In recent exercises conducted by the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Tibet Military Region, a new tank repair vehicle based on the Type 15 light tank was spotted, confirming its induction into active service.
Compared with its predecessor, the new repair vehicle is lighter and faster in plateau regions and can ensure sustained combat capability of tanks in such terrains, Chinese media reported citing analysts.
The exercises held in training sites at an elevation of more than 4,000 meters featured long-range maneuvering, emergency repair and live-fire shooting, comprehensively honing the cooperation capability between combat and support units under combat scenarios.
Some photos in the post featured a tank repair vehicle providing maintenance support to a Type 15 light tank. The tank repair vehicle has the same chassis used by the Type 15 and this is the first time it has been revealed to the general public, eastday.com, a Shanghai-based news website, reported on Saturday.
“The plateau-operable Type 15 tank can greatly enhance the PLA's rapid reaction capabilities in high-altitude regions as it balances fire power, mobility and protection best suited for plateau operations,” Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, told semi-official Global Times.
The PLA used the older Type 84 tank repair vehicle, which is based on a 40 ton-class tank chassis, but the newer design, also used by the 30 ton-class Type 15 tank, is more useful particularly in plateau regions thanks to the powerful engine.
A tank repair vehicle is equipped with many types of emergency repair equipment to conduct emergency repairs and recoveries of tanks directly on the battlefield if the tanks malfunction or get hit by anti-tank weapons, eastday.com said, noting that this type of vehicle is vital in providing sustained combat capability of tanks.