The ZBD2000, first revealed in 2006, is a fully amphibious armoured fighting vehicle and light tank developed for the PLA Marine Corps. The vehicle succeeded the ZTS63A (Type 63A) amphibious tank that was introduced in the late 1990s, showing the high level of resources the PLA is devoting towards the amphibious assault capabilities. The ZBD2000 is available in three versions: 105mm gun-armed light tank, infantry fighting vehicle (IFV), and command vehicle.
DesignEditThe amphibious fighting vehicle is similar to the U.S. Expeditionary Fight Vehicle (EFV) in concept, designed to be launched at sea, from an amphibious assault ship offshore, and swim to shore at high-speed. Like the EFV, the ZBD2000 uses a planning hull propelled by two large water jets to achieve a high speed of travelling in the water over a long distance (‘over-the-horizon’), thus reducing the threats of enemy mines and shore defences faced by the amphibious assault ships. However, the ZBD2000 may have yet reached the travelling performance of the EFV.
The vehicle features hydraulically-actuated bow and transom flaps, which are designed to aid the vehicle’s hull skimming across the surface of the water (called planing or hydroplaning in sailing) rather than pushing through the water in the way a traditional displacement hull works. When actuated, the bow and transom flaps together with the bottom of the hull can form a planning surface, allowing the vehicle to go faster by using its speed and hull-shape to lift the front part of the hull slightly out of the water, thus reducing the hydrodynamic drag on the vehicle. A similar design has been used on the.
The ZBD2000 features a large flat, boat-like hull, with six road wheels and lead/return rollers. A welded turret is mounted over the middle of the hull, with the powerpack at front and passenger compartment in the rear. The light tank variant has a crew of four, with the driver seated left in the hull and forward of the turret, and loader, gunner, and commander occupying the turret. The loader is situated to the right of the main gun. The gunner and commander sit in tandem on the left side. The loader is also responsible for operating the 12.7mm anti-aircraft machine gun (AAMG) mounted on turret roof.
The IFV variant has a crew of three, with the driver seated at front and the commander and gunner situated inside the 30mm cannon turret. The IFV’s passenger compartment in the rear accommodates 6~8 armed soldiers, who dismount the vehicle through the rear exit door.
Light Tank VariantEdit
The light tank variant is armed with a fully-stabilised 105mm rifled gun, similar to that found on the ZTS63A amphibious tank. The gun can fire the armour piercing fin stabilised discarding sabot (APFSDS), high explosive (HE), and high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) rounds, and the Chinese indigenous 105mm gun-fired laser beam riding guidance anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) derived from the Russian 9M117 Bastion technology. The missile offers the vehicle the capability to fire at targets on shore while the vehicle is swimming at sea, where conventional ammunitions have poor accuracy due to the effect of the sea wave.
Secondary weapons include a 7.62mm machine gun, a 12.7mm anti-aircraft machine gun mounted on the roof of the turret, and two sets of four-barrel smoke grenade launchers mounted on the side of the turret. The rear part of the turret is also fitted with storage rack to provide additional protection against HEAT rounds.
Fire accuracy is attained by a computerised fire-control system (FCS), which includes a fire-control computer, light spot commander sight with laser rangefinder input, and light spot gunner sight with passive night vision. For day/night, all-weather amphibious assault operations, the vehicle is also equipped with a GPS navigation and imaged intensifier night vision or thermal imaging system.
Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) VariantEdit
An IFV variant of the ZBD2000 was introduced to accompany the light tank in the battlefield. The vehicle is based on the same hull, but with a two-man 30mm cannon turret with a HJ-73C ATGM rail launcher mounted on the turret. The vehicle has a crew of three and may be able to carry 7~10 armed soldiers in its passenger compartment in the rear. The 30mm cannon appears to be a brand new design, similar to the cannon fitted on an export variant APC revealed by the CNGC in 2007.
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