China Unveils Amphibious, Airborne Armored Vehicles

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Type-99 main battle tanks on parade – Beijing, 2009

A total of 56 regiments on the ground and in the air will join the parade. The parade involves more than 8,000 soldiers, 2,000 less than the 1999 parade. They were marching in 14 impressive phalanxes. 30 phalanxes rolled on wheeled vehicles, compared to 25 a decade ago.

Type 03 airborne armored vehicle (ZLC2000)
Marine Corps' Type 05 amphibious armored vehicle on parade.

The formation, combination and equipment of these phalanxes showed the ongoing transformation of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) from labor intensive forces to a technology-intensive one. Reflecting this trend, this year the parade included more weapon systems – over 100 land attack and naval missiles 500 armored vehicles and over 150 aircraft, surface to air and anti-ship missiles, radars and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Fifteen formations of armored vehicles displayed a variety of systems, led by a large formation of Type-99 main battle tanks, China’s newest armored vehicle. They were followed by two versions of the Type-05 amphibious assault and infantry fighting vehicles, making their debut at this parade. Type-03 airborne fighting vehicles and Type-08 wheeled armored vehicles were also on display.

Type 05 infantry fighting vehicle (above) and assault gun (below) on parade at the 60th anniversary parade. Type 05 is also known as ZBD2000 family of tracked armored vehicles, officially unveiled in 2006. These vehicles are designed for amphibious operations and come in three configurations: an armoured fighting vehicle, a command vehicle and an a light tank (assault gun) equipped with 105mm gun, both are deployed with the Peoples’ Liberation Army’s Marine Corps.

Type 08 wheeled armored vehicle on parade Beijing, Oct 1,st, 2009

In recent years the PLA is balancing its armored vehicles fleet with a range of heavy, and medium tracked vehicles as well as 6×6 and 8×8 wheeled vehicles, offering better strategic and rapid power projection. The Type 08, also known as WZ 0001is configured as an infantry fighting vehicle, armed with 35mm automatic cannon. Other vehicles in this family include a self propelled mortar (120mm), self propelled air defense platfor, a recovery vehicle and command vehicle. The WZ 0001family was designed to address PLA requirements as well as for export.

Below: Type 03 airborne armored vehicle is the ZLC2000 built by Norinco. It is armed with a turret tmounting a 30mm cannon with a HJ-73C ATGM rail launcher. The vehicle can be air-dropped by parachute from an IL-76MD transport aircraft. Each IL-76MD can carry three ZLC-2000 vehicles.

Type 05 assault gun on parade at the 60th anniversary parade
WZ0001 8x8 infantry fighting vehicle

All photos: China Ministry of National Defense / Xinhua