Exercise demonstrates PLAGF's ability to requisition and modify commercial flatbed trucks to transport MBTs

by Samuel Cranny-Evans & Riccardo Cociani

China’s People’s Liberation Army Ground Force (PLAGF) has conducted an exercise in the municipality of Chongqing demonstrating its ability to requisition and modify civilian flatbed trucks to transport Type 59D main battle tanks (MBTs), as seen in a 17 November report by state-owned China Central Television 7 (CCTV 7) channel.

CCTV 7 reported that in order to carry the MBTs the width of each of truck had to be expanded and additional supports were welded onto each of the vehicles, taking their maximum load from 20 tonnes to 40 tonnes. This enabled each truck to carry one Type 59D, which is thought to weigh around 37 tonnes.

The TV report also showed how a Hisun Motors factory was used to manufacture the company’s lightweight 4×4 all-terrain vehicle (ATV) called ‘Strike 1000’ for military purposes. Although unarmoured, the ATVs would presumably provide a rapidly available form of mobility should a large war break out, requiring the mobilisation of PLA reserves.

A screenshot from CCTV 7 footage released on 17 November showing two modified civilian flatbed trucks on a Chinese road transporting PLAGF Type 59D MBTs. (CCTV)

A screenshot from CCTV 7 footage released on 17 November showing two modified civilian flatbed trucks on a Chinese road transporting PLAGF Type 59D MBTs. (CCTV)

The latest developments come after the Ministry of National Defence (MND) in Beijing published in 2015 a White Paper, entitled ‘Building and Development of China’s Armed Forces’, outlining a general direction for the PLA.

A significant part of the document was dedicated to the aspect of civil-military integration (CMI), with the MND stating at the time: “China will forge further ahead with CMI by constantly bettering the mechanisms, diversifying the forms, expanding the scope, and elevating the level of the integration, so as to endeavour to bring into place an all-element, multidomain and cost-efficient pattern of CMI.”

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China’s People’s Liberation Army Ground Force (PLAGF) has conducted an exercise in the municipality ...

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