In 1999, the Chinese debuted their "Type 95" Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Artillery (SPAAA) system among its pieces showcased during the Beijing Military Parade. The vehicle was designed and developed by Northwest Institute of Mechanical & Electrical Engineering with serial manufacture since headed by defense powerhouse NORINCO (China "NORth INdustries COrporation"). The vehicle began life under the designation of "Type 90" (as the "Type 90-II" and "Type 90-III") before being finalized as the Type 95. It also carries the People's Liberation Army (PLA) formal designation of "PGZ95" and is a current fixture in the modern PLA inventory.
A standard tracked utility chassis was selected for development of this new AAA system and the project evolved along the lines of forming a modernized, indigenous equivalent to the popular and effective Soviet ZSU-23-4 "Shilka" air defense system. As such, qualities of the Chinese design were consistent with the Soviet creation including mobility and range. The end-product became a 22.5 ton vehicle with a length of 6.7 meters, a width of 3.2 meters, and a height of 3.4 meters. A collapsible radar arrangement is installed along the turret roof which increased overall height to 4.8 meters. While rather basic, this radar system broadened the tactical capabilities of the Type 95. Its function is out to 11 kilometers and engagement of targets is either automatic or manual.
Beyond its radar installation, another key quality to the strength of the Type 95 is its 4 x 25mm autocannon armament as part of a fully-traversable turret with elevation. Two guns are featured along each turret side and each manage a rate-of-fire of 3,200 rounds-per-minute for airspace saturation. Optionally, the vehicle can also be outfitted with a pair of QW-2 Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) systems that make the Type 95 a much more lethal air defense system - out to 3,500 meters against low- and medium-altitude targets. The hull itself is a basic tracked utility vehicle with the driver at front-left, the powerpack at front-right, and the fighting crew area and turret at rear. The standard crew complement is three. Running gear includes six double-tired road wheels to a hull side with the drive sprocket at front and the track idler at rear and three track return rollers in play. This generic tracked chassis also forms the basis of several other special mission vehicles including the Type 89 MLRS detailed elsewhere on this site. The suspension system is of the torsion bar variety which provides the needed off-road mobility. Drive power is from a single diesel engine that allows up to 33 miles per hour on roads out to 280 miles out. Local defense is through 8 x smoke grenade dischargers.
In the PLA structure, the Type 95 forms a critical component of air defense operations and up to six Type 95 vehicles are typically associated to a single AAA detachment. The vehicles are often fielded with several other supporting vehicles that provide necessary in-the-field maintenance/repair, ammunition resupply, and general power.
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