|The VT-5 lightweight main battle tank (MBT)
Date:2020-04-04 Source:militaryfactory By:Globalmil Viewed:
When it comes to Light Tanks, there’s one nation whose expertise trumps the others – the People’s Republic of China. China has a long tradition in using Light Tanks – terrain-wise, it is as an extremely diverse country with much of its territory simply not suitable for classic Main Battle Tanks. The deployment of Light Tanks was shown to be the right decision times and times again during the Vietnam War and, ironically, during China’s own conflict with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam a decade later.
That does, however, not mean that the Chinese developed their Light Tanks solely for their own use. The Type 62 Light Tank was relatively widely exported to both Asia and Africa and so was the Type 63, an amphibious design comparable to the Soviet PT-76. This is an understandable fact – the Chinese Light Tanks were rugged, easy to maintain and, most importantly for the kind of customers they were offered to, affordable. Sure, they weren’t really capable of fending off an enemy armored assault but against lighter vehicles or infantry, they were perfectly capable of holding their own in a fight.
It is, therefore, no wonder that China continues to develop export-oriented affordable Light Tanks for the countries that are have no need (or means) to operate a fleet of modern Main Battle Tanks that are notoriously difficult and expensive not only to purchase, but also to keep running (especially the western MBT maintenance comes with a lot of strings attached).One of the better known modern Chinese Light Tanks is the VT-5 by NORINCO.As its name suggests, the vehicle was developed purely for export (the VT designation is used for export vehicles) and has been marketed as such ever since its 2010. The development was kept in secrecy, but some sources claim it started around 2006 or so.
The VT-5 is a typical Light Tank – its weight is in the low 30 ton category (33-36 tons are the usual estimates depending on configuration) and its level of protection is comparable to modern heavy IFVs – the basic hull is made of steel but the vehicle can be upgraded with either a composite applique armor kit, or an ERA kit that covers its sides. Additionally, the turret sides are covered by cage armor, significantly increasing its protection levels against RPGs (something such a vehicle would be expected to come up against).
The basic hull protection level is likely only STANAG 4569 Level 1 or 2 with the additional armor increasing it to Level 3 or Level 4.
Standard equipment also includes:
• NBC protection
• Automatic fire suppression system
• Air conditioning
• Laser warning system
• Smoke grenade launchers
The last two systems are connected – when illuminated by a laser, the vehicle can automatically deploy smoke cover to make it more difficult for laser-guided missiles to score a hit.
The tank has a crew of three – the driver is, as usual, in the hull while the gunner and the commander are sitting in a manned turret. The vehicle doesn’t need a loader because its main weapon, 105mm rifled cannon, is loaded automatically from a turret bustle-mounted ammunition rack. The main gun can fire all sorts of NATO standard ammunition, including:
• APFSDS rounds
• HEAT rounds
• HE rounds
坦克上只有三名操作人员–像通常一样，驾驶员、炮手和指挥官坐在车身内有人驾驶炮塔中。 该车辆不需要装弹手，因为其主要武器105毫米线膛炮是从炮塔装满了炮弹的弹药架上自动装填的。 主炮可以发射各种北约标准弹药，包括：
But can also be used to launch guided missiles with tandem warhead and an effective range of 5 kilometers. 38 rounds of ammunition are carried in the bustle and in the hull.
The gun is fully stabilized and equipped with a modern Fire Control System, featuring:
• Ballistic computer
• Laser rangefinder
• Thermal sights for the gunner
The commander has panoramic sights with a thermal imager. Additionally, the tank has a hunter-killer capability (the gunner fires at a target designated by the commander while the commander already looks for another target) and can even engage slow flying targets such as helicopters. And last but not least, the vehicle can also be fitted by a satellite uplink, navigation and a battlefield management system, all based on the wishes of a customer.When combined, this level of firepower and sophistication allows the tank to take on even modern Main Battle Tanks for a fraction of a cost of one.
指挥官可通过热像仪观察全景。 此外，该坦克具有猎杀的能力（炮手向指挥官指定的目标射击，而指挥官已经在寻找另一个目标），甚至可以与诸如直升机等慢速飞行的目标交战。 最后但并非最不重要的一点是，该车辆还可根据客户的意愿安装卫星上行链路，导航和战场管理系统。当结合使用时，这种强大的火力和精巧程度使该战车甚至可以当现代化主战坦克使用，而成本仅为其一小部分。
The VT-5 is powered by a 1000hp FX0012 turbocharged diesel engine, allowing it to go as fast as 70 km/h with 35-40 km/h being the standard off-road speed. Thanks to its excellent power-to-weight ratio, it is a very mobile and agile tank, making up with speed what it lacks in protection. The engine can also be configured for high-altitude low-oxygen environments of mountain ranges, giving it a distinct advantage over conventional MBTs that cannot be generally operated in such environments.
VT-5型由一台1000hp FX0012涡轮增压柴油发动机提供动力，使其能够以70至40 km/h的速度行驶，而标准越野速度为35至40 km/h。得益于其出色的功率重量比，它是一款机动灵活的坦克，能够在速度方面弥补其缺乏的防护能力。该发动机还可以部署到山脉的高海拔低氧环境，与常规的MBT相比，它具有明显的优势，而传统的MBT通常无法在这种环境下运行。
The suspension is hydropneumatic, allowing the tank to be lowered or raised as necessary. Interestingly enough, this also makes the tank air transportable and even air-droppable, although whether such a trait would be useful for the kind of potential customers the vehicle is intended for is another matter. The tank is, however, not amphibious. The operational range of the vehicle is 450km, but can be, if needed, extended to 650km by using external fuel tanks.
悬架是液压气动的，可以根据需要降低或升高储罐。 有趣的是，这也使坦克可以空运，甚至可以空投，尽管这种特性是否对车辆打算使用的潜在客户有用，这是另一回事。 但是，该坦克不是两栖的。车辆的行程为450公里，但如果需要，可以使用外部油箱将其扩展到650公里。
The last major event that included this vehicle was the August 2017 Inner Mongolia event where it was shown, along with a number of other advanced Chinese export weapons, to the representatives of more than 50 countries. The Chinese spared no expense on the event and the military experts could also witness the tank in action and during firing trials. According to several sources, the vehicle made a good impression – but whether it will also attract any real customers remains to be seen. It is, however, not going to appear in the Chinese army.
包括这辆车在中国国内的最后一个重大事件是2017年8月的内蒙古，向50多个国家的代表展示了它以及其他许多中国先进的出口武器。 中国在这次活动中不遗余力，军事专家也可以目击坦克行进和开火演示。 几位消息人士称，这款车给人留下了深刻的印象-但它是否还会吸引任何真正的客户还有待观察。 但是，它不会出现在中国军队中。
The VT-5 lightweight main battle tank (MBT)
The VT-5 is a lightweight main battle tank (MBT) introduced by China Northern Industries Group Corporation (CNGC, or NORINCO) for the export market. A similar design of unknown designation has also been fielded by the PLA Ground Force.
Photos of an unidentified lightweight tank began to emerge in early 2014 on the Chinese Internet and social media. By 2017, it appeared that the tank had already entered operational service with the PLA Group Force. A lightweight MBT designated VT-5 was unveiled during the 2016 China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition (Zhuhai Air Show) and subsequently at the 2017 NORINCO Armour Day. The version in service with the PLA Ground Force may differ slightly to the VT-5 in hull design.
2014年初，中国互联网和社交媒体上开始出现不明身份的轻型坦克的照片。 到2017年，该坦克似乎已经在PLA集团军中投入操作。在2016年中国国际航空航天展览会（珠海航展）以及随后的2017年NORINCO装甲日上，一款轻型MBT被命名为VT-5。 PLA地面部队的服役型号可能与VT-5型的车身设计略有不同。
With a combat weight of 33 t, the VT-5 is designed to operate in areas unsuitable for heavy MBTs, such as highlands, hilly areas, water networks, paddy fields, etc. Its lightweight also makes the tank suitable for rapid deployment to the theatre by airlift or railway. The tank is armed with an indigenous 105 mm rifled gun with autoloader, and advanced digital fire-control comparable to that of the ZTZ-99A and MBT-3000/VT-4.
The VT-5 has a conventional layout, with the driving compartment located at the front, the turret and crew compartment in the middle, and the engine compartment in the rear. The tank is operated by a three-man crew. The driver is seated left in the hull and forward of the turret. The tank commander sits on the right side of the main gun, and is also responsible for operating the 12.7-mm anti-aircraft machine gun (AAMG) mounted on his hatch cupola. The gunner sits on the left side of the main gun.
VT-5型具有常规布局，驾驶室位于前部，炮塔和乘员室位于中间，发动机室位于后部。 该坦克由三人组成。 驾驶员坐在车内左侧，在炮塔前方。 坦克指挥官坐在主炮的右侧，还负责操作安装在其出舱口顶部的12.7毫米防空机枪（AAMG）。 炮手坐在主炮的左侧。
The drivetrain consists of six rubber-tyred road wheels, three return rollers, and a sprocket at the rear on each side. The tracks and wheels are protected by six panels of thick rubber side skirts. External storage for fuel and equipment are provided by encased compartments on the funders, which have been blended into the upper hull. Two headlights are located on the front of the hull.
The hull and turret are protected by composite armour plating. The frontal arc of the turret is fitted with arrow-shaped spaced armour modules. The rear half of the turret is surrounded by storage racks, which not only offer extra places for the crew to store their equipment but also provide additional protections against HEAT projectiles. Wheels and tracks are protected by rubber hull skirts. Additional protection is provided by the FY series ERA modules, which is said to be capable of defeating the new-generation tandem-warhead anti-tank guided missiles.
The crew compartment is fitted with a collective over-pressure NBC protection system and automatic fire-supressing system. A laser warning receiver (LWR) is mounted on the roof of the turret. There is a 6-barrelled smoke grenade launcher on either side of the turret, under the storage racks near the rear of the turret. Additional smoke can be generated by injecting diesel fuel in to the engine’s exhaust.
乘员舱装有集体超压NBC保护系统和自动灭火系统。 激光警告接收器（LWR）安装在转塔的顶部。 炮塔两侧各有一个六管榴弹发射器，位于炮塔后部附近的储物架下方。将柴油燃料喷入发动机排气中会产生更多的烟雾。
The main armament is a dual-way stabilised Chinese indigenous 105 mm rifled gun, which has been developed from the British Royal Ordnance L7 technology. The gun is fitted with a fume extractor and thermal sleeve, and is fed by an autoloader. Ammunitions include armour piercing fin stabilised discarding sabot (APFSDS), high explosive anti-tank (HEAT), and high explosive fragmentation (HE-FRAG), with 38 rounds carried (18 inside the autoloader and 20 inside the crew compartment).
The 105-mm gun is also capable of firing the Chinese gun-launched, laser beam-riding anti-tank guided missile (ATGM), which was derived from the Russian 9K116 Bastion (NATO codename: AT-10 ‘Stabber’). The missile has a maximum range of 5,200 m and an armour penetration capability of 700 mm. As well as ground targets, the missile is said to be also capable of engaging slow-flying helicopters.
这种105毫米口径的主炮还能够发射中国炮射激光束反坦克导弹（ATGM），该导弹是从俄罗斯9K116堡垒（北约代号：AT-10“ Stabber”）衍生而来的。 该导弹的最大射程为5,200米，装甲穿透能力为700毫米。 除了地面目标外，据说该导弹还能够与慢速飞行的直升机交战。
Auxiliary weapons include one 7.62-mm coaxial machine gun, and a 12.7-mm/50-calibre anti-aircraft machine gun (AAMG) mounted on the commander’s hatch cupola. The tank has the option to be fitted with a remotely-operated AAMG and a 35-mm automatic grenade launcher for urban operations.
辅助武器包括一挺7.62毫米同轴机枪和一挺安装在指挥官舱顶上的12.7毫米/ 50口径高射机枪（AAMG）。 该坦克可以选择配备遥控AAMG和35毫米自动榴弹发射器，用于城市作战。
Fire-Control and Observation
The fire-control system of the VT-5 is said to be comparable to that of the heavier ZTZ-99A and MBT-3000/VT-4. Fire accuracy is attained by the dual-way stabilisation and ballistic computer with laser rangefinder and night vision inputs.
The driver is equipped with three observation periscopes, and the central periscope can be replaced by an image intensifying periscope for night vision. The gunner has a roof-mounted, dual-axis stabilised viewer incorporating a day channel, a thermal imaging system (TIS) night vision, and a laser rangefinder. The night vision employs the cooled detector thermal imaging system (TIS).
驾驶员配备了三个观察潜望镜，中央潜望镜可以替换为夜视图像增强潜望镜。 炮手有一个安装在车顶的双轴稳定观察器，该观察器具有一个昼间通道，一个热成像系统（TIS）夜视仪和一个激光测距仪。 夜视仪采用冷却探测组件热成像系统（TIS）。
The commander’s station is equipped with six periscopes to provide all round 360° view. A commander panoramic viewer is mounted on the turret roof in front of the commander’s hatch copula, providing an independent, dual-axis stabilised, day/night vision with a 360° view, incorporated with a laser rangefinder. This arrangement allows the commander to search and engage targets directly, enabling the ‘hunter-killer’ capability.
指挥官站配备了六个潜望镜，可提供全方位360°视野。 指挥官全景观察器安装在指挥官舱口联接镜前面的炮塔顶上，可提供独立的双轴稳定昼夜视力，并具有360°视角，并配有激光测距仪。 这种安排使指挥官可以直接搜索并打击目标，从而具有“猎人杀手”的能力。
The VT-5 is equipped with an indigenous 150 series liquid-cooled, turbo-charged, 8-cylinder diesel engine, producing a maximum output of 883 hp (650 kW). To improve its mobility performance, the tank is also fitted with a hydropneumatic active suspension, which can be adjusted while travelling to deal with uneven terrain in mountainous regions. The tank can attain a maximum speed of 70 km/h on road.
VT-5型配备有国产150系列液冷，涡轮增压8缸柴油发动机，最大输出功率为883hp（650 kW）。 为了提高其机动性，该坦克还配备了液压气动主动悬架，可以在行驶时进行调节，以应对山区的崎岖地形。该坦克在道路上的最高速度可达70km/h。
PLA designation: Unknown
Export designations: VT-5
Designer: NORINCO North Vehicle Research Institute (201 Institute)
Manufacturer: NORINCO Inner Mongolia First Machinery Factory (617 Factory)
Year of introduction: 2014
Operators: PLA Ground Force
Length (m): N/A
Height (m): N/A
Width (m): N/A
Combat weight (t): 33 (without ERA add-ons); 35 to 36 (with ERA add-ons)
Engine: NORINCO 150 series diesel, liquid-cooled, turbo-charged, 8-cylinder, producing 883 hp (650 kW)
Power-weight ratio (hp/t): 26.76
Transmission: Hydro-mechanic with automatic planetary gear box
Track: Metallic, with removable rubber pads and rubber-tyred road wheels
Suspension: Hydropneumatic active suspension
Cruising range (km): N/A
Maximum road speed (km/h): 70 (road)
Fording depth (m): N/A
Main armament: 105-mm rifled gun with autoloader, thermal sleeve, and fume extractor
Rate of fire (rounds/min): N/A
Gun elevation/depression (°): N/A
Auxiliary weapon: Coaxial 7.62-mm machine gun; 12.7-mm anti-aircraft machine gun; 35-mm automatic grenade launcher (optional); 2x 6-barrel smoke grenade launcher
Fire-control: Dual-way stabilised with laser rangefinder, onboard computer, and wind sensor input
Night vision: Cooled-detector thermal imaging system
Radio: Receive/transmit, telephone
NBC protection: Collective, over-pressure
Fire suppression: Automatic
Air conditioning: Yes
发动机：NORINCO 150系列柴油，液冷，涡轮增压8缸，产生883 马力（650千瓦）
辅助武器：同轴7.62毫米机枪； 12.7毫米高射机枪; 35毫米自动榴弹发射器（可选）； 2个6管烟雾弹发射器