Thursday, March 12, 2015

Senator Hirono asks the question that reveals the capabilities of Chinese Amphibious IFV

I'm still waiting for the transcript from the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sub Committee on Sea Power's hearing on Marine Corps Ground Modernization.

Senator Hirono asked about the Chinese High Speed Amphibious Vehicles armed with the 30mm cannon and 105mm gun.  The answer was rather shocking.  You can see the video here (its at the 1:24:00 mark).

Want a quick and dirty brief?  Ok.  Deputy Assistant Sec of the Navy Sec Dee took the question and let out this bombshell.  I'm paraphrasing (geez, just watch the video!) but he stated that "the advertised capabilities are overstated" (sidenote...I'm disappointed that Mr. Dee didn't address the part of the question concerning Chinese Amphibious Assault Ships...I wish Senator Hirono had held his feet to the fire on that one).

My guess?

The physics got the Chinese too, except that they're willing to accept the risks involved in having a "fragile" combat vehicle if it provides high water speed, is hard hitting and can get their infantry ashore.

This might be the first divergent view in armor development that we're seeing from the Chinese.  Consider.  Even the mighty M1 Abrams has been penetrated by a RPG variant. If the Chinese studied our fight in Iraq and believe that heavy armor is of limited value in a high end fight and are heading toward  lightly armored but hard hitting armored vehicles that are extremely mobile both tactically and strategically then it will be something new....and contrary to what we're seeing worldwide.

What will be a clue of this being a trend and not a one off?  Well the recent announcement that the Chinese have developed a light tank is one.  Another will be if we start seeing Trophy type anti-missile systems on their vehicles.


  1. Solomon, I dont know much about Amphib vehicles which is why I ask this question about the usage of the word "Fragile". Arent all vehicle designed to float on water supposed to be fragile? And since even MBT's can get penetrated with AT missiles then wouldnt the difference between a future US amphib (improved AA7 or ACV) and a Chinese amphib be just Marginal? Merely an excel statistic rather than a hard fact that matters on the ground?

    For this question I will request any person who wants to reply to keep out "armament" from the reply and focus only on Fragility. Armament, crew capacity and other variable can be discussed in a following post.

  2. The Chinese definition of an acceptable amount of risk and casualties is quite different from our own.

  3. Wait... I don't understand. She ask about Chinese vehicle, then that dude start to babbling about some "intel" and how they... what, made a interview with every that type of vehicle... and what? This is not an answer this is clearly LACK of it.

    Overstated in comparison to WHAT? Some US vehicle of that class... not to mention the US don't have anything of that class is better? What the fuck this dude is talking about?!

  4. Well lighter, hard hitting, expeditionnary units : that's the French road as shown by AMX-10RC and previous vehicules

  5. well lightness is relative. while the French have tended to be lighter when it comes to vehicles than the rest of Europe, that trend has reversed. we're looking at VBCI's that top the scales at 35 tons. the CEntauro is even heavier. besides the LeCLerc is 55 tons and growing and its only considered light because everyone else in Europe is pushing either 60 plus ton Leopard, 70 ton Challengers or Abrams.

  6. The Chinese will try out any number of crazy/risky unconventional equipment and will almost always fail but given they have an almost infite supply of pawns, i mean soldiers, to throw at this they are fine. The West, and the rest of the world, are not in the same boat- in the PLA there is no transparancy who knows how many sacrifcial lambs have been lost by them, in the West there is scrutiny of each and every loss.

  7. The china EFV 'light' is suposedly ZBD-05 which is claimed to have seaborne speed of 18kmh tank and 29kmh apc numbers about 45kmh seem to be picked form the EFV
    In terms of armor it seems to be offering standard APC package 12.5mm frontal and 7.62 all round protection and suposedly 25mm protection on the turret font.,that is what most IFV and APCs have without bolt on armor so nothing significantly less than any other vehicle. .

    Considering the weight of the APC it would need close to 500HP transferable directly to the jet drives , typicaly only a fraction of the engine power is used for driving props and jets .

    That kind of numbers could be achieved readily by use of commercial off the shelf equipment . While on the EFV side weight kills any prospects of cheap and practical vehicle

  8. the truth of the EFV and what was going on with behind closed doors is finally coming out. from what i've been able to piece together it wasn't pretty. could it be that we're seeing officials attempt to justify why the vehicle was abandoned? perhaps but i don't get that sense of things. i'm getting the impression that reliability, protection and firepower were just too big a bar to overcome.

    if the Chinese are looking at their armored forces in the same way as we looked at LVT's during WW2 then it makes sense. by that i mean if they're looking at vehicles that are to make it from ship to shore, fight a bit inland and then be withdrawn for refit then its making more sense.

  9. ZBD.05 is as 'Fragile' as your typical APC ,people used to seeing APCs and IFVs in Iraq and Afghanistan with all sorts of uparmor packages forget that under that is still a vehicle that is basicaly protected only against 12.7x99 frontal and 7.65x51 allround . That kind of uparmoring can be done to many vehicles but you are not likely to see a vehicle storming the beach with all that armor hanging of it.

  10. AMX10 RC were converted to AMX10 RCR, way more heavy and no more floating...

  11. Isn't it common sense that for a given weight and size of a vehicle there always has to be a balance between armor, speed and offensive capabilities?
    Lighter materials and more powerful engines ( for the same weight) can push the 'total number' in this equation upward, but at a budgetary cost.

    Choosing to neglect armor or durability so the speed can go up is not a choice I would make.

  12. It started with USAF who setup is this quasi-military team of analyst. This team is not "US Air Force", per se but "ex-USAF". Confusing. They are part of a "product exploitation unit" and they do nothing but BUY from the blackmarket products or items that pose a threat to USAF. It started with MANPADS and gradually grew up to full blown SAM system. Navy heard of them and attached a few of their liasons. Now Navy have their own team too. Not sure about Army but I am suspecting the same thing.

    The role was exposed in a NY Times article a few years back.


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