Beijing hosted the China Military and Civilian Integration Expo 2016, dedicated to new developments in military and civilian use. During this event, a large number of Chinese enterprises showcased their latest achievements in the form of promotional materials and real samples. Three YJ2080 armored vehicles built by the Chinese industry were among the most interesting exhibits at the exhibition.
The YJ2080 project is of great interest to Russian specialists and the public, since it has an interesting origin. Armored vehicles of this type are a licensed version of the Russian SPM-2 / GAZ-2330-36 "Tiger" vehicle assembled by the Chinese industry in accordance with an agreement signed several years ago. During a recent exhibition, the manufacturing organization showed the first samples of armored cars assembled after the complete localization of production. Unlike their predecessors of the same type, the exhibition armored vehicles are completely produced in China without the supply of ready-made components from Russia.
The operation of Russian-designed armored cars by the Chinese security forces began in mid-2008. Having studied various offers, the Chinese specialists decided to purchase a certain amount of Russian equipment. In July 2008, the Chinese automobile plant Beijing Yanjing Motor Co. signed a contract with Rosoboronexport, according to which the Russian side had to supply the customer with five ready-made Tiger armored cars and the same number of kits for assembly in China. Soon, the ordered products were transferred to the Chinese side, which independently assembled equipment from the supplied kits, and then mastered the operation of all ten armored vehicles.
Ten SPM-2 armored cars were handed over to Beijing law enforcement agencies, which were to keep order during the Olympic Games. The technique reportedly did its job well, allowing security officials to ensure the safety of athletes and spectators.
Based on the results of the operation of the new armored vehicles during the 2008 Olympics, it was decided to order an additional batch of such vehicles. At the end of the year, Beijing Yanjing Motor Co. and Rosoboronexport signed a new contract for the supply of equipment. This time, the agreement implied the transfer of ten SPM-2 / GAZ-2330-36 armored cars in finished form and 90 vehicle kits for assembly at Chinese factories. The armored cars assembled in China received the new designation YJ2080, and in addition, they were equipped with plates with the logo of the assembly plant.
The first cars of this batch were assembled and handed over to the customer in July 2009. The order for the assembly of hundreds of armored vehicles was fully completed by 2010. This equipment was handed over to the Public Security Bureau, the People's Armed Police and army units serving in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. After the riots in mid-2009, it was decided to strengthen the region's law enforcement agencies, including through the supply of new armored vehicles.
Subsequently, new contracts appeared for the production of armored cars of Russian design by Chinese enterprises. Under the purchased license, Beijing Yanjing Motor Co. got the opportunity to establish a completely localized production of new cars.By now, it is alleged, the manufacturer has already mastered the production of wheeled platforms, and has also developed several options for special equipment for armored cars. Three versions of armored vehicles in different designs were shown at a recent exhibition.
The YJ2080 armored car is a variant of the SPM-2 vehicle, assembled by the Chinese industry from components of Russian or its own production. For this reason, the main features of the armored car remain unchanged, although some structural elements can be adapted to the capabilities of the Chinese industry and the technologies at its disposal. Thus, the original SPM-2 and the Chinese YJ2080 have a minimum of noticeable external differences, and the design differences are reduced to some minor modifications.
The Chinese armored car retains its general layout and basic characteristics. This armored car with a 4x4 wheel arrangement is built according to the bonnet configuration and is equipped with a protected body that corresponds to class 5 according to Russian standards. Thanks to this armor, the vehicle is able to protect the crew from 7.62 mm bullets: any rifle using bullets that do not have a reinforced core from machine guns.
The armored car assembled under license retains the general layout with the front engine in a separate volume, behind which there is a large single habitable volume. In the front of the cab, the driver's and commander's seats are placed, while the rest of the volume can be used to accommodate passengers or special equipment of the required type. In the version for the transport of personnel, the armored car is equipped with two front seats for the driver and commander, behind which there are seven more seats for the landing.
During the development of the project, the Chinese specialists took into account the Russian experience in the field of the layout of the habitable compartments. So, at the exhibition China Military and Civilian Integration Expo 2016, samples of armored cars with a different composition of doors and hatches were demonstrated. So, there is a variant of the hull with two side doors, a hinged aft door and a round hatch in the roof. Also shown is a sample with its own doors on the second row of seats. In this case, two rectangular hatches are installed in the roof of the machine.
Chinese experts consider the YJ2080 armored car not only as a vehicle for personnel, but also as a carrier of special equipment. One of the exhibition samples was equipped with a small-sized radar station, which can be used to solve certain tasks in the interests of the army or other power structures. A rotary support with an antenna was installed on the roof of this armored car, and an operator's workplace with a set of computer equipment was placed in the aft part of the cabin.
Considering the changes in the habitable compartment of Chinese-made armored cars, the finish can also be noted. From the inside, the YJ2080 showcases are more reminiscent of cars for the civilian market with a corresponding interior design. Armchairs and trim panels are made in light colors and also have a characteristic appearance. At the same time, armored cars receive a standard dashboard from the original project, similar to Russian-made vehicles.
To date, the Chinese plant Beijing Yanjing Motor Co. mastered the licensed production of armored cars SPM-2 / YJ2080, which no longer depends on the supply of Russian components. All the necessary components and assemblies are produced by Chinese enterprises involved in the project. The final assembly of the finished armored cars is carried out by the company that bought the license. In addition, the Chinese industry has already developed several specialized modifications of the basic armored vehicle.
From the available data, it follows that the Chinese company continues to build fully localized armored vehicles in the interests of various power structures of China.The volumes, cost and other features of the orders were not disclosed. Nevertheless, it can be assumed that the deployment of full localization of production is associated with the desire of Chinese customers to purchase a large number of new equipment. In this case, the restructuring of production and the exclusion of Russian participation turns out to be fully justified from an economic point of view.
It should be noted that China is not the only foreign operator of Russian-designed Tiger armored vehicles. Since the end of the last decade, Rosoboronexport has signed several contracts for the supply of finished equipment to various foreign countries. Armored cars were supplied both to the neighboring countries and to the states of remote regions. "Tigers" of all modifications are used in the CIS, the Middle East, Asia and South America. At the same time, the most fruitful cooperation takes place in the case of China: after a short delivery of finished equipment, the assembly of machines from sets was deployed, and then a full-fledged localization of production was carried out.
The latest news from China once again shows that Russian developments in the field of light multipurpose armored vehicles are of interest not only to domestic, but also to foreign customers. Given the existence of a wide range of modifications of the Tiger armored car, we can expect that news about the supply of this equipment abroad will appear in the future.