Combat vehicles / Infantry fighting vehicles / ZBD04


General Facts

  • TYPE
    Mechanized infantry combat vehicle


    WZ502 (factory designation for ZBD97)
    ZBD97 / Type 97 (prototype model)

    Mid 1990's - 1999


    Mid 2000's - late 2000's

    China - Norinco

    About 400 produced. This number may include the ZBD04A, which has a seperate entry.


    Well armed
    Improved layout over BMP-3
    Limited armor protection


The ZBD04 is a modern mechanized infantry combat vehicle of Chinese origin. In the 1990's China started the development of a more modern vehicle to replace the older ZBD86, which was derived from the Soviet BMP-1. The ZBD04 has its roots in the ZBD97 prototype vehicle, which in turn is a based on well armed Soviet BMP-3.


At a glance the ZBD04 looks similar to the Soviet BMP-3 since both vehicles share the same turret. However, the hull of the ZBD04 has a very different layout, making it a more capable infantry carrier. The engine is located at the front right and the drive is seated on the left. The turret is located in the middle and crew compartment is located at the rear. Roof hatches and a rear door allows the 7 infantrymen to enter and exit the vehicle.


The ZBD04 is well armed with its 100mm cannon and coaxial 30mm autocannon and 7.62mm machine gun. The 100mm main gun can fire HE-Frag shells and may launch anti-tank guided missiles. Since it is stabilized it may fire on the move. For the 30mm autocannon a total of 500 rounds of AP-T and HEI-T are carried. Since the layout differs from the BMP-3 the ZBD04 has no hull mounted machine guns.


For a mechanized infantry combat vehicle the ZBD04 is somewhat vulnerable. The steel turret and aluminum hull provide protection from small arms fire and shell splinters. The armor may also be resistant to heavy machine gun fire over the frontal arc. Smoke grenade dischargers are fitted to the turret sides and a NBC protection system is present.


The tracked chassis provides the ZBD04 with good mobility on roads and in the field. The diesel engine allows for a maximum road speed of 65 km/h. The ZBD04 is amphibious and is propelled by two water jets at a speed of up 20 km/h.


The ZBD04 is in Chinese service and is used by the army. The marines acquired the ZBD05 which has a sea going ability. The ZBD04 is no longer produced for Chinese forces, since the army acquires the better armored but non-amphibious ZBD04A. The ZBD04 remains available for export.



ZBD97: Prototype and low rate production model.
ZBD04: Standard production model of the ZBD04. The shape of the hull with its rear troop compartment makes the ZBD04 easy to distinguish from the Soviet/Russian BMP-3. The better armored ZBD04A has its own entry.

TypeMechanized infantry combat vehicle
Crew3 + 7 (commander, driver, gunner, 7 infantry)
Length7.2 m
Width3.2 m
Height2.5 m
Ground clearance?
Weight20 t
Ground pressure?
WheelbaseTracked chassis, 6 roadwheels, drive sprocket front, idler rear
Turn radius?
EngineModel 8V150 water cooled diesel, 550 hp
Power ratio27.5 hp/t
Speed65 km/h on road, 20 km/h in water
Range500 km
Wall0.7 m
Trench1.8 m
Gradient60% gradient, 40% slope
ArmorAluminum hull and steel turret
NBC equipmentYes
Night vision?
Smoke2x3 smoke grenade dischargers
Armament100mm cannon
30mm autocannon
7.62mm coaxial machine gun
Weapon1100mm cannon in turret
30 shells/missiles in total
360° traverse, powered traverse and elevation
stabilized in both axis
Weapon230mm autocannon coaxial to main armament
500 rounds in total
traverse and elevation as main armament
Weapon37.62mm coaxial machine gun
2.000 rounds in total
traverse and elevation as main armament


ZHB04: Armored recovery model based on the ZBD04 chassis. Instead of a turret this vehicle is fitted with a crane and other engineering equipment. For self-defense a 12.7mm QJC88 heavy machine gun is fitted. The designation ZHB04 is uncertain and may be different in Chinese service.


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