ZBD-04A: The Unstoppable Scout

Let’s have a look at the ZBD-04A light tank, coming in as one of the most advanced vehicles of this class. Meet an awesome vehicle for War Thunder’s top ranked battles, still currently in service with the People’s Liberation Army of China.

ZBD-04A: A Light Tank for China at Rank VII


  • An anti-tank guided missile!
  • 30 mm cannon with APFSDS rounds.
  • Thermal imaging for the commander and gunner.
  • Good mobility.
  • Amphibious.
Vehicle History

The ZBD-04 which has a fighting compartment from the Russian BMP-3 was developed in China in the late 1990s and began entering service in the early 2000s. The next model of this vehicle was the modernized ZBD-04A, featuring additional armor and improved electronics. This vehicle was first presented to the general public at a parade in 2015. Today, the ZBD-04A is in service with units and is the most modern vehicle of this class in the People’s Liberation Army of China.

Meet the ZBD-04A!

The ZBD-04A is a light tank that’s going to be arriving to the game in the next major update, Alpha Strike. Fast, furious and deadly in general, it’s going to offer you great flexibility at the higher ranks for China. Let’s take a further look!

Interesting: ZBD translates to IFV (loosely “Armored Infantry Tracked”)

You may have noticed something familiar about the ZBD-04A, which is that it closely resembles the Russian BMP-3, including some of its features like the 100 mm gun and coaxial 30 mm autocannon. That’s right! This vehicle is indeed based on a Russian design, however its main differences lie internally. First up is its 100 mm cannon which can fire two types of HE shells, although its main advantage is the ability to fire a powerful anti-tank guided missile from its barrel. This vehicle can take up to 8 of these in battle where each can penetrate up to 600 mm, usually enough to send an MBT to the hangar if it successfully hits!

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Next up is the 30 mm autocannon, which has received a brand-new APFSDS round not seen on the BMP-3. Thanks to the addition of this round and its ability to be fired from a rapid-firing gun, you’ll be able to effectively flank enemies and take them out from the sides or rear. To further assist you with this, the commander and gunner both have modern thermal imaging sights, particularly handy to help see enemies at dusk and in poor weather.

Did you know? In order to reduce the total mass of the ZBD-04A after additional armor was added, Chinese engineers opted to not use water jets. Instead on water, this vehicle maneuvers around by using its tracks.

One important difference between the ZBD-04A and its previous variant is additional protection. The hull of this vehicle is made up of regular armor, but its front and side is protected by composite screens, allowing it to withstand some heavier machine guns and auto cannons. As expected however, this armor is not going to be stopping typical rounds fired from main battle tanks, but is still going to provide sufficient protection against other light vehicles and aircraft that will be shooting at it.

The addition of more armor typically means more mass, which is indeed the case with the ZBD-04A compared to the BMP-3 for example. In general, this vehicle’s driving characteristics and max top speed are still good, allowing it to swiftly drive around on roads, overcome small inclines and uneven terrain without issue!

In your matches by Tom, Lead Community Manager: “My favorite thing about vehicles like this is the map versatility, as it has effective short and long range weaponry it can basically play anywhere. If you feel confident with your map routes you can rush in and focus on the 30 mm at close range. If not though, you can comfortably fall back to sniping and scouting with the ATGM. Keep your hull hidden and stick around ridge lines using your thermals, the turret is comparatively tiny so at range you can be tricky to hit.”

That’s it for now. The ZBD-04A is going to be arriving to the game in the first major update of 2024, where it’s going to provide good reconnaissance capabilities in top ranked ground battles for China. Be on the look out for other development blogs coming your way soon, but until then happy battles ahead!

Kick-start your Chinese vehicles research with this starter pack:

Chinese Starter Pack

The Kit Includes:
  • M3A3 (1st PTG) (China, Rank II)
  • Curtiss Hawk H-81A-2 (China, Rank II)
  • Premium Account for 7 days
  • 120000 Silver Lions


You can greatly speed up the research of the ZBD-04A with this pack:

Type 96A Prototype Pack

The Kit Includes:
  • ZTZ96A Prototype (China, Rank VII)
  • Premium account for 15 days
  • 2000 Golden Eagles



absolutely magestic, can’t complain i love it :) also, can we expect more vehicles for china on this update?


well… only 600mm CE for its ATGM, the chinese ATGM far inferior to russian? didnt they just bought some 9M117s?


Give digital camo


in the dev server right now it has 750mm of penetration

Still no digital camo for modern China? Atleast correct the colors on the non digital camo patterns instead


On the dev server there was no digital camo atleast

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At the moment, on the dev server, this Infantry fighting vehicle is in the Self-propelled artillery line, which is generally incorrect considering the fact that it should be located in the Light tank line, where the Chinese version of the BMP-1 is located. Hopefully this will be fixed by the time the patch comes out


The most chaotic TT :(

the line with the BMP-1 is the export/import line acording to gaijin, and china hasn’t really exported the ZBD-04A anywhere except venezuela, also the PTL02 is in the Self-propelled artillery line, so yeah i’ll just think of it as a light tank/Self-propelled artillery line

I can only hope that Gaijin won’t make the fifth line for the sake of the subtree

The line contains: Type 63, Type 62, ZTS63 and ZBD86. They’re probably export ones too, lmao

Finally 100mm HE bonk for china!

So this thing is defo going to like 9.7 isn’t it… it was like 9.0 or 9.3 on dev but now its probs getting a 4 second 100mm reload and thermals for the commander it seems the best position… even maybe 10.0

i mean for example vietnam and north korea have type 62 and type 63, the ZTS63 i have no idea but its just and upgraded type 63 and the ZBD86 is a russian BMP-1, so they all go with the line of export import vehicles lol

Dude, if they were exported, they would have the names and modifications of those countries that used them, but these are Chinese modifications and were used only in China

How tired I am, this is Soviet technology, not Russian

It does have a direct firing SPG aspect to it, which fits into the current line.

Can you go into more detail? Should the Soviet BMP-3 also be in the self-propelled gun lineup?

the chinese also used those vehicles on their army, so it’s understandable that gaijin decided to use their proper names, while for example the vietnamese phong kong T-34 has the vietnamese name and flag

brother i know, it’s just that i dont care the USSR isnt a country anymore

It has much worse mobility than even the BMP-3, let alone the BMD-4. I would say it is more than fine at 9.3 with a 4 sec reload, APFSDS and 23.4 HP/tonne.

If they fix the mobility, as it is overweight and should very probably have a s stronger engine, it would have around 27-30 HP/tonne, which would definitely make it ~10.0