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Type 97

Infantry fighting vehicle

Type 97 IFV

Not much detailed information on performance of the new Chinese Type 97 IFV is available

 
 
Country of origin China
Entered service 2004
Crew 3 men
Personnel 7 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight ~ 20 t
Length ~ 7.2 m
Width ~ 3.2 m
Height ~ 2.5 m
Armament
Main gun 100 mm gun, 30 mm cannon
ATGW ?
Machine guns 1 x 7.62 mm
Ammunition load
Main gun 30 x 100 mm, 500 x 30 mm
ATGW 8 missiles
Machine guns ~ 2 000 x 7.62 mm
Mobility
Engine diesel
Engine power 590 hp (?)
Maximum road speed ~ 65 km/h
Amphibious speed on water ~ 20 km/h
Range ~ 500 km
Maneuverability
Gradient 60%
Side slope 40%
Vertical step ~ 0.7 m
Trench ~ 1.8 m
Fording Amphibious

 

   The Type 97 infantry fighting vehicle entered service with the Chinese army in 2004. It is also referred as the ZBD-97 or ZBD-04. Industrial designation of this vehicle is WZ502. About 400 of these armored vehicles were produced for the Chinese army, until production switched to an improved ZBD-08.

   For a long time China made a number unsuccessful attempts to design infantry fighting vehicle featuring good armor protection, firepower and mobility. In 1980 it adopted the Type 86 IFV, which was a direct copy of the Soviet BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicle. However by that time the BMP-1 was already an out-dated design. China considered the Type 86 IFV an intermediate vehicle, while the new indigenous IFV type will become available.

   The Type 97 is a modern fighting vehicle design. Essentially it is a clone of the Russian BMP-3. However vehicle has indigenously designed chassis with traditional layout. Engine is mounted at the front, while the troop compartment is located at the rear. Thus some drawbacks of the BMP-3, such as cramped crew compartment, were eliminated. This Chinese IFV benefits from a spacious troop compartment with easy entry and exit through the rear doors.

   The Type 97 is fitted with a complete Russian BMP-3 turret, which is now license-produced in China. It has similar firepower comparing with the BMP-3 and in these terms outperforms most current IFVs. Its 100 mm gun has an effective range of 4 km. This gun can fire both ordinary projectiles and anti-tank guided missiles. It is compatible with Chinese indigenously designed ATGMs, derived from the Soviet AT-10 Stabber. Missiles are capable of penetrating up to 600 mm of armor behind ERA blocks and pose serious threat to main battle tanks. It is claimed that hit probability of the missile is at least 80%. The 30 mm cannon has an effective range of 1.5 - 2 km. The Type 97 IFV is also fitted with a coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun.

   The 100 mm cannon is completed with an autoloader. It has a rate of fire of 10 rounds per minute. Vehicle carries a total of 30 rounds for the 100 mm gun, including 22 ordinary HE-FRAG rounds and 8 anti-tank guided missiles.

   Protection level of this IFV is unknown. Most likely it offers all-round protection against 14.5 mm armor-piercing rounds. Front arc might withstand 20 or 25 mm rounds. Vehicle is fitted with NBC protection system. Also it may be fitted with indigenous active laser protection system.

   The Type 97 IFV has a crew of three and accommodates 7 fully equipped infantrymen. Troops enter and leave the vehicle via the rear door or roof hatches. Also there are some firing ports for the troops.

   Vehicle is powered by an unspecified water-cooled diesel engine. It might be a BF8M1015CP diesel, developing 590 hp. Other sources claim that vehicle is powered by a copy of the BMP-3 engine, developing 500 hp. It is known that engine is mated to a 4-speed manual gearbox. Suspension is broadly similar to that of the BMP-3. Not much detailed information on the performance of the new IFV is available. The Type 97 IFV is amphibious and is powered on water by two waterjets. Vehicle can operate at Sea State 2-3. Previous Chinese armored vehicles had limited amphibious capability and were incapable of long distance swimming. The Type 97 IFV has that capability and is also used in the amphibious assault role.

 

Variants

 

   ZBD-08 is a revised and improved variant. It has improved armor protection at a cost of reduced amphibious capabilities. It entered service with Chinese army and is being produced in large numbers;

   Armored recovery vehicle;

   PLZ-05A self-propelled mortar system. It is similar to that of the Russian 2S31 Vena;

   SH3 122 mm self-propelled howitzer.

 

Video of the Type 97 infantry fighting vehicle

 
Type 97 IFV

Type 97 IFV

Type 97 IFV

Type 97 IFV

Type 97 IFV


 
Type 97 IFV

Type 97 IFV

Type 97 IFV

Armored recovery vehicle

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