|Manufacturer:||NORINCO - China North Industries Group Corporation - CNGC|
|Product type:||Armoured Vehicles|
Early in 2001 the Chinese defence industry revealed that it had developed to the prototype stage a new 8 × 8 tank destroyer armed with a turret-mounted 120 mm smoothbore gun.
While similar in some respects to the NORINCO WZ 551 (6 × 6) APC, this 120 mm (8 × 8) tank destroyer appears to utilise a new and much larger chassis of all-welded steel construction with the driver and another crew member at the front, turret in the centre and the diesel power pack at the rear. It is considered possible that this chassis could also be used for a number of other applications.
As of mid-2007 it is understood that quantity production had yet to commence.
The new Chinese 8 × 8 120 mm tank destroyer is similar in concept to the Italian IVECO/Oto Melara Centauro 105 mm (8 × 8) armoured car/tank destroyer but is much higher and has a different layout.
Centauro has the driver front left with the power pack to his right, turret in the centre and ammunition/small troop compartment at the rear.
It is estimated that the Chinese vehicle weighs between 26 and 34 tonnes. The hull and turret are of all-welded steel armour that provides the occupants with protection from small arms fire and shell splinters. It is probable that a higher level of protection is provided over the frontal arc.
The driver and one other person are at the front with the turret in the centre and the power pack at the rear. Steering is power assisted on the front four wheels.
To the immediate front and either side of the driver and one other crew person is a bulletproof window. When in a combat area these are covered by armoured shutters with observation then being via roof-mounted periscopes that cover the frontal arc. These two crew members enter and leave the vehicle via a hatch above their position.
Main armament comprises a 120 mm smoothbore gun fitted with a fume extractor, thermal sleeve and a slotted muzzle brake. It is probable that the 120 mm smoothbore gun is similar to that installed on the Type 89 full-tracked tank destroyer and fires APFSDS (armour-piercing fin-stabilised discarding sabot) and other types of ammunition with a semi-combustible cartridge case. The Type 89 has an automatic loader for the 120 mm gun but it is not known at this stage if the new 8 × 8 vehicle has this feature. The large turret bustle could well indicate the installation of an automatic loader which would enable the turret crew to be reduced.
A computerised fire-control system is fitted, with the commander being seated on the left and gunner on the right; both have a single-piece hatch cover that open towards the front. There also appears to be a hull entry door in the side of the hull between the second and third road wheels. This could well be an emergency escape-hatch or used for ammunition resupply purposes.
The fire-control system and stabilised day/night sights are probably the same as those installed in the recently revealed NORINCO 105 mm (6 × 6) tank destroyer (covered in a separate entry). It is possible that these new 8 × 8 and 6 × 6 vehicles are related or at the least share a number of common automotive components.
A 12.7 mm machine gun is mounted on the right side of the turret roof for air defence purposes and it is probable that a 7.62 mm machine gun is mounted coaxial with the 120 mm weapon.
Standard equipment probably includes an NBC system. Other equipment may well include a winch and a central tyre-pressure regulation system. It is not amphibious.