Ground Warfare

Defence Industry Commission of Iraq Initiates Local Production of NORINCO VN22 6×6 Armoured Vehicles

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Defence Industry Commission of Iraq Initiates Local Production of NORINCO VN22 6×6 Armoured Vehicles

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Defence Industry Commission of Iraq Initiates Local Production of NORINCO VN22 6×6 Armoured Vehicles
Defence Industry Commission of Iraq Initiates Local Production of NORINCO VN22 6×6 Armoured Vehicles

The Defence Industry Commission of Iraq (DICI) has recently announced the initiation of local production of Norinco VN22 6×6 armored vehicles, marking a significant stride in bolstering Iraq’s defense capabilities. This move underscores Iraq’s strategic blueprint aimed at fostering a robust defense industrial base to cater to the comprehensive needs of its armed forces and security apparatus. Although the VN22 has already been in service with the Armed Forces of Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal’s National Gendarmerie, its adoption by Iraq signifies a significant expansion of its operational reach.

The VN22 6×6 unveiled by Chinese defense company NORINCO at the Zhuhai Air Show 2021, presents a design akin to armored vehicles prevalent in Europe. Featuring three primary sections, with the driver positioned at the front left side and the engine compartment on the right, the vehicle boasts enhanced ballistic protection capable of withstanding 25mm caliber ammunition at the front and small arms fire up to 14.5mm caliber all around. The vehicle has Level 14 ballistic protection and Level 4A and 4B landmine protection. The vehicle’s remotely operated turret, fortified with additional armor, enhances protection against anti-tank missiles and RPGs. Moreover, its Active Protection System (APS) further fortifies its defensive capabilities.

Iraq conducts driving tests with the new locally-made VN22 6x6 armored vehicle. (Picture source Video Iraq DIC)
Iraq conducts driving tests with the new locally-made VN22 6×6 armored vehicle. (Photo by DICI)

The technical level of this vehicle is far superior to the ZSL-92 series wheeled armored vehicles and ZBL-08 series wheeled infantry fighting vehicles currently in service in the People’s Liberation Army. It is even higher than the new eight-wheeled combat vehicles that are still being tested. The length of this vehicle is very compact, but the vehicle is very tall. In terms of weight, the underwater propulsion device has been eliminated, and the turret and armor are estimated to weigh up to 25 tons. The corresponding power must not be bad, the power system engine power is 800 horsepower. The fully electronically controlled automatic gearbox is really a small vehicle when it drives. There are also new vehicle lights and cameras around the vehicle body.

The VN22 seen in the DICI video had a manned weapon station with a Norinco 12.7 mm LM5 three-barrel heavy machine gun, which can fire either 1,000 or 2,000 rounds a minute. Norinco unveiled the VN22 in 2021 has a combat weight of 25 tonnes when fitted with a remotely operated 30 mm weapon station, which leaves space for eight dismounts in addition to three crew members. The vehicle has Level 14 ballistic protection and Level 4A and 4B landmine protection. Armed with a 30mm automatic cannon and missile launchers capable of firing second-generation Red Arrow 73D anti-tank missiles, the VN22 offers formidable firepower. The VN22 ensures optimal situational awareness with its 360° camera system, compensating for the absence of side windows.

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