The new chinese landforce weaponary naming system


Aluka

Junior Member
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Designations of PLA vehicles

For a pretty long time i was going to ask this, but for some reason didn't, and by the way, im wondering, why did nobody ask this before.
The question is "what designations for tanks/ifv's/spg's does PLA use?". From what i know there seems to be three different names for most chivese vehicles - "Type" designations (probably western? if not, is there any less confusing way to translate it?); WZ designation (Obiekt?); specific designation (i.e. ZTZ, PTZ, PLZ, PGZ, YW, ect.). What purpose each designation type has? Also i would like to know, what do those letters mean.
 

PiSigma

"the engineer"
Re: Designations of PLA vehicles

all chinese designations are based on the chinese language, so if you speak chinese, it's very obvious.
for example t-98 is T because the work tank in chinese is Tan-ke, which came from the english work tank
Z-9 for the helicopter is Z because for helios in chinese it's zishengji (pinying?)

the designations are based on their use in chinese, and just take teh first letter from pinying(romanized chinese).
 

Red Guard

Junior Member
first of all, i see there are lots of canadians in this forum, and i am one myself, i am looking forward to get to know some army reserves buddies.

second of all.
all chinese weaponaries' codes are base on the chinese charactor which represents some words. this is the new naming system, back many years ago, such as tanks and AFVs would all be named as Type XXX, as XXX would be the years such vechile or any kind of landforce weapons enter services are being mass produced.

now, the new naming system, SOME, goes like this, note, some of these are not correct, since this system was never offically published.


ZTS-63A
Z:armoured ,T:tank,S:amphibious
ZTZ-96
Z:armoured,T:tank,Z:main battle
ZSL-92 wheeled APC
Z:armoured,S:peronal carrier,L:wheeled
ZSD-89 APC
Z:armoured,S:personal carrier,D:tracked
ZBD-03 tracked IFV
Z:armoured ,B:IFV,D:tracked
ZDF-89 anti tank missile launch vehicle
Z:armoured,D:missile launcher vehicle ,F:anti tank
ZJX-93 armoured recovery vehicle
Z:armoured ,J:recoverier,X:fixing
ZHB-94 armoured supplies vehicle
Z:armoured,H:services,B:supplies
ZLZ-94 mobile mounted automatic grenade launcher
Z:armoured,L:grenade launcher,Z:automatic
PLZ-89 Self-Propelled Gun-Howitzer
P:artillery,L:howitzer,Z:self-propelled

PLL-01 towed howitzer
P:artillery,L:howtzier,L:towed?
PTL-02 wheeled assault gun
P:artillery,T:assault gun?,L:wheeled
PGZ-95 self-propelled AA gun
P:artillery,L:AA gun,Z:self propelled
PTZ-89 self-propelled anti tank gun
P:artillery,T:anti tank gun ,Z:self propelled
PHZ-89 self-propelled rocket launcher
P:artillery,H:rocket launcher,Z:self propelled
PF-98 anti tank rocket
P:artillery,F:anti tank rocket
PP-87 mortar
P:artillery,P:mortar
QLZ-87 automatic grenade launcher
Q:light weaponary,L:grenade,Z:launcher
QJZ-89 heavy machine gun
Q:light weaponary,L:machine gun, Z:heavy
QJG-02 anti aircraft machine gun
Q:light weaponary,L:machine gun, Z:anti aircraft
QJY-88 squard automatic weapon ?
Q:light weaponary,L:machine gun,Y:heavy/light
QBZ-95 automatic rifle
Q:light weaponary,L:rifle, Y:automatic
FHJ-84 bio chemical rocket
F:chemical warfare,H:chemical,J:rockets
QS-92 pistol
Q:light weaponary,S:pistol
QLT-89 pistol
Q:light weaponary,L:grenade launcher,T:ejected.


since i have no Jane's at hands, i am not sure if some of the translations are correct. please correct it to the correct military language.

I think this post is good enough for SinoDefence.com to put into their website.

if required, i could post the pictures of these vehicles.
 

Aluka

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Re: Designations of PLA vehicles

Do you speak chinese? If yes, couldn't you translate more complicated letter combinations? And this T-98... I always thought that "T" is western-only designation, while ZTZ and type are "more" chinese. And once again, what's the reason in having 3 different designations for one vehicle?
 

Dongfeng

Junior Member
VIP Professional
Re: Designations of PLA vehicles

I think this post is good enough for SinoDefence.com to put into their website
Well indeed, thank you for this valuable information. I was always confused about these new designations. Does anyone know if these designations are actually used by the PLA to replace the old "Type XX" designation, or are they only used by the designer and manufacturers?
 

Red Guard

Junior Member
Was my post combined???

TO Aluka.
Yes, i do speak chinese. And T-98 is actually just a simplied form for Type 98 which ONLY exists on chinese military forums. it's nothing offical, just people thought it would be cool to call it T-98 than type 98, like T-54, T-72, and it's easier to type as well. So there is only Type 98, which is not entirly correct. Since, Type 98 MBT only exists in very small numbers, the only Type 98s are those had shown on the parade of Oct.1st 1999 national day parade. And other than that, those new ones entering services are all called Type 99, which is ZTZ-99 MBT.
I am not really sure when this naming system was out, but It seems ever since ZTZ-99, or maybe around the year of 2000, many of the new AND some of the vehicles that had entered the service was named with these codes. I wish i explained it will, since i am in a hurry to go to school.
i will explain further more while i return. peace.
 

Aluka

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if required, i could post the pictures of these vehicles.
Thanks, but i have a lot of them, probably much more then you, i just don't know, how to name folders with those photos :)
And about chinese... Could you post transcript of chinese words behind those letters?
 

Red Guard

Junior Member
Aluka said:
Thanks, but i have a lot of them, probably much more then you, i just don't know, how to name folders with those photos :)
And about chinese... Could you post transcript of chinese words behind those letters?
So you are a russian eh? it's hard to get a russian to be a fan of chinese weaponary.

I could post chinese charators behind each name, but i am afraid your computer won't support the chinese language. since my computer is being down for a long time, and my new computer will be issued about next weekend, i will do it next weekend, hope you won't mind.

okay, back to the naming system
"what's the reason in having 3 different designations for one vehicle?"
We all know, the first generation and the oldest generation of weapon designers and techinians were trained and taught by the Soviet Union. Which had a great effect on the latter on weapon designation in china. as well as the naming systems. As we also call T-62, as Te-62 in the russian letter. But, since Soviets already used T as tanks, so we used Type XX in the following years. and Now, it seems like we need a new and cooler code for our tanks which have been exporting A LOT in the recent 20 years. So as part of "walking on the same track with the west" movment, we are giving these weapons new and more meaning full names.
AS
first letter means the type of force it's serving in ( now there is a mixed up, someone says this someone says that)
ie ZTZ-99, first Z means armoured (someone says it's armoured troops, someone says it's just armoured type vehicle), as in chinese "Zhuang jia"
second letter means the type of this weapon
ie ZTZ-99, T means Tank, or in chinese Tan ke
Third part is the detailed use.
ie ZTZ-99, second Z means "main battle" as in chinese "Zhu Zhan"
ZTS-63A, S means amphibious as in chinese "Shuang xi"
which ZTZ-99 is the main battle tank
and ZTS-63A is the new amphibious tank.
And why they use 3 letters? i don't know, maybe because Russians already used T, and US already used M, and type sounds pretty weird, and our greatest enemy japanese also use Type as their tank.... so......
But i do think this sounds cool.....

TO DONGFENG
this naming system isn't REALLY replacing the old Type system. But it IS offical. As ZTZ-99 is far easier to be called Type 99 tank than ZTZ-99 by the soldiers, so there are lots of people call it by Type 99 in chinese, and ZTZ-99 is kind of like showing to the foreigners, look we got a cool name. And in another way, in the army, soldiers normally have an easier and short call for the weapon they use. like they normally would call the type 95 rifle, just a "95 rifle", or they would say "yes, i used 95 there", as they assume you know what they are talking about. ja, so by now, on many offical and non offical papers they use both names.

hope i explained well.
 

Aluka

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So you are a russian eh? it's hard to get a russian to be a fan of chinese weaponary.
Why do you think so? Among schoolkids - maybe, but russian people found of military generally seem to have chinese arms at a "special account". On a random russian military board you'll always find thread on chinese weapons with 40+ pages. It's interesting to study military force, growing so rapidly, besides, there's much "charisma" about chinese weapons, like soviet before.

but i am afraid your computer won't support the chinese language
It will, i've taken care of it. And i don't mind to wait for some time.

Also about this "type" word - is there any other way to replace it? You see, korean and japanese vehicles have type designation as well, which is confusing.

And there's another question on it's way - do you apply new designations to old vehicles, such as type59, or they still remain "types"? And if yes, do old numbers remain?

PS And what about WZ designation? Type98 is WZ-123, right?
 
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