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The Ground Forces of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) deploys over 8,000 tanks, 4,000 armored vehicles, and 25,000 artillery pieces. Although it is currently equipped with large numbers of antiquated Soviet era weaponry, the PLA Ground Force is quickly becoming one of the most modern and well-trained armies in the world. The Ground Forces are undergoing major upgrades and restructuring to deal with future land warfare.
Formations and Units
Current Chinese military regions and Group Armies
The PLA has 18 group armies (corps size), divided among the seven military regions Shenyang, Beijing, Lanzhou, Jinan, Nanjing, Guangzhou, and Chengdu - and are currently downsizing some of their divisions into brigades. The IISS currently attributes the PLA Ground Force with 9 active tank divisions consisting of a number of armoured brigades. Dennis Blasko wrote in 2000 that the traditional structure of PLA divisions consisted roughly of three regiments - tuan - of the main arm, each of three battalions plus support units, a fourth regiment of infantry (in an armoured division) or armour (in an infantry division), an artillery regiment, an anti-aircraft regiment or battalion, and signals, engineer, reconnaissance, and chemical defence battalions or companies, plus combat service support units. A typical PLA armoured brigade has 4 tank battalions (124 main battle tanks)- each tank battalion has 3 tank companies (30 + 1 tank for the battalion commander), 1 mechanised infantry
battalion (40 armoured personnel carriers), 1 artillery battalion (18 self-propelled howitzers) - 3 batteries of 6 guns each and 1 anti-aircraft battalion (18 self-propelled howitzers) - 3 batteries of 6 guns each. There are 8 active artillery divisions consisting of a number of artillery brigades. A typical PLA artillery brigade has 4 artillery battalions each with 18 guns in 3 batteries and 1 self-propelled anti-tank gun battalion (18 vehicles).
QSZ-92 - newest pistol, 9 mm and 5.8 mm versions Type 84 - 7.62 mm mini pistol for security and police forces Type 77 - standard 7.62 mm for People's Armed Police and civil police Type 67 - 7.62 mm silenced pistol for scout and special operations Type 64 - 7.62 mm, better performance and reliability over Type 54 Type 54 - 7.62 mm, copy of the Soviet TT1930/1933, currently being phased out
Type 05 - newest smg, 9 mm and 5.8 mm versions Type 85 - updated Type 79, reduced firing noise, also suppressed and 5.8 mm versions Type 79 - 7.62 mm for airborne, scout and special operations Type 64 - low flash, suppressed 7.62 mm for scout and special operations
PLA Special Operation Forces (Ground Force) with Type 88 sniper rifles acting as OpFor
QBZ-95 assault rifle.
Type 03 - The newest rifle using 5.8x42 mm ammo and with a traditional design. Type 95 - family of 5.8x42 mm bullpup design assault rifle, carbine and squad machine gun. Factory names are QBZ-95, CAR-95 and QBB-95, respectively. Type 87 - 5.8 mm assault rifle and squad machine gun, improved version of Type 81, refused by PLA because of outdated layout, technology used in Type 95
Type 81 - 7.62 mm assault rifle and squad machine gun, replaced the Chinese Type 56 Assault Rifle and Chinese Type 56 Carbine, both copies of the Soviet AK-47 and Soviet SKS. Type 88/QBU-88 - 5.8 mm newest sniper rifle Type 85 - improved version of Type 79, higher rate of fire but shorter range Type 79 - 7.62 mm sniper rifle, copy of Soviet Dragunov SVD
Type 88/QJY-88 - new 5.8 mm GPMG, replacing Type 67 Type 80 - 7.62 mm general purpose machine gun (copy of the Soviet PKM) Type 67 - 7.62 mm general purpose machine gun, replacing the Type 53 (SG43) and Type 57 (SGM) 7.62 mm general purpose machine guns
Shoulder Launched Weapons
PF-98 - 120 mm Anti-tank Weapon PF-97 - 80 mm fuel air explosive launcher PF-89 - 80 mm Lightweight Anti-tank Weapon, comparable to the United States M136 AT4 FHJ-84 - twin 62 mm rocket launcher, slowly replacing the Type 69-1 (copy of RPG-7)
Main Battle Tanks
The upgraded Chinese Type 96G Main Battle Tank with ERA
The Chinese Type 99 Main Battle Tank
Type 98/99 - newest MBT (200~500) Type 85/96 - (1,500 to 2,000 as of 2005) Type 80/88 - (400 to 500, production stopped in 1995) Type 69/79 - redesigned Type 59 (mostly retired) Type 59D and Type 59D1 - upgraded versions of Type 59-IIA, Type 59-II, Type 59-I and Type 59 (copy of the Russian T-54)
Type 63A - new and redesigned amphibious tank, the only dedicated modern amphibious tank in the world, 14 km/h water speed, 105 mm gun (several hundred near Taiwan Strait) Type 63 - amphibious tank, similar to Russian PT-76 Type 62 - light tank
Infantry Fighting Vehicles
Type 97 - Next-generation infantry fighting vehicle - sightings report Chinese chassis with licensed Russian BMP-3 turret ZBD2000 - airborne IFV, similar to Russian BMD-3 Type 90/92A/ZSL-92A/WZ 551 - upgraded version of Type 92 Type 92/ZSL-92/WZ551 - (1200) amphibious IFV, similar to the French VAB Type 86/WZ 501/ WZ 501A/ WZ 503/WZ 504 - copy of Russian BMP-1
Armored Personnel Carriers
Type 89/YW 534 - amphibious APC based on Type 85, replacing over 2000 Type 63s WZ 523 - also known as M1984, design similar to South African Ratel Type 85/YW 531H - export model amphibious APC Type 77/Type 77-1/Type 77-2 - improved version of Russian BTR-50 (+200) Type 63/YW 531C/D/E - also known as K-63, M1967 and M1970
WS-1 and WS-1B - an 8 and 4 tube 320 mm multiple launch rocket system A-100 - 10 tube 300 mm Multiple Rocket Launcher System WM-80' and Type 83/WM-40' - 273 mm Multiple Rocket Launcher Systems Type 85/YW 306 (on a YW 531H) and Type 82 (on a Yanan SX250 6X6 truck) 30 tube 130 mm multiple rocket launcher replacing the 19 tube 130 mm multiple rocket launcher of the Type 70 (on a YW 531C) and Type 63 (on a 4X4 truck) Type 90 (on a Tiema SC2030 6X6 flatbed truck) and Type 89 (tracks) - 40 tube 122 mm multiple launch rocket systems replacing the Type 81 (copy of the soviet BM-21 Grad)
PLZ-45 - 155 mm self-propelled howitzer might replace the obsolete Type 83 which is a 152 mm self-propelled howitzer YW 323 D30 (based on the YW 531H) and the Type 89 (based on the Type 77 APC) - amphibious 122 mm self-propelled howitzers replacing the Type 85 (YW 531C chassis) and Type 70 (YW 531B chassis) Type 90 - 122 mm self-propelled howitzer wheeled (based on a WZ-551 chassis) Type 89 - 155 mm towed gun/howitzer based on the GC-45 howitzer Type 66 (copy of the soviet D-20) 152 mm towed gun/howitzer and the Type 83 152 mm towed gun are replacing the Type 54 itself a copy of the soviet ML20(M1937). Type 59 and Type 59-1 - copy of the soviet M46 130 mm towed field gun Type 85 - 122 mm towed howitzer derived from the soviet D-30 (M1963) and replaced the Type 54 howitzer YW 382 (120 mm) and YW 383 (82 mm) - amphibious mortar carriers based on the YW 531H replacing the YW 381 and YW 304 respectively which where based on the YW 531C
Type 80 - twin 57 mm self-propelled anti-aircraft equivalent to the ZSU-57-2 but using the Type 69 tank chassis. HQ-2J (Hongqi-2) - anti-aircraft missiles based on the Type 77 transporter, the missiles are upgraded versions of the HQ-1 which is a copy of the SA-2 Guideline HQ-10 - licensed built S-300PMU-1 (SA-10D Grumble) anti-aircraft missiles HQ-15 - upgraded version of the HQ-10 anti-aircraft missiles KS-1 - First Chinese SAM to adopt phased array radar
Type 84 - Tank laying bridge using the Type 69 tank chassis Type 653 (Type 69 tank chassis) and Type 59 (Type 59 tank chassis) - armoured recovery vehicles YW 703 (based on the YW 534), Type 85 (based on the YW 531H APC) amphibious recovery vehicles Type 85 (based on the YW 531H), WZ 701 (based on the YW 531C), WZ 506 (based on the WZ 501) and a version based on the Type 77 - amphibious command vehicles Type 77-2 (based on the Type 77) - amphibious artillery ammunition carrier WZ 751 (based on the YW 531H), YW 750 (based on the YW 531C), WZ 505 (based on the WZ 501) and a version based on the Type 77 - amphibious armoured ambulances Bv206 Swedish tracked all-terrain multipurpose vehicle Type 77 and Type 60/WZ 420/Wz 421 tracked tractors Type 82 consists of the HY473 (tractor truck) and HY962 (semi-trailer) - Heavy Equipment Transporter up to 75 tons TA580/TAS5380 (20 ton 8x8), TAS5450 (25 ton 8x8), TAS5500 (28 ton 10x10), TAS5570 (30 ton 10x10) and TAS5690 (42 ton 12x12) series special heavy duty trucks WS2300(6x6), WS2400(8x8) and WS2500(10x8) 20 ton series special heavy duty trucks XC2200 (copy of the German Mercedes-Benz 2060) 7.5 ton 6x6 heavy duty trucks SX2190 (copy of the Austrian Steyr-91) 7 ton 6x6 trucks replacing the JN252, CQ261 and SX250 heavy duty trucks SX250/SX2150 series 5 ton 6x6 heavy duty trucks EQ2102 series 3.5 ton trucks replacing the CA30 (copy of the 2.5 ton soviet ZIL 157) CA141/CA1091 series trucks replacing the CA10 (copy of the 3.5 ton soviet ZIL 150) EQ240/EQ2081 and EQ245/EQ2100 series 2.5 ton trucks EQ2050A series High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) copied from the US M998 NJ2045/2046 series 1.5 ton lightweight vehicle
BJ212/BJ2020 series 0.5 ton lightweight 4 x4 vehicle
Mi-17 multi-role helicopter Mi-8 transport helicopter Mi-6 transport helicopter S-70C Black Hawk transport helicopter AS 332L Super Puma Z-8A utility helicopter Z-9 multi-role light helicopter
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