Armor: July 12, 2001


China has unveiled a new 8x8 wheeled tank destroyer with a 120mm cannon. The 8x8 chassis has not been seen before, and might be a development of the 6x6 WZ551 wheeled armored personnel carrier or a new design. The Chinese appear to be developing a full range of medium armored wheeled vehicles to improve the mobility of their forces (some infantry divisions in the south are being converted into medium motorized brigades) and to have a full-range of such vehicles available for export sales. (Recent revelations include a 6x6 fast attack vehicle with a 23mm cannon and a 6x6 air defense vehicle with twin 35mm guns.) The Chinese 8x8 vehicle is thought to weigh between 26 and 34 tons. The driver and an infantryman sit in the front, the commander (left) and gunner (right) in the turret. The 120mm gun may be similar to the gun on the Type-89 tracked tank destroyer. It fires fin-stabilized discarding-sabot armor piercing ammunition with a semi-combustible cartridge case. (The type-89 has an automatic loader, but it is not clear if the new wheeled tank destroyer has one.) There is a 7.62mm machinegun inside the turret mounted coaxial with the cannon, and a pintel-mounted 12.7mm machinegun on the turret roof. The stabilized day/night fire control system is probably the same seen on the 6x6 wheeled tank destroyer mounting a 105mm gun which FYEO reported earlier.--Stephen V Cole


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