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ZH-05

Assault rifle with integrated grenade launcher

ZH-05 Chinese assault rifle with integrated grenade launcher

The Chinese ZH-05 can launch specially designed "smart" airbursting grenades

 
 
Country of origin China
Entered service ?
Caliber 5.8x42 mm
Grenade caliber 20 mm
Weight 5 kg
Length 950 mm
Barrel length ~ 520 mm
Muzzle velocity ~ 930 m/s
Muzzle velocity (grenade) 220 m/s
Cyclic rate of fire ~ 650 rpm
Practical rate of fire 40 - 100 rpm
Practical rate of fire (grenade) 5 rpm
Magazine capacity 30 rounds
Magazine capacity (grenade launcher) 1 round
Sighting range ?
Range of effective fire ~ 500 m
Range of effective fire (grenade) up to 800 m

 

   The Chinese ZH-05 assault rifle is an unusual weapon. It was inspired by an American XM29 OICW, which was eventually cancelled, and a South Korean K11, which was slightly more successful. China attempted to produce an advanced infantry weapon for its future soldier program. There is no reliable information if the ZH-05 is in service with the Chinese army, or how many of these weapons were produced.

   The ZH-05 has a distinctive appearance. This weapon integrates both 5.8 mm assault rifle and 20 mm grenade launcher into a single weapon. Furthermore it has an advanced sight with fire control system.

   The assault rifle component is rather conventional in design. It is a gas-operated weapon, based on a standard QBZ-03 assault rifle. It fires standard China's 5.8x42 mm ammunition.

   The single-shot bolt action grenade launcher is integrated over the rifle component. It fires specially designed "smart" grenades. Some different types of grenades are available. There are programmable grenades, that can be electronically set to explode for airburst at predefined ranges. There are armor-piercing grenades, that are rather effective when fired directly against soldiers and lightly armored vehicles. Also there are special fragmentation grenades which might be used against small moving targets, such as tactical UAVs. A standard grenade weights around 85 g and has a claimed killing radius of 7 meters.

   A fire mode selector is located over the pistol grip and is conveniently operated by a thumb. Though it looks like it is located only on the left side of the receiver.

   The assault rifle is fed from 30-round capacity magazines. It accepts standard magazines of both QBZ-95 and ZBQ-03 assault rifles, that are widely used by China's military.

   The grenade launcher is a single-shot weapon and has got no magazine. After each shot the shooter has to reload it manually. Grenade launcher of the ZH-05 is similar to that of the South Korean K11, but lacks magazine. Chinese designers abandoned magazine-fed reloading system in order to save weight.

   This weapon uses a large boxy electronic sight, which is used to aim both the assault rifle and grenade launcher. The sight has a built-in laser rangefinder, ballistic computer and grenade programming interface. It is used to pre-set electronic fuses of 20 mm grenades for airburst at predefined ranges. Another unusual feature of this sight is that it can transmit video to shooter's helmet-mounted eyepiece. This feature permits shooting around the corner without exposing yourself to enemy fire. Sight's control buttons are located on the left side of the receiver. The sight can be removed from the weapon. There is a simple backup sight for emergency use.

   Range of effective fire is around 500 meters with 5.8 mm ammunition. Maximum effective range of 20 mm grenades is 800 m against stationary targets.

   Overall the ZH-05 has little advantages over a standard QBZ-03, fitted with a detachable underbarrel grenade launcher. Its small and light 20 mm grenades are too week. They contain large quantities of sensors and circuitry, so very little of their mass is in their bursting charges. Compared to 35 or 40 mm grenades, the 20 mm grenade has 1/4 of their explosive filler. Also the ZH-05 is heavy and bulky. It is a rather uncomfortable weapon for an average soldier to be used in a combat situation. Furthermore it is much more expensive to build than a standard QBZ-03 with a grenade launcher and telescopic sight.

 

 
ZH-05 Chinese assault rifle with integrated grenade launcher

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ZH-05 Chinese assault rifle with integrated grenade launcher

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ZH-05 Chinese assault rifle with integrated grenade launcher

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ZH-05 Chinese assault rifle with integrated grenade launcher

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ZH-05 Chinese assault rifle with integrated grenade launcher

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