Rumors of a new Chinese light tank first surfaced in 2011 and now new details have emerged, including adjustable armor and a 105-mm gun.
The People’s Liberation Army developed its first tank in 1962. The Type 62/WZ-131 was designed to successfully navigate the low-capacity bridges and rugged terrain of southern China.
Continuing that tradition, Beijing is developing its latest light tank, and Chinese web portal Sina released details last month.
The website confirms earlier reports that the vehicle weighs roughly 35 tons and is equipped with a 105-mm gun.
While the website claims that the vehicle requires a crew of four, it’s cannon features an autoloader, which would eliminate the need for one crewmember.
The gun appears to have sights and optics based on the T-99A2, the Chinese army’s third generation main battle tank. It could also come with shell-tracking radar.
Cannon rounds could be capable of penetrating 500-mm armor, and the tank could fire gun-launched missiles.
The turret comes with detachable armor and is equipped with smoke grenade launchers and laser detectors.
As for the tank’s chassis, Sina reports that the vehicle features a liquid-gas suspension. This allows the tank to “crouch” in order to more effectively conceal itself. The suspension also stabilizes the vehicle during targeting, allowing for improved accuracy.
Beijing has demonstrated a wide range of military hardware units over the last year. During a military parade in September, Beijing demonstrated a large number of cruise and ballistic missiles.
Also in September, Aviation Industry Corp of China confirmed it had begun developing a fourth-generation attack helicopter with “stealth capability,” set to enter into service by 2020.