Armor: October 11, 2004


China continues to build, and upgrade, its Type 63A amphibious tank. China is the only country in the world to maintain a force of such heavily armed amphibious tanks. The 22 ton, 32 foot long Type 63A has a crew of four and carries a 105mm gun. Firing depleted uranium armor piercing shells, the Type 63A can knock out most Taiwanese tanks at ranges of up to two kilometers. The 105mm gun can also fire anti-tank missiles that can take out tanks at over three kilometers. But even with ERA (Explosive Reaction Armor), the Type 63A would not survive a hit from the main gun of any of Taiwans tanks. But the latest upgrades add an anti-missile system that would defeat many of the Taiwanese anti-tank missiles. The latest version of the Type 63As are also getting a more powerful engine (1,000 horsepower, compared to the current 580 horsepower.) Taiwan has about 1100 tanks, and the 500 Type 63As could be put ashore quickly during an amphibious invasion of Taiwan. The main asset of the Type 63A is its ability to float, and move through the water at up to 28 kilometers an hour. The Type 63A has been tested at sea, showing that it can come in from the sea, at least in calm water. But inland, it can also quickly cross rivers and other water obstacles. The Type 63A is one of China's key weapon systems in any future war with Taiwan. 


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