Bullet proof vests in the Chinese military

Discussion in 'Army' started by Phead128, Jun 14, 2012.

  1. Phead128
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    Phead128 Junior Member

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    Hi, I am a nooby on this issue. Is bullet proof vests commonly equipped in all of China's ~2 million soldiers, or are their standard issued only for the highly elite forces (ie. Special Forces, Counter-terrorist forces, Marine Corp, etc..)

    This is such an interesting topic :D
     
  2. jobjed
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    jobjed Captain

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    There's already a thread on this titled PLA Body Armour. As for the question, in all videos or pictures of the PLA I have seen, they either don't wear vests or wear only fabric vests without the bulky armour plating.
     
  3. solarz
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    solarz Brigadier

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    Body armor is only useful if you're facing insurgents with mostly small arms. Against artillery and heavy machine guns, they're more of a hindrance than a help.
     
  4. Vini_Vidi_Vici
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    Vini_Vidi_Vici Junior Member

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    I don't think any PLA wear it, not even elite forces. We have very rarely seen them with ballistic vests. The only ones I have personally seen are those active special ops fighting drug cartels in the SouthWestern border. The rest are SWAT branches of the paramilitary police, which are not even part of the PLA.

    ---------- Post added at 12:13 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:57 AM ----------

    I agree with the latter part. But the funny thing is that in modern warfare, more people are killed from shock-waves and shrapnel than bullets themselves. Large caliber rifle rounds' invincibility against ballistic vests only exist in CQB, usually within 50m distance. But in the open planes, where bullets usually fly more than 300-500 meters, bullets lose their kinetic energy and can barely even penetrate low level ballistic vests.

    I think the rumor against ballistic vests' incompetence against large rifle rounds existed a long time ago. But back then vests had very bad R&D, they were very different from today's standards. Modern NATO ballistic vests, especially those Type IV vests, can even stop the 10.8 g (166 gr) .30-06 Springfield M2 armor-piercing (AP) bullets at a velocity of 878 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (2880 ft/s ± 30 ft/s) (quoted from Wiki). Those bullets are comparable, even surpassing some standard AK rounds.

    The bottom-line is that NATO troops are constantly fighting a war, they are very experienced in what they do. If they insisted on forcing their front line troops to wear those cumbersome vests, there must be a reason for it. US military is famous for learning while fighting, their equipment constantly get revised and updated, depending on the needs in the battlefield. I do agree with your idea, which big ballistic vests are cumbersome. But soldiers' lives are now more important than ever, that's why the thickness and weight of the NATO vests are ever-increasing. All NATO soldiers nowadays wear so much protection, that they all look like they have obesity.

    This is one of the major reason why even when fighting in CQB, NATO soldiers still have close-to-zero casualty rate. Up to this day, NATO casualties are still mostly random bombs and snipers. I don't recall any casualties from head-on combats, especially those from gunshots (I'm sure there are, but probably super low).

    ---------- Post added at 01:35 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:13 PM ----------

    I don't understand why the PLA isn't willing to spend the money. Even the new uniforms probably cost at least few hundred US dollars to buy. A typical Type IV vest is around 2000 - 3000 dollars, probably even cheaper in China, around $1500. Their other gears probably costs much more than a ballistic vest.

    Even if a million set of those are purchased, the total cost is still only $1.5 billion, which is nothing compared to China's annual military budget. But in the event of a border clash, these ballistic vests can easily save a lot of soldiers' lives. Compared to the compensation to dead soldiers' families, ballistic vests are a lot cheaper.
     
  5. vesicles
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    vesicles Major

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    Post #63 in the thread "PLA photo II" clearly shows they do wear body armor in exercises (although what is shown is PAP).
     
  6. solarz
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    solarz Brigadier

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    NATO is experienced in fighting technologically inferior enemies. When was the last time NATO fought a war where they didn't have air supremacy? Having air supremacy means your enemy can't bring any artillery and armor against you, and you never have to charge a fortified position. All that's left then is to fight against light infantry who can hide from air strikes. That's where body armor comes in as useful.
     
  7. vesicles
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    vesicles Major

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    Absolutely! Fighting someone your own size is a lot different than fighting someone so much smaller. The tactics are so different that one cannot be compared to the other. That's why the US who was so efficient at fighting conventional wars before 1960's was in for a shock in Vietnam. None of their experience they learned in WWII and Korea was useful in Vietnam. Now, the NATO is in an opposite situation. They've been fighting guerrilla warfare for the past 4 decades. I think they would be in for a shock if they still use the same tactics in fighting an equivalent foe.
     
  8. jobjed
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    jobjed Captain

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    Yup, I see pictures of SWAT teams and PAP wearing thicker vests but I think that's because their local office is given discretion to buy from 3rd party firms while the PLA is strictly standardised except for its elite units.
     
  9. Insignius
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    Insignius Junior Member

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    The PLA has both body armour and ballistic plates. Most of them are in storage though, and not regularily worn during excercises. But for artillery operators during excercises, vests are handed out, though.

    PLA Navy operators deployed in Aden are wearing vests too (refer to the anti-piracy thread). The most common one is the ZTCD-06 bodyarmour, which resembles the US Interceptor, and its predecessor, the TF90/TF95 "Guardian God" armour.
     
  10. jobjed
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    jobjed Captain

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    Correct me if I'm wrong, aren't the PLA equipped with vests the special ops troops that are from the marine corps? I guess they should be equipped with vests since they have to fend off small arms attacks from pirates. Regarding the artillery operators, can you show me a picture or a link to a picture where they wear plated ballistic vests and please show me sources of the storage facilities of the vests. Not that I don't believe you, I just want to see with my own eyes. Thanks.
     
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