A batch of Type 15 light tanks, also known as ZTQ-15 or VT-5 was recently commissioned to a regiment attached to the Xinjiang Military Command of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Ground Force (PLAGF). After the commissioning, these ZTQ-15 tanks were immediately driven to the alpine areas at altitudes above 4,300 meters for adaptability training. According to deputy commander of the army regiment, more weapons and equipment suitable for the high-altitude regions and harsh cold environment will be commissioned to the troops in the near future. Xinjiang, officially Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region is an autonomous region of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), located in the northwest of the country close to Central Asia.
The Type 15 light tank also known as ZTQ-15 or VT-5 (export variant) is a Chinese third generation light tank operated by the People’s Liberation Army Ground Force, as a replacement for the antiquated Type 62 light tank introduced in 1963. The Type 15 is designed to fulfill the requirement for a lighter, more mobile modern tank that can effectively operate in highland, and water-rich regions where the heavier Type 99 and Type 96 main battle tanks might have difficulties traversing. During the China-India border dispute along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in June 2020, Type 15 tanks were reportedly deployed in the Tibetan Plateau.
Type 15 light tank uses a new 105 mm rifled gun, which is superior to the Type 94 105 mm guns fitted on Type 88 and Type 59 tanks. The Type 15 can hold 38 rounds of 105 mm shells and is capable of effectively penetrating the armor of most main battle tanks in use by various South and Southwestern Asian countries when launching armor-piercing shells. It can also fire new advanced tungsten alloy armor-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabots (APFSDS) projectiles capable of penetrating 500 mm (20 in) of armored steel at 2,000 metres (1.2 mi) ]Due to its lighter weight, the Type 15 tank can be more easily airlifted (People’s Liberation Army Air Force Y-20 transport planes).