MANUFACTURER(S): China NORth INdustries COrporation (NORINCO) - China
OPERATORS: Bangladesh; Cambodia; Croatia; China; Iraq; Malta; Sri Lanka; Syria; Thailand
ACTION: Gas-Operated; Open-Bolt; Full-Automatic Fire; Belt-fed
SIGHTS: Open Iron; Optional Optics
Detailing the development and operational history of the NORINCO Type 80 General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG).
Entry last updated on 10/19/2017.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
Close military ties with the Soviet Union prior to the Sino-Soviet split (1960-1989) meant that the Chinese Army fielded many weapons of Soviet origin / influence. This allowed a burgeoning local industry to take hold in China to which many Soviet arms were produced. This was the case with the NORINCO Type 80 General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) which was nothing more than a copy of the Soviet-originated PK series - or rather more specifically the PKM model line of 1969.
The Type 80 was seen as a viable replacement for the locally-developed Type 67 machine gun series. however, the weapon was not adopted by China on a grand scale as the Type 67 was still seen as a viable battlefield solution. This led to the Type 80 seeing only limited adoption within Chinese circles.
Design work was in the early 1980s which led to the system being formally adopted in 1983, maintaining a relatively small footprint globally today (2016) - with Chinese special forces elements as well as the Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan armies taking the type into service. Croatian police were another operator of the weapon but retired the line sometime in the 1990s.
As with most Soviet-inspired designs, the Type 80 was chambered to fire the 7.62x54mmR rifle cartridge which offered good penetration value at range - certainly a proven man-stopper. As a true GPMG, the weapon fed from a link belt ammunition supply of 100, 200 or 250-round count. The action was gas-operated with an open bolt design firing on full automatic. Rate-of-fire was listed at 700 to 800 rounds-per-minute with a muzzle velocity of 2,775 feet-per-second and range out to 1,640 yards. Sighting was through open iron fittings though optics were eventually supported for improved ranged accuracy as well as night time operations.
As the Type 80 was inspired from the Soviet PK machine gun series, it carried over many "Kalashnikov-style" features including use of wooden furniture and a gas cylinder set over the barrel assembly.
Overall weight of the weapon reached 27.8 lb and overall length was 46.9 inches with a barrel measuring 25.9 inches long. The Type 80 was further designed to be fired with support from a folding bipod assembly or a heavier-duty tripod assembly.
The Type 86 represented a modernized / modified version of the same Type 80 weapon system. This model went on to see adoption by the Chinese Army in some number. An export version was developed as the CF-06 and was unique in that it chambered the Western-favored 7.62x51mm NATO rifle cartridge instead. The product was introduced in 2008 and was redesignated to CS/LM4.
Bangladesh has produced a local version of the Type 80 as the BD-14.