MODERN CHINESE ARMOUR

About 9,000 AFVs 1990-2016.

Models

Facing new challenges

The fall of USSR somewhat relieved the Chinese PLA of the traditional threat of a war on its northern borders, but with the new world order emerging in the 2000s, the Grounds forces were consistently improved and geared towards quality for costly MBTs, while quantity shifted towards cheaper wheeled vehicles while the emphasis was put on export, with success.

Modernization of the PLA\’s armour:

By fact, the PLA deploys today the world\’s largest ground force, with 1.6 million personnel (60% of the PLA\’s total manpower), divided among seven military regions. The PLAGF reserve had a 510,000 personnel divided between infantry and anti-aircraft artillery (AAA) divisions. Two amphibious mechanized divisions are based in Nanjing and Guangzhou districts. 40% of PLA divisions and brigades are now mechanized or armored, thanks to a reduction of size to bolster economical growth, which favoured the army core of motorized elements.

The latest operational doctrine integrates information technology, electronic and intelligence as well as long-range precision strikes. An integrated battlefield information network with (LAN/WAN) communications, satellite communications, and UAV-based surveillance/recce is set up, as well as mobile command and control centers. The bulk of the armoured divisions is equipped with Type 98 and 90 tanks, whereas the type 80/85/88 and older types are now in the active reserve. The Type 99 is reserved only for elite battalions.

Type 90-IIIM Chinese MBT
Type 90-IIIM the ancestor of the Type 96 (1990).

Type 96 MBTs

1997, 3rd generation tank developed from the Type 85 type III, around 2,500 produced.

Type 89 tank destroyer

100 built until 1995. 120 millimeter smoothbore gun. Transitional model abandoned after the end of the cold war. Other TDs were later built on the WZ551 wheeled vehicle.

Type 85/89/90 IFVs (1990)

These are vehicles derived from the Type 63 APC, but with a conception that looks much at the Russian BMP-3 family.

ZBD-97 IFV (2006)

Tracked. 400 vehicles.

ZBD-2000 IFV (2006)

Tracked. Chinese Marines.

ZBL-09 IFV (2008)

8×8 wheeled IFV.

WZ551 APC (1995)

6×6 Wheeled. Part of a large family of specialized vehicles including the ZSL92, WMZ551, VN2, and Type 92. The WZ550 tank hunter is the sole 4×4.