WZ551

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Type 92/WZ551 IFV
Chinese wheeled APC (2008).jpg
A WZ551 APC
Type Infantry fighting vehicle
Armored personnel carrier
Place of origin People's Republic of China
Service history
In service 1995-present
Production history
Designer Jiang Hong [WZ551B] at NORINCO Vehicle Research Institute; institute 201 (中国北方车辆研究所 China Vehicles Research Institute) and Institute 202
Manufacturer Norinco, at Factory 256 (西南车辆制造厂Southwest Vehicles Factories)
Specifications
Weight 12.5 tonnes
Length 6.63 m
Width 2.80 m
Height 2.80 m
Crew 3 + 9 passengers

Armor Welded steel
Main
armament
25 mm autocannon
Secondary
armament
12.7 mm heavy machine gun[1]
7.62 mm coaxial machine gun
Engine 8-cylinder, turbo-charged, air-cooled diesel
320 hp
Suspension Independent wheel
Operational
range
800 km
Speed 85 km/h

The WZ551 (AKA the ZSL92 [2] is a Chinese wheeled armored personnel carrier. It is actually consisted of two families of vehicles with official designations in the People's Liberation Army as Type 90 and Type 92. Roughly 900 WZ551s are in service with the PLA,[3] where they are used by light mechanized infantry units. WZ551s have been exported to Algeria, Bosnia, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Pakistan.

Design[edit]

Produced by Norinco, the WZ551 first appeared in 1984, but the Chinese military were not satisfied with its performance, and the design had to be modified. Modification is mostly concentrated on improving the chassis. The improved WZ551A entered service in 1995 as the Type 92 IFV and Type 92A APC.

It has a crew of three men, and is fully amphibious, being driven in the water by shrouded propellers.

The IFV version is equipped with a 25 mm cannon and a 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun in a closed turret and it can carry 9 passengers. The APC version has only a 12.7 mm machine gun but can carry 11 passengers. Additional versions include anti-tank missile, command, self-propelled artillery, air defense and armored recovery vehicles.

Type 90[edit]

Type 90 first appeared on the National Day of the People's Republic of China parade in 1984, and it is the basic version of WZ551. During its service, it was discovered that the vehicle was underpowered and the cross country capability at high altitude terrain was not sufficient enough to meet the requirement. As a result, the planned 4 x 4 and 8 x 8 variants were canceled, and resources were concentrate on the improvement effort. However, the planned export version designated as ZSL-90 (also the industrial designation) was continued, and the vehicle was used as chassis for a variety weaponry platforms, such as command vehicle, ATGW carrier, self-propelled AAA, and ambulance.

The most distinct visual difference between Type 90 and its successor Type 92 is that for Type 90, the distance between the first pair and the second pair of wheels is greater than the distance between the second pair and the third pair of wheels, while for Type 92, the distance is the same for all. Despite being used as a common chassis for many different platforms, the total number of vehicles of all types entering Chinese service is small due to its inherent problem, and with the exception of the basic APC version, no other versions of ZSL-90 is known to be exported due to the same reason.

NGV-1[edit]

NGV-1 is the successor of Type 90. It was discovered that the cross country mobility was not the only thing that needed to be improved for WZ551, firepower was also in need for improvement. The original Chinese manually operated 25-mm gun initially mounted on WZ551 proved to be incapable of penetrating the armor plate of most of Soviet armored vehicles, and a more power small caliber gun that was able to defeat Soviet armor was needed, and China turned to west for help because its own technologies and industrial capabilities back in the 1980s could not fill the need in the required time.

A deal was made with French firm GIAT to incorporate a GIAT 25-mm autocannon as the primary weapon for WZ551 and the work on the redesign of WZ551 begun in China even before the French gun was delivered. Due to the urgent need to meet the schedule, the GIAT 25-mm autocannon was airlifted to China, as opposed to delivery via cargo ships, the usual practice at the time. The development was completed and received state certification in October 1988, and the new vehicle was named as NGV-1, with N for Norinco, G for GIAT and V for vehicle. The remotely operated 25-mm autocannon was eventually reverse engineered in China after France withdrew from the program after 1989, and used to upgrade Type 92, another development of WZ551.

Type 92[edit]

A Chinese HJ-9 anti-tank missile system mounted on a WZ550 4x4 vehicle. On display at the "Our Troops Towards The Sky" exhibition in Beijing in 2007

The redesigned ZSL-92 or Type 92 solved the problems of its predecessor Type 90 and was first revealed to the public in 1986, and entered Chinese service on larger scale than its predecessor. Just like Type 90, Type 92 is also used as a common chassis for many different weaponry platforms, such as command vehicle, ATGW carrier, self-propelled AAA, and ambulance. Additionally, the canceled 4 x 4 and 8 x 8 versions were realized in Type 92 program. The industrial designation VN2A is also used for the export version of Type 92, following earlier practice. The chassis of Type 92 comes in three variations:

  • the 4X4 APC looks like the VAB, used mostly by the Chinese police, but also used as self-propelled SAM chassis.
  • the 6X6 APC or MICV. This was the baseline and also the first of the series.
  • the 8x8 variant

105 mm Assault Gun[edit]

In 2001 a self-propelled assault gun based on the WZ-551 was disclosed.[4]

120 mm Self Propelled Mortar[edit]

In 2001 a self-propelled mortar based on the WZ-551 was disclosed.[4]

122 mm Self Propelled Howitzer[edit]

This was based on a lengthened chassis.[4]

YT ADS[edit]

In 2005, another mobile land based air defense variant of TY-90 was revealed to the Chinese public, named as YT ADS, short for Yi-Tian (倚天, meaning leaning on the sky) Air Defense System. YT ADS is a development of earlier LS ADS designed to specifically address the shortcomings of the latter, namely, the insufficient armor protection, lack of amphibious capability and radar. Like its predecessor LS ADS, the system is also developed by Norinco.

Weaponry of YT ADS is similar to that of earlier LS ADS, with the missile configuration remains the same as that of LS ADS, but additionally, there is an extra 12.7 mm heavy machine gun and 3 smoke grenade dischargers as secondary armament for added protection. WZ551 is utilized as the chassis of the YT ADS, giving the system amphibious capability and added protection. Additionally, a light solid state 3-D passive phased array radar is added to the fire control system, just above the original electro-optical fire control system, providing the ADS with greater surveillance range. The radar can be fold down for traveling and transportation.

Specifications:

  • Maximum target altitude: 4 km
  • Minimum target altitude: 15 meter
  • Maximum target range: 6 km
  • Minimum target range: 300 meter
  • Maximum target speed: > 400 meter / second
  • Maximum radar searching range: >20 km
  • Maximum radar tracking range: 10 – 12 km
  • System reaction time: 6 – 8 seconds

WMZ-551B[edit]

This was an upgraded amphibious armored personnel carrier with improved firepower, maneuverability, and reliability.[4]

Operators[edit]

Sri Lanka Army WZ551.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]