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.
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)
Traverse bodies of open water under own power with / without preparation.
Support allied ground forces through weapons, inherent capabilities, and / or onboard systems.
Design, of typically lightweight nature, providing onroad/offroad capabilities for the scouting or general security roles.
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 LIGHT
(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)
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.
(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.
Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns / operations.
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