The modern Chinese military is influenced by its partnership with the Soviet Union during the Cold War years. Much of its equipment initially came as purchased from the Empire until China developed enough industry to produce war-making goods locally. From this stemmed a local design and development movement which began to see its fruit from the 1950s and 1960s onward.
Back in the 1950s, the Chinese Army adopted the Soviet M1939 Anti-Aircraft (AA) gun, a single-barreled, 37mm air defense system appearing just prior to World War 2 (1939-1945). The weapon proved extremely popular for its battlefield effectiveness, procurement cost and operational simplicity that it was adopted by a slew of Soviet allies and supported states. In the Chinese inventory, the M1939 was taken on as the "Type 55" which represented a direct copy of the original Soviet design. A twin-barreled form then followed as the "Type 63" which was featured atop the T-34 Medium Tank chassis through an all-new turret design and, from this, came the twin-barreled "Type 65". The later "Type 76" represented a surface warship model used by the Chinese Navy.
An upgraded variant, the "Type 74", appeared around the mid-1970s which featured an increased rate-of-fire and the "Type 74SD" introduced integration with the Type 800 laser course director system. Its upgraded counterpart became the "Type 79-III" which brought along an electro-optical director and featured fully-powered elevation and traverse functions.
The P793 became another in the M1939 line and integrated an electro-optical predicting sight for improved accuracy as well as lengthened barrel assemblies for a higher muzzle velocity (about 1,000 meters per second). Rate-of-fire was also increased. This product required a typical crew of five or six men and manufacture was handled by NORINCO (China NORth INdustries COrporation). The revised system included the twin, side-by-side 37mm barrel arrangement set atop a recoil mechanism and mounting hardware, the latter containing the elevation and traverse controls. Two seats were fitted to either side of the mounting hardware and the guns were fed by side-mounted cassettes. The carriage included four roadwheels for towing by a mover vehicle and legs located at four points were manually raised or lowered depending on whether the weapon was being transported or made ready-to-fire (respectively). The gun's base allowed for a full 360-degree traversal.
Despite its Cold War origins, the P793 can still be found in limited service in certain parts of the world. Its rather meager caliber (by modern standards) and limited inherent features have led to it being quickly superseded by more capable anti-aircraft gun types as well as missile systems.
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