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Type 64 (tank)

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Type 64 (tank)

Type 64
Type 64 Light Tank
Type Light tank
Place of origin Republic of China (Taiwan)
Service history
In service 1975 – ?
Used by Republic of China Army
Production history
Produced 1975
Number built 50+
Specifications
Weight approx. 25 tons
Length 5.82 m (19 ft 1 in)
Width 3.23 m (10 ft 7 in)
Crew 4

Armor 9–76 mm
Main
armament
76mm gun
Secondary
armament
7.62mm co-axial machinegun, .50 M2 HB machinegun
Engine Continental AOS 895-3 6-cylinder gasoline
500 hp (373 kW)
Suspension torsion bar

The Type 64 (TL64, Chinese: 六四式) is the designation of two distinct Cold War-era light tank projects of the Republic of China Armed Forces, in service from 1975. One being a hybrid of the M42 Duster and M18 Hellcat and the other an indigenous copy of the M41 Walker Bulldog, both Type 64s were intended as a cavalry tank to complement the existing M41 light tanks and to support the heavier and more-powerful M48 Patton medium tanks already in service with the ROCA.

Description and history

The original Type 64 hybrid tank project involved the construction of tanks made from parts of dismantled American tanks provided by the United States. The Type 64 is essentially a M42 Duster hull with an M18 Hellcat turret on top with a 76mm gun. The M18s were originally decommissioned tanks supplied to the ROC Armed Forces during the Chinese Civil War and later, whilst the hulls were surplus M42 hulls ordered and shipped to the island of Taiwan.

Compartments over the track guards for spare Bofors gun barrels were replaced with storage boxes of the stock M41 tank. A total of one battalion worth of conversions were made.

A variant known as the Type 64 Prototype or Type 64 Experimental was a locally upgraded version of the M41 Walker Bulldog with improved fire controls, 530 horsepower Napco 8V-71T diesel engine, ANVRC-7 radio, mounted T57 7.62mm GPMG, and applique turret armors and sideskirts made from traditional cast and high-hardness tungsten alloy steel. Development began in the year Minguo 64 (1975), hence the name.

The tank is comparable in design to the M41 series of American tanks, which already proved itself reasonably-capable of holding its own against the threat of Type 59 and T-55A tanks during the Vietnam War, but has an improved electrical system. The hull has an all-welded steel construction that incorporates a high-strength alloy steel and is manufactured using advanced welding techniques, providing adequate protection from small arms and cannon fire. The all-cast turret holds three crew and has the same layout as an M41, with modifications to suit the shorter stature of local tank crews. On the hull, an additional layer of laminated, high-strength alloy steel armour plate is welded and bolted on; this provides additional protection against HEAT and APDS projectiles.

The 76mm rifled gun used on the Type 64 is manufactured locally in Taiwan. A 7.62mm co-axial machinegun is mounted with the main gun, whilst a .50 M2 HB machinegun intended for firing upon aircraft is mounted at the commander's station. The tank has an improved fire control system, and ammunition is stored in a similar manner to the M41A2 and M41A3.

A total of 14 pre-production tanks and 25 first-series tanks were ordered to be constructed at the 201 Factory, with the last tank completed in 1979. This variant did not enter further mass-production although those already built were later modified to include laser rangefinders, ballistic computers and passive night vision equipment developed by the National Sun Yat-Sen Research Institute.

Operators

References

  • 彭懷恩, (1986). "台灣軍事備忘錄: 中華民國軍力總剖析, 1986-87". 彭懷恩.
  • 風雲論壇, (1984). "透視台灣防禦". 風雲論壇社.
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