China is building the world’s fastest amphibious fighting vehicle

30 miles per hour on water.


The Iveco/BAE SuperAV, an amphibious armored fighting vehicle proposed by the United States Marine Corps, has a top amphibious speed of about 6 miles per hour.

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.

Like a Speedboat

The amphibious AFV uses its high powered water jets and streamlined hull to speed across water at 50 kph (about 31 miles per hour). Even with armor and weapons on a production version, it would still likely reach amphibious speeds of at least 12 to 18 miles per hour.

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).

Taking a Dip

The amphibious AFV can retract its wheels against the underside of its hull. (The picture is pixelated to hide details of the hydropneumatic suspension and retraction mechanisms.)

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.

ZTD-05 Tank

China’s ZTD-05 amphibious tank, armed with a 105mm cannon that fires both high velocity shells and guided missiles, is the world’s fastest amphibious vehicle, speeding through the water at over 20 knots per hour.

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.

You may also be interested in: