Type 86 / WZ 501

Manufacturer: NORINCO - China North Industries Group Corporation - CNGC  
Product type: Armoured Vehicles  
Name: Infantry fighting vehicle  

The Type 86, also known as WZ501, is a Chinese copy of the the Russian BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicle (IFV). China obtained several BMP-1s from the Middle East in the 1980s, and these vehicles were used as patterns for reverse engineering, which was known as Project WZ501. Later in 1986 the project received its approval certificate and the vehicle was officially named as Type 86. The batch production began in 1987, with several hundred vehicles built for the PLA as well as foreign customers.

Not surprisingly the Type 86 is not equipped by the PLA in a significant number. Experience from the Middle East conflicts in the 1980s and the 1991 Gulf War has showed that the BMP-1, a 1960s-era Soviet Union design originally to be used in the nuclear war, is not suitable for modern land warfare. Despite this, as the PLA's first generation IFV the Type 86 has played an important role in the PLA in developing doctrines for the armour troops and obtaining experience of using armoured combat vehicles to support main battle tanks in the joint operations.

The Type 86 is expected to be replaced by China's 2nd generation IFV, which is currently under development.


  • WZ501 - Basic variant IFV with a one-man turret, which houses a 73mm gun and a HJ-73 ATGM launcher. The vehicle is generally identical to the Russian BMP-1. The vehicle is in service with the PLA and has been exported to foreign customers

  • WZ503 - Armoured personnel carrier (APC) variant with main weapon replaced by a 12.7mm machine gun. Prototype only.

  • WZ504 - HJ-73B ATGM launch vehicle. Four HJ-73B missiles and optical sights are carried in a retractable weapon station, which can be hidden in the troop compartment when not in use. Basic ammunition load is 16 rounds. Prototype only.

  • WZ505 - IFV with a one-man turret, which houses an indigenous 25mm automatic cannon and a coaxial 7.62mm Type 59 machine gun

  • NFV-1 IFV - A China-U.S. co-operation project in the 1980s that fits an FMC 25mm 'Bushmaster' automatic cannon on a Type 86 IFV hull, carrying 8 troops. Prototype only.

  • HJ-73 ATGM Launch Vehicle - This model has four HJ-73 ATGM launchers carried on a one-man turret with a full 360 traverse. The basic ammunition load is 20 rounds. Prototype only.


The power pack is a 300 hp water-cooled diesel engine, which is slightly more powerful than that of the BMP-1 (290 hp). The engine is located at the right front, while the driver's hatch is at the left front, directly in front of the commander's hatch which mounts an IR searchlight.

The gunner's hatch is on the left side of the low turret roof. To the rear of the turret there are four large hatches in the roof of the troop compartment, as well as two large exit doors in the rear. There are four firing ports in each side of the troop compartment and one in the left rear door. The suspension has six unevenly spaced road wheels, with three track support rollers and a front drive sprocket.

The Type 86 is amphibious, propelled through water by its tracks rather than using the waterjet propulsion, and has the range and speed necessary to keep up with the fast-moving tanks it normally follows in offensive formations. The Type 86 has a three-man crew, including the vehicle commander, who becomes the squad leader when the infantry passengers dismount through the rear exit doors. However, vision blocks and firing ports in the sides and rear of the troop compartment allow the infantrymen to fire assault rifles and light machine guns from inside the vehicle on the move.

The Type 86 has relatively thin armor, and is extremely vulnerable to ATGM and tank fire. Due to the compactness of the vehicle, critical areas such as the engine compartment and ammunition storage area (on the right side), fuel cells (in the rear doors), and the troop compartment are located in such a manner that penetration anywhere on the vehicle normally will result in a mobility, firepower, or personnel kill.

Because of limited capability to depress the main gun, the BMP is unable to engage tanks and APCs from good hull-down positions, and so is very vulnerable to enemy fire when it exposes itself to engage targets. Due to the complicated loading mechanism and the lack of stabilisation, it is not possible to accurately fire the 73 mm main gun or the coaxial machine gun while on the move over rough terrain. The Type 86 must be stationary when firing and tracking the HJ-73 ATGM. The ATGM is difficult to reload and cannot be reloaded at all under NBC conditions.


The basic variant Type 86 IFV has a 73 mm low-pressure smoothbore anti-tank gun, firing two types of rounds including rocket-assisted, fin-stabilised HEAT (High-Explosive Anti-Tank) rounds and fin-stabilised HE anti-personnel rounds. The main gun is equipped with an automatic loader. The max range of HEAT and HE rounds are 1,300m and 2,900m respectively. The max rate of fire is 8 rounds/min. The vehicle carries 40 rounds (20 HEAT and 20 HE) in the turret, and has an infrared searchlight, periscopes, and sights for night operations.

A rail launcher for the HJ-73 ATGM is located above the gun for longer range antitank capability (up to 3,000 m). The vehicle carries 4 missiles in the turret. Auxiliary weapon is a 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun mounted in the turret.

There are nine ball-swivel firing ports in the vehicle hull, four on each side of the vehicle and one on the rear hatch cover. Cartridge cases are collected in the bags under the firing port, and the troop compartment is fitted with fume extractor fans.

The troop passengers can also carry two 7.62mm squad machine guns, a 40 mm rocket propelled grenade (RPG) launcher, and a HN-5 shoulder-launch air-defence missile launcher.


Armour protection against 7.62mm calibre weapon systems is provided all round on the Type 86. When buttoned up, crew and passengers have NBC protection in the pressurised and filtered hull, which allows them to operate regardless of the outside environment. In addition, the vehicle has fire-fighting equipment and a capability to make its own smoke screen by injecting diesel fuel into the exhaust manifold.


The Type 86 is powered by a 6V150 4-stroke water-cooled diesel engine with a standard power of 215kW (292hp) at 2,600r/min.

The vehicle has 5 forward and 1 reverse gears, with mechanical gear box. Torsion bar suspensions with hydraulic shock absorbers on the 1st and 6th roadwheels of both sides.

Property Value
Weight (kg)
Engine power output (h.p.)
Length (mm)
Height (mm)
Width (mm)
Max. road range (km)
Max. road speed (km/h)
Max. water speed (km/h)

Has folowing part:
Total Amount
6V150 (Diesel engine)
9K11 Malutka/AT-3 Sagger (Anti-tank guided missile launcher)
GCTWM (Weapon station)

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Type 86 / WZ 501
Type 86 / WZ 501
Type 86 / WZ 501
Type 86 / WZ 501
Type 86 / WZ 501
Type 86 / WZ 501
Type 86 / WZ 501
Type 86 / WZ 501
Type 86 / WZ 501
Type 86 / WZ 501
Type 86 / WZ 501
Type 86 / WZ 501