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New light tank deployed by the Chinese army in the Tibet.

China has confirmed the deployment of a new light tank. At a Defense Ministry news briefing in late June, Senior Colonel Wu Qian, ministry spokesman, confirmed that the light tank was being tested at that time on plateaus in the Tibet autonomous region.

New light tank deployed by the Chinese army in the Tibet 925 001
The new Chinese-made light tank.

Developed by China North Industries Group Corp, the country's biggest maker of land armaments, the light tank is equipped with a hydropneumatic suspension system that ensures good maneuverability and survivability in mountainous regions.

Its main weapon is a 105-mm gun that is able to fire both shells and guided missiles, according to weapons observers, who said the tank's main task is to fight on plateaus even at very low temperatures and that its weight ranges from 25 to 35 metric tons. By comparison, a main battle tank, such as the United States' M1 Abrams and China's Type 99A, weighs up to 65 tons.

Du Wenlong, an equipment researcher at the PLA Academy of Military Science, said the vehicle was designed to operate in China's southern regions and on plateaus.

"The shortage of oxygen on plateaus means its engine must be very powerful and can work well with a limited amount of oxygen," he said. "Similarly, its power, fire control and ammunition systems must have been specially designed for high altitudes."

Ge Lide, a defense technology researcher at PLA National Defense University, said that while the tank falls into the light-duty category, its combat capability is strong, considering its firepower, mobility, defensive features and information capacity.

He noted that the tank would be capable of moving through many kinds of tough terrain and should be able to outperform all other PLA tanks and armored vehicles off-road.

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