In order to make up for the loss of this armoured vehicle, the Russian military is desperately seeking an infantry fighting vehicle “more formidable than the BMP-3,” and they are focusing their attention on China.
Compared to the Russian BMP-3, the Chinese ZBD-04 is regarded as a more potent infantry fighting vehicle. As is well known, the BMP-3 infantry combat vehicle sustained heavy casualties on the Ukrainian battlefield as a result of its weak armour, which was unable to withstand the enemy’s anti-tank fire. The additional production process is now having a lot of issues. Since ZBD-04 China is now a top priority, Russia is considering requesting its partners to create a programme that is comparable to the US Lend-Lease, namely giving Moscow certain combat vehicles with identical features.
The Chinese Army started utilising the ZBD-04 infantry fighting vehicle in its primary armoured units in 2006 to replace the antiquated Type 86. (copy BMP-1). The ZBD-04 has a turret that is comparable to the Bakhcha-U mounted on the Russian BMP-3, but its chassis is entirely different, with the vehicle’s engine placed in the front and the storage compartment in the back. In contrast to the BMP-3, where a soldier had to open the landing door, pass through the extremely constrained engine compartment that was set up behind, and then exit, this design made it simpler for soldiers to leave.
ZBD-04 is 22 tonnes heavy, 7.24 metres long, 2.74 metres wide, and 2.4 metres high. With a 500 mile range, the car’s diesel engine and torsion bar suspension enable it to go at a top speed of 65 km/h on tarmac and 20 km/h in the water. Three people make up the ZBD-04 crew, which has room for seven soldiers and their full arsenal. The driver and one infantryman sat in the front-rear style on the right, in front of the body, while the commander and gunner sat in the turret. The remaining 6 soldiers sat in the troop compartment.
Through the holes on the left and right sides of the vehicle, soldiers can fire infantry weapons, and the rear sunroof also enables standing-up shooting while the vehicle is in motion. The ZBD-04’s armour is built of welded steel, providing good resistance to damage from light infantry weapons, including the outdated RPG-7 cannon anti-tank ammunition. With a 100mm semi-automatic spiral cannon that can fire HE-FRAG rounds with an effective range of 4,000 metres and a rate of fire of 10 rounds per minute as well as launch missiles, the ZBD-04 has exceptionally potent weaponry. Through the barrel, an anti-tank 3UBK10 (copy version AT-10, with a range of 4,000 m).
Additionally, there is a 30 mm automatic cannon with a firing rate of 300 rounds per minute, an effective range of 1,500–2,000 metres, and ammunition that can penetrate armour. There is a 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun to the left of the main cannon. The ZBD-04’s target observation system is rated superior to the BMP-3; the driving position has three periscopes, the gunner position has one main sight with a periscope that magnifies night vision images during the day, as well as a backup periscope for daytime viewing.
The car has a collective radiation, biochemical, and chemical (NBC) defence system with a residual pressure filter fan, two clusters of three smoke grenade launchers mounted on either side of the turret, and a system of Chinese-made lasers for countermeasures, retaliation, and early warning. ZBD-04 has a few main variations, including ZBD-04A, an enhanced version that is used extensively by the Chinese Army, and ZBD-08, a significantly advanced armour and weaponry variant with limited swimming capabilities. The ZBD-04 infantry fighting vehicle has been requested by Russia, but China is unlikely to grant the request because Beijing is still trying to avoid getting involved in the conflict.