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Type 63A

Amphibious light tank

Type 63A light tank

The Type 63A amphibious light tank is suitable for long-distance maritime operations

Entered service 1997
Crew 4 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight 22 t
Length (gun forward) 9.6 m
Hull length ~ 7.5 m
Width 3.2 m
Height 3 m
Main gun 105-mm rifled
Machine guns 1 x 7.62-mm, 1 x 12.7-mm
Elevation range ?
Traverse range 360 degrees
Ammunition load
Main gun 45 rounds
Machine guns ?
Engine diesel
Engine power 580 hp
Maximum road speed 75 km/h
Amphibious speed on water 14 km/h
Range 400 km
Gradient 60%
Side slope 30%
Vertical step 0.8 m
Trench 2.9 m
Fording Amphibious


   The Type 63A amphibious light tank is a radically improved variant of the Type 63. The Type 63A entered service with Chinese Army in 1997. Over 300 of these light tanks were built for the Chinese Army. Some sources report that this light tank has been exported to Venezuela. Currently very few countries develop amphibious tanks and China is one of them.

   Its predecessor, the Type 63, was originally designed for river-crossing operations at inland rivers and lakes, however it was unsuitable for high-speed, long-distance maritime operations. The new Type 63A has specially modified features to improve its amphibious performance at sea. It can be launched from amphibious ships 10 km or more offshore.

   Weak protection of the Type 63A is its most significant drawback. This light tank has very thin armor, as its developers had to keep overall weight as low as possible. The Type 63A has a redesigned welded turret, rather than original half-egg shaped of the Type 63. Despite all improvements in protection this light tank is fairly vulnerable to all anti-tank weapons.

   The Type 63A is fitted with a fully-stabilized 105-mm rifled gun. This gun is loaded manually and fired APFSDS, HE and HEAT munitions. An APFSDS round can penetrate 500 mm of steel armor at 2 000 m range. This gun is similar to those fitted on some other Chinese MBTs, however it has reduced recoil force  for firing while afloat.

   The Type 63A is also likely to be armed with Chinese gun-launched anti-tank guided missiles, developed from the Russian 9M117 Bastion. This missile has a maximum range of 4 000 - 5 000 m and hit probability of over 90% against static targets. It can also be used against low-flying helicopters. Vehicle is fitted with a fire control system.

   It is worth mentioning, that the original Type 63 was fitted with a non-stabilized 85-mm rifled gun, which is considered incapable by modern standards. Only simple optical sights were used for aiming.

   Secondary armament consists of 7.62-mm coaxial machine gun and 12.7-mm MG, mounted on top of the turret roof.

   The Type 63A has a crew of four, including commander, gunner, loader and driver.

   Vehicle is powered by a turbocharged diesel engine, developing 580 horsepower. Comparing with the original Type 63 it has two more flotation tanks for better stability in the sea and more powerful engine. On water this light tank is propelled by two waterjets.

   Some sources report, that there are amphibious command vehicle and amphibious armored ambulance versions of this tank, developed specially for Venezuela.


Video of the Type 63A amphibious light tank

Type 63A light tank

Type 63A light tank

Type 63A light tank

Type 63A light tank

Type 63A light tank

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