Chinese infantry fighting vehicles


Junior Member
Registered Member
Wow those tracks are narrow! Why not just go with wheels instead?

Because wheels (that fit the ZBD-03 hull size) will be even worse ... I mean 4x4? I can't imagine the ZBD-03 hull going 6x6 let alone 8x8.

Eyeballing the track width on the ZBD-03, it's about 15~20cm wide and maybe 4.6m long which works out to a roughly 0.5kg/cm2 average ground pressure. This is about half that of an M1 MBT or about 2/3 that of a Leo2 MBT and very comparable to that of most APCs. 0.5kg/cm2 is also about BMD-3 (which it is suppose to replace) territory, which has similarly narrow-ish tracks. It helps if you first look at the ZBD-03 with perspective - it is a fairly small and very light AFV - it doesn't need massively wide tracks to achieve low ground pressure.

Also, the wider the tracks, the heavier the tracks, the heavier the unsprung mass - which means more beefy suspension requirements, bigger engines, bigger gearboxes and heavier parts to service and replace. This is an airborne platform, they are trying to keep the weight down.

That said, I don't think the BMD-03 is meant for soft ground. The road wheels are kinda small and spaced quite far apart, which probably means Mean Maximal Ground pressure is not quite as good as Average pressure which means trafficability across very soft-crusty ground is going to be suspect.

All said and done, it was designed for a purpose and within the trade-offs required, this is what you can get within the budget and specs required.


Lieutenant General
ZBD-08 armor recovery variant.



Registered Member

Interesting vehicle from the journal of Military Engineering looks like a self-propelled gun in a truck and has some canisters of the side, for rocket artillery?