR (D, C, G), Image Intensification (G, C), Thermal Imaging (G)*, White Light/IR Searchlight

Shielded

WZ-505

$160,902

D, A

1.4 tons

13.1 tons

3+8

6

Passive IR (D, C, G), Image Intensification (G, C), Thermal Imaging (G)

Shielded

NVH-1

$162,267

D, A

1.4 tons

13.2 tons

3+8

8

Passive IR (D, C, G), Image Intensification (G, C), Thermal Imaging (G)

Shielded

NVH-1 (w/ATGM)

$176,966

D, A

1.4 tons

13.3 tons

3+8

9

Passive IR (D, C, G), Image Intensification (G, C), Thermal Imaging (G,C)

Shielded

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Config

Susp

Armor

Type 86

135/94

33/20/4

460

116

Trtd

T3

TF10  TS4  TR4  HF8  HS4  HR4

WZ-505

138/96

34/30/4

460

114

Trtd

T3

HF8  TS5  TR3  HF8  HS4  HR4

NVH-1

136/95

33/20/4

460

115

Trtd

T3

HF8  TS4  TR4  HF8  HS4  HR4

 

Vehicle

Fire Control

Stabilization

Armament

Ammunition

Type 86

+1

Fair

73mm 2A28 Gun, PKT, HJ-73 ATGM Launcher

40x73mm, 2000x7.62mm, 4xHJ-73 ATGM

WZ-505

+2

Fair

25mm GIAT autocannon, PKT

400x25mm, 2000x7.62mm

NVH-1

+2

Fair

M-242 ChainGun, PKT (or MAG)

500x25mm, 2500x7.62mm

*Before 1993, thermal imagers were absent; subtract $20,000 for these earlier vehicles.

 

Norinco Type 05

     Notes: The Type 05 is also known as the ZBD-2000, Type 03, ZTL-05, and (in export sales) the VN16.  (Very confusing!)  It is designed to replace various navalized versions of Chinese APCs and IFVs.  The Type 05 is so far only used by the PLAMC, but is up for export is its standard form.  The Type 05 was introduced in a parade in 2006, but was in development for several years before that.

     The Type 06 is typically launched from LST-type ships about 10 kilometers off the coast.  It seemingly borrows many features from the cancelled US Marine EFV, but does not have as high a swimming speed, nor can it handle as heavy a sea state as the EFV.  It also does not ride as high above the water as the EFV, nor is it as large as the EFV.  The Type 05 shares a common chassis and hull with the Type 05 light tank, which has a similar role as the Type 05 IFV.  The Type 05 has a planning hull for riding in the water, along with high-output waterjets.  It has hydraulically-deployed bow and side flaps, giving it more buoyancy than most amphibious vehicles, and reducing drag in water.  However, the tracks do not retract like those of the EFV, giving the Type 05 some drag that the EFV does not have.  The hull is otherwise flat and boat-like.  The suspension has six roadwheels on each side, with the drive sprockets in front and roller in the rear.  Armor is of all-welded steel.  The 590-hoprsepower is in the front, to the right of the driverís position. With the waterjets and engine, the ZBD-05 can generate 1580 horsepower on water. The suspension is composed of simple torsion bars, which can lead to a rough off-road ride.

     The 30mm autocannon is a new design, believed not to be based on any earlier 30mm autocannon, though it may in fact be a Ukrainian design. It has a very long barrel and an increased rate of fire.  On the roof of the turret at the commanderís position is a launcher for an HJ-73C ATGM, and coaxial to the autocannon is a 7.62mm machinegun. The gun is fully stabilized, to the point of being able to accurately fire while crossing ship-to-shore, and has a laser rangefinder as well as a laser designator.  It has an advanced fire control computer, able to control the vehicle, point for gun at the selected targets automatically (including slewing the turret).  The Type 05 has a full night vision and amplified day vision suite, as well as a full NBC Overpressure suite.  As is standard with almost all fighting vehicles these days, the Type 05 has a cluster of 4 smoke grenade launchers on either side of the turret.

     The crew compartment is surprisingly roomy for an IFV, and the troops in the rear are not as cramped as most such vehicles. The turret is low and horseshoe-shaped, and has a power-operated cupola which also has the ATGM launcher attached so it rotates with the cupola. The gunner is below and to the right of the commander, though he too has a hatch in the turret roof.  The crew has a large ramp with a door in it in the rear for ingress and egress, and the door has a wide-angle vision block in it. The passengers also have a screen and are able to access the vision suite as well as dedicated LLTV cameras in the rear and to the sides.  The Type 05 has a vehicle state computer, GPS, and a mapping system, as well as extra radios.

     It is rumored that the hull and turret have some measure of composite armor, though officially the armor is of all-welded steel.  What is known is that the Type 05 weighs more than a vehicle of its size and design should weigh, if only by a little.  This also may be from the added electronics, the heavier autocannon, though the steel armor base of the Type 05 is rather limited.  I will present the Type 05 with the possible composite armor in the stats below for now, (sounds logical to me).  There are rumored photos of Type 05-series vehicles fitted with APSs, but I have no hard information on this or any Chinese APSs, so I have not included it here.

     Variants include the aforementioned light tank, an ARV, and a command and control vehicle (which will be found below).  There is also a rare AFV variant, which has a turret with a pair of heavy machineguns and a lighter machinegun, and is otherwise the same as the Type 05 IFV. The AFV variant may carry more passengers than the IFV.  An armored ambulance is also rumored, though stats on this are to great extent a guess based on other armored ambulance vehicles.

 

Type 05 AFV

     The AFV version of the Type 05 has a smaller turret with a plethora of machineguns of varying calibers, and carries more troops due to the smaller turret.  It appears to be more of a ďbattle taxiĒ than a vehicle meant to get into possibly heavy combat like the Type 05 IFV It essentially otherwise has the same features as the Type 05 IFV, but is much lighter due to the much smaller turret, and more agile and speedier due to the same.  It is not meant to get into heavy combat, but instead simply to deliver troops and sometimes materiel inland and into the rear areas of the battle.  It occurs to me, however, that a vehicle with good mobility which can carry decent amounts of cargo will find itself pressed into deliveries into the FEBA, and delivering reinforcements to battle.  Just a thoughtÖ

 

Type 05 CCV

     The CCV (Command and Control Vehicle) has a raised roofline instead of any sort of turret, though it is equipped with a commanderís cupola with a weapon mount and a gun shield in front of the cupola.  In its role as the command post, it is equipped with a command post, it is equipped with a BMS, extra radios (all data-capable and encrypted, and including one SATCOM radio), several (at least three) computers, including one which is connected to a military intranet of sorts, and the CCV is able to contact and coordinate naval, helicopter gunship, aircraft, and UAV support.  It is equipped with an advanced visual suite, including long range laser rangefinders and designators.  There are different versions of the CCV, depending upon the level or function they will serve; most such vehicles differ primarily in radios setup and computer setup. The CCV has a vehicle state computer, and GPS with inertial navigation backup, along with a mapping system. Other systems are like the Type 05 IFV.  The vehicleís superior speed allows it to keep up with the developing battle.  For when the CCV is stopped for an extended period, the CCV has a tent which can be erected at the rear, though this section is not NBC Sealed and has a Radiological rating of only Enclosed.  The CCV has a 12kW APU to run the CP during halts.

 

Type 05 Ambulance

     This uses the same chassis and hull as the CCV; however, the interior is stocked with stretchers, padded seats, moving stools, and medical equipment.  There is enough room for four stretcher cases, two stretcher cases and four seated patients, or eight seated patients.  The Ambulance is staffed by two medics, or a medic and a PA.  There are enough oxygen sets to administer oxygen to all four stretcher cases, with oxygen lasting a maximum of two hours per patient; with less patients, oxygen may last longer.  Two auxiliary oxygen bottles are also available, with enough O2 for one-half hour.  There is a medium sized refrigerator, stocked with four units of Type O blood and four bags of plasma, as well as two bags of Ringerís Lactate and four bags of saline solution for use as a blood expander. Various drugs and supplies are also available in the refrigerator and cabinets and drawers, including the equivalent of five doctorís medical bags, two emergency surgery kits, and a large variety of minor drugs such as minor pain relievers or antihistamines or antidiarrheals, etc.  There is a large selection of bandages, pressure dressings, items like QuickClot, etc. There is a medical computer the medics and PAs can consult is they have any questions, or to maintain records on their casualties. As with most medical vehicles, the Type 05 Ambulance is not armed, though it retains the cupola, without the gun shield. In addition, it can be protected by the small arms and whatever weapons the crew or casualties have. Note that the Ambulance has neither a laser rangefinder nor a laser designator.

 

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

Type 05 IFV

$921,639

D, A

1.45 kg

17 tons

3+8

14

2nd Gen Thermal Imaging (G), Thermal Imaging (D, C), 5x 2nd Gen LLTV (F, L, Rt, R, Backup), 2nd Gen Image Intensification (G, C)

Shielded

Type 05 AFV

$821,007

D, A

1.5 tons

16.11 tons

3+10

12

Thermal Imaging (D, G, C), 5x 2nd Gen LLTV (F, L, Rt, R, Backup), 2nd Gen Image Intensification (G, C)

Shielded

Type 05 CCV

$1,308,911

D, A

833 kg

11.62 tons

2+5

19

Thermal Imaging (D), FLIR (C). 5x 2nd Gen LLTV (F, L, Rt, R, Backup), 2nd Gen Image Intensification (C)

Shielded

Type 05 Ambulance

$713,256

D, A

726 kg

13.36 tons

2+4 Stretcher or up to 8 Seated

15

Thermal Imaging (D), 2nd Gen Image Intensification (C), 5x 2nd Gen LLTV (F, L, Rt, R, Backup),

Shielded

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Config

Susp

Armor

Type 05 IFV

224/157/113

62/44/6

880

218

Trtd

T3

TF12Cp  TS7Sp  TR3  HF15Cp  HS7Sp  HR4

Type 05 AFV

227/169/115

63/44/6

880

207

Trtd

T3

TF12Cp  TS7Sp  TR3  HF15Cp  HS7Cp  HR4

Type 05 CCV

314/220/159

87/61/9

880

150

Stnd

T3

HF15Cp  HS7Cp  HR4

Type 05 Ambulance

272/191/138

76/53/8

880

173

Stnd

T3

HF15Cp  HS7Cp  HR4

 

Vehicle

Fire Control

Stabilization

Armament

Ammunition

Type 05 IFV

+4

Good

30mm Type 05 Autocannon, 7.62mm Type 59, HJ-73C Missile Launcher

500x30mm, 2000x7.62mm, 4xHJ-73C ATGM

Type 05 AFV

+4

Good

14.5mm Type 70-I, 12.7mm QJC-88, 7.62mm Type 59

1000x14.5mm, 2000x12.7mm, 4000x7.62mm

Type 05 CCV

+2

None

12.7mm Type 90-II (C)

2000x12.7mm

Type 05 Ambulance

None

None

None

None