Land Weapons

NORINCO

Type 86 (WZ501)

The WZ 501 (Type 86) is a reverse-engineered version of the Soviet BMP-1, designed due to the lack of an IFV to equip the PLA's mechanized units in the 1980s. As a result of the Sino-Soviet split, it was impossible for China to procure or license-build an IFV directly, but Egypt eventually provided a BMP-1 for evaluation in 1975. The resulting Type 86 was, initially, a near-identical version of its Soviet counterpart, and also armed with a locally-produced 73-mm gun and Red Arrow ATGMs which are also copies of the Soviet AT-3. Like the BMP-1, the Type 86 is fully amphibious and comes fitted with NBC protection. Over time, the basic design was modified to include different turrets and armament some of which were designed with assistance from FMC (US) and featured armament similar to the M2 Bradley. The Type 86 became the PLA's standard IFV during the 1990s until the introduction of newer, indigenous designs, like the Type 92 and Type 04. Despite their relative obsolescence, hundreds remain in service with the PLA and it has been exported to Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Burma and Sri Lanka.

The basic WZ 501 (Type 86) entered service in the late 1980s and is identical to the Soviet BMP-1. Other variants include the WZ 503 without a turret but armed with a 12.7-mm gun, and the WZ 504 ATGM launcher vehicle, armed with Red Arrow 73B missiles. The WZ 501A is an improved variant that includes a new turret (the same as used in the WZ 551) armed with a license produced version of the US 25-mm M242 Bushmaster gun. Non-combat variants include the WZ 505 armored ambulance and WZ 506 command post vehicle.

Preceded by:

None

Succeeded by:

ZBD-97/04 (1997)

Datafile

DesignType 86
OrdnanceWZ-501
TypeIFV
Year1986
Crew3 + 8
Dimensions
Length (w/Gun)6.74 m
Width2.97 m
Height1.92 m
Weight
Empty12,100 kg
Loaded13,330 kg
Ground Pressure0.62 kg/cm²
SuspensionTorsion bar
Performance
Speed (Off-Road)65 km/h
Range (Off-Road)510 km (100 km)
AmphibiousYes (8 km/h)
Vertical Obstacle0.80 m
Trench2 m
Gradient60%
Powerplant
Engine1 x 293-hp
Type 6V-150
FuelDiesel
Power/Weight21.98 hp/t
Armament
Main1 x 73-mm
2A28 Grom
Smoothbore Gun (40)
↑ 33° / ↓ -4° / ↔ 360°

Secondary1 x 7.62-mm (c)
x
Armor
TypeSteel
Thickness-
Max Effective-
Production
Built?
Total?