Type 70 MLRS

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Welcome to the suggestion for the Type 70 MLRS! The Type 70 is a Chinese rocket artillery vehicle using the chassis of the Type 63 APC, which you already might be familiar with if you have the ZSD63/PG87. The Type 70, on the other hand, uses 19 tubes of 130 mm rockets in a rotating mount. While this wouldn’t be the most competitive or useful vehicle in the game, I do think it would have its place in War Thunder, capable of firing some decently sized rockets from a chassis already in-game. Let’s find out a bit more about the vehicle!


Chinese BM-13 rocket artillery.

During the 1950s and 1960s, rocket artillery was still a major part of most militaries. The Soviet Union most famously had the BM-21 Grad, used by dozens of countries across the world. China at the time mostly used older artillery systems, such as the famous BM-13 ‘Katyusha’. While a powerful artillery system, it was most often used on trucks, which stood little chance of surviving any fire from potential enemies. They also were unsuited for cross country terrain. As a result, there were attempts to solve this in the 1960s. But because of the Cultural Revolution in China that began in 1966, a lot of projects and their designers were scrapped. This was mostly due to the suppression of the scientific and technical intellectuals, which led to the People’s Liberation Army’s modernization attempts becoming stagnant, and production of equipment to slow down. But, there were some breakthroughs.

The Type 63 rocket launcher system on an NJ-230 truck. Vehicles like these made up most of the PLA’s rocket artillery until the 1970s.

In 1967, a new rocket artillery system known as the Type 63 130 mm entered service with PLA troops. These were only used on self-propelled mounts, but once again, only on trucks. Yet again though, production of this system and its installation on vehicles was slow due to the Cultural Revolution, and would only begin on a larger scale once the political state of the country had stabilized.

A factory producing the Type 63 APC, circa 1970s.

Once things had settled down slightly, in February 1970, work began on fitting the Type 63 rocket system on to a Type 63 APC, a vehicle that had been slowly put into production and was China’s very first APC. While its armor wouldn’t resist heavy machine gun fire, it could resist 7.62 mm machine gun fire, and artillery shrapnel, which was enough. The vehicle’s factory code name was to be WZ303, and in charge of creating this new vehicle was the China Northern Vehicle Institute, also known as 201 Institute, who had been responsible for overseeing production of the Type 59 main battle tank, would help develop the Type 85 main battle tank, and would also develop the WZ551 APC among a number of other projects.

Development lasted about 10 months, finishing in November of 1970, with trials beginning the following year with 18 test vehicles being delivered to the 1st Tank Division of the People’s Liberation Army. After being given feedback and thoughts, the vehicle went back to 201 Institute for improvements, and in 1972 would be delivered to other units for further testing. This went back and forth until 1974, when it finally passed testing, and in 1977 would be named the Type 70 130 mm self-propelled rocket launcher. Mass production began in 1979 and likely ended soon after, as only 244 were produced. This was good timing, as in 1979, the Type 70 would see combat in Vietnam.

A Chinese column led by a Type 63 APC entering Cao Bang, Vietnam, February 22nd. 1973.

During the early hours of February 17th, 1979, the People’s Liberation Army crossed the border into Vietnam, in response to Vietnamese attacks on the Chinese-backed Khmer Rouge. Taking part in this growing conflict would be the Type 70. The 130 mm rockets could cover a large area with a large amount of explosives, and be maneuvered around thanks to the Type 63 platform. However, the Type 70 wasn’t used as much as howitzers or other field artillery, and part of the reason for this is because it was very expensive.

A group of Type 70s firing their rockets.

According to several veterans serving on the Type 70 at the time, one rocket in 1979 Yuan was 500 Yuan. At the time as well, one recruit was given 6 Yuan a month, and a worker’s income was about 20-30. Since the Type 70 had 19 tubes, and because each battalion had about 18 Type 70s, this totals out to 171,000 Yuan for one salvo from the entire battalion.

This was extremely expensive, and as a result, the Type 70 and other vehicles using these 130 mm rockets were used sparingly, and were often taken out of action quickly. For example, the PLA’s 1st Battalion, 130th Rocket Artillery of the 209th Regiment of the 1st Artillery Division assigned to the 41st Army Artillery Group. The unit saw 10 days of fighting from February 14th to February 28th in total, and conducted a total of 10 battalion-level 130 mm rocket salvos and 3 company-level salvos, firing more than 3,500 rockets (1,750,000 Yuan!), but also destroying 10 artillery pieces, 32 anti-aircraft machine guns, 1 police station, 2 ammunition depots, 1 oil depot 1 grain depot, 1 enemy command post, 2 blocking points, 1 fire group, 2 enemy infantry groups, and some fortifications. As you can tell, the rockets certainly put in some work. But it was still a lot of money to use these rockets, and the 41st Army Artillery Group was sent back to China to Nongtie Village, Xinwei Commune, Jingxi County after being in the war for almost 15 days.

Another issue experienced was that allegedly, in order for the battalion to fire a salvo, the order to fire had to be approved by the division’s deputy commander, even if the artillery was ordered by the regiment’s commander. There was also the issue of the Type 70 itself, more specifically, the Type 63 APC chassis it used. The inside of the Type 63, and Type 70 of course, was very cramped and could get very hot. The engine was loud, and when the rockets fired, the vibrations shook the whole vehicle. However, even with this, veteran crewmen of the Type 70 still remember it fondly, as despite its flaws, the armor was still enough to protect from light machine gun and rifle fire, and the rockets, even if expensive, had a devastating effect on target.

To celebrate the 35th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, a parade was held in Beijing, with a group of Type 70s taking part. Date: October 1, 1984.

After the Sino-Vietnamese War ended, China began to develop replacements for the Type 70. This included a Chinese version of the Soviet BM-21, which is thought to have been negotiated then transferred from Israel or bought from Egypt, or captured in Vietnam. The former two are the more likely cases, as most of the Vietnamese units the Chinese fought were border guards and militia who didn’t have access to advanced artillery systems as much as the Vietnamese Army did. The PHL81, or Type 81, uses a launcher with 40 tubes carrying 122 mm rockets on a truck known as the Nanjing CQ260, which was copied from the French Berliet GBU-15.

The PHL-81, using a three-axle four-wheel drive truck chassis.

Later used was the PHZ89 MLRS, which used a more armored chassis, in similar fashion to its predecessor, the Type 70. As the 1990s came and went by, the Type 70 would be replaced with these newer designs, being moved to reserve units as the PHZ89 and PHL81 were introduced and used at divisional and regimental levels. Today, a number of Type 70s remain in museums and sit alongside other Cold War relics, such as the Type 59. Though not an extremely effective or innovative vehicle, it was the catalyst for China’s modern rocket artillery systems, and will be remembered as such.

The PHZ89, also known as Type 89, using the Type 321 universal chassis, also used for the PTZ89, PLZ83, and GSL111 tracked rocket minesweeper.


A drawing of the launcher used on the Type 70.

  • Produced: 1970 - 1979
  • Developer: Northern Vehicle Research Institute (201 Institute) in Beijing
  • Manufacturer: Northern Vehicle Works (Beijing North Vehicle Group Corporation Ltd.) in Beijing
  • Crew: 6 (Commander, 2 gunners, 1 driver, 2 extra crew, one gunner aims, another adjusts the launcher, while the other crew besides the commander and driver are responsible for reloading)
  • Weight: 13.4 ton
  • Length: 5.476 m
  • Width: 2.978 m
  • Height (launcher retracted): 2.625 m
  • Engine: 260 hp 6-cylinder, liquid-cooled diesel engine
  • Suspension: Torsion bar
  • Combat range: 500 km
  • Power: 14.3 kW/ton
  • Pressure: 58.9 kPa
  • Max speed: 55 km/h
  • Max speed in water: 5.2 km/h
  • Max range: 500 km
  • Max range in water: 60 km
  • Main armament: H212 130 mm rocket launcher
  • Aiming device: Type 58 panoramic gun sight
  • Firing range (at sea level): 10.115 km
  • Elevation/depression limit: 0 ~ +50 degrees
  • Horizontal limit: 180 degrees
  • Ammo: 39 in total, 19 (loaded) + 20 (stowed)
  • Firing order: Upper left first and lower right tubes last
  • Shell selection: High Explosive Fragmentation (HE), High Explosive Radio Proximity Fuse (HE-VT), High Explosive Squash Head (HESH)
  • Rocket initial speed: 32 m/s
  • Rocket max speed: 437 m/s
  • Rocket launcher rising distance: 500 mm
  • Tube length: 1050mm
  • Hydraulic system rate pressure: 3 MPa
  • Hydraulic system flow rate: 25 L/min
  • Hydraulic system oil tank: 40 L
  • Switching time from marching to combat (launcher rising time): about 120 s
  • Switching time from combat to marching (launcher lowering time): about 80 s

A plaque for the Type 70 at the Military Museum of the Chinese People’s Revolution.



+1 in techtree, such fun shouldnt be locked behind pay wall.

+1. You can make a suggestion on this

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I love the ZSD63/PG87, it is so OP

Every tech tree needs an MLRS or salvo-vehicle!