Armor: May 17, 2002

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China has unveiled another 8x8 tank destroyer with a 120mm cannon; this is a very different vehicle from the one unveiled last year. In the last year, China has unveiled not just these two vehicles, but an 8x8 self-propelled 122mm howitzer, a 6x6 self-propelled 120mm mortar, and a 6x6 tank destroyer with a 105mm cannon. The new vehicle is apparently based on a stretched version of the 6x6 WZ551 armored personnel carrier. The driver sits at the front left behind armored glass windows. The turret is in the center of the hull; its bustle extends over the rear deck. The rear of the hull can be used to carry extra ammunition or a few dismounted infantrymen. There is a small door between the 2nd and 3rd wheels; it could be used to reload ammunition or as an emergency exit. The gun is a 120mm smoothbore with a thermal sleeve and compact fume extractor. There is probably a muzzle brake but the front part of the cannon is covered by a tarp in the only available photos. Given the size of the turret, it probably includes three crewmen and not an automatic loader. It is assumed that there is an advanced fire control system with stabilization, computers, laser rangefinder, and day/night sights. There is an unknown (probably 7.62mm) machinegun mounted inside the turret to fire coaxially with the main gun. There is a 12.7mm machinegun pintel mounted on the roof. There are smoke grenade launchers on both sides of the turret.--Stephen V Cole

 


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