ZBD-97 Chinese Infantry Fighting Vehicle

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ZBD-97 Chinese Infantry Fighting Vehicle

The ZBD-97 or Type 97 is a Chinese Infantry fighting vehicle. It mounts a turret similar in design to that of the Russian BMP-3, although the chassis is different, with a front mounted engine, and rear troop compartment.

The ZBD-04 infantry fighting vehicle is based on this.

The ZBD-97, or Type 97, has been in service with the PLA ground forces since 2006, in the armored units of the Guangzhou and Nanjing military regions.

Besides the infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) variant, an armored recovery vehicle (ARV) variant is also available.

The ZBD-04 infantry fighting vehicle is based on the ZBD-97.

Type 97/ZBD-97 IFV
Type Infantry fighting vehicle
Place of origin People's Republic of China
Service history
In service 2006 - Present
Production history
Designed 1990s
Produced 2000s
Specifications
Weight approximately 20 tons
Crew 3 + 7 passengers

Armor Welded steel
Main
armament
100 mm gun/launcher, 30 mm autocannon
Remote controlled 30 mm or 12.7 mm autocannon
Secondary
armament
7.62 mm machine gun
Engine diesel
Suspension Torsion bar
Operational
range
500 km
Speed 65 km/h, swimming speed: 20 km/h

Design

Overview

The ZBD-97 has a crew of three (a commander, a driver, and a gunner) and is able to carry seven troops. The commander and gunner are seated in the two-man turret located in the middle, and the driver with one passenger is located in tandem to the left of the power compartment, located at the front right. Six infantrymen are located in the troop compartment at the rear.

There are firing ports in the left, right, and exit door that allow infantrymen to fire assault rifles or light machine guns from inside the vehicle, even on the move. The vehicle has amphibious capability, designed to swim to shore from a ship. For high-speed swimming, it has two large water jet ports.

Armament

The main armament of the ZBD97 is a dual-way stabilised, semi-automatic 100mm rifled gun / missile launcher, capable of firing both HE-FRAG rounds and the 3UBK10 (or its Chinese copy) ATGM. Effective range of the HE-FRAG round is estimated to be 4,000m, with a rate of fire of 10 rounds/minute.

The 3UBK10 ATGM consists of a laser beamriding missile and a container case. The missile is used as a part of the Bastion missile system (NATO reporting name: AT-10 Stabber). As well as engaging armoured vehicles and fortifications, the missile could also engage low-flying helicopters. The missile has a range of 100~4,000m. Hit probability is 80% and the armour penetration capability is 600mm. The system carries eight missiles inside the turret.

The secondary weapon include a 30mm coaxial automatic cannon, with 500 rounds. The cannon can fire both armour-piercing (AP) and HE-FRAG rounds. Rate of fire is 300 rounds/min and range is 1,500 to 2,000m. Like the BMP-3, the ZBD97 also has a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun located to the left of the main gun, but it lacks the two bow 7.62mm machine guns found on the BMD-3.

Protection

The ZBD97 is believed to be fitted with a collective NBC-protection system, with its air filter located behind the turret to the right. There is a three-barrel smoke grenade launcher mounted on either side of the turret. The vehicle lacks the ARENA-E active protection system found on the latest version of the BMP-3, but may be fitted with an indigenous laser warning and countermeasures system.

Observation and Fire-Control

The observation systems on the ZBD97 may be similar to those of the BMP-3. The driver’s hatch mounts three periscopes, with the central periscope being able to be replaced by an image intensifying periscope for night vision. Two headlights are located on the front armour of the hull. The gunner has a main sight and a combined image-intensified day / night sight and a standby day sight. The commander has a day sight and a combined day and image-intensified night sight. Fire-control system includes a ballistic computer, an electro-mechanical gun stabiliser and a laser rangefinder.

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