Armor: December 23, 1999


The Chinese People's Liberation Army has displayed in public for the first time the long-reported Type-89 self-propelled anti-tank gun. Also known as the PTZ89, it is built on the chassis of the Type-83 self-propelled 152mm howitzer. The 120mm anti-tank cannon is mounted in a new welded-steel turret which sets further forward on the chassis than the gun house on the Type-83. It has a large turret bustle which is thought to contain extra ammunition and perhaps an autoloader system. The primary ammunition is the new 120-II round, which includes a fin-stabilized discarding-sabot penetrator at a higher velocity than the original Chinese round for this cannon. The round is semi-combustible; only a stub case remains after it is fired. The complete round is 1.15 meters long and weighs 22.5 kilograms. The projectile is 655mm long and weighs 7.4kg. The muzzle velocity for this round is 1,725 meters per second, and it can penetrate 600mm (two feet) of rolled homogenous steel armor at a range of 2000 meters. This cannon can also fire Western 120mm ammunition. The gun is being offered in export refit packages for older Soviet and Chinese tanks that mount 100mm cannons. These tanks cannot mount the current Russian 125mm cannon as it is too big (requiring expensive turret modifications that amount to an entirely new turret), but they can mount the Chinese 120mm smoothbore, which is similar to the German cannon used by the US. --Stephen V Cole

Automotive Equipment of Israel has announced that it has found the first export customer for its Desert Raider Fast Attack Vehicle, which is basically a machinegun-armed dune buggy. The Desert Raider is the first successful design to use six wheels, allowing it to carry greater loads and to have improved rough-country maneuverability. The driver sits in the center of the vehicle, with an additional crew member (firing a machinegun or other heavy weapon) on either side. A fourth crewman can fire a heavy weapon mounted on the top of the roll cage. Maximum road speed is 110 kilometers per hour (68 miles per hour); the two 50-liter fuel tanks provide a range of 600 kilometers. Empty weight is 1,450kg; it can carry another 1200kg of crew, weapons, and stores. Usable as a recon or attack vehicle, the Desert Raider can be carried inside a CH-53 (which the Israelis operate in large numbers). --Stephen V Cole




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