ZSD-63: twin-barrel mower
The ZSD-63 is a Chinese SPAA, developed on the basis of the Type 63 APC in the late 80’s to address the urgent need for a modern mobile anti-air vehicle. Coming to War Thunder with the upcoming major update, the ZSD-63 will join the ranks of the Chinese ground tree, extending its SPAAG line with a powerful new addition!
Briefly: A 1980’s Chinese SPAAG developed on the basis of the Type 63 APC and fitted with a dual 25mm anti-air turret.
ZSD-63, SPAA, China, II rank.
- Powerful 25mm cannons
- High rate of fire
- Limited ammunition
- Light protection
During the 1980’s, Chinese engineers finished developing a new dual 25mm anti-aircraft turret, designated as the PG87. Intended to replace the outdated 37mm anti-air cannons in service with the Chinese armed forces in the years prior, work on this replacement already began in the 1970’s, but lacking interest and shifting priorities led to the development work being prolonged into the next decade.
Around the same time, the Chinese military was in dire need of a new mobile SPAA vehicle in order to successfully be able to carry out its air defense tasks. As no new vehicle could be developed in such short notice, the decision was made to convert existing Type 63 APC chassis into SPAAG’s with the use of the newly developed PG87 anti-air turret.
The result of this undertaking was an SPAA variant of the Type 63 APC, which entered service with the Chinese military some time in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. It’s unknown exactly how many APC’s were converted onto the SPAAG standard nor if the vehicle is still in active service today.
In War Thunder, the ZSD-63 will be a new low rank Chinese SPAA vehicle awaiting all tankers in the upcoming update. Being a new addition to China’s lower ranks, the ZSD-63 will give Chinese tankers much needed access to a deadly SPAA vehicle, capable of shielding its allies on the ground from pesky airborne attackers!
Being a SPAAG conversion of the widely used Type 63 APC, the centerpiece of the ZSD-63’s equipment is its dual 25mm anti-aircraft turret, mounted on top of the rear end of the vehicle’s hull. Having a high rate of fire of 600 rounds/min per gun in combination with good gun handling characteristics makes the ZSD-63 ideally suited for swatting overly confident and situationally unaware pilots out of the sky. However, tankers in lightly armored vehicles should be lulled into a false sense of security in the presence of ZSD-63 as the latter’s AP rounds can easily punch through the armor of light targets, thus also making them fair game for the ZSD-63.
On the other hand, one severe drawback future commanders of this machine will need to learn to deal with is the ZSD-63’s rather limited supply of ammunition. In fact, the ZSD-63 can only carry a total of 480 rounds of ammo (240 per barrel), split between six belts of 40 rounds, resulting in the ability of only being able to reload six times in the heat of battle. As a result, tankers will need to either carefully use their ammunition during combat to preserve a high endurance or maintain a close distance to a nearby capture point in order to be able to restock their ammo once it inevitably runs out.
Fortunately, if tankers choose the more mobility-dependant tactic of the two mentioned above, there’s a spot of good news! Namely, being based on the chassis of an APC means that the ZSD-63 boasts good mobility, even on rough terrain. Thanks to its 260 horsepower engine and a relatively low combat weight, the ZSD-63 is able to achieve a solid top speed of 60 km/h on roads, thus being more than capable of keeping up with the advance of its allies.
Unfortunately, as many seasoned tankers surely know, light combat weight also usually means light protection. This is most definitely the case with the ZSD-63, featuring only up to 12mm of steel plating acting as protection for the vehicle’s crew and modules. Furthermore, the turret of the ZSD-63 is open-topped, meaning its crew is somewhat exposed to enemy fire, especially to aircraft performing strafing runs. As a result, tankers will need to resort to making the most of the vehicle’s excellent mobility to change positions often and stay out of the enemy’s sights whenever possible.
The ZSD-63 is arriving to War Thunder ground forces as part of the upcoming update and will become available to all tankers at rank II of the Chinese ground tree. In the meantime, be sure to stay tuned to the news as we share more details on what players can expect with the next major update coming to the game in the near future. Until then, happy hunting tankers!
The War Thunder Team