13:50 GMT +330 March 2017
    Photos of a light tank reportedly heading to a base in Southern China

    Has China Developed New Secretive Light Tank?

    © China Commentary
    Asia & Pacific
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    In late December 2016 images started cropping up on Chinese internet forums indicating that ground units in Beijing’s military may be armed with a new light tank. The combat vehicle supposedly being used by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) was first seen in 2011.

    Photographs show ten of the new vehicles on a flatbed railcar, seemingly making their way through southern China’s Guangxi Province Guilin railway station. Within Guangxi’s jurisdiction is Guangdong, home to the PLA’s new Southern Theatre Command, and the photos indicate that the tanks may be on their way to the new unit. 

    Popular Chinese website Sina.com reported on the tank in January 2016, detailing its features, weaponry and combat history. The tank reportedly weighs at about 35 tons and can accommodate a crew of four, though some have suggested that an autoloader for the vehicle’s 105 mm main gun lowers its crew capacity to three.

    According to Jane’s, the PLA became interested in light tanks in the 1950s out of a need to navigate southern China’s rice paddies, low-capacity ridges and inadequate roads. Light tank development was put on hold in the 1990s as focus shifted to amphibious combat vehicles, reemerging in the early 2000s. 

    Sina.com reported that the weapon can fire gun-launched missiles and tungsten-alloy anti-tank rounds with the ability to pierce up to 500 mm of armor, while the commander’s optics and the gun’s main sight seem to be adapted from the T-99A2 battle tank. There also appears to be a shell-tracking radar mounted on the gun, along with an ‘arrowhead’ turret complete with laser detectors and detachable reactive armor blocks. 

    Smoke grenade launchers can also be carried on the turret bustle.

    Liquid gas suspension may also be featured in the tank, which will help make air and rail transport easier and give it the ability to be better hidden on terrain. The vehicle’s wide tracks reportedly equip it with a ground pressure rating that rivals the 2-ton E Type 62/WZ-131 light tank that Beijing used in the early 1960s. If the reports are accurate, this would mean the tank could successfully traverse rice paddies.


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    • avatar
      Hafez Alawi
    • FeEisi
      Stolen Russian US technology from the worlds number one copycat.
    • avatar
      rounding out the armoury it seems. :)
    • avatar
      More copy cats. Apparently they need flogging to get to work.
    • avatar
      Russian or us tank copied
    • supportin reply tomichael(Show commentHide comment)
      michael, there is very good thinking in this. There has not been a light-profile/low PSI-sq.ft. load American tank since the M-551 Sheridan. The new Scout II for the UK is a narrow-track "non-submersible" just like the much larger Abrams.

      What baffles me is why more time is not devoted to building on the older gun design of the recoilless rifle. Why turrets are so huge is not so much owing to crew protection as to absorb the recoil of the main gun firing. This is not a problem with recoilless rounds.

      The other need not addressed is the provision of a short-barrel howitzer for urban point-blank direct fire and short-range anti-armour applications For the narrow streets of today's cities, one cannot even traverse the turret toward the target unless one's tank is in "stand-off" five or six blocks down the road. Please see YouTube and TanksInSpace.com for demonstrations of this problem in the real world in Damascus in 2011 involving T-72's, T-80's and I believe T-90's as well.

      I think one of the reasons the Syrian Army moved as fast forward as they did is because the US-financed and armed "freedom fighters" and Daesh were too stupid to hold their fire in urban environments until the Syrian tanks were on top of them. It was a relatively easy life for Syrian forward observers for this reason too. By the time the Syrian Army and the Yaziris reached Daesh and Al-Queda positions in force, Al-Queda and Daesh had expended most of their ammunition firing on the Syrians starting at 3 miles out. Pathetic. So...if one day one runs into a wise enemy who can hold their fire, most tanks today are very expensive self-propelled cookstoves anyway. Short-barrel quickloading weapons are needed for the main gun even if of smaller calibre.
    • avatar
      michaelin reply tosupport(Show commentHide comment)
      support, makes me wonder what the PLA have in mind. Taiwan eventually perhaps? The Scout II is interesting with narrow tracks, maybe designed for european use, with convenient roads?
      You also reminded me of the Stug III. as well as the Su-152. I will checkTiS as well. Thanks. :)
    • supportin reply tomichael(Show commentHide comment)
      michael, Taiwan and mainland China get along just fine. I tried to start up a conversaiton with a former Taiwanese who works at the "Futurama store" on the subject of unification and her response was that Taiwan versus Red China is just another American trick for getting Asians killed. It will be at worst a US/Canada style border as it is now unless the US State Department puts another Killary or Lurch in charge which I do not see happening anytime soon. I like the present Trump appointee.

      However all these urban mini-tanks tell me that for years now the parvenu nouveau riche plan the demise of the populist movement globally through mass murder. It is up to the Royal families of this earth and the intergenerational wealth providers who back their stabilizing influence to stop the new leftist Roundheads or we will end up with an English Civil War type culling of the menfolk (again) worldwide.
    • avatar
      michaelin reply tosupport(Show commentHide comment)
      support, that fits with the Chinese that i have spoken to as well - from both the mainland and taiwan. They seem to be more focussed on amassing a fortune and geberating good luck for future generations. :)
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