Land Weapons

NORINCO

ZSL-90/92

The WZ 551 (Type 90/92) series was China's first wheeled APC/IFV design, which borrowed heavily from similar Western models such as the French VAB (6 x 6) which it strongly resembles. Compared to its French counterpart, the WZ 551 is larger and heavier, and comes in two main versions: an APC armed with a 12.7-mm gun and capacity for carrying up to 11 fully-equipped troops; and an IFV version armed with a 25-mm in a small turret but with a slightly reduced troop load of just nine. Both versions have the driver compartment at front with a windscreen that can be protected by an armored shutter. Behind them is the engine compartment and the troop compartment at the rear, with entry and exit provided by an outward-hinging door. Four firing ports are provided on each side and an additional one on the rear door. Amphibious capability and NBC protection are standard, and the run-flat tires can still operate even if punctured. The WZ 551 remains in widespread service with the PLA and the chassis has since been developed into 4 x 4 and 8 x 8 variants as well. It is likely to be gradually complemented or superseded by the ZBL-09.

First public appearance of the WZ 551 took place in 1986 but it is understood that the initial version went back to the drawing boards which delayed its service entry into the 1990s as the Type 90. A redesign of the chassis resulted in the Type 92, with the main visual difference being that the space between the roadwheels was even. Both come in APC and IFV versions. An newer variant is known as the WZ 551B, featuring either 12.7-mm or 14.5-mm armament in a turret that is similar to that of the BTR-70/80. Other variants include an ambulance, ATGM vehicle (armed with Red Arrow 8 missiles), and 120-mm self-propelled mortar, WZ 551D PL-9 SAM vehicle. 4 x 4 versions are used as APCs only, while an 8 x 8 version is adapted into a 122-mm self-propelled howitzer prototype.

Preceded by:

None

Succeeded by:

None

Datafile

DesignZSL-92
OrdnanceWZ-551
TypeIFV
Year1992
Crew2 + 9
Dimensions
Length (w/Gun)6.73 m
Width2.86 m
Height2.10 m
Weight
Loaded15,000 kg
SuspensionCoil springs
Performance
Speed (Off-Road)90 km/h
Range (Off-Road)800 km
AmphibiousYes (9 km/h)
Vertical Obstacle0.50 m
Trench1.20 m
Gradient70%
Powerplant
Engine1 x 320-hp
Deutz
BF8L413FC
FuelDiesel
Power/Weight21.33 hp/t
Armament
Main1 x 25-mm
ZPT-90
Autocannon (400)
↑ 55° / ↓ -8° / ↔ 360°

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