617 Factory Type 73 ARV

     Notes: The Chinese lacked indigenous tank production facilities until 1956, when the Russians helped the Chinese construct 617 Factory, which at first manufactured a copy of the T-54A, which they designated the Type 59.  However, they lacked adequate recovery and repair vehicles for their new tank until the early 1970s, when they started manufacturing the Type 73 ARV.  This ARV was, like the Type 59, later exported to several countries, including Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and several African nations. The Type 73 was, as will be seen, only adequate for the PLA’s needs.

     The Type 73 is, as stated, based on a Type 59 chassis, without the turret, which is replaced by box-like stand from about one-third back to the rear of the vehicle.  This has a flat area atop it for the transport of a Type 59’s engine or transmission – it cannot transport both at the same time, as it does not have enough carrying capacity, nor does the crane have enough strength to lift both at once.  (And anyway, the Type 59 does not have an integrated powerpack.)  The crane is on the right side and is a simple boom-type crane with a capacity of 1 ton.  The boom is manually operated from a hatch on the on the right deck just behind the commander’s hatch; it does not have power operation The boom operator has a WL spotlight for use in night repair and recovery operations.  The boom can rotate 140 degrees, mostly on the right side. The recovery winch can pull 25 tons, or 50 tons with two sets of block and tackle.  At the rear is a dozer blade with teeth on the underside; it can brace a maximum of 54 tons, and is used to brace the vehicle when using the crane or winch.  It has a secondary role in digging major fighting positions, moving rocks, and ripping up roads. Tools include basic, tracked vehicle, wheeled vehicle, power, small arms repair, and heavy gun repair tools (except the bore swabbing brush). It has an air compressor, a chainsaw, and a power-operated jack.

     The driver is on the front left and has vision blocks around him except to the rear.  The center vision block is a wide-angle block. To his right is the commander, who has a manually-operated cupola with all-around vision blocks and a mount for a heavy weapon.  Most of the crew is armed with pistols, but one has a Type 56 assault rifle with 300 rounds, and the Type 73 carries 20 fragmentation grenades. Another crewmember sits inside the vehicle just behind the boom operator; he has no windows or firing ports. On each bumper is a cluster of four smoke grenade launchers.

     The engine is the same M-12150L liquid-cooled diesel developing 520 horsepower.  It has a manual transmission.  The engine and transmission are modified to produce high torque when necessary. It has a Christie-type suspension, with reportedly a rough ride.  Unlike the Type 59, the Type 73 cannot carry rear-mounted auxiliary fuel tanks – the rear-mounted dozer blade is in the way.

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

$208,562

D, A

1.1 tons

31 tons

4

17

Headlights

Shielded

 

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Config*

Susp

Armor**

122/85

34/24

790

150

CiH

T6

TF3  TS3  TR3  HF60  HS10  HR8

 

Fire Control

Stabilization

Armament

Ammunition

None

None

DShK (C)

500x12.7mm

*The “Turret” is the boom crane; it is not a “Turret” as such.  Personnel hits are considered misses.

**The dozer blade can be hit by rear incoming hits, where it can take the hits depends on the attitude of the dozer blade of the time.  If such a hit is ruled, the rear get the additional benefit of 5Sp.

 

 

NORINCO Type 84

     Notes:  This is a Chinese AVLB based on the Type 69 main battle tank chassis.  The bridge is derived from that of the German Biber AVLB (see NATO Combat Vehicle Handbook), with alterations to mate it to Chinese-made bridge laying system.  The total length of the bridge is 18 meters (16 meters usable), with a load limit of 40 tons.  There is also a narrow inner track to the bridge, with a load limit of 8 tons.  3-4 minutes are required to lay the bridge, and 3-4 minutes are required to recover it.  The bridge itself weighs 8.5 tons, and is based on the German Biber’s bridge.  It is constructed of light steel. Deployment is from the rear of the vehicle, with both halves being moved to the rear of the Type 84 along with the carrier frame.  This frame lays the bridge.

     The Type 84 has a crew of three; one of which is the driver in the front left side behind the glacis plate.  The other two are the commander, who is in the right of the hull with all-around vision blocks and a raisable pivoting day/night periscope. When the bridge is deployed, the commander may mount a machinegun on the provided external mount.  The bridge operator is in the center of the vehicle, again with all-around vision blocks and a day/night periscope. The chassis is basically a modified Type 69 MBT chassis. Power is provided by a Type 12150L-7BW diesel developing 580 horsepower, with a manual transmission.

     If necessary, the Type 84 AVLB can operate without a commander, the position being left empty.  However, the bridge operator cannot use the machinegun from his position, nor can he use the bridge controls from the commander's position.

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

$430,158

D, A

315 kg

38.5 tons

3

19

Passive IR (C, BO)

Enclosed

 

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Config*

Susp

Armor**

124/87

25/20

935+380

167

CiH

T6

TF4  TS4  TR4  HF40  HS10  HR8

 

Fire Control

Stabilization

Armament

Ammunition

None

None

PK (C)

1500x7.62mm

 

NORINCO Type 85 Armored Repair Vehicle & Recovery Vehicle

     Notes:  The Type 85 Armored Repair Vehicle is a vehicle based on the chassis of the Type 85 armored personnel carrier, designed for vehicle repair teams.  This vehicle has a raised superstructure topped with a cupola-mounted machinegun.  The vehicle has a 5 kW generator, basic, wheeled vehicle, tracked vehicle, small arms, and heavy ordinance tools, a welding set, air and oil filter cleaners, and an inertia dynomometer.  It normally carries a wide selection of spare parts. 

     The Type 85 Recovery Vehicle is a Type 85 armored personnel carrier with a hydraulic crane that has a capacity of 1 ton.  Also included are basic, wheeled vehicle, and tracked vehicle tools, a welding set, a 5kW generator, excavating tools, an air compressor, a tow bar, ropes, and cables.  They tend to be found in conjunction with Type 85 ARV noted above. 

     As a variant of the Type 85 APC, the two engineer variants have a Deutz BF8L 413F turbocharged diesel developing 320 horsepower; their suspension is by torsion bars and the transmission is manual.  The crew enter and exit through a large door in the rear face; a table can also be folded down outside the vehicle to create more work space. The gunner (who is also a mechanic, like the rest of the crew) is on the center roof, manning a machinegun.  The gun has full armored gun shields, with AV2. The driver is on the front left; he has three vision blocks to the front, and the center front can be replaced with a night vision block. A third hatch, behind the driver's hatch, is normally manned by the chief mechanic and has all-around vision blocks. The two oblong hatches are deleted, though there is a smaller hatch on the left side to the rear of center.

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

ARV

$89,500

D, A

1.5 tons

15 tons

5

14

Active/Passive IR

Enclosed

RV

$269,100

D, A

1.5 tons

15 tons

5

16

Active/Passive IR

Enclosed

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Config

Susp

Armor

(Both)

157/110

44/30/4

450

114

CiH

T4

TF2  TS2  TR2  HF6  HS3  HR2

 

Vehicle

Fire Control

Stabilization

Armament

Ammunition

(Both)

None

None

DShK (G)

1120x12.7mm

 

NORINCO Type 90-II ARV

     Notes: China’s latest ARV design is meant to recover the Type 96 and 99 tanks, amongst other vehicles. As yet the Type 90-II ARV has not been exported; I have not been able to find reliably whether it is even on the export market.  It is used by the PLA and will eventually replace all other ARVs in the tank recovery role.

     As the name would indicate, the Type 90-II ARV is based on the Type 90-II tank. As such, it has the same basic chassis, leading to a heavily-armored ARV (though it does not have the Type 90-II tank’s composite armor glacis), which is fast and able to operate with other newer vehicle formations.  It has a French-designed 1200-horsepower engine, with an automatic transmission that is able to switch to manual mode to take advantage of the engine’s enormous torque. The Type 90-II ARV has a MIL-STD-1553-A data bus to allow it to operate with Western BMSs (a version of which the PLA has standardized). The Type 90-II ARV has the same suspension improvements as the Type 90-II tank, giving it a smooth ride.

     The driver is on the front left and sees through a large armored window to his front.  He also has a pull-down image intensifier stowed to the front and above his head. The window has an armored shutter with a vision slit to close over the window in high incoming fire situations.  The commander is on the front center on a power-traversed cupola. To the left of the commander’s cupola is a manually-operated cupola with a heavy weapon mount.  He can aim and fire the weapon when buttoned up. Both cupolas have all-around vision blocks and the both cupolas’ frontal vision blocks have an image intensifier. Both cupolas have a WL spotlight for use when working at night. Other crewmembers sit in the hull when travelling.  They have an NBC overpressure system with a vehicular NBC backup.  They have a heater and AC. On the top front right side is a cluster of eight smoke grenade launchers.

     The Type 90-II ARV has on the right side of the hull a 25-ton-capacity winch, able to traverse 290 degrees.  The winch uses a 30mm wire rope and can pull 41 tons, or 82 tons with block and tackle.  It can tow 50 tons as full speed, or 65 tons at half speed. In front is a dozer blade 400mm in height and as wide as the front of the vehicle, which can brace the vehicle during crane of winching operations, recover vehicles, or excavate 120 cubic meters per hour. Tools include deluxe versions of basic tools, wheeled vehicle tools, tracked vehicle tools, and power tools. It has an arc welder, a power jaw (“jaws of life”) and a circular cutter. It has a chainsaw.  It has two sets of pioneer tools, a 40-ton capacity hydraulic jack, and a selection of spare parts.  It is able to carry a complete powerpack for a Type 90-II tank, Type 98, or Type 99. Tools, vehicle equipment, and the crane can be powered by a 118kW APU, to allow operation with the engine off. (The winch requires the use of engine power.)

     The crew has a computer with a complete set of tech manuals for most of the PLA’s vehicles and mechanical equipment to refer to when they have any questions. 

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

$1,090,405

D, A

7.5 tons

48 tons

5

37

Image Intensification (D, C, G)

Shielded

 

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Config*

Susp

Armor**

169/118

47/33

1000+400

440

CiH

T6

TF8  TS8  TR8  HF181Sp  HS30Sp  HR19

 

Fire Control

Stabilization

Armament

Ammunition

None

None

W-85 (C)

3450x12.7mm

*The “turret” is actually the crane, and a “turret” hit means that the crane has been hit.  Personnel hits are regarded as a miss.

**The frontally-mounted dozer blade can sometimes take a hit; this blade adds 6Sp to the frontal armor.  Whether it has been hit depends upon how high the blade is raised.

 

NORINCO Type 653/653A

     Notes: The Type 653 (also known as the Type 84 or WZ-653A) series is an armored recovery vehicle based on the chassis of the Type 69 tank.  The Type 653A is basically a Type 653 with a heavier, more powerful crane.  The turret of the Type 69 is replaced with a raised superstructure, offset to the left of the vehicle.  To the right of the vehicle is a crane; on the Type 653, this has a capacity of 10 tons, while on the Type 653A, the capacity is 20 tons.  Both cranes have a reach of 6 meters and can rotate 360 degrees; the base is on the front right side.  To the front of the vehicle is a large dozer blade used for bracing and for earthmoving (it may excavate 100 cubic meters per hour on dry soil, or use the blade as a brace if lifting heavy items).  The Type 653 series also has a hydraulic winch with a capacity of 70 tons with 130 meters of cable (160 meters on the Type 653A).  The Type 653 also has an auxiliary winch with a capacity of 10 tons.  The Type 653 is equipped with a variety of tools for work on tracked and wheeled vehicles, and also carries excavating tools, as well as a large number of stowage boxes where other tools may be kept (other tools must be bought separately).  A tow bar is carried on the roof. The Type 653 series is in use by China, Bangladesh, Iraq, Pakistan, and Thailand.  The vehicle carries 100 kg of random vehicle parts, with the accent on tracked vehicle parts. A small amount have also been supplied to Kuwait along with their new PLZ-45 SP howitzers.

     The commander is at the right of the superstructure; he has a modified position for his gun which may be aimed and fired from within the vehicle, with it buttoned up.  The commander has all-around vision blocks and one with a day/night channel, and has a manually- operated cupola with a pintle for a heavy weapon. The driver is on the front left of the front, raised somewhat above the equivalent position on the Type 69 tank.  At the rear of the superstructure is a large hatchway, one meter long and two meters wide, which has the control positions for the winch and crane.  The two seats in this position may be swiveled 360 degrees, and may also move up and down. The operators have vision blocks to the rear and to each side of the compartment. One more crewmember is inside the hull, under the superstructure. As with the Type 69, the vehicle is powered by a Type 12150L-7BW diesel developing 580 horsepower, with a manual transmission.

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

Type 653

$929,762

D, A

3 tons

38 tons

5

17

Passive IR (D, C)

Enclosed

Type 653A

$978,351

D, A

3 tons

42 tons

5

17

Passive IR (D, C)

Enclosed

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Config

Susp

Armor

Type 653

124/87

25/20

935+380

167

Stnd

T6

HF40  HS10  HR8

Type 653A

118/83

24/20

935+380

176

Stnd

T6

HF40  HS10  HR8

 

Vehicle

Fire Control

Stabilization

Armament

Ammunition

(Both)

None

None

DShK (C)

500x12.7mm