Using a common tracked chassis, the Type 89 (PZH89) was developed along the lines of a Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) for service in the People's Liberation Army (PLA) of China. Adoption was in 1999 and succeeded the Type 70 vehicles then in service. The Type 89 continues in a frontline role within the inventory of the PLA as of this writing (2015).
The tracked chassis of the Type 89 includes six double-tired road wheels to a hull side with the drive sprocket at front, the track idler at rear, and three track return rollers managing the upper track spans. The hull seats the driver at front-left with the powerpack to his right while three to four additional crew are seated at positions within the middle-rear of the low-profile hull superstructure. An access door at the rear hull face provides entry/exit for some of the crewmembers. Drive power is from a single 12150L diesel-fueled engine outputting 520 horsepower and providing road speeds up to 55 kmh and ranges out to 450 kilometers. Hull suspension is a torsion bar arrangement which supplies the needed cross-country mobility.
Key to the success of such vehicles as the Type 89 is its rocket projecting hardware. A 40 x 122mm launch tube pack is seated over the rear area of the hull roof. Each 2.87 meter-long rocket typically holds a High-Explosive (HE) warhead for a devastating effect upon target areas out to 20 kilometers range ("extended range" rockets serve to increase engagement beyond 25 kilometers). Rockets have also been developed to support a variety of payload types to further broaden the tactical value of the Type 89.
Internally, the Type 89 employs basic creature comforts and battlefield management systems. The Fire Control System (FCS) is fully digital and an NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) suite supplies survivability for several key operating environments that would otherwise prove fatal to the crew. The vehicle also carries forty reload rockets in a special front-mounted pack ready to serve the expended launch tubes while further rocket reloads must come from an accompanying resupply vehicle. The resupply pack has an automated process which makes the launch tubes ready for firing in under three minutes.
Beyond its launch tube mounting assembly, the Type 89 is also armed with a single 12.7mm Heavy Machine Gun (HMG) for local defense against both low-flying aerial targets as well as light armored ground vehicles and infantry. As with other vehicles of this type, the Type 89 is protected only against small arms fire and shell splinters through its innate armor scheme. As such, it serves primarily away from fluid frontlines in the indirect fire role.
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