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NORINCO Type 15 (VT-5)

Light Tank

The new Type 15 is being promoted as the VT-5 for the export market by China-based NORINCO - it debuted in October of 2016 at the Zhuhai exhibition.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Edited: 9/28/2019
National Flag Graphic


Year: 2018
Manufacturer(s): China NORth INdustries COrporation (NORINCO) - China
Production: 2
Capabilities: Infantry Support; Tank vs Tank; Reconnaissance (RECCE);
Crew: 4
Length: 31.17 ft (9.5 m)
Width: 10.50 ft (3.2 m)
Height: 8.63 ft (2.63 m)
Weight: 28 tons (25,000 kg); 55,116 lb
Power: 1 x Digitally-controlled, diesel-fueled engine of unknown make and model developing 1,000 horsepower driving conventional track-and-wheel arrangement.
Speed: 43 mph (70 kph)
Range: 311 miles (500 km)
Operators: China
China NORth INdustries COrporation (NORINCO) has debuted a new light tank at Air Show Zhuhai 2016 designated the "Type 15" (or "VT-5" for export). The Type 15 is intended as a low-cost / low-risk venture with the export market in mind, targeting national armies that see more modern Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) as "out-of-reach" budget-wise but require more firepower and strength than that as offered by multi-wheeled light/light-armored tank systems.

The displayed vehicle showcases a low-profile design consistent with contemporary Russian and Chinese offerings. The turret sports well-sloped sides and the hull's glacis plate is nearly horizontal. The sides of the turret incorporate fencing / screens to protect against rocket attacks. The main gun system has no noticeable muzzle brake and a fume extractor is seen near the midway point of the barrel's length. Spare fuel drums are carried over the rear of the hull to help extend the vehicle's base travel range. Over the turret roof is a flexible mounting for 7.62mm or 12.7mm machine gun installations as an anti-infantry / anti-aircraft measure. A coaxial 7.62mm machine gun is assumed. Smoke grenade dischargers are also worked into the side turret panels to provide the vehicle and crew with a self-screening capability. The hull is further protected by Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA) sections.

The main gun is a 105mm caliber weapon which would give it good penetration values against light- and medium-armored vehicles. HE shell support will also allow the tank to support infantry advances into contested environments.

The running gear has the drive sprocket set to the rear and track idler mounted at front. Six double-tired roadwheels are present at each hull side. The upper reaches of the wheels, as well as the upper track link section range, is protected by skirt armor that is further reinforced by ERA panels. Power stems from a 1,000 horsepower diesel-fueled engine seated at the rear of the hull.

It is assumed that an amphibious capability is built into the Type 15/VT-5 - a common quality of Chinese/Soviet/Russian combat tanks.

Beyond these features, the Type 15 will carry panoramic sights, night vision support and an all-modern digital Fire Control System (FCS).

Program Updates

December 2018 - The Type 15 Light Tank was reported to have entered operational service with Chinese land forces.


1 x 105mm main gun in turret.
1 x 7.62mm co-axial machine gun in turret.
1 x 12.7mm Heavy Machine Gun (HMG) / Anti-Aircraft (AA) machine gun on turret pintle mounting (optional) on turret roof.
8 x Smoke Grenade Dischargers.

8 x Smoke Grenades.

Variants / Models

• Type 15 - Base Series Designation.
• VT-5 - Export model designation.
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