The QN-506, introduced as being built on the chassis of the “Type 59” medium tank.

The concept of a Tank Support Fighting Vehicle was developed by Russia after the end of the Cold War, leading to the birth of the BMP-T or ‘Terminator’. As part of its plan to upgrade its ground fleet, China also developed a similar idea, ambitiously described by the manufacturer as the “New King of Ground Warfare”, the QN-506. Unveiled at the 2018 Zhuhai Air Show, the QN-506 is described as the Chinese version of Russia’s famous ‘Terminator’ Tank Support Fighting Vehicle. QN-506 is armed with a machine gun, grenades, a light cannon, two types of missiles, and even drones.

The Chinese BMPT was developed by Wuhan Guide Infrared. The QN-506, introduced as being built on the chassis of the “Type 59” medium tank. Like its Russian cousin, the QN-506 is designed to fulfill a similar task. It is very heavily armed, with a 30-millimeter cannon, 7.62-millimeter machine gun, four QN-502C anti-tank/anti-aircraft missiles with a range of 3.72 miles, 20 QN-201 mini-missiles, 4 S-507 mini-cruise missiles, and six grenade launchers for close-in defense. It even carries a quadcopter drone for intelligence and surveillance tasks.

The result is a vehicle that can kill enemy tanks, light armored vehicles, helicopters, drones, soft-skinned vehicles, and infantry. The QN-502C missile allegedly can penetrate 1,000 millimeters of armor and has a top attack mode to penetrate thinner roof armor on main battle tanks. That’s conceivably enough to kill even an Abrams tank. The 70-millimeter QN 201 mini missiles sound like a Chinese version of the U.S. Military’s APKWS-II, a system that installs laser guidance on American 70-millimeter helicopter rockets to give them a “one shot, one kill” capability. QN-201s can penetrate 60 millimeters of steel armor or 300 millimeters of reinforced concrete. The S-507 is a propeller-driven missile, apparently with a camera in the nose, that can fly over the battlefield and home in on targets chosen by the gunner.

The quadcopter drone is the QN-506’s built-in intelligence asset. The drone can fly to a range of 6.2 miles, has a maximum speed of 37 miles an hour, and a fly time of 40 minutes. QN-506 could use the drone to find targets for the S-570 missiles, providing armored forces with their own precision artillery support. The drone could also be used to locate enemy forces before they make contact with the main Chinese force. Other sensors include a gunshot detection system that can automatically target the source of incoming gunfire.

The amount of weapons and capability packed onto the QN-506 is a little over the top. While each individual weapon system is useful, packing everything onto a single vehicle can create problems. A drone killer will want to be on the front line, to destroy drones as soon as possible, while a tank killer might want to hang back and destroy enemy tanks from behind a screen of friendly tanks. A drone-launching cruise missile carrier vehicle would also want to stay comfortably to the rear. The sniper detection device won’t be very useful to a vehicle operating in the rear.

The QN-506 turret was displayed at Wuhai on the chassis of a 1950s-era Type 59 tank, with additional ERA and rubber side skirts. The manufacturer says it can easily be placed on a newer manned or unmanned armored vehicle hull. The front of the tank is equipped with six grenade launchers to create a smoke screen around the vehicle. The QN506 retains the 12V150L engine identical to the ZTZ59s, with at least 800 hp.

Official data does not indicate the composition of the crew. However, the appearance of the vehicle shows that it must be controlled by three people who are in front of the cabin. There are two roof hatches at their disposal. To monitor the road and the battlefield, the driver and commander have front hatches with armored covers. In addition, several video cameras are placed around the perimeter of the hull and simplify driving in all conditions.

There is no information on whether the PLA will order this combat vehicle or if it is only for export. But at the moment, QN-506 looks like an interesting and promising development.


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