A large display of domestically developed arms used by Chinese land forces was presented to hundreds of foreign military officers at a shooting range in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region on Wednesday morning.
The event was held by the State-owned China North Industries Group Corp, commonly known as Norinco, the country’s biggest maker of land armaments, and was aimed at ‘showcasing the latest achievements of the Chinese land weapons industry’.
About 230 officers from more than 50 foreign nations, mostly military attaches to Beijing and procurement officials, attended the show in Baotou, which included live-fire performances by battle tanks and antitank missiles at a shooting range owned by Inner Mongolia First Machinery, a subsidiary of Norinco.
Spectators watched dozens of tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles move in formations before conducting tactical maneuvers. Demonstrations of amphibious assault vehicles and all-terrain vehicles were also carried out.
During the live-fire stage, a VT-4 main battle tank and an ST-1 tank destroyer fired rounds of armor-piercing ammunition, and a VT-5 light-duty tank launched antitank missiles. In the next stage, a GL-5 active protection system mounted on a tank intercepted an incoming antitank rocket.
After the show, foreign guests were invited to operate tanks and armored vehicles.
It was the third time Norinco has held a field exhibition for foreign buyers. The first show was in 2014 and featured armored vehicles, with the second in 2015, when the focus was artillery guns.
Wednesday’s show marked the first field performance by a VT-5, which Norinco describes as “the most-advanced light-duty tank available in the international market”. It was unveiled to the public at the 11th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in November, but did not showcase its capabilities at that time.
According to Norinco, the VT-5 is capable of operating across various terrains including desert, forest and urban areas as well as soft-soil regions that cannot support heavy-duty tanks. It has a maximum weight of 36 metric tons and a crew capacity of three. The tank is armed with a 105-millimeter rifled tank gun, which can fire armor-piercing shells, high-explosive warheads and antitank missiles, and a 12.7-mm remotely controlled machine gun.
China exported 461 tanks between 1992 and 2014, according to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, which began recording conventional weapons transfers between UN members in 1992. The biggest tank exporter during the period was the United States, which reported sales of 5,511 tanks.