Chinese army new Type 15 Light Tank recovery vehicle makes debut in Karakoram Mountains

With a new type of armored recovery vehicle based on the Type 15 Light Tank appearing in a recent exercise in the Karakoram Mountains, the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Xinjiang Military Command has received a powerful supportive tool, Liu Xuanzun reports in Global Times.
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A new type of armored recovery vehicle designed based on the chassis of the Type 15 light tank attached to the Chinese People's Liberation Army Xinjiang Military Command is towing a Type 15 tank in the high-altitude Karakoram Mountains in Spring 2022. (Picture source: screenshot from China Central Television)

A combined arms regiment affiliated with the PLA Xinjiang Military Command recently held a series of realistic combat rescue and recovery drills at an undisclosed training ground in the Karakoram Mountains at an elevation of 5,300 meters, during which the regiment for the first time deployed the new-type armored recovery vehicle, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on May 22. The drills simulated a situation in which a Type 15 light tank was towed by the armored recovery vehicle to a frontline repair position, CCTV reported.

Compared with its predecessor, the new armored recovery vehicle is equipped with a twin-turbocharging device, giving its engine a significant power boost, leading to much higher efficiency in completing its job, the report said. Su Kejiang, a soldier at the regiment, said: "It uses the same chassis as our new tank, and this contributes to the coordinated combat as well as repairing and maintenance".

The Type 15 light tank excels at plateau combat thanks to its powerful engine and lightweight, to an extent that almost no other tank in the world can match its mobility in Southwest China's plateau region because of the lack of oxygen and complex terrain there, a military expert who requested anonymity told the Global Times on May 23. Because of Type 15's high mobility, previous types of armored recovery vehicles might not be able to follow it, the expert said, adding that it is why a new type of recovery vehicle uses the same chassis as the Type 15, giving it similar capabilities.

The new armored recovery vehicle is also equipped with a set of smoke launchers to increase its survivability, according to the CCTV report echoed by Liu Xuanzun.