Chinese tank designations


ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Jul 25, 2007
Reaction score
Chinese Armour Designation Styles

Type-xx (rendered xx-Type in Mandarin) are kind of like US 'Mxx' designations.

ZTZxx (and similar) are role-specific PLA designations.
- ZTZ (Zhuangjia Tanke Zhongxíng) = Main Battle Tank ('Armoured Tank, Medium')

WZxx are officially-applied industrial designators.
- WZ (Wuqì Zhuangjia zhan che) = Armoured Vehicle ('Weapon, Armoured Combat Vehicle')

To this must be added a bewildering array of export designations (which also seem to be official) For example, the PLA ZTZ-96 or Type 96 MBT is exported as the VT-2 (although Pakistan calls it the Type 85-IIAP/IIM while Sudan has named it the Al-Bashir). I don't know the meanings of the export acronyms.

An attempt at translating PLA role acronyms follows. As always, additions and corrections are most welcome.

PLA Armoured Vehicle Role Designations

CSK (Che ? Kuang? or Kache?) = 4×4 tactical utility vehicle/truck
CSZ (Che ? Zhang?) = long-wheelbase 6X6 multi-purpose support vehicle
CTL (Che ? ludai shì?) = 6X6 protective chassis vehicle
CXB (Che Xiuli Baoyang) = Field Maintenance/Repair Vehicle (spares carrier)
CXJ (Che Xiuli Jixie) = Field Maintenance Vehicle (electro-mechanical)
GBL (Gongchéng Bàozhà? ludai shì?) = Mine-launching engineering vehicle, tracked
GCL (Guanchá Che ludai shì) = Forward Observation Vehicle (FOV), tracked
GCZ (Gongchéng Che Zhuangjia) = Armoured Engineering Vehicle (AEV)
GJT (Gongchéng Junyòngdoza Tuituji) = AEV, Bulldozer Blade
GSL (Gongchéng Saoléi che Ludai shì) = AEV, Mineclearing
PCP (???) = SP Mortar Carrier, wheeled (light armoured utility)
PCL (Paobing ? Lún shi) = Multiple-Launch Rocket System, wheeled
PCZ (Paobing ? Zìxíng) = Ammunition Support Vehicle (ASV), tracked
PGZ (Paobing Gaoshèpào Zìxíng) = Tracked SP AAA ('Artillery, Anti-Aircraft Gun, Self-Propelled)
PHL (Paobing Huojian Lún shi) = Wheeled SP Rocket-Launcher ('Artillery, Rocket, Wheeled)
PHZ = Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), tracked
PHZ (Paobing Huojian Zìxíng) = Tracked SP Rocket-Launcher ('Artillery, Rocket, Self-Propelled)
PLL (Paobing Liudanpào Lún shi) = Wheeled SP Howitzer ('Artillery, Howitzer, Wheeled)
PLZ (Paobing Liudanpào Zìxíng) = Tracked SP Howitzer ('Artillery, Howitzer, Self-Propelled)
PTL (Paobing Tuji Lún shì) = Wheeled SP Gun ('Artillery, Assault, Wheeled)
PTZ (Pao Tanke Zìxíng) = Tracked SP Gun ('Gun, Tank, Self-Propelled)
ZBD (Zhuangjia Bubing zhan che ludai shì) = IFV (Armoured Vehicle, Infantry, Tracked')
ZBL (Zhuangjia Bubing zhan che lún shì) = IFV (Armoured Vehicle, Infantry, Wheeled')
ZCL (Zhihui Che Lián) = Artillery CP, Battery ('Battery Command Vehicle')
ZCY (Zhihui Che Yíng) = Artillery CP, Battalion ('Battalion Command Vehicle')
ZDF (Zhihui Dao-dàn? Fánghù?) = Guided missile carrier
ZFB (Zhuangjia Fángbào) = Internal Security Vehicle ('Armoured vehicle, Anti-riot)
ZHB (Zhuangjia Hòuqín Buji) = Armoured Supply Vehicle ('Armoured Logistics Supply')
ZLS (Zhuangjia Shusong Lún shi) = Wheeled APC (Armoured Personnel Conveyor, Wheeled)
ZJX (Zhuangjia Qiangjiù Xiuli) = Armoured Recovery Vehicle ('Armoured Rescue Vehicle, Repair')
ZSD (Zhuangjia Shusong che ludai shì) = APC ('Armoured Vehicle, Conveyor, Tracked')
ZSL (Zhuangjia Shusong che Lún shì) = APC ('Armoured Vehicle, Conveyor, Wheeled')
ZTL (Zhuangjia Tanke Lún shì) = Tank Destroyer ('Armoured Tank, Wheeled')
ZTQ (Zhuangjia Tanke Qingxíng) = Light (Reconnaissance) Tank
ZTZ (Zhuangjia Tanke Zhongxíng) = Main Battle Tank ('Armoured Tank, Medium')
ZTS (Zhuangjia Tanke Shuilu) = Amphibious Tank ('Armoured Tank, Amphibious')
ZZC (Zhuangjia Zhenchá Che) = Armoured Reconnaissance Vehicle

A note on designation style ... In Chinese sources, it is common to see Roman letter prefix designations rendered with and without hyphens in the same paragraph. However, recent arms show display boards tend not to show hyphens. I have arbitrarily taken that as my cue and will avoid hyphens (except where directly quoting).

There may be some online confusion on PLA artillery command post designations. Seen listed are 'GLC' and 'ZSY' which, I believe, should be GCL (FOV) and ZCY (Battalion-level CP).

Another common typo is 'ZLT' for ZTL tank destroyers. Typos probably also explain 'ZTK' (I've seen both 'ZTK-09' and 'ZTK-11', especially in Japanese sources). AFAIK, 'ZTK-11' is a garbling of ZTL11 while 'ZTK-09' derives from ZBL09.

Export Designations

Export Prefixes/Manufacturer Name's Short Forms

CS = China South Industries product (eg: CS/VN10 4×4 MRAP, CS/VP11 Lynx)
-- Sometimes joint projects with either Norinco or Poly Technologies
-- Sometimes branded as Dajiang (Dragon)

XL = Xiaolong Automotive Technologies (XAT) (eg: XL2060L Hummer H1 copy*)
-- * Xiaolong XL2060L Xiao Lóng (Fierce Dragon)

YJ = Beijing Zhongzi Yanjing Automobile (eg: Yanjing YJ2080C & YJ2081C*)
-- * 4x4s based on Russian Tigr, border patrol/anti-riot vehicles

Export Designation Role Prefixes

AR = Multiple Launcher Rocket Systems (eg: 6x6 truck-based AR3)
BK = Export assault gun prototypes (eg: 6x6 BK1970 and 8x8 BK1990)
CM = Mortar carriers (eg: CS/CM2A, CM4 on CS/VN9 APC hull)
CT = Command Post vehicle (eg: modular CT2, CT3 based on VN1 hull)
SA = Self-propelled anti-aircraft artillery (eg: CS/SA1 truck-mounted twin 35mm)
SH = Self-propelled Howitzer, wheeled (eg: SH1, SH2, SH9, SH11)
SM = Self-propelled Mortar, wheeled (eg: 120 mm 6x6 SM4, 120 mm 6x6 SM6/WMA09)
SR = Modular Rocket Carrier, wheeled MLRS (eg: SR5 122 mm on 4x4 chassis)
ST = 'Self-propelled Tank destroyer'* (eg: 8x8 ST1, tracked ST2)
-- * Tank Destroying Vehicle (TDV)
VA = Export light strike vehicle (eg: CS/VA1)
VL = Export internal security vehicle [1]
VN = Export IFVs (eg: VN-11/VN-12 and VN-50 Heavy IFV proposal)
VP = Export ATV and MRAP style utility vehicles (eg: Yiwu Xibeihu CS/VP4 and Norinco VP11)
VT = Export Tanks (eg: VT4, aka MBT3000)

There are also some odd Chinese designations based on joint projects with foreign firms. An early example (with a prototype was displayed in 1986) was the NFV-1 - an IFV based on the Type 86 with an American FMC turret with 25mm M242. So NFV-1 = Norinco/FMC/Vehicle). Other examples are the WZ551-based NGV-1 (for Norinco/Giat/Vehicle) or proposed NVH-1 and NVH-4. The latter were to be Norinco Type 85s fitted with Vickers turrets (armed with 30 mm Rarden or 25 mm Bushmaster, respectively) but I don't know what the 'H' in NVH stands for ;(

[1] I've only seen one mention of a VL1, described as a short-hulled WZ 551 accommodating 8 personnel.
Source: ATN Worldwide Equipment Guide (WEG), Aug 2015, page 43


I'll list the variants I've found for export designations below (in reply #4)
Last edited:


ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Jul 25, 2007
Reaction score
Thanks for moving this listing. Anyone more knowledgeable want to take the plunge into listing actual 'Type' designations? :eek:


ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Jul 25, 2007
Reaction score
I've added some more PLA role designations (for which I'm lacking translations). There are CSK, CXB, CXJ, GCL, GCZ, PCP, PCZ, PHZ, ZCL, ZCY, and ZSY.

I've also added a few more export prefixes - SH, SM, and ST - which seem to be separate designation series from the Vx sequences.


ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Jul 25, 2007
Reaction score
I've rationalized the first entry. Here, I'll itemize the Chinese armoured vehicle export designation sequences.

The 'Vx' series export designations will follow directly below. Some of these - eg: 'VN', 'VP', 'VT', etc. - seem to be strictly sequential. Others like 'VE' (recce vehicles) and 'VS' (ARVs) appear to be rather random in their number applications (perhaps suggesting purely marketing exercises?).

After the 'Vx' series designations, I'm make a start on the other export prefix designations (although these are much sketchier for now)...

There are plenty of 'missing' designations. Some of these might be explained by 'toggling' between designation styles (in the same way that the PLA flicks back-and-forth between 'Type' and 'Role' designators).

An example of such 'toggling' might be seen in missing 'SHx' designations for self-propelled howitzers. A
number of SP howitzer variants developed specifically for export don't show up under the 'SHx' series. These include derivatives of the PLA's tracked PLZ-05 (155 mm L/52) listed as the PLZ45 and PLZ52 (based on respective barrel lengths in calibres). There is also an export PLZ-04 with an L/54 barrel. It would seem logical that such variants would also received alternative 'SHx' designations.

A few export designations still have me completely confused. For example, the CS/SS6 is described as an "81 mm ATV-Mounted Rapid Mortar Weapon System". (Such wording was duplicated for the CS/SS4 mortar system.) All this would seem to describe the weapon systems along rather than the whole 'package' complete with CS/VP4 ATV (in 2016 the CS/SS6 was displayed next to a near-identical VP4 carrier fitted with a rocket-launcher pod).

Likewise, does CS/SA5 and CS/AA5 refer exclusively to their weapons systems (6-bbl air defence Gatling gun and 40 mm RWS, respectively) or do those designations also include the 'underlying' Type 08/VN1 vehicle as well? Until I know for sure, I'll omit such designations.

Plenty of online sources conflate weapon systems with vehicle designations. For example, it is claimed that the ATGM version of the airborne's ZBD04 is designated 'AFT-10'. But AFT10 is simply the ground-launched version of the HJ10 helicopter missile. I have no idea what the correct PLA designation for the 'ZBD-04 AT' might be.

Some role designations refer to weapons systems but are often also used to describe their carriers. The best example is the 'AR' series of Fire Dragon (Huolóng) artillery rocket launchers. In all likelihood, 'AR' designations are analogous to the 'AH' series - which describes howitzer tubes (not their SP platforms which have 'SH' designations). Alas, the 'AR' systems are not covered by the corresponding 'SR' (SP Rocket) series (despite SR1-to-SR3 being 'missing'). So, reluctantly, I am including 'AR' designations for completeness.

Another minor puzzle arises from apparent duplication in mortar carrier series - which includes both 'CM' and 'SM' sequences. Although my listings are very incomplete, there does seem to be a pattern. The 'CM' series seems to be conventional carriers with infantry-type mortars. On the other hand, the 'SM' series seems to exclusively cover carriers of so-called howitzer/mortars or 'universal guns'. Only filling in designation 'gaps' will tell us if that pattern holds.

As always, any and all additions and/or corrections are most welcome.


VA Series - Export Light Vehicle Designations

VA1 - Humvee-like CS/VA1 light strike vehicle, 4 crew
- VA1: Poly Technologies,* open roof weapons pintle
-- * Marketing seems to be done through Norinco

VE Series - Export Reconnaissance Vehicle Designations

VE32 : 2018 Norinco recce vehicle based on 8x8 VN1 IFV hull
- VE32 : (??) hypothetical designation
- VE32A: Turreted 'multipurpose reconnaissance vehicle'
- VE32A: 30 mm gun, EO sensor mast centrally on turret

VE36 : 2018 Norinco VN1-based command and recce vehicle
- VE36 : Turretless vehicle based on 8x8 VN1/ZBL08 IFV
- VE36 : Raised rear hull, telescoping EO/radar mast

VN Series - Export IFV/Recce Vehicle Designations

VN1 : Norinco ZBL08/ZBL09/Type 07P 8x8 amphibious IFV
- VN1 : IFV, ARV, CP, and Ambulance variants*
- VN1B: Amph. hull used for ST1 tank destroyer
- VN1C: Variant with 30 mm RWS and HJ-73 ATGM
- VN1D: 2018, raised roofline, crew firing ports
-- * Tank destroyer variant desig. ST1/ZTK09
-- * Named Xuebào (Snow Leopard) or Irbis

VN2 : Norinco WZ551 (PTL97) 6X6 wheeled IFV
- VN2 : More powerful, 400 hp engine (WZ551 320 hp)
-- VN2 also armed with 30 mm main gun (WZ551 25 mm)
- VN2 : IFV APC, ARV, CP, and Ambulance variants
- VN2C: Mine-resistant variant (w/ add-on armour?)

VN3 : Norinco armoured patrol car (conflicts with below)
- VN3: 4x4 said to resembled the smaller Panhard VBL

VN3 : Norinco CS/VN3 4x4 armoured scout/recce vehicle
- CS/VN3 : Introduced in 2007, Panhard VBL analogue
- CS/VN3-1: 2nd Generation, RWS, Dajiang branding
- CS/VN3C: 3+4, 30 mm 1-man turret, Chongqing Dajiang

VN4 : Norinco* Rhinoceros 4x4 security vehicle
- VN4: Light APC/armoured car, 2 + 8 dismounts
- VN4: 230 hp 6-cylinder, minimal mine protection
-- * Actually Chongqing Tiema Industries subsidiary

VN5 : Norinco WZ506/ZBD03-based airborne tracked IFV
- VN5: Lighter weight, air-droppable tracked IFV
- VN5: 30 mm autocannon, 210 hp diesel engine

VN6 : Norinco 6x6 Infantry Fighting Vehicle
- VN6 : (Chinese powerplant?)
- VN6A: 30 mm, Deutz BF6M1015 diesel

VN7 : (??) hypothetical designation

VN8 : (??, mentioned with VP8, typo?)

VN9 : CS/VN9, WZ551 6x6 Infantry Fighting Vehicle
- VN9: Related to VN2, 30 mm, Cummins L375-20

VN10: Tracked IFV, aka ZBD03 (conflicts w/ below)

VN10: CS/VN10 4×4 MRAP, marketed as Dajiang

VN11: WZ502/ZBD-04 tracked IFV (conflicts w/ below)
- VN11 : 8 x Red Arrow 10 ATGMs
- VN11A: Export development of VN11/base WZ502

VN11: CS/VN11 4x4 internal security vehicle,* 2+8
- * 'counter-terrorism assault vehicle'

VN12: WZ502G (ZBD-04A) tracked IFV for export
-- NB: Some sources conflate VN11 with VN12
-- VN11 given as heavy IFV, 105 or 125 mm gun
-- VN11A given as base IFV aka ZBD-04A (?)

VN13: (??) hypothetical designation

VN14: CS/VP14 4×4 MRAP (V-shaped hull); 2 + 8
- VN14: Cummins ISDe285-30 diesel, auto trans

VN15: CS/VP15 Lynx* 4X4 ATV variant
-- * Shanmao, no details, poss. typo

VN16: ZTL05 amphibious assault vehicle (FSV)
- VN16: Modified export variant of ZTD05
-- Sometimes described as light amph. tank

VN17: Norinco tracked heavy IFV, 30-tons
- VN17: 35mm autocannon + 2 x HJ-12 ATGM
- VN17: Front-engined evolution of VN5

VN18 - Amphibious Infantry Fighting Vehicle
- VN18: Modified export variant of ZBD05

VN19: (??) hypothetical designation

VN20: (??) hypothetical designation

VN21 - 6x6 heavy MRAP, monocoque 'V' hull
- VN21: Kamaz Typhoon-K analogue?
- VN21: Also described as a 4x4 APC

VN50: Export heavy IFV derived from the VT4 MBT
-- NB: Display model listed as VT4 HIFV not 'VN50'

VP Series - Export Wheeled Combat Vehicle Designations

VP1 : CS/VP1 4x4 MRAP
- VP1: China Ordnance Industry Group product
-- Some sources mislist as a tracked APC

VP2 : (??) hypothetical designation
-- Seen as typo for Nigerian CS/VP3 (below)

VP3 : CS/VP3 4×4 MRAP by China South Industries*
- CS/VP3: 2 + 10 dismounts, 15,000 kg combat wt.
- * Co-developed w/ Poly Technologies, Beijing
-- CS/VP3 'Bigfoot' to Nigeria and Kenya

VP4 : CS/VP4 Lynx light skid-steer 8x8 ATV*
- CS/VP4: Made by Yiwu Xibeihu Special Vehicles
- CS/VP4: Usually open but enclosed body offered
- Serving w/ PLA Light Mechanized Infantry Companies
-- Specialist CS/VP4s carry weapons systems, eg:
-- CS/SS6 with an 81 mm Rapid Mortar Weapon System
-- CS/? with pod-mounted 36-round unguided rockets

VP5 : (??) hypothetical designation
-- Some online confusion between VP5 and VP10

VP6 : Norinco YW535 (aka Type 90) tracked APC
- VP6: 450 hp diesel,* 12.7 mm roof-mount mg
-- * Compared with 320 hp Deutz for Type 90

VP7 : Norinco 8x8 wheeled IFV, sim. to VN1*
- VP7: Offered with large weapon systems
-- * Comp. with VN1, revised hull, 18.5 tons

VP8 : 4x4 light armoured 'anti-riot' vehicle
- VP8: Minimal mine-resistance, akin to VN4

VP9 : (??) hypothetical designation

VP10: Norinco 8x8 wheeled APC, ? + 12 dismounts
- VP10: Based on failed LAV submission to PLA*
-- * Other sources say tracked WZ506/ZBD-03 ?
-- CS/AA5 40 mm cannon 'combat module' offered

VP11: Norinco 4x4 MRAP, STANAG 4569 Level 1
- VP11: Base CS/VP11, to United Arab Emirates
- VP11: CS/VP11 option, medevac container
- VP11 LWB: Long-Wheel-Base, to Tajikistan

VP12: (??) hypothetical designation

VP13: (??) same as Poly Techologies Type 13P 6x6?

VP14: CS/VP14 4x4 MRAP 'mine protected carrier'
-- Some sources say 8x8 ATV (conf. w/ CS/VP4?)

VP15 : (??) hypothetical designation

VP16: 6x6 ATV, eg unarmoured CS/VP16 Lynx
- VP16 : CS/VP16, base 6x6 personnel carrier
- VP16B: CS/VP16B weapons carrier

VP17 - VP21: (??) hypothetical designations

VP22 - Norinco 6×6 cab-forward 'protected' truck
- VP22: 16 dismounts, hydraulic-op. rear ramp
- VP22: Scaled-down 8x8 Beiben Kaijia*
-- * Unveiled 2016, no 'VP' desig. known
-- VP22 has been seen on manoeuvres with PLA

VS Series - Export Armoured Recovery/Repair Vehicle Designations

VS21: Norinco ARRV based on MBT-2000/VT1A tank hull
- VS21: aka Type 654 ARRV, poss. design for Pakistan

VS27: Norinco ARRV based on 8x8 VN1/ZBL08 IFV hull

VS31: Norinco ARRV based on VT2 export tank hull
- VS31: Capable of recovering 40 ton armoured vehicles

VT Series - Export Tank Designations

VT1: Export MBT, Norinco MBT2000 / Type 90-II
- VT1 : 125 mm gun, 1,200 hp KMDB 6TD-2 diesel
-- aka Al-Khalid I/'II, for Pakistan
- VT1A: 125 mm, 1,300-1,500 hp Chinese diesel*
-- * Although Morroco VT1As still have the 6TD

VT2: Export MBT, based on PLA ZTZ-96/Type 96
- VT2 : aka Type 85-IIAP/IIM, for Pakistan
- VT2 : Al-Bashir, for Sudan
- VT2A: 2016 uupgrade, shown w/ roof RWS
- VT2B: Type 96G-based development*
-- * Displayed w/ RWS, later w/ pintle-mount

VT3: Export MBT, based on Type 59-120 demonstrator
- Type 59 (T-54), 120 mm gun, new 'squared' turret

VT4: Export MBT, Norinco MBT2000/Type 90-II deriv.
- aka MBT3000, operated by Thailand

VT5: Export Lightweight MBT (33 t); L7-deriv. 105 mm gun
- aka Type 15 or ZTQ-15 (PLA designation), deployed to Ladakh

VT6: Export MBT (unconfirmed); local Thai VT4 development
- Desig. reported by unofficial Indonesian sources in 2016

Other Chinese Export Light Vehicle Designations

AR Series - Export Airborne-Use SP Rocket Launcher Designations

AR1 - Norinco MRLS mounted on 8x8 transporter/erector*
- AR1 : 2009 export derivative of the PLA's PHL03 MLRS
-- 10 x 300 mm rockets (based on Soviet BM-30 Smerch)
- AR1A: Increased pod modularity, 10 x 300 mm battlefield rockets
-- AR1A: aka A-100E, exported to Pakistan
-- * Wanshan WS2400 8x8 transporter, 650 km max. range

AR2 - Norinco MRLS mounted on 8x8 transporter/erector*
- AR2 : AR1A w/ increased engagement ranges out to 130 km
-- * Wanshan WS2400 8x8 transporter, 650 km max. range

AR3 : Norinco G/MLRS mounted on 8x8 transporter/erector*
- AR3 : AR1A/AR2 with larger diameter rockets option
-- AR3: 10 x 300 mm BRE3 Fire Dragon 140A rockets
-- AR3 : 4 x 370 mm BRE6 Fire Dragon 280 rockets
-- AR3 : 2 x 750 mm BRE8 Fire Dragon 480 (280A)
-- Led to PCL191 MLRS aka PHL16 wheeled artillery rocket
-- * Wanshan WS2400 8x8 transporter, 650 km max. range

BK Series - Export Tank Destroyers Designations

Note: The 'BK' series are usually described as Type 92/WZ 551 based. However, these vehicles share a 'universal base' hull divided into three sections - front (driver/commander), central (fighting compartment), and rear (engine). Development of the 'BK' series assault guns was eclipsed by Norinco's VN1/ZTL-11. The only survivor seems to be a longer hulled 6x6 variant used as a mount for the HQ-7B SAM system (although I do not know its designation).

BK1970 : 2001 18.5-t 105 mm* assault gun on 6×6 hull
- BK1970: Centrally-positioned,** faceted turret
-- * Low-pressure 105 mm gun, 40 rds, NATO ammo.
-- ** As opposed to rear-set on PTL02/WMA301 TDs

BK1990 : 2001 20-t 105 mm* assault gun on 8x8 hull
- BK1990: Centrally-positioned, faceted turret
-- * Low-pressure 105 mm gun, 40 rds, NATO ammo.
- BK1990: Extended, 8-wheeled BK1970-style hull**
-- * Some sources give a low-pressure 105 mm gun
-- ** With a gap between fore & aft wheel pairs
- BK1990-120: Smooth-bore 120 mm gun, 22 tonnes

CM Series - Export Mortar Carrier Designations

See also 'SM' series SP Mortars (below)

CM1 : (??) hypothetical designation

CM2 : 120 mm mortar mount on (??) SP hull
- CM2 : (??)
- CM2A: CS/CM2A, no details

CM3 : (??) hypothetical designation

CM4 : 120 mm mortar mount on 6x6 CS/VN9 APC hull

CT Series - Export Command & Reconnaissance Vehicle Designations

CT1: (??) hypothetical designation

CT2: Modularized Networked Brigade/Infantry Field C&R Vehicle
- CT2: Norinco 6x6 truck-based IBIS 200 radar system

CT3: VN1 8×8 LAV-based command and recce vehicle
- CT3: Ku band radar mounted on telescoping mast

SH Series - Export SP Howitzer Designations

SH1 : 2006 155 mm SP howitzer on 6x6 Wanshan WS5252*
- SH1 : 155 mm L/52 AH2 tube, NATO ammo. compatable
-- * Armour protected, 330 hp diesel set forward
- SH1A: 2018 improved version, lengthened chassis

SH1: CS/SH1 is listed as export vers. PCL09 6x6 SP
- CS/SH1: 122 mm L/38 PL96 (copy of Soviet D-30)
-- NB: CS/SH1 fires aft while SH1 fires forward
- CS/SH1: Mounted on opne-back 6×6 Shaanxi truck

SH2 : 2006 122 mm SP howitzer on 6x6 Hummer clone*
- SH2: 122 mm L/38 PL96 piece (Soviet D-30 copy)
-- * Presumably derived from Xiaolong's XL2060 **
-- ** Xiaolong provides XLW-TB weapon platform

SH3 : 2007 122 mm SP howitzer on tracked hull
- SH3 : Impr. Type 89 turret on ZBD97 IFV hull
- SH3 : 122 mm L/32 PL96 (copy of Soviet D-30)
-- Improved SH3 became PLA's PLZ07 and PLZ07B

SH4 : 122 mm SP gun on protected-cab 4x4 chassis
- SH4: Entire piece lowers to ground for firing

SH5 : 2009 105 mm SP howitzer on 6x6 Hummer clone*
- SH5: 105 mm L/37 piece (can use US M1 ammo)
-- * Same SH2 (qv), Xiaolong XL2060 derivative?
-- * NB: Same SP system seen on Dongfeng 4x4

SH6 : (??) hypothetical designation
- SH6: Poss. SH1 redesig. for Pakistan trials*
-- * Mentioned in 1 garbled source, prob. typo

SH7-SH8 : (??) hypothetical designations

SH9 : 120 howitzer-mortar on 4x4 Dongfeng EQ2050*
-- * Roofless and open rear gun planform mods.
- SH9: aka artillery system 10411161

SH10: (??) hypothetical designation

SH11: 2018 155 mm SP howitzer on 8x8 VN1 APC hull
- SH11: 155 mm L/39 AH4 tube (a clone of US M777)
- SH11: Turreted piece, said to have only 3 crew

SH12-SH14: (??) hypothetical designations

SH15 : 2017 155 mm SP howitzer on 6x6 Shaanxi truck*
- SH15: 155 mm/L52 AH2 tube, (?) PLA desig. PLC181
-- * Forward-set cab has degree of armour protection

SM Series - Export SP Mortar Designations

See also 'CM' series Mortar Carrier (above)

SM1 - Norinco CS/SM1 81mm* SP howitzer-mortar
- CS/SM1: Open mount on 4x4 Dongfeng EQ2050
-- * Smooth-bore, long-barreled 81.4 mm W99
-- Rounds recoil-loaded from a cassette clip

SM2 - Norinco CS/SM2 120mm SP howitzer-mortar
- CS/SM2: Turreted howitzer-mortar on ST1 hull

SM3 - (??) hypothetical designation

SM4 - 2014 120 mm SP mortar mounted in 6x6 WZ551 hull
- SM4: Muzzle-loading mortar, boxy raised rear hull
-- Mortar fires through open, hinged roof panels
-- Sometimes listed as WZ551 variant CS/SM4
- SM4: In service with the Algerian Army, x 6

SM5 - (??) hypothetical designation

SM6 - 2016 120 mm SP howitzer/mortar on 6x6 WZ551 hull
- SM6: Turreted howitzer/mortar, std. WZ551 rear hull
- SM6: 360° traversing turret, semi-automatic loading
-- Export vers. of PLA's 2001 PLL05 (industrial WMA029)
-- Guided GP9/GP9A rounds avail. (at least for PLL05)

SM7-SM9 - (??) hypothetical designation
-- NB: 'SM9' seems to be filled by SH9 howitzer/mortar

SM10 - CS/SM10 w/ 120 mm smooth-bore howitzer/mortar
- CS/SM10: A 'universal gun' mounted on CSVP4 ATV*
-- * Carrier very similar to CS/SS6 81 mm SP mortar

SR Series - Export SP Rocket Launcher Designations

SR1-SR3 - (??) hypothetical designations *

SR4 - Norinco MLRS mounted on 6x6 Shaanxi SX2190KA truck
- SR4: 122 mm rockets, 2 x pods of 20 rocket tubes each
- SR4: Rocket a development of Type 81 (Soviet BM-21 clone)

SR5 - Norinco GMLRS mounted on 6x6 Taian TA5310 truck
- SR5: 122 mm and 220 mm guided or unguided rockets*
-- * 1 x pod w/ 6 x 220 mm + 1 x pod w/ 20 x 122 mm

* Pure speculation but SR1-SR3 designations could conceivable overlap with AR1-AR3 designations

ST Series - Export SP Anti-Tank Gun Designations

ST1 - 2014 Norinco 8x8 LAV tank-destroyer, 105 mm gun
- ST1: Based on Norinco VN1 (Type 07P) amphibious IFV
- ST1: aka WMA 301, Type 08, ZTK09, ZTK11 (Jap. sources)
-- Can be regarded as a wheeled fire-support vehicle
-- Sometimes referred to as the 'ST105'

ST2 - 2014 Norinco tracked tank-destroyer, 105 mm gun
- ST2: Based on Norinco YW534/Type 89 tracked IFV*
- ST2: Uses the same turret as wheeled ST1 (above)
-- * On lengthed, 6 road-wheeled hull of ZJX93 ARV
-- Can be regarded as a tracked FSV or a light tank
Last edited:


ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Jul 25, 2007
Reaction score

I posed the question of the 'VN50' heavy infantry fighting vehicle concept in the Army Secret Projects section.

skylancer-3441 responded with some details and a host of higher-rez photos from IDEX 2019. In a few of those images, the display plaque can be clearly read as "VT4 Heavy Infantry Fighting Vehicle".

So, no mention whatever of a 'VN50' designation in writing. That's not proof that a 'VN50' designation doesn't exist but it makes it awfully dodgy - being both out-of-sequence for 'VN' designations and going unmentioned (in display plaques or write-ups).


ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Jul 25, 2007
Reaction score
A few updates and corrections done. Anyone got more?


ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Jul 25, 2007
Reaction score
Thanks. Those are oddballs.

Is First Tractor Company Limited a joint-stock reinvention of Plant 704? (First Tractor now lists only agricultural "Prodoucts" and no early corporate history is offered.)

The prototype tank built at Plant 704 never seems to have received a designation of any kind - not even a 'WZ' factory designation. But it was somehow connected (possibly only by timeframe?) with the 122 series.

I notice that many sources mis-list the 1224 as 'WZ-1224' and give its powerplant as a 950 hp Maybach (sic) MB8V331TC41. Obviously that engine was part of the MTU 8V331 family of air-cooled diesels but why the pre-1969 branding, I wonder?


ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Jul 25, 2007
Reaction score
Any sources for those images Skyfire? (I note on one of them.)

Just to 'unpack' the last three posts, NFV, NGV, and NVH were all pre-Tiananmen Square Massacre corporate designations aimed at the export market. As noted in post #1, NFV was for Norinco/FMC/Vehicle, while NGV was for Norinco/Giat/Vehicle.

I'm less clear on the NVH acronym. NV is obviously for Norinco/Vickers but the 'H'? I'm tempted to say 'H' for Hughes ... except the original main gun wasn't a Bushmaster, it was an L21 Rarden :confused:

NFV-1 : US-Chinese devel. of Norinco YW531H/Type 85 (reverse-engineered BMP-1)
- NFV-1 : IFV, 1-man FMC Electric Drive Turret, 25 mm M242 Bushmaster main gun
- Type 86-I/WZ505: PLA deriv., WA314T turret 'M2A2' Bushmaster main gun*
-- * Note that US M242 designation often appears as 'M2A2' in Chinese sources

NGV-1: Prototype leading to WZ-551, 25 mm GIAT M811 main gun

NVH-1/4: Anglo-Chinese devel. of Norinco YW531H/Type 85 (reverse-engineered BMP-1)
- NVH-1 : IFV, Vickers 2-man turret, 30 mm L21 Rarden main gun
- NVH-4 : Lengthened-hull IFV, Hughes 25 mm M242 Bushmaster
Last edited:


ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Jul 25, 2007
Reaction score
I'm now wondering if the designation 'gap' between NVH-1 and NVH-4 could be explained by further armament alternatives. On offer as optional main armaments were the 25 mm Oerlikon KBB and the 30 mm Mauser MK 30F. Might those options represent the 'NVH-2' and 'NVH-3'.

I'm also still puzzling over the turrets for Skyfire's three prototypes.

As noted, the NFV-1 had the FMC Electric Drive Turret - 25 mm M242 + 7.62x51 coax. Was this one-man turret - like the 2-man FMS turret on the M113A2 FSV trial vehicle - an aluminum armour structure with steel applique panels?

We know that the NGV-1 had the French GIAT Dragar turret armed with M811 25 mm autocannon. But what of the coax - 7.62 x 51 NATO aimed at export?

More questions come with the Vickers Defence Systems turret for the NVH-1. Was that turret related to that of the Vickers MCV proposal (on a Bradley hull) aimed at the MCV-80 programme?

Similar threads