Armor: The First One Is Free


October 18, 2017: China recently delivered ten VN3 armored reconnaissance vehicles to Belarus. These were a gift so neighboring Russia was not upset about some lost sales. The VN3 is described as an 8.5 ton 4x4 armored vehicle with a one man turret that can handle a machine-gun (7.62mm-14.5mm) or a more expensive RWS (Remote Weapons Station) with something as large as a 30mm autocannon. Top speed is 110 kilometers an hour and max road range is 600 kilometers. The crew of five consists of a commander, gunner, driver and two scouts who can quickly get out via the rear door. The Chinese Army has been using the VN3s but Belarus is the first export customer.

The VN3 is actually a variant of the earlier (2007) VN4. This was described as a nine ton armored truck, similar to an armored hummer, with a crew of two and room for eight passengers. These have been seen used by security forces recently in Venezuela and Kenya. Venezuela received over a hundred VN4s and they are regularly in use now to control growing popular anger over the collapse of the economy and food shortages.

The VN4 was something of an MRAP-Lite but was marketed as a police vehicle and has been popular in that capacity.