Category Archives: PLA Marine Corps

Type 63A

The Type 63A (also known as the ZTS63A) is an Amphibious light tank upgraded from the Type 63, designed for river-crossing operations at inland rivers and lakes. Its industrial designation is WZ213.

Before the mid-1990s, Chinese ground forces relied on the Type 63 amphibious light tank developed in the early 1960s. The low swimming speed and weak firepower of the Type 63 was insufficient to the needs of modern maritime amphibious assault operations that PLA would conduct. The PLA demanded a replacement for the Type 63 in the early 1990s, which led to the development of the Type 63A in 1997. Reports indicate that over 300 examples has been delivered to the PLA by the end of 2000.

The Type 63A is lightly armoured amphibious light tank with a flat, boat-like hull. Suspension is made up of 6 road wheels and lead or return rollers. A redesigned welded turret from the original Type 63 is mounted center of the hull, with the powerpack positioned in the rear. The Type 63A has 2 additional floating tanks to increase the stability of the vehicle in the water. There are 3 water inlets on both sides of the hull. In the rear of the hull there are to allow 2 large water jets for travelling in water.

Type 63A introduces an enlarged welded turret replacing the original Type 63 turret, the modernised Type 63A utilises the dual-way stabilised 105 mm rifled gun replacining the 85 mm gun. The 105 mm rifled gun, fires armour piercing fin stabilised discarding sabot (APFSDS), high explosive (HE), and high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) ammunitions, with 45 rounds carried inside the vehicle. APFSDS round penetrates 650 mm steel armour or destroy a reinforced concrete bunker a distance of 2,000 m.

To overcome the inaccuracy of firing when swimming, the Type 63A uses laser-beam guidance ATGM which isn’t affected by the wave motions while swimming. The missile has a maximum firing range of 4–5 km with a first hit probability of +90% against stationary targets. Its secondary functions can engage low-flying helicopters.

The Type 63A enhance capability allows the vehicle to conduct amphibious operations from its host amphibious warfare ships at distances from 5–7 km to shore at a speed of 28 km/h.

Compared to the Type 63, the Type 63A featured five major improvements: The modernised Type 63 to Type 63A has given enhanced sea travelling performance, increased swimming speed, improved fire-control system, ATGM capability, and larger 105 mm rifled gun with dual stabilizers.

The FCS includes digital fire-control computer, integrated commander sight with laser rangefinder input, and white-light spotter or image-stabilised gunner’s sight w/ passive night vision. The Type 63A night vision is an image intensifier system. Alternatively the gunner sight can be fitted with a thermal imager night vision. It is also equipped with the satellite positioning (GPS/GLONASS) system to allow accurate landing position in harsh weather conditions and night operations. It’s also equipped with computerised fire-control to enable accurate firing both on land and at sea.


The ZBD2000 is an amphibious armoured fighting vehicle, developed for the PLA Marine Corps. The vehicle is a counterpart to the Type 63A amphibious tank introduced in the late 1990s. It features a hydroplane, and has been compared to the US Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV).

The ZBD05 armored fighting vehicle was developed from this, as well as a light tank, a command post vehicle, a recovery vehicle and others.


The ZBD2000 uses a planing hull propelled by two water jets achieving water travelling speed much greater than any current amphibious armoured vehicle in the PLA Marine Corps, on top of its enhanced speed it has increased range, allowing it to launch over over-the-horizon assaults.

The vehicle is designed with hydraulic-actuated bow with transom flaps, designed to aid hull skimming across the surface of the water. When activated the bow and transom flaps with the bottom of the hull form a planing surface, allowing the vehicle to go faster from its hydrodynamic drag reduction on the vehicle’s hull.

The ZBD2000 features flat, boat-like hull, with 6 road wheels and front/rear rollers. A welded turret is mounted in the centre of the hull, with the powerpack positioned in the front and passenger compartment in the rear.
ZTD05 Light Tank

The light tank variant is armed with a fully stabilised 105mm rifled gun. The 105mm rounds carried consist of armour piercing fin stabilised discarding sabot (APFSDS), high explosive (HE), and high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) rounds, and Chinese 105mm laser beam riding guidance anti-tank guided missile (ATGM). The 105mm missile offers the capability to engage shore targets whilst still swimming at sea, where conventional ammunition would perform poorly due to the motion of sea waves.

Secondary weapons include 7.62mm coxial mounted machine gun, 12.7mm anti-aircraft machine gun mounted on the roof of the turret near the loader, and 2 sets of 4-barrel smoke grenade launchers mounted on either side of the turret. The rear part of the turret have storage rack for additional equipment which also provide additional protection against HEAT rounds.

Fire accuracy is attained by a computerised fire-control system (FCS), including a fire-control computer, light spot commander sight with laser rangefinder input, and light spot gunner sight with passive night vision. For all situation amphibious assault operations, the vehicle is equipped with GPS navigation and thermal imaging system.

The light tank variant is operated by a crew of 4, with driver positioned left-front of the turret, and loader, gunner, and commander occupying the turret.
ZBD05 Infantry Fighting Vehicle

The Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) variant of ZBD2000 was built to accompany the light tank variant in the battlefield in amphibious operations. The vehicle shares the same hull, but replacing the 3-man 105mm rifled gun with a 2-man 30mm cannon turret with HJ-73C ATGM rail launcher positioned on the roof of the turret, and a 7.62mm coxial mounted machine gun. The vehicle has a crew of 3 and can carry 7-8 (Squad) armed soldiers in its passenger compartment in the rear. The 30mm cannon isn’t present in any armoured vehicles within the PLA Marine Corps, indicating a possible brand new design 30mm cannon.