22 September 2020
by Samuel Cranny-Evans
The 75th Group Army of the People’s Liberation Army Ground Force (PLAGF) has received additional units of the Type 15 (also known as ZTQ-15) lightweight battle tank.
In an announcement made on 20 September via its WeChat account, the PLA’s Southern Theatre Command, under which the 75th Group Army operates, showed images of several Type 15s being inducted into service with a brigade during a ceremony held at an undisclosed location.
The PLA’s Southern Theatre Command announced on 20 September that several units of the Type 15 lightweight battle tank were handed over to a brigade under the 75th Group Army. (Southern Theatre Command via WeChat)
The command did not reveal the name of the brigade, but unconfirmed reports claim that the tanks were handed over to the 32nd Mountain Combined Arms Brigade. In August 2018 media reports emerged stating that the tank was also being operated by the 75th Group Army’s 123rd Heavy Combined Arms Brigade.
Designed to operate in mountainous areas and over terrain that requires a low track pressure, the Type 15, which according to the Ministry of National Defense (MND) officially entered PLA service in late 2018, is also in service with units in the Tibet Military District.
The Type 15, which is armed with a 105 mm gun, is protected against hand-held anti-tank weapons. The gun is thought to be capable of firing an armour-piercing, fin-stabilised, discarding sabot (APFSDS) round that is probably capable of penetrating 500 mm of armour from typical combat ranges.
According to Chinese media reports, the tank is equipped with a 1,000 hp engine and has a crew of four, although there is speculation that an autoloader for its main gun may dispense with one crew member.
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The 75th Group Army of the People’s Liberation Army Ground Force (PLAGF) has received additional uni...