Review: China army new tracked and wheeled engineer armored vehicles


During a breaching training exercise that was held on March 22, 2021, the Chinese army has used new tracked and wheeled engineer armored vehicles including Type 08 or VN1 in AVLB (Armored Vehicle-Launched Bridge) configuration as well as tracked engineer vehicles based on Type 77 and Type 08 amphibious IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle) chassis.
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Chinese army Type 08 or ZBL-08 in AVLB Armored Vehicle-Launched Bridge configuration during a training exercise.  (Picture source China moD)


The Type 08 also known as the ZBL-08 is a family of 8x8 armored vehicles in service with the Chinese army, the export version is called VN1. The hull of the vehicle provides protection against firing of small arms up to 12.7mm caliber using AP (Armor Piercing) ammunition.

Type 08 is powered by a DEUTZ BF-6M 1015CP water-cooled Diesel 330kW engine coupled to an automatic transmission. It can run at a maxim road speed of 100 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 800 km.

The Type 08 in AVLB (Armored Vehicle-Launched Bridge) configuration is fitted with a hydraulic launching mechanism and an aluminum scissors bridge mounted on the top of the hull. The bridge is launched over the front of the vehicle. All the operations to launch the bridge can be conducted from the inside of the vehicle.


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Chinese tracked engineer vehicle based on a modified chassis of Type 77. (Picture source Chinese MoD)


Another interesting vehicle used by engineer troops of the Chinese army is a tracked armored vehicle that seems to be based on a modified Type 77 chassis which is a copy of the Russian BTR-50. The hull of the Type 77 APC is of all-welded steel construction with the crew compartment at the very front, the troop compartment in the center, and the engine compartment at the rear.

As for the Type 77, the engineer version is fully amphibious and is propelled by two water-jets located at the rear of the hull. The vehicle is fitted with an excavation crane mounted on the top of the hull. The front of the vehicle is fitted with a hydraulically operated dozer blade in a V-blade configuration.


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Chinese army demining armored vehicle based on Type 05 tracked amphibious IFV chassis. (Picture source China MoD)


The third engineer vehicle used during the exercise seems to be based on Type 05 amphibious IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle) tracked chassis, which is used for demining operations. The front of the vehicle is fitted with tow mine plows designed to clear a lane through a minefield.

The crew of the vehicle is located at the front of the vehicle in an armored crew cab with small bulletproof windows at the front and on each side. The roof of the hull is equipped with different types of mine-clearing line charges launches which are used to launch rocket-propelled rope fitted with explosive charges for demining operations.


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