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New light tank Type 15 enters in service with Chinese army

On December 27, 2018, spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of National Defense Wu Qian has announced that the new Type 15 lightweight tank also named VT5 for the export version, has been commissioned by China's army.

New light tank Type 15 enters in service with Chinese army 925 001
Chinese Type 15 light tank in live demonstration at China AirShow, November 2018. (Picture source Army Recognition)

The Type 15 also named VT 5 for the export version, is a light weight main battle tank (MBT) designed and manufactured by the Chinese Defense Company NORINCO (China North Industries Corporation). The VT5 was unveiled to the public during the Zhuhai AirShow China in November 2016.

The main armament of the Type 15 consists of one 105 mm rifled gun with thermal sleeve and fume extractor which has a maximum firing range of 3,000m. The main armament also includes an automatic loading system. The empty cartridge cases are ejected via a small hatch located at the rear of the turret.

Second armament of the VT5 includes one remotely operated weapon station mounted on the roof of the turret which is armed with a 12.7mm machine gun and one 40mm automatic grenade launcher.

The Type 15 has a weight from 33 to 36 tones depending of the armor fitted to the tank. With this weight, this tank offer more mobility than a standard main battle tank offering same level of fire power. The power-to-weight ratio is between 27 and 30 hp/ton depending on the armor package. This light tank can be used in mountain area and operates in terrain that are inaccessible for standard main battle tanks (MBT) which has a weight of around 50 tons like the Chinese-made ZTZ99 Type 99 MBT.

The Type 15 is motorized with a 1,000 hp electronically controlled diesel engine mounted at the rear of the hull. and coupled to a hydro-mechanical full automatic transmission with a pivot steering capability and a cooling system. It can run at a maximum road speed of 70 km/h, 35 to 40 km/h in off-road conditions with a maximum cruising range of 450 km.

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