Military Wiki
ZFB91 in Hong Kong
Type Armored personnel carrier
Place of origin People's Republic of China
Weight 11,700 kg (25,800 lb)
Length 6.02 m (19 ft 9 in)
Width 2.55 m (8 ft 4 in)
Height 2.73 m (8 ft 11 in) (including machine gun)
Crew 2 + 10 passengers

Armor welded steel
12.7 mm heavy machine gun
Engine Water-cooled petrol engine
123 kilowatts (165 hp)
Suspension Wheeled 6x6
600 km (370 mi)
Speed 85 km/h (53 mph) (road speed)
7 km/h (4.3 mph) (water speed)

The WZ-523 (NATO reporting name M1984) is a six-wheeled Chinese armored personnel carrier designed to be amphibious. Built on the chassis of the Hanyang HY472 truck, it can carry a crew of three and seat up to eight additional passengers. Two primary models were produced—one with a roof-mounted 12.7mm heavy machine gun, and the other with a small turret armed with a 35mm grenade launcher and a 7.62mm co-axial general purpose machine gun. An export model that entered service in 2008 as a fire support vehicle was also marketed successfully to the Namibian Army; this is armed with a 73mm 2A28 Grom smoothbore cannon in exactly the same turret as used on the Soviet BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicle.[1]

The WZ-523 was unveiled at a military parade in Beijing in October 1984, gaining the NATO designation M1984,[2] although it was destined for export and did not enter large scale service with the People's Liberation Army (PLA).[3] An internal security vehicle based on the WZ-523, the ZFB-91, which has a turret armed with a 35 mm grenade launcher and a 7.62 mm machine gun replacing the roof mounted 12.7 mm anti-aircraft machine gun of the WZ-523, is in service with PLA units in Hong Kong and Macau.[3]

Development History

When the WZ-523 was first exhibited publicly, there were many observations by international defence analysts regarding its design origins. Although the hull design resembled that of the South African Sandock-Austral Ratel infantry fighting vehicle, subsequent studies have found that while there may have been some South African influence the WZ-523 has many unique characteristics in overall dimensions and technical features.[4] For example, its driving compartment is somewhat reminiscent of the BTR-60, with a single passenger seated next to the driver.[4] The location of the turret ring is also similar that of the BTR-60 series rather than the Ratel, being located near the hull center.[4]

The People's Liberation Army has deployed the WZ-523 primarily for reconnaissance purposes, and for specialized tasks involving artillery and combat support units.[5] Despite being designed as an armored personnel carrier, it was not adopted by Chinese mechanized or motorized infantry forces.[5]

Outside of China, Sudan's Military Industry Corporation also produces the WZ-523 under license.[6]


WZ-523s have relatively good range and payload, and may seat up to ten passengers who enter and debus from a single door in the rear hull.[4] The vehicle has a long, boat-shaped hull with a trim vane mounted on the glacis plate.[2] It is fully amphibious once this vane is raised, being propelled at speeds of up to 7 km by two water jets at the rear.[4] A two-piece windscreen is provided for the driver and a passenger seated to his right. During combat, the windscreen may be covered by hinged armored shutters.[2]

Export models of the WZ-523 are offered with a variety of turreted armament options, including a 12.7mm machine gun and a one-man conical turret incorporating a single 7.62mm general-purpose machine gun to the right and a heavier armament of the customer's choice to the left.[7]

WZ-523s in Nigerien and Gabonese service have been re-engined with German Deutz BF6 diesel motors.[8]


Armored Personnel Carrier armed with a 12.7 mm heavy machine gun.
Internal Security Vehicle based on the WZ-523.


WZ-523s in UN peacekeeping colors.

  •  China: 60 in service, not including ZFB91 variant.[9]
  •  Chad: 10[8]
  •  Ethiopia: 10[8]
  •  Gabon: 3[8]
  •  Ghana: 58[10][11]
  •  Namibia: 21;[8] export model incorporating the BMP-1 turret.[1]
  •  Niger: 2[8]
  •  Sudan: produced under license as the Shareef 2.[6]

Vehicles of comparable role, performance, and era


  1. 1.0 1.1 [1]
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Christopher F. Foss. Jane's Tanks and Combat Vehicles Recognition Guide (2000 ed.). Harper Collins Publishers. p. 352. ISBN 978-0-00-472452-2. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "WZ523 Wheeled Armoured Personnel Carrier". 20 February 2009. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 O'Malley, T.J. (1996). Fighting Vehicles: Armoured Personnel Carriers & Infantry Fighting Vehicles. Mechanicsburg: Stackpole Books. pp. 322–342. ISBN 978-1853672118. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Cordesman, Anthony; Kleiber, Martin (1997). Chinese Military Modernization: Force Development and Strategic Capabilities. Washington D.C: Center For Strategic and International Studies. pp. 93–94. ISBN 978-0-89206-496-0. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Shareef 2
  7. Jane's Armour and Artillery, 2002, Volume 23 p. 439-440.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 "Trade Registers". Retrieved 2014-12-03. 
  9. China 2004
  10. Ghana Armed Forces
  11. [2]
  • Foss, Christopher F. Jane's Tanks and Combat Vehicles Recognition Guide. London: HarperCollins, 2002. ISBN 0-00-712759-6.

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