Infantry fighting vehicle
ZBD-04A is an advanced tracked armoured infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) developed by China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO) for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). It is an improved variant of the ZBD-04 vehicle.
The IFV was presented by the PLA ground forces during the military parade for the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, held in October 2019.
ZBD-04A tracked infantry fighting vehicle design and features
The ZBD-04A IFV was developed indigenously by China. It retains the base design of the ZBD-04 armoured vehicle, which resembles the Russian-made BMP-3 IFV. The vehicle features an aluminium hull mounted with a steel turret.
It is manned by a driver, commander, and gunner. It can carry seven heavily-armed infantrymen. The crew compartment is located in the centre of the forward hull, while the cargo compartment is positioned at the rear. A rear door ensures the safe entry and exit of the occupants. The ZBD-04A has a combat weight of 24,000kg.
Command and control
The vehicle features a digital information system and battle management system, which ensure command and control during operations. The commander, gunner, and driver are provided with displays to control firing and combat mission.
The crew communications are supported by radio and wireless communication systems. The vehicle is equipped with Beidou satellite navigation system as well as a battlefield identification friend or foe (IFF) system. The fire control system is composed of a ballistic computer, a gun stabiliser, and a laser rangefinder.
ZBD-04A armament details
ZBD-04A is installed with a two-man turret mounted on top of the forward chassis. The turret is armed with a dual-way stabilised, semi-automatic 100mm gun/missile system, which can fire highly-explosive fragmentation rounds and anti-tank guided missiles.
The secondary armament includes a 30mm coaxial automatic cannon and a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun.
The hull is integrated with an advanced armour package to enhance resistance against anti-tank guided missiles and rocket-propelled grenades. The forward hull is hinged with add-on armour plates, while either side of the hull is fitted with basic steel plates and add-on modular armour.
The bottom of the hull is strengthened to defend attacks from small anti-tank mines. The optimised design and add-on modular armour improve the overall self-protection capability of the chassis.
The forward chassis of the vehicle can resist 30mm armour-piercing incendiary rounds fired from a distance of 1,000m, while the sides of the hull can defend 14.5mm armour-piercing incendiary rounds fired from platforms at a range of 200m. The rear hull and turret can survive 7.62mm armour-piercing projectiles and artillery fragments.
Either side of the turret is mounted with five electrically-launched smoke grenade launchers, which will further improve the survivability of the vehicle.
Engine and mobility
ZBD-04A tracked infantry fighting vehicle is powered by 670hp liquid-cooled diesel engine. The engine delivers superior power output, which ensures a power to weight ratio of 18kW/t. The vehicle can attain a maximum road speed of 75km/h and a maximum cruising range of 600km.
The running gear includes six road wheels, three rollers, and a front-drive sproket on either side of the track. The tracks are integrated with removable rubber inserts to enhance the comfort of the passengers. The torsion bar suspension incorporates hydraulic shock absorbers.
The ZBD-04A has the capability to conduct amphibious operations. It is propelled in water by two large water jets mounted on either side of the rear hull. It can sail at a maximum speed of 6km/h.