Chinese Army Gets a New Armored Vehicle

We here at DT and the press in general have focused a lot on China’s J-20 stealth figther and its new aircraft carrier. They’re the sexy toys of China’s military modernization and they will be key to China projecting military might someday, so it’s natural that they receive a good deal of press. However, we shouldn’t forget that China is also modernizing its ground forces.

Remember a few months ago we showed you a new class of Chinese armored vehicles that appeared to be in the works? Well, they’ve apparently entered service. The photos above and below — posted on China Defense Blog show the new vehicles being shipped to a unit in northern China. As we’ve said earlier, it’s unlcear if these are heavily upgraded variants of China’s Type 89 and 86 armored fighting vehicles or it they’re a brand new type. The vehicles being shipped north look like they  might be equipped with the 100 mm cannon found on Russia’s BMP-3. Earlier pics of the vehicle show command post, recon and engineering variants.

Click through the jump for the other pic.

  • DJ Elliott

    ATGW is fired from the 100mm canon on the BMP3s.

    • Stratege

      ATGW? What is it?

  • crackedlenses

    Not to make fun, but these look like the toy tanks you get in bags of green army men…..

    • jbr

      Where do you think they got the design idea?

    • Mastro

      Well they are made the same place.

      • blight

        Well, the Happy Joy Time Military Entertainment Toy Factory versus the People’s Liberation Army Tank Plant Number Eight-hundred Eighty-Eight.

    • fuck

      ya i think so…

  • LEP1

    This Chinese AIFV may be following the Soviet-Russian BMP-3 design philosophy. It is obvious that it is equipped with a co-axial automatic cannon that is mated to the main gun(the BMP-3 has a 30 mm co-axial automatic cannon). If the BMP-3 design philosophy has been followed to the fullest, then this Chinese AIFV may have additional co-axial and hull mounted 7.62 mm machine guns.

    • Matt

      Doesnt apper (from these photos at least) to have any mounted machine guns. Perhaps the Chinese are worried about wasting small arms ammunition during a large conflict?

  • Billy

    More targets for our A-10s!!!

    • Juuso

      It would be nice if chinese SAM batteries would get target practice.

      • crackedlenses

        Just in time to get some live-fire SEAD training; this topic is stupid :) ……

    • Jeff

      Nah, we’d have to borrow money from the Chinese to pay for the fuel for our A-10s though.

      • blight

        Or worse, the Middle East sits out the war because they’re afraid to offend either the PRC or the US, both of which are major customers and could easily throw down massive retribution in the event of win/loss.

        For instance, the PRC could make things very difficult if there was a semi-win or draw in their favor, and the same is true of the United States. The Middle East’s position would be to supply both nations as if nothing was happening (armed neutrality?), and then this would bring the war to their doorstep. Iraq tried this during the Iraq-Iran war, and got Kuwaiti-flagged tankers attacked for their troubles. It will suck immensely for the PRC when Malaysian flagged tankers are attacked near the PRC carrying Gulf oil, or PLAN submarines ranging along the Pacific sink a few oil tankers.

        Perhaps both might pledge to avoid hitting neutral tankers at sea…and renege when the war gets progressively worse for one side or another.

  • Byron Skinner

    Good Morning Folks,

    The question here that begs asking is why?

    Who are the potential foes that China expects to use there vehicles against?

    These are not anti tank vehicles that could match up with Russian T-90’s very well or even Vietnamese T-72’s. China doesn’t have the amphibious capacity to move them to Taiwan where they would me greeted by US M-60’s.

    It would see that the only place such a vehicle could be used is in civil unrest with in China’s borders. These vehicles are a strong indicator that China still fears internal unrest more the any external threats. These vehicle would fit well into the TO&E of the PAP.

    Byron Skinner

    • iknotno


    • justsaying

      I would say the western world. It has a long history of invading foreign lands and exterminating or displacing indigenous populations. The Americas, Australia, Africa, East Asia, etc. We all know what happened the last time China was poorly defended. The British took advantage and invaded to defend their drug trade.

    • Notstupid

      India, Korea

    • ziv

      Could they be more likely a planned upgrade of the combined arms divisions that would defend against any Russian adventurism in the North. Or more likely, in the even of any prolonged any crisis, the tip of the spear if the Chinese need to ‘acquire’ resource rich sections of Siberia. A Type 86 variant would seem like enough force for the PAP but the newer BMP3 types might be of more use against a more heavily armed opponent in a relatively open environment, i.e. siberia or Mongolia.
      I don’t think China wants to invade either country but if the energy market falls apart in a big way due to Peak Oil or a global economic melt down, I would imagine that they need to have a contingency plan to ‘acquire’ the land and material they need to keep their lights on and feed their people.

      • ziv

        Lord did I butcher that comment, never cut and paste different paragraphs together….
        “In the event of an prolonged crisis”

    • adsadwq

      armored fighting vehicles aren’t meant to go head to head with tanks, thats like comparing pistols to grenade launchers.

    • Mastro

      Reading too much into it- tanks need armored infantry support.

      Not terribly worried about Chinese armor- maybe the Russians/Vietnamese are- but as an American I put in it the “mildly interesting” column.

    • laura

      Leave it to BS Byron to defend his Chicomm buddies. Nothing to see here. Barry obama guts USA defense and Chicomms Buildup and BS is all for it….

      • blight

        My perfunctory google search of “Byron Skinner” reveals that a person of that name fought in Vietnam; and probably killed more “Chicomm buddies” than many of us have to date. I choose to believe that the people who served and say they do here on DefTech generally aren’t lying; since it would be a pain to ask everyone for their DD-214’s…

        • crackedlenses

          You have to admit though, Byron’s been saying some interesting stuff lately. If you run on DoD Buzz you’ll see what I mean…..

          • blight

            True, but if he is who he says he is, he certainly earned his right to have different opinions. Maybe moreso considering his MOS.

  • Lance

    Maybe it be BIG if it was 1983 the APC you see is s Chinese knock off of a BMP3 APC. not real BIG leap in technology.

    • Armored

      It has very difrent hull when compared to BMP-3, only the trurret is same. Type-502 (if thats what its called) is also said to be weighing 28 tons when empty… tad more than BMP-3.

  • http://major.rod major.rod

    The headline shouldn’t have been “New Chinese Armor”. It should have been “Chinese Copy Armor”.

  • FormerDirtDart

    Likely it is an improvement or advancement on the ZBD/Type-97 (04). The large box-like extensions on the back could be fuel/ammo storage (moving it out of crew compartment)

  • http://sorryI'mfrench xb

    Invading siberia would mean nuclear exchange with russia…

  • BigDog

    I find this funny, as western armies downsize and move to more wheeled vehicles, the chinese still feel the need to indulge in the tracked variants. Again, outdated thinking. The propensity of these monsters to move through any future asian battlefield is questionable, and further hampered given the swarms of ucavs they would encounter from the US or it’s allies, all of which surround China. I see them used against Russia…

    • Nadnerbus

      Much of Siberia is a boggy mess during the warmer months. A tracked vehicle makes more sense than a wheeled vehicle if that is the area they are intended to be used in. A war with Russia would not be hampered by “US ucavs” or its allies.

      Always interesting to try to figure out what the intentions of the PRC is going to be. Clues clues clues.

      • charles222

        You seriously don’t think NATO is going to object to China conquering the gas fields that keep Europe from freezing to death each winter?

        • ziv

          I could see NATO objecting, but the only country that can do anything is the US. And with our natural gas exports on the horizon, Russian is going to lose the stranglehold they have now. Losing Russian gas in 10 years would be painful for Europe, whereas it would be suicide now.
          I am not sure that China will actually invade Russia but I could see them using the carrot and stick. Threaten to invade to ‘retake lands that are historically Chinese’ while offering Russia cheap manpower and China’s copied drilling techniques for tight oil and gas, which of course would be shared between the two countries. And then have multiple Corps level war games a few miles from the border as the negotiations are underway.

    • josty

      Actually i have to disagree with you, because im a stryker operator and have been for 3 years, and its worst vehicle as far as terrain goes to navigate on, before that i was a M3A4 Bradley Operator and not only does it have way better armor and firepower, but mobility as well. The US Army is still heavily into tracked Vehicle whether its Infantry Carriers or Tanks. I would never trust the stryker family in a serious firefight over rough terrain compared to more trusted vehicle like the Bradley.

    • Chimp

      More likely…

      1. If the Norks go titsup, the PLA will be forced to intervene
      2. There are more fun and games on the Indian border

      The two largest PLA armies are adjacent to North Korea and India, respectively. The one near the Norks gets the new gear first. Most of their armoured divisions have been broken up and reorganised as brigades, and are pretty well trained (compared to ten years ago, spectacularly so).

      The only area they are still weak in is organic air defence. That would be fatal against a Western type opponent (though there is fair quality air cover), but against a 1950’s airforce, it wouldn’t matter.

      Frankly, if I was the Nork fatboy, I’d be making very, very nice with the PRC… who must be getting very tired of covering up Nork idiocy.

    • blight

      If they went with wheels, someone would comment on how closely they are aping us, and that wheels are vulnerable to shredding and are a sign of Chinese incompetence.

      I guess even going with tracks shows how “dumb” the PLA is? Can’t ever catch a break…

      • http://major.rod major.rod

        If they were doing wheels they would look like BTRs or an “original” design. It is what it is.

  • ostheim

    Honestly, if its ok for the USA and its allies to pump out new vehicles and technology to modernize its armed forces, i dont see why the Chinese cant. Its like asking our Secretary of Defense, who the we going to use the Stryker Family against? Or the New F-35? So the chinese have new IFV’s awell more power to them and their defense.

  • Matt

    These arent heavily armorered can dealsome damage decent speed good AIFV to have escorting infantry good fear factor to it but facing an american bradley I dnt know but overall its a good AIFV easily mass produced and simple its easily upgradable love it

  • Lance

    Chinese lunch meat for a M-1A1 or M-60A1 ;)

    • Riceball

      But so is anything else in its class. Better question is how they would fare against our Strykers, Bradleys, and LAV’s which are in the same class although the Bradley has something of an unfair advantage due to its TOW launcher which makes it a potential threat to tanks as well as other IFVs.

    • Armored

      Are you seriously now comparing IFV’s and tanks? This is getting ridiculous.

  • bob

    I rather be an ally with the Chinese than with Ivan.

    +1 trillion dollars in debt to China, yeah. Let them invade Russia - Europe is a dying place anyway. Guess it’s their time to avenge Europe for the hardships of China after the Opium wars.

  • Byron Skinner

    Good Evening Folks,

    Taking a closer look at the BMP-3, it’s been around since 1975 but never bought in any large numbers. The Russian Federation currently claims to have 693 in service, and their largest export customer the USE has about 250. The last two batches of BMP-3’s for The Russian Federation, 23 in 1997 and 37 on 2005, were made under license in South Korea for The Russian Federation.

    Compare this to roughly its US counter part the M-2/M-3 Bradleys the US currently still has about 6,500 (6,724 Bradleys of all kinds produced for the USArmy) vehicles operational and that is after culling some worn out vehicles and combat losses that served in Iraq.

    I don’t see any news here on this Chinese variant (Type 89 and Type 86’s) of the BMP-3.

    Byron Skinner

    • http://major.rod major.rod

      recheck your sources the BMP3 was released in the mid 90’s. You’re thinking the BMP1. BIG difference not to mention your totally skipped the BMP2. The BMP3 is significantly different in capability and shape.

  • Mutantone

    it is the number of them that is the issue just like In Korea when they attacked it was waves of troops, some not even armed, that over whelmed the troops in the Korean war . I can see these coming out as cannon fodder knowing that many will not make it but some will attrition by sheer numbers

  • mike

    Hopefully their armor is Chinese Drywall.

  • PolicyWonk

    How awesome that the US consumers are sinking so much money into China’s limitary build-up! How awesome that our dual-use technologies, manufacturing techniques, and job were all sent to China by the very wealthy people the conservatives claim are supposed to be producing jobs here in the USA.



  • Phil Leech

    Looks like they’re economizing on Crowd Suppression.

  • Mitchell

    They look like slightly upgraded BMP-3’s.