China: Type 15 light tank scale model unveiled in Beijing

China has recently unveiled its new 30-ton-class light tank, the Type 15, with experts saying it can outperform other Chinese tanks in combat operations in plateau areas like Tibet, while also holding advantages in island landing missions.

China s Type 15 light tank scale model unveiled
Possibly China's new T-15 light tank when spotted first, a few months ago, in an undisclosed location (Picture source: Reddit)

As reported by Liu Xuanzun on Global Times, two scaled models for the Type 15 were displayed at the National Museum of China as part of a grand exhibition to mark the 40th anniversary of the country's reform and opening-up in Beijing. Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military analyst, told that "the Type 15 is equipped with a 105-millimeter main gun capable of firing armor-piercing rounds and gun-launched missiles, making its firepower not much inferior to a heavier main battle tank." Compared with the Type 99 and Type 96, two main battle tanks in service of the People's Liberation Army, the Type 15 is significantly lighter, weighing about 32-35 tons, Wei said, noting that its engine can provide 1,000 horsepower driving force.

The tank appears adapted to China's southern area, given its mountainous terrain there. The Type 15 can also be quickly deployed in Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region. Although the Type 15 was spotted several times by Chinese citizens in the past, this is the first time that China officially introduced its latest light tank. In July, a tank suspected to be a Type 15, which was painted with naval camouflage was photographed in China at an unknown location. The photo sparked discussions among military observers, with some saying that China could deploy the tank when there is a need to seize an island. After gaining ground on the shore, a tank like Type 15 can work better than an amphibious tank when charging into deeper areas due to its higher mobility, Wei noted.

Boasting a similar 105-millimeter main gun, the 30-ton-class VT-5 made by China North Industries Group Corporation is a made-for-export light tank.