Chinese airborne troopers benefit from the newest addition to the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) inventory, the NORINCO "CS/VN3C" - a 4x4 wheeled light-armored vehicle. Airborne elements are inherently restricted from going into battle with useful air, armor, and artillery support, essentially committing to the fight with whatever weapons can be carried. The value of such troops was driven home in the fighting of World War 2 (1939-1945) and continues to be seen today with the leading world military powers committed to training and advancing their cause.
For China, the CS/VN3C adds tactical flexibility for these fighting men, an all-wheel drive system that can be air-dropped into battle and fielded alongside the ZBD-03 tracked airborne Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV). As a light-class solution, the armored car is compact and light enough to be air-transportable in number while its chassis/hull combination versatile enough to fulfill a variety of battlefield roles.
At its core, the car is powered by a turbocharged diesel engine at its bow with side-by-side seating for its front operating crew. Hinged, automobile-style doors allow access to the cabin and four such entry points are included in the design complete with vision slots and firing ports. The rear section of the car is modular to be of multi-mission usefulness. Typically additional vision slots and gun ports are featured. The hull roof has access hatches, smoke grenade launchers, and any heavy armament. A typical weapons fit is a single 12.7mm air-cooled Heavy Machine Gun (HMG) though one variant sports a complete powered turret showcasing a 30mm automatic cannon useful against light-armored vehicles (and includes a co-axial 7.62mm anti-infantry machine gun).
Four run-flat road wheels are positioned at the extreme corners of the chassis for proper balance and help the vehicle to have excellent ground clearance for cross-country traveling. Headlamps at the front of the vehicle are well-protected and embedded into the front face. Windows are bullet resistant against certain types of small arms fire while over protection for the occupants is limited due to the lightweight qualities required of the vehicle - speed and function are paramount over survivability for such a design. Night vision is possible through supplied equipment, allowing the vehicle to work in all light levels with efficiency.
With some preparation prior to entry, the vehicle can traverse water sources and is propelled by waterjets at the rear of the hull.
The car was introduced into Chinese military service in May of 2020 and announced in a release on May 12th, 2020. The first vehicles were photographed with a Chinese brigade at Hubei Province. The move is in step with recent Chinese determination to modernize its airborne assault capabilities, streamlining the fighting force through new equipment and high mobility to overwhelm potential enemies. The arrival of the CS/VN3C car also marks the first time the branch will take on a wholly wheeled solution - when tracked vehicles have been the norm.
Designed by the NORINCO First Academy, the cars are serially manufactured by state-owned defense powerhouse NORINCO - China NORth INdustires COrporation - which makes many of the Chinese Army and Air Force's ground solutions including Main Battle Tanks and artillery pieces.
With the ZBD-03 tracked series, the wheeled CS/VN3C will provide the military with a potent one-two punch, balancing speed and firepower to a degree. Airborne elements can be effectively used to overtake key positions on enemy territory and hold these points until the arrival of the main fighting force. As such, firepower and protection is for the sustained role when it comes to the airborne - though the ZBD-03 adds an Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) function that the CS/VN3C lacks at present.