The ZLC 2000 (industrial designation: WZ506) is a light armored fighting vehicle developed by NORINCO and intended for use by airborne and rapid deployment forces. The vehicle is capable of air dropping using multiple parachutes from medium or large transport aircraft. The ZLC 2000 tracked vehicle was introduced by the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) in 2003, and was spotted during the â€˜Peace Mission 2005′ China-Russia joint exercise. It has been designed for being air dropped by medium-sized transport aircraft such as Il-76M. NORINCO provided the ZLC2000 in three variants: command and control; infantry fighting vehicle; and anti-tank guided missile carrier.
Despite the speculations that the vehicle might be a copy of the Russian BMD-3, close examinations of the vehicle indicated that it is in fact a new design with different hull layout and weapon system. The Chinese 30mm cannon differs to the Russian design used by the BMD-3. It is possible, however, that the vehicle contains certain Russian technologies, particularly the multiple parachute air dropping system.
The ZLC 2000 primary armament is a turret-mounted 30mm cannon or a turret-mounted Red Arrow Type 73C Anti-Tank Guided Weapon (ATGW) launcher (with 3 spare missiles) as well as a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun. The vehicle carries a crew of three-man and five fully equipped paratroopers. With a maximum weight of eight tons its lightweight armor provides protection only against small caliber firearms. The ATGW has a maximum range of 3,000 m and latest versions of the missile can be fitted with various types of warhead.This turret has already been marketed by NORINCO under the name of Red Arrow 73 Missile/30 mm Gun Combined Turret Weapon Module (GCTWM). This has 350 rounds of ready use. There are two sets of three-barrel smoke grenade on each side of the turret.