Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Argentina buys Chinese APCs

Argentina has ordered 110 Chinese VN1 APCs. The VN1 is a 8x8 wheeled and amphibious armored fighting vehicle, which seems to be the export version of the ZBL-09 APC operated by the Chinese army.

VN1 APC - in this photograph fitted with a 30 mm autocannon in a turret
The Argentinan version will be armed with a 12.7 mm heavy machine gun. The vehicle's armor provides protection against 12.7 mm armor-piercing ammunition at the frontal arc and all-round protection against 7.62 mm armour-piercing rounds.


Author's opinion: The Argentine military uses a lot of really outdated equipment, so seeing them modernize their equipment and buying new APCs is not a surprise.
The fact that they went with the VN1 from Norinco however surprises me in multiple ways. First of all Chinese vehicles do have some kind of bad reputation and despite China's size and growing influence over the past years, they still lack noteworthy success on the export market.
Argentina has bought equipment from European and American companies, with the majority of the medium weight vehicles being based on Thyssen-Henschel's TAM plattform. 
It seems that the Chinese VN1 comes at a lower price than most of it's competitors, otherwise I would not see advantages of buying the VN1 instead of higher performance vehicles from the US or Europe. If this move was correct for the Argentinian army is questionable.

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