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New light tank Type 15 at rehearsal of Chinese military parade.

| 2019

On October 1, 2019, China has planned to make a military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. During the first rehearsal, new equipment was showed for the first time to the public including the new light tank Type 15.

New light tank Type 15 at rehearsal of Chinese military parade 925 001
Type 15 lightweight tank at rehearsal for military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, that will take place on October 1, 2019 in Beijing, China.(Picture source Twitter account Yuri Lyamin)

Type 15 tanks were sighted on the streets of the capital city of China, suggesting that the lightweight tank will make its debut to the general public on October 1, 2019.

The Type 15, also named VT5 or ZTQ-15 in the Chinese army, is a lightweight battle tank 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. According to NORINCO engineers, the VT5 was developed for the export market.

The Type 15 has a weight from 33 to 36 tons depending on the armor fitted to the tank. With this weight, the tank offers more mobility than a standard main battle tank offering the same level of firepower. The power-to-weight ratio is between 27 and 30 hp/ton depending on the armor package. This tank can be used in mountain areas and operate in terrains that are inaccessible to standard main battle tanks which a weight of around 50 tons like the ZTZ99

The main armament of the Type 15 consists of one 105 mm rifled gun with a thermal sleeve and fume extractor which has a maximum firing range of 3,000 m. The main armament also includes an automatic loading system. Second armament of the VT5 includes one remotely operated weapon station mounted on the roof of the turret which is armed with a 12.7 mm machine gun and one 40mm automatic grenade launcher. Two banks of three electrically operated smoke-grenade dischargers are mounted on each side at the rear of the turret and coupled to a laser detector.

The layout of Type 15 is standard for a main battle tank with a crew of three, including the driver seated at the front center of the hull, gunner and commander in the turret. Type 15 can be fitted with two different armor configurations. The hull and the turret of Type 15 are made with all-welded steel armor which provides stand protection against firing of small arms and shell splinters.

To increase the protection, the Type 15 can be equipped with advanced composite armor and/or explosive reactive armor (ERA) and slat armor (wire cage armor) on the turret sides and either side of the hull to increase protection against rocket-propelled grenades (RPG) and anti-tank guided missiles.

The Type 15 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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