When the North Korean Army needed an armored personnel carrier, they turned to what they do best - license production of an existing (and proven) system from one of their few global allies, the Chinese. The VTT-323 (M1973 "Sinhung") was born as a locally-produced copy of the NORINCO YW 531C series armored personnel carrier. As such, the VTT-323 shares much in common with the original Chinese offering and grows the mobility and reach of North Korean land forces even further. The VTT-323 has since become the standard North Korean Army Armored Personnel Carrier and would no doubt be fielded in force during an invasion scenario involving South Korea. It is assumed that the VTT-323 began operational service with the North Korean People's Army (NKPA) sometime in 1973.
The VTT-323 is operated by a standard crew of four personnel made up of the driver, commander, gunner and loader. In addition to the operating crew, the VTT-323 can carry up to 10 combat-ready troops to hotspots in relative safety and comfort. The base armament arrangement is centralized in a powered turret featuring 360-degree traverse and some capable elevation to engage higher-placed targets such as low-flying aircraft. The primary weapon system is a 14.5mm anti-aircraft heavy machine gun coupled with a 7.62mm general purpose anti-infantry machine gun mount - both are situated in the turret controlled by the gunner. Additionally, the armament can consist of a pairing of two 14.5mm heavy machine gun systems for optimal effect. Some VTT-323 systems are known to mount the Soviet AT-3 "Sagger" anti-tank missile launcher (known to the North Koreans as the "Susong-Po") to help defend itself from enemy armor.
Like the original Chinese APC, the VTT-323 is fully amphibious though requiring some initial preparation by the crew before undergoing the process. A trim vane is raised and bilge pumps are switch on. Propulsion is then handled simply by the rotational movement of the vehicle's own tracks in the water.
The VTT-323 chassis is adaptable enough to mount a variety of fire support weapons that include a 82mm mortar and 107mm Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) - the latter mounted to the rear of the turret assembly itself. Additionally, some base VTT-323 are known to mount Soviet-style short-ranged, low-altitude surface-to-air missile systems for immediate airspace self-defense. If the Chinese YW 531C is any indication of adaptability, the VTT-323 chassis can be further evolved into dedicated battlefield support systems such as battlefield ambulance, command post vehicle and self-propelled guns. Being it that the VTT-323 now resides as the primary APC of the NKPA, this is not out of the realm of possibility. North Korea's PT-85 amphibious light tank features a lengthened chassis based on the VTT-323 armored personnel carrier.
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ANTI-AIRCRAFT / AIRSPACE DENIAL
Base model or variant can be used to search, track, and neutralize airborne elements at range.
ANTI-TANK / ANTI-ARMOR
Base model or variant can be used to track, engage, and defeat armored enemy elements at range.
Support allied ground forces through weapons, inherent capabilities, and / or onboard systems.
Special purpose design developed to accomplish an equally-special battlefield role or roles.
18.0 ft (5.476 meters) Length
9.8 ft (2.978 meters) Width
8.5 ft (2.58 meters) Height
30,620 lb (13,889 kg) Weight
15.3 tons (Light-class) Tonnage
1 x 8-cylinder, air-cooled turbocharged diesel engine developing 320 horsepower at 2,500rpm. Drive System
40 mph (65 kph) Road Speed
311 miles (500 km) Road Range
STANDARD (depending on turret fit):
1 x 14.5mm anti-aircraft heavy machine gun
1 x 7.62mm general purpose coaxial machine gun OR 2 x 14.5mm anti-aircraft heavy machine guns.
1 x 107mm MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System) on rear chassis.
1 x 82mm company mortar
1 x AT-3 "Sagger" anti-tank missile launcher
1 x SA-7 "Grail" OR SA-16 "Grouse" anti-aircraft missile launcher
VTT-323 (M1973 "Sinhung") - Base Series Designation; possible dedicated battlefield variations may exist based on the VTT-323 hull.
M-2010 - Modernized VTT-323 with lengthened hull.
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A rare view of the VTT-323 armored personnel carrier on parade; note rocket launching rack at turret rear and dual machine gun armament; color
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