ZBD-05: China's half-boat half-IFV

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Hello everyone, in this suggestion we’ll be having a look at a Chinese amphibious IFV, the ZBD-05:

The ZBD-05, sometimes also referred to as the ZBD 2000 is a specialized naval assault vehicle which has been designed to be deployed far from shore, to protect the launching ships. The vehicle was developed by Norinco, under the leadership of chief designer Chen Pengfei with the goal of replacing the rather outdated ZTS 63A which entered service in the 1990s. Development of the ZBD-05 likely started in the year 2000, with the first reveal of the unique vehicle taking place in 2005. The vehicle comes in 2 main variants: the ZBD-05 which is the IFV variant we’re looking at here, and the ZTD-05 which is mounted with a 105 mm main gun like the one found on the ZLT 11.
Both variants were acquired in large numbers, with estimates of active ZBD-05 units sitting at around 1000. The ZTD-05 would have around 850 active units.
The ZBD-05 that we are looking here is designed to carry up to 10 troops beside its crew of 3, making it the ideal weapon for a naval invasion.
Ever since its entry into service it has taken part in several parades and exercises, but it has not yet been used in actual conflict.

As a result of its intended mission, the ZBD-05 was built with aquatic capabilities as one its primary features, thus the ZBD-05 can be considered to be a very good swimmer. The vehicle is capable of reaching a top speed of 25km/h in water, which is quite impressive for a vehicle of its type. To achieve this, the vehicle is equipped with hydraulically actuated bow and transom flaps. This drastically reduces induced drag from the water, thus increasing the speed that can be achieved with the water-jet propulsion.
On land, the available engine power is reduced from 1475 hp to 550 hp. This still allows it to have more than decent mobility, being able to power the 26.5 ton vehicle to a top speed of 65 km/h.
Despite significant weight, the vehicle is of relatively simple construction and is only armored against light enemy threats. The ZBD-05 consists of an all-welded steel armor hull and turret, providing protection only against 7.62mm threats from the side. The front is believed to offer protection against rounds of up to 12.7mm caliber.
The low armor might make you wonder why this vehicle is so heavy, and that is because it is BIG. The ZBD-05 is basically a boat with tracks strapped onto it, and that is reflected in its dimensions. The length of this vehicle is a whopping 9.5 meters, that is longer than most main battle tanks. Width and Height are more reasonable at 3.36 and 3.04 meters respectively, but the whole is still a very large vehicle.

The armament consists of 2 main weapons. First is the 30mm cannon, this is believed to be the ZPT-99 cannon, a Chinese version of the Soviet 2A72 cannon that we can already find on the BTR-80A in-game. This weapon has a rate-of-fire of up to 330 rounds per minute and has access to a wide variety of munitions. These probably include the same munitions that can be found on the original Soviet counterpart of the vehicle, but given the fairly recent introduction date of the vehicle, it is not unimaginable that more advanced ammo has been developed (if you have more information on this, please do comment so I can update this section of the suggestion).
Besides the 30mm cannon, the vehicle can also come equipped with up to 2 HJ-73C anti-tank missiles. These are mounted to the side of the turret, more charges are stored inside the vehicle. These missiles are a SACLOS variant of the original HJ-73 missile and also feature an extended nose probe to mitigate the effect of ERA on the missile.
Last and least, the vehicle also has a coaxial 7.62mm machine gun available to it.

The vehicle is controlled by a crew of 3. One driver situated in the hull, and a commander + gunner which are both in the turret. Despite the aforementioned low armor of the vehicle, the crew can still count on the front-mounted engine for a bit of extra protection.
The fire-control system of the tank features day/night gunner sight which also has a thermal channel, and a separate commander sight with an independent thermal sight as well. The commander also has the override capability, meaning that he can also take control of the weapon systems.
The vehicle also comes equipped with a bunch of features that you would expect on a vehicle of this age, including a 2-plane stabilizer, ballistic computer and laser rangefinder. Interestingly, the vehicle also comes equipped with an anti-aircraft periscope, making the vehicle somewhat potent against light aerial threats.

General Characteristics:

  • Weight: 26.5 t
  • Length: 9.5 m
  • Width: 3.36 m
  • Height: 3.04 m
  • Engine power: 550 hp (on land), 1475 hp (in water)
  • Max speed on land: 65 km/h
  • Max speed in water: 25-30 km/h
  • Crew: 3 (driver, commander, gunner)

Armament:

  • 1x 30mm ZPT-99 cannon
  • 2x HJ-73C launchers
  • 1x coaxial KT-7.62 machine gun

Systems:

  • Thermal sights for gunner and commander
  • 2-plane stabilization
  • ballistics-computer
  • laser rangefinder
  • commander override
  • anti-aircraft sights.

In-game:

The Chinese tree is currently still very lacking when it comes to IFVs, an unfortunate case since China did actually produce very wide array of IFVs. The ZBD-05 is one of those vehicles, and I believe it could be a very nice addition to the game. It’s definitely one of the more unique options when it comes to IFVs, and I believe that perhaps makes it more suitable to a role as premium, squadron or event vehicle.
The vehicle’s unique high mobility in water would allow players to use this vehicle to quickly cross bodies of water, allowing them to surprise opponents from otherwise hard to access locations. The large silhouette of the vehicle might also be as much of a blessing as it is a curse, a lot of empty space inside makes it harder for opponents to hit your crew and critical parts. On the flip side, the large size combined with very thin armor will make you very vulnerable to enemy autocannon and HE fire. Aircraft too will probably be a large threat to this vehicle, although your anti-aircraft sights might be able to offset this somewhat.
All-in-all I believe this could be a very fun and unique vehicle to see in-game, and it could definitely be a much desired help for various Chinese lineups.

Sources

ZBD05/ZLT05 Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicles
ZBD 2000 Amphibious Infantry Fighting Vehicle | MilitaryToday.com
https://www.army-technology.com/projects/zbd-05-amphibious-infantry-fighting-vehicle/?cf-view
海上带刀巴士:05式两栖装甲车族_新闻_腾讯网

5 Likes

+1

2 Likes

It could give coastal boats a run for their money.
Funny thing is that this was the answer to the US’ “Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle” replacement for the ancient AAV-7, that got cancelled after wasting more money than probably the entire ZBD-05 production cost.

3 Likes

+1, an absolutely necessary top IFV for China

2 Likes

+1!
i always wanted this

2 Likes

add it as China green water vehicle(

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