ZZT1 (YW721) Armoured Radio Relay Vehicle
The ZZT1 (also known as YW721 in its development codename) radio relay vehicle was developed from the Type 63 (YW531) armoured personnel carrier (APC). The vehicle has been equipped by the headquarters of armoured divisions, brigades and regiments to provide long-distance radio communication relays between different units. Development of the vehicle began in 1983 and the vehicle was certified for design finalisation in 1987. The ZZT1 replaced the truck-based radio relay vehicles previously used by the armoured troops.
The ZZT1 is similar to the Type 81 (YW701) armoured command vehicle in appearance and general performance. The vehicle is based on the Type 63 APC design, with a box-shape hull made of welded steel. The air-cooled engine and transmission mechanism are located at the right front of the hull, isolated from the rest of the vehicle with noise/vibration-proof walls.
The vehicle has a crew of six: commander, driver, deputy driver, signals officer, and two radio operators. The driver sits at the left front with the vehicle commander sitting directly behind him. The deputy driver is seated on the right in front of the engine. The driver’s hatch mounts three periscopes and opens to the left, while the commander’s hatch open to the front. The signals officer and two radio operators are accommodated inside the passenger compartment at back. If necessary, the vehicle can carry an additional two soldiers for security and operating the generator roles.
The roof of the vehicle’s passenger compartment has been raised to provide additional space inside. A radio antenna complex is mounted on the compartment roof. There are four windows on the front of the passenger compartment, and two on the other three sides of the compartment. Passengers enter and exit the vehicle via a single large door on the rear side of the passenger compartment.
The vehicle uses metallic tracks with rubber pads. There are four large road wheels, a front drive sprocket, and a rear track roller on each side. The vehicle can propel through water by its tracks, giving it limited amphibious capability for river-crossing operations. In some amphibious units, the vehicle was seen added with further swimming and float aids for maritime amphibious assault operations.
The vehicle is equipped with four radios: a 200W HF long-distance radio, a CWT-167B VHF vehicle radio, a BWT-133 VHF manpack radio, and a 714B VHF manpack radio.
The 200W radio is a long-distance HF radio using single-sideband modulation (SSB) transmitter. The radio can provide multi-channel communications over a distance of several hundred kilometres, enabling the armoured unit commander to maintain communications with his superiors and subordinate units on the battlefield.
The CWT-167B VHF vehicle radio, operated by the vehicle commander, provides communications with the unit commander’s vehicle nearby.
The two manpack VHF radios allow radio operators to maintain communications with the vehicle commander while they dismount the vehicle.
The vehicle does not have a roof-mounted antiaircraft machine gun, but can carry a 7.62mm light machine gun (with 1,000 rounds) and two assault rifles inside the vehicle.
Last update: 23 March 2009