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VN11

Heavy armored personnel carrier

VN11 heavy APC

The VN11 is converted from the obsolete Type 59 medium tanks

 
 
Country of origin China
Entered service ?
Crew 3 men
Personnel ~ 6 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight ~ 35 t
Length ~ 6.2 m
Width ~ 3.2 m
Height ~ 2.2 m
Armament
Main gun 30 mm cannon
ATGW HJ-73D (?)
Machine guns -
Ammunition load
Main gun ~ 500 rounds
ATGW ?
Machine guns -
Mobility
Engine diesel
Engine power ?
Maximum road speed ~ 50 km/h
Range ~ 500 km
Maneuverability
Gradient 60%
Side slope 40%
Vertical step 0.8 m
Trench 2.7 m
Fording 1.4 m

 

   The VN11 is a new Chinese heavy armored personnel carrier. It was converted from obsolete Type 59 medium tank. The VN11 was first publicly revealed in 2017. This armored vehicle is mainly aimed at export customers.

   In concept the VN11 is similar to Ukrainian BMP-55 heavy APC. During conversion the Type 59 medium tank was refurbished and its powerpack and running gear were upgraded. Tank's turret was removed and replaced with a superstructure in order to create a troop compartment. Additional armor was fitted for a higher level of protection.

   China and numerous other countries operate or keep in storage thousands of out-dated Chinese Type 59 or similar Soviet T-55 tanks that offer little value on modern battlefield. These old tanks are vulnerable to most modern anti-tank weapons. Instead these surplus tanks could be converted to VN11 troop carriers in order to extend their operational lives. On the other hand Israel is so far the only country to use heavy APCs, converted from similar medium tanks. Other similar vehicles, such as Russian BTR-T, Ukrainian BMP-55, or Indian Tarmour, never reached production. Only Israeli Achzarit was produced in quantity.

   The VN11 offers much better protection for the crew and troops than most modern armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles. Front mounted engine provides additional protection. The main role of the VN11 is to carry troops on the battlefield under enemy fire. Sometimes these machines are referred as battlefield taxi. The VN11 is invulnerable to heavy machine gun fire. It seems that the front arc provides protection from 90 mm armor-piercing projectiles. Sides can withstand hits from rocket launchers, such as RPG-7, and some anti-tank guided missiles. The VN11 withstands mine blasts equivalent to 10 kg of TNT anywhere under the hull. Vehicle also withstands nearby explosions of artillery shells. The VN11 is fitted with NBC protection and automatic fire suppression systems.

   The VN11 has a low-profile turret, armed with a 30 mm cannon. Similar turret was used on Type 86G infantry fighting vehicle, which is widely used by the Chinese Army in large numbers. The cannon can engage armored targets at a range of 1 500 m, ground targets at a range of 4 000 m and helicopters at a range of up to 2 500 m. It looks like there is a launching rail for HJ-73 anti-tank guided missile. This missile has a range of 3 000 m. This armored vehicle has got no coaxial machine gun.

   The VN11 has a crew of 3, including commander, gunner and driver. This heavy APC accommodates around 6 dismounts. Troops enter and leave the vehicle via rear doors.

   Troop compartment is located at the rear part of the vehicle. Rear powerpack arrangement of the Type 59 tank became an issue in attempt to make the troop compartment in the rear part of the vehicle. Designers of the VN11 found a simple solution and swapped front end of the vehicle with the rear. So the VN11 is driving backwards comparing with the original Type 59 tank.

   The Type 59 tank is powered by a diesel engine, developing 520 hp. Most likely that the VN11 heavy APC received new engine and transmission.

 

 
VN11 heavy APC

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VN11 heavy APC

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VN11 heavy APC

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VN11 heavy APC

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VN11 heavy APC

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Personal appeal from Andrius Genys

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