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NORINCO Type 63 (WZ211)

China (1963)

Detailing the development and operational history of the NORINCO Type 63 (WZ211) Amphibious Light Tank.

 Entry last updated on 3/3/2018; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ©

  NORINCO Type 63 (WZ211)  
Picture of NORINCO Type 63 (WZ211) Amphibious Light Tank

The Chinese Army Type 63 is a light amphibious tank design based on Soviet origin.

The Chinese-built NORINCO (China NORth INdustries COrporation) Type 63 Light Tank drew its influence from the Soviet PT-76 Light Tank line , providing light-class protection for its crew of four, inherent amphibious capabilities, and a useful 85mm turreted main gun. Operational service began in 1963 and continues in limited form today (2015). Operators of the type were primarily Southeast Asian and African customers - from Burma to Vietnam.

The Type 63's industrial designation was "WZ211".

The crew consisted of a driver, commander, gunner, and loader. Power was served through a Model 12150L-2 12-cylinder liquid-cooled diesel-fueled engine of 402 horsepower. A torsion bar suspension system supplied needed cross-country travel support. Road speeds reached 64 kmh and ranges were out to 370 kilometers. Its amphibious qualities came from an airtight design as well as water bilge pumps and twin waterjets providing fording speeds of up to 12 kmh.
The main gun was cleared to fire a variety of ammunition types including HE (High-Explosive), HEAT (High-Explosive, Ani-Tank), and smoke rounds. The turret provided traversal through 360-degrees with a +18 / -4 elevation/depression capability of the main gun. Self-defense weaponry was 1 x 7.62mm Type 59T coaxial machine gun with 1 x 7.62mm Type 59T roof-mounted machine gun and 1 x 12.7mm heavy machine gun to be used against infantry, low-flying aerial threats, and light-armored vehicles..

Modernized variants of the line have seen their 85mm gun systems upgraded to more potent calibers (such as 105mm) and some have redesigned turrets. Several variants of the base Type 63 model have been spawned including the Type 63-I with new engine, the Tyep 63-II with laser rangefinder and night vision support, and the Type 77 Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) form.

The Type 63 Light Tank was used in combat during the Vietnam War (1955-1975), the Sino-Vietnamese War (1979), and the Sri Lankan Civil War (1983-2009).
NORINCO Type 63 (WZ211) Specifications
National Flag Graphic
Year: 1963
Type: Amphibious Light Tank
Manufacturer(s): China NORth INdustries COmpany (NORINCO) - China
Production: 2,000
Supported Mission Types
Troop Transport
Infantry Support
High Mobility
Tank Destroyer
Special Forces
Towed Artillery
Self-Propelled Artillery
Rocket Artillery
Airspace Denial
Special Purpose
Crew, Dimensions and Operating Weight
Operating Crew: 4
Length: 27.66 ft (8.43 m)
Width: 10.50 ft (3.20 m)
Height: 8.27 ft (2.52 m)
Operating Weight: 20 ft (18,400 kg; 40,565 lb)

Installed Power
1 x Model 12150-L 12-cylinder water-cooled diesel engine developing 400 horsepower at 2,000rpm.

Base Performance
Maximum Road Speed: 40 mph (64 km/h)
Maximum Road Range: 230 mi (370 km)

Armament and Ammunition
1 x 85mm Type 62-85TC main gun
1 x 12.7mm Type 54 anti-aircraft machine gun
1 x 7.62mm Type 59T coaxial machine gun
1 x 7.62mm Type 59T general purpose machine gun (optional).

47 x 85mm projectiles
500 x 12.7mm ammunition
2,000 x 7.62mm ammunition

Optional Systems
Nuclear-Biological-Chemical (NBC) Protection: Yes.
Nightvision (NV) Equipment: Yes - Infrared.
Amphibian: This vehicle has an inherent or optional amphibious capability.
Aircraft Defense: This vehicle can protect itself from low-flying aerial threats.

Nuclear danger symbol
Biological hazard symbol
Chemical danger symbol
Nightvision green screen symbol
Water droplet symbol
Crosshairs graphic symbol

Operators List
Albania; Cambodia; China; Myanmar; North Korea; North Vietnam; Pakistan; Republic of the Congo; Sri Lanka; Sudan; Tanzania; Vietnam

Model Variants
• Type 63 (WZ211) - Base Series Designation; initial production model.
• Type 63-I (WZ211-1) - Fitted with 12150-L2 12-cylinder liquid-cooled diesel-fueled engine of 402 horsepower at 2,000rpm.
• Type 63-II (WZ211-2) - InfraRed (IR) nightvision supported; laser rangefinder installed.
• Type 63A - Standard upgrade program designation for all Type 63 base models. Features 105mm main gun and all new turret design and production.
• Type 63A-I (WZ213-1 / ZTS63A-1) - Bow extension and enlarged side skirts; ERA blocks supported.
• Type 63A-II (WZ213-2 / ZTS63A-2) - Additional armor blocks supported for both hull and turret.
• Type 63 HG (Tyep 63G) - Improved Type 63; revised bow and better amphibious capability; cast turret.
• Type 77 (WZ511) - Amphibious APC model
• Type 77-1 (WZ511-1) - Amphibious artillery / personnel carrier; hydraulic winch installed.
• Type 77-2 (WZ511-2) - APC model sans winch and no ramp.
• Type 76 ARV - Armored Recovery Vehicle
• Type 89 - Self-Propelled Artillery (SPA) conversion.
• Type 7402 Torpedo Launcher