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NORINCO Type 90 / Type 92 (WZ551)

Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) / Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) [ 1984 ]

The Chinese WZ551 series of 6x6 armored vehicles has seen considerable interest from overseas parties the world over.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 02/11/2022 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The WZ551 is a designation for a Chinese-originated 6x6 wheeled armored vehicle. The vehicle was developed by NORINCO (China NORth INdustries COrporation) Vehicle Research Institute and produced at theNORINCO Factory 256 plant. Introduced in 1984, the WZ551 has since been produced in numbers of 900-strong across various marks and configurations. Export users have been traditional Chinese military customers and those looking for a budget-conscious solution while staying away from typically more expensive Western and Russian offerings.

The WZ551 serves in both an Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) and Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) role. It also has a secondary role as a general armored car.

The WZ551 follows traditional wheeled armored vehicle design qualities including use of six large road wheels (three to a hull side), sloped armor facings, a shallow-profile 360-degree traversable turret and use of a diesel engine. In the latter, the vehicle is powered by an 8-cylinder, air-cooled turbocharged diesel-fueled engine of 320 horsepower output allowing the WZ551 to reach speeds of 85 kmh and ranges out to 800 kilometers. The hull is suspended atop an independent wheel suspension system. Armor protection is of welded steel. The vehicle retains an inherent amphibious capability, able to traverse water sources by way of waterjets fitted to the rear of the hull.

While all WZ551 vehicles feature a standard operating crew of three, the APC version - lacking the turret - sports seating for eleven combat-ready troops while the IFV model - with turret - seats nine in relative comfort. The APC model is outfitted with a sole 12.7mm heavy machine gun, primarily for self-defense, while the IFV variant showcases a combination 1 x 25mm autocannon with a 7.62mm coaxial machine turret. Basic overall weight for the series is in the vicinity of 13.8 tons (short) while dimensions include a running length of 6.6 meters, a width of 2.8 meters and a height of 2.8 meters.

The WZ551 family is further broadened in its tactical battlefield value by other variants that utilize the same chassis - namely an Anti-Tank Guided Missle (ATGM) carrier (with HJ-9 missile launcher), a 105mm Assault Gun system and a 122mm Self-Propelled Howitzer (SPH) variant.

The WZ551 family initially appeared in operational form under the designation of "Type 90" during 1984. However, in practice its cross-country performance proved lacking which forced a revision of the design to its new WZ551A form. The WZ551A became the "Type 92" and was adopted in 1995 - differentiated by the original by the spacing seen between the rear set of axles. Still another improved form ultimately emerged and this as the WMZ-551B, improving upon the A-model's mechanical reliability, onboard firepower and general agility.

Beyond the Chinese, the WZ551 series has been adopted by the forces of Algeria, Argentina, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chad, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Nepal, Pakistan, Oman, Sri Lanka and Sudan in varying numbers.©MilitaryFactory.com
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Service Year

China national flag graphic

In Active Service.

China NORth INdustries COmpany (NORINCO) - China
(View other Vehicle-Related Manufacturers)
National flag of Algeria National flag of Argentina National flag of Bangladesh National flag of Chad National flag of China National flag of Indonesia National flag of Iran National flag of Oman National flag of Pakistan National flag of Sri Lanka National flag of Sudan Algeria; Argentina; Bangladesh; Bosnia and Herzegonvina; Chad; China; Indonesia; Iran; Kenya; Nepal; Pakistan; Oman; Sri Lanka; Sudan
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Amphibious Assault
Traverse bodies of open water under own power with / without preparation.
Infantry Support
Support allied ground forces through weapons, inherent capabilities, and / or onboard systems.
Armored Car
Design, of typically lightweight nature, providing onroad/offroad capabilities for the scouting or general security roles.

Wheeled Arrangement
Wheeled arrangement gives this system an inherent road-running capability, enhancing mobility.
Primary Turret
A modern tank quality, this vehicle sports its main armament in a single turret.
Remote Weapon Station (RWS)
Vehicle supports a remote-operated weapons station, reducing crew exposure to outside dangers.
Traversable Main Armament
Armament is situated in a traversing component, allowing for all-around engagement of enemy threats.
Recoil Enhancement
Main weapon has an integral recoil mechanism, allowing the system to remain trained-on-target after firing.
Firing On-the-Move
A modern quality, onboard systems provide accuracy to primary armament allowing for firing on-the-move.
System can enter and traverse open water sources - either rivers, lakes, and streams; Amphibious Assault operation support.
Cross-Country Capability
Design includes such features as a track-link system or high ground clearance to better traverse offroad.
Angled Armor
Angled armor at key facings adds inherent ballistics protection to the vehicle.
Shallow Glacis
The shallow design of the glacis plate provides the vehicle with inherent ballistics protection as well as contributes to a lower overall profile - making it more difficult to disable.
NBC Protection
Crew is provided (either as standard or optional) protection against Nuclear-Biological-Chemical agents for enhanced survivability in contaminated zones.
Smoke Screening
Vehicle has capability to self-generate a smoke screen, either through launched grenades or built-in engine funtion (raw fuel injection).
Crew has access to night-vision equipment, allowing for low-light or night time operations.
Anti-Aircraft / Air-Defense Capable
System is given an anti-aircraft defense component to protect itself from low-flying aerial threats at range.
Anti-Tank Capable
Onboard solution provides ability to neutralize armored or fortified targets at range through missile or penetrating ballistic weapons.
Vehicle features an in-built anti-infantry capability for local defense of the vehicle or general troop suppression.
Troop Carrier
Vehicle (or its variants) has an inherent troop-carrying capability, providing protected cover for embarked allies in contested areas.
Gun Ports
Vehicle allows occupants to engage outside targets from within the confines (and safety) of the vehicle.
Remote Weapons Station
Vehicle supports an unmanned weapons station controlled remotely from within the safety of the vehicle.
Vehicle's proven running gear and overall makeup lends itself well to fulfill other battlefield roles by way of specialized designs.

21.8 ft
6.65 m
9.2 ft
2.8 m
9.5 ft
2.89 m
33,731 lb
15,300 kg
16.9 tons
(Showcased structural values pertain to the NORINCO Type 92 (WZ551A) production variant. Length typically includes main gun in forward position if applicable to the design)
Powerplant: 1 x Deutz V-8 air-cooled, turbocharged diesel-fueled engine developing 256 to 320 horsepower driving conventional four-wheeled arrangement.
52.8 mph
(85.0 kph)
372.8 mi
(600.0 km)
(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the NORINCO Type 92 (WZ551A) production variant. Compare this entry against any other in our database)
1 x 25mm Autocannon in turret.
1 x 7.62mm co-axial machine gun in turret.
1 x 12.7mm Anti-Aircraft (AA) Heavy Machine Gun (HMG) on turret roof (optional).

1 x 105mm main gun OR 1 x 120mm main gun OR 1 x 122mm main gun.

Supported Types

Graphical image of a tank cannon armament
Graphical image of a tank automatic cannon
Graphical image of a tank medium machine gun
Graphical image of a tank heavy machine gun

(Not all weapon types may be represented in the showcase above)
1,000 x 7.62mm ammunition (estimated).
500 x 7.62mm ammunition (estimated, if equipped).

WZ551 (Type 90) - Base Series Model Designation; model of 1984.
WZ551A (Type 92) - Improved WZ551; model of 1995
WMZ551B (Type 92/ZSL-92) - Improved WZ551A
ZSL-90 - Proposed export model
Type 92/105 - 105mm Assault Gun variant
Type 92/120 - 120mm Self-Propelled Mortar variant.
Type 92/122 - 122mm Self-Propelled Howitzer variant.

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Images Gallery

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Image of the NORINCO Type 90 / Type 92 (WZ551)
Image from the Chinese Ministry of Defense released to the public.
2 / 4
Image of the NORINCO Type 90 / Type 92 (WZ551)
Image from the Chinese Ministry of Defense released to the public.
3 / 4
Image of the NORINCO Type 90 / Type 92 (WZ551)
Image from the Chinese Ministry of Defense released to the public.
4 / 4
Image of the NORINCO Type 90 / Type 92 (WZ551)
Image from the Chinese Ministry of Defense released to the public.


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