Type 63 (armoured personnel carrier)

The Type 63 (industrial designation YW531) is a Chinese armoured personnel carrier that entered service in the late 1960s. It was the first armoured vehicle designed in China without Soviet assistance. The design is simple and is comparable to other APCs of its time such as the M113.

Approximately 8,000 all types and variants were produced by Norinco, making it the third most widely manufactured AFV in the world. It also equips several armies around the world and has seen action in different conflicts including the Vietnam War, the Sino-Vietnamese War, the Iran–Iraq War, the Gulf War, and infamously, in the crackdown of the Tiananmen Square Protests of 1989.

Type 63 (armoured personnel carrier)
Class Vehicle
Type Armoured Fighting Vehicle
Manufacturer Norinco
Origin China
Country Name Origin Year
China 1960
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Albania View
Bangladesh View
Cambodia (Kampuchea) View
Ceylon (Sri Lanka) View
China View
Guinea Bissau View
Iran (Persia) View
Iraq View
North Korea View
Pakistan View
Tanzania View
Vietnam View
Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) View
Democratic Republic of the Congo View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Norinco 8000 View

The hull is made of welded steel, and provides protection against small arms fire. The vehicle carries a maximum of 15 including crew, which depending on the particular configuration may be two or four, the rest of the passengers are infantry who sit in a compartment at the rear of the vehicle. The driver sits in the front left of the hull, and has a single piece hatch, which opens to the left. The driver is provided with two day periscopes which cover the front and right of the vehicle. One of the drivers periscopes can be replaced by a night vision device. The commander sits on the front right of the hull, and has a single piece hatch which opens to the right. The commander hatch has a periscope on the top surface that may be rotated through 360 degrees. Export variants of the vehicle with BF8L engine did away with the commander's position in the front right of the hull. Behind the driver, on the left side of the hull is a third crew position, which is provided with a hatch that opens to the left, and like the commander's position has a 360-degree rotating periscope.

The engine sits to the right rear of the driver. It has a large intake located in the top of the hull, with an exhaust on the right hand side. The engine is either a Type 6150L 260 hp diesel engine or, on export versions, an 8-cylinder air-cooled, turbocharged diesel engine KHD BF8L 413F which develops 320 horsepower at 2,500 rpm. The engine feeds a manual transmission with five forward gears and one reverse gear. Track is driven at the front by a drive sprocket, and passes over four rubber-typed road wheels, then loops over an idler at the rear, before returning to the front again. No return rollers are fitted, the track rests on the top of the road wheels. Suspension is of the torsion bar type. The vehicle has a fuel capacity of 450 litres, which gives it a road range of around 500 kilometers.

A 12.7 millimetre calibre machine gun is located in an open mount at the front of a small hatch in the center of the hull which opens into the troop compartment. The gun can traverse through 360 degrees and can be elevated to an angle of 90 degrees. Two roof hatches and a large rear door provide access to the troop compartment.

The vehicle is amphibious, a folding trim board stowed at the front of the hull needs to be raised, and the vehicle can then propel itself in the water using its tracks.

Type Armoured personnel carrier
Place of origin  People's Republic of China
Service history
Wars Vietnam War, Sino-Vietnamese War, Iran-Iraq War, Gulf War,2003 invasion of Iraq
Production history
Manufacturer 618 Factory / Norinco
Weight 12.6 tonnes
Length 5.476 m
Width 2.978 m
Height 2.58 m
Crew 2 + 10
Armor 14 mm maximum, welded steel
Type 54 12.7 mm machine gun
Engine 8-cylinder air-cooled, turbo-charged diesel KHD BF8L 413F
320 hp
Suspension torsion bar
500 km
Speed 65 km/h, off-road 46 km/h

End notes