While there are many amphibious armored vehicles in the world, most of them, whether tracked or wheeled, move very slowly in the water. China’s new amphibious armored car will leave the competition in its wake.
The North China Institute of Vehicle Research has built a 4X4 armored fighting vehicle (AFV) that can reach a top speed of 31 miles per hour when traveling in calm waters. That speed would make the amphibious AFV the fastest amphibious military in the vehicle in the world (the cancelled Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle was capable of 29 miles per hour on water).
The amphibious AFV has a v-shaped hull to minimize hydraulic drag (though a v-shaped hull is also good protection against improvised explosive devices, or IEDs). It achieves its record-high speed with compact pumpjets, as well as retracting its wheels toward the hull to reduce drag.
While it’s only a proof-of-concept vehicle, it’s still pretty impressive. As a technology demonstrator, it has a light weight (about 5.5 tons without armor or installed weapons) that allows it to be particularly speedy. But even with additional armor to protect against small arms fire and an autocannon, it could potentially travel at amphibious speeds up to 18 miles per hour, which is faster than the amphibious speeds of the 6 miles per hour Terrex 2 and BAE SuperAV, the contenders for the United States Marine Corps’ Amphibious Combat Vehicle AFV.
If a wheeled Chinese amphibious AFV enters service, it’ll deploy from Chinese hovercraft like the Type 726, as well as the Type 071 landing platform dock assault ships, speeding through water and onto beaches.