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Type 63 YW-531 Armored Personnel Carrier

Although for many years China produced copies of Russian vehicles, during the late 1960s the all-Chinese NORINCO design YW 531C was fielded. The base vehicle is simple light basic 1960's design -- an armored box with a 12.7 mm machine gun mounted on top. The vehicle has a welded steel hull, in which the driver sits at the left front with an additional crewman directly behind him, and the commander sits in the right front with the engine behind. A gunner sits in the centre of the vehicle, with the infantryman sitting on fold down seats in the troop compartment. The armor provides little protection against anything larger than an M60 machine gun, and even some 7.62mm rounds hole the armor. It is fully amphibious by its tracks it is propelled in the water and has a small trim vane on the glacis plate.

The Type YW531 and its derivatives are China's most numerous and most heavily exported armored vehicle. This vehicle is in service with a number of countries in Asia, Africa and the Middle East and saw service in the Vietnam war and with Iraq in the Gulf War. Users include Albania, China, Iraq, North Korea, Sudan, Tanzania, Vietnam and Zaire.

Its original western designation was M1967, subsequently K63 and its official Chinese Army designation is the YW 531. Traditionally Chinese weapons were given a simple 'Type' designator consisting of a two digit year of manufacture or proposal followed by the Chinese word for 'type', and the description of the weapon. More recently designations have been based on a combination of Pinyin letters and numbers that are independent of the year of manufacture. Thus, a YW represents Armored Personnel Carrier and a WZ represents Armed Vehicle.



Alternative Designations Type 63, North Korean M1967
Date of Introduction Late 1960s
Proliferation At least 9 countries
Crew 4
Troop Capacity 10 passengers
Combat Weight (mt) 12.60
Chassis Length Overall (m) 5.48
Height Overall (m) 2.85
Width Overall (m) 2.98
Ground Pressure (kg/cm 2 ) 0.44
Automotive Performance
Engine Type 320-hp Diesel
Cruising Range (km) 500
Speed (km/h)
Max Road 65
Max Off-Road 46
Average Cross-Country INA
Max Swim 6.0
Fording Depths (m) Ampphibious
Radio INA
Armor, Turret Front (mm) 14, front glacis
Applique Armor (mm) N/A
Explosive Reactive Armor (mm) N/A
Mineclearing Equipment N/A
Self-Entrenching Blade N/A
Active Protective System NA
NBC Protection System N/A
Smoke Equipment N/A
Main Armament
Caliber, Type, Name 12.7-mm (12.7 x 108), heavy MG, Type 54
Rate of Fire (rd/min) 80-100 practical/600 air targets in bursts
Loader Type Belt feed
Ready/Stowed Rounds INA
Elevation () -4/+82
Fire on Move Yes
Auxiliary Weapon N/A
ATGM Launcher N/A
Firing Ports 1 on each side, and 1 in the rear
FCS Name N/A
Main Gun Stabilization N/A
Rangefinder N/A
Infrared Searchlight N/A
Sights w/Magnification
Day Open ladder sight, NFI
Field of View () INA
Acquisition Range (m) 2,000
Night N/A
Commander Fire Main Gun No
Caliber, Type, Name
12.7-mm, APDS (Tungsten Core), Type 54
Maximum Aimed Range (m) 2,000
Max Effective Range (m)
Day 1,500 vehicles /1,600 aircraft
Night INA
Tactical AA Range 1,600
Armor Penetration (mm) INA
12.7-mm, API, Type 54
Maximum Aimed Range (m) 2,000
Max Effective Range (m)
Day 1,500 unarmored ground / 800 armored
Night INA
Tactical AA Range 1,000
Armor Penetration (mm) 21 (RHA) at 500 m, 13 at 1,000 m
Other Ammunition Types API-T, Russian Duplex, Russian Duplex-T, Incendiary-T, HE-T Type MDZ, HEI Type ZP

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Maintained by Robert Sherman
Originally created by John Pike
Updated Saturday, June 19, 1999 6:37:33 AM