China’s Amphibious Armored Car Might be World’s Fastest in the Water

China's fast moving amphibious vehicle.

China’s fast moving amphibious vehicle.

It doesn’t look like much but China’s new amphibious armored car has ambitions of becoming the world’s fastest and part of the equipment inventory of the People’s Liberation Army Ground Force (PLAGF).

A prototype of the yet unnamed 4×4 wheeled armored fighting vehicle (AFV) being developed by little known North China Institute of Vehicle Research recently made its first public appearance.

The new high-speed amphibious combat vehicle is being developed for military littoral, riverine and special operations use.

The proof-of-concept vehicle displayed to the public weighs some 5.5 tons without armor or weapons.

The developer claims the production version of its amphibious AFV with armor and weapons will attain speeds ranging from 19 km/h to 31 km/h in calm water.

It claims this speed will make its amphibious AFV the fastest amphibious military in the vehicle in the world. The vehicle can reach speeds of 50 km/h on land.


The institute said the AFV achieves its record-high speed by using compact pump jets. Another reason for the amphibious AFV’s speed in the water is its ability to retract its wheels into the hull, thereby reducing drag.

Once in the water, the vehicle’s four wheels deflect to the chassis struts at 70 degrees, thus reducing resistance during a high-speed sprint. The steering wheel and accelerator that controls and powers the craft in the water is also used for the same functions on land.

The institute claims the amphibious AFV’s speed of 31 km/h in calm water is faster than the amphibious speeds of the 6 miles per hour attained by Terrex 2 and BAE SuperAV, the contenders for the United States Marine Corps’ Amphibious Combat Vehicle program.

It said its amphibious AFV, if and when it enters service, will deploy from the Type 726 landing craft air cushion vehicles (hovercraft) carried by Type 071 landing platform dock assault ships of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN).

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