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Type 63

Amphibious light tank

Type 63 light tank

The Type 63 amphibious light tank was developed from the Soviet PT-76

 
 
 
Entered service Mid-1960s
Crew 4 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight 18.7 t
Length (gun forward) 8.44 m
Hull length 7.15 m
Width 3.2 m
Height 2.52 m
Armament
Main gun 85-mm rifled
Machine guns 1 x 7.62-mm, 1 x 12.7-mm
Elevation range - 4 to + 18 degrees
Traverse range 360 degrees
Ammunition load
Main gun 47 rounds
Machine guns 2 000 x 7.62, 500 x 12.7
Mobility
Engine Model 12150-L diesel
Engine power 400 hp
Maximum road speed 64 km/h
Amphibious speed on water 12 km/h
Range 370 km
Maneuverability
Gradient 60%
Side slope 30%
Vertical step 0.87 m
Trench 2.9 m
Fording Amphibious

 

   The Type 60 light amphibious tank was developed from the Soviet PT-76, supplied to China in the late 1950s. Further development of the Type 60 became the Type 63, which had improved design. The first prototype was built in 1959, however it suffered from a number of problems. After revision of design and testing the Type 63 was approved for production in 1963. It entered service with Chinese army in the mid-1960s and later was adopted by the Marine Corps. Since the late 1990s the Type 63 light amphibious tanks were replaced with the Type 63A, however a small number of the Type 63 tanks are still operational. It is also in service with North Korea and Vietnam.

   This light amphibious tank was intended for reconnaissance, patrol, river-crossing operations and amphibious landing. It can also support infantry and engage lightly armored targets. It took part in a number of military conflicts, including Sri Lanka civil war, Vietnam War and Sino-Vietnam border conflict.

   The Type 63 has a very thin armor and a bulky hull shape to keep it afloat. Its maximum armor thickness is 14 mm which is only sufficient against small arms. Weak armored protection of this tank has caused heavy losses and casualties during military conflicts. First production vehicles lacked NBC protection system.

   The Type 63 has a complete turret of the Type 62 light tank. It has a more powerful armament comparing with the PT-76. The Type 63 is fitted with a Type 62-85TC 85-mm non-stabilized gun. This gun is loaded manually and has a rate of fire in 8 rounds per minute. Secondary armament consists of coaxial 7.62-mm machine gun and 12.7-mm anti-aircraft machine gun.

   Vehicle is powered by 12150-L diesel engine, developing 400 horsepower. It is significantly more powerful comparing with 240 hp engine on the PT-76. Subsequently its mobility and cross-country performance improved. It uses a number of automotive components of the Type 77 amphibious APC. The Type 63 is fully amphibious and is propelled on water by two waterjets. It has a maximum amphibious speed of 12 km/h. Additional fuel tanks can be installed at the rear of the hull for longer range.

   Later production model of the Type 63 became the Type 63-I, fitted with a 105-mm rifled gun. This model was also fitted with a simple fire control system.

 

Variants

 

   Type 63G was introduced in the mid-1990s. It was intended for amphibious assault operations in the sea and has a revised hull design. It also features 105-mm rifled gun;

   Type 63A is a radically improved variant, based on the Type 63G. This light tank was introduced in the late 1990s. It replaced most of the existing Type 63 vehicles in service with Chinese Army.

   M1985 is a North Korean amphibious light tank. In concept it is similar to the Soviet PT-76, but has a number of features of the Chinese Type 63. It is armed with a 85 mm main gun.

 

 
Type 63 light tank

Type 63 light tank

Type 63 light tank

Type 63 light tank

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