PT-85, or M-1981 Shin'heung
North Korean light amphibious tank
By Massimo Tessitori
|Above: photo of an early PT-85 with
atop the turret. |
Note the lack of the IR projector on the turret, introduced on later production ones, and the lights disposed on the side plates
Above right: a PT-76 image from http://pl.uzbrojenie.wikia.com/wiki/PT-76.
Right: a scale drawing of PT-76 with measures.
Comparing PT-85 to the PT-76 shown aside, we see that the resemblance is vague, although the Korean light tank is clearly inspired to the Russian one that is still in service their army.
PT-85 has an higher turret, horseshoe-shaped, with an 85 mm gun and hatches similar to those of a T-54.
Not even the hull of PT-85 isn't a direct descendant from that of PT-76, although wheels and tracks seem identical, and this helps much to esteem its size.
The hull of PT-85 becomes wider over the fenders, has sloped sides, driver moved on the right, plates scomposed in different way etc.
|Another image of PT-85 aside a Chinese-built YW-531, also known as Type
The hull of PT-85 is clearly a derivative of the Chinese vehicle, but with deep differences: it is longer,with two road wheels added on each side, it seems wider too, it has its engine and driving wheel well on the rear instead of on the front, has idrojets as the PT-76.
|Image from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_63_(armoured_personnel_carrier)
|Two images of tanks in parade. Details of the right side and of the
rear can clearly be seen.
When compared to earlier examples, these tanks have a large IR projector on the turret, linked to the gun with a brace for elevation, as on T-55/62; the arrangement of lights on the hull has changed: now there are three lights on the right side of the front glacis (two black ones and one white), plus one on the left side plate; someimes some of these lights are omitted.
Note the absence of the AT-3 missile; it's unclear if this variant can be armed with that missile, and where could its launcher be installed.
|An image from the rear, showing the idrojet outlets on the rear
plate, covered by pivoting covers. The idrojet intakes on the hull sides
are only vaguely visible from this perspective due to the incliation of
6 spare links are visible on the rear part of the side plate.
Looking at the turret's rear, we see a circular hand grip and a u-shaped upport plate for something.
|A partial image of the left side. This tank looks to have two lights on the frontal glacis, plus one on the left side plate.|
|Interesting image from above-front.
The tank is camouflaged, apparently with sand bands over the olive green background.
Although of poor quality, the image allows to see interesting details, as:
the cylindrical protrusion on the rear-left side of the turret to lodge the tank commander's cupola, apparently similar to that of T-62;
the arrangement of the tools on the left side of the hull;
interesting markings, perhaps representing a red parachute;
two lights on the frontal glacis, and none on the side plate.
|Some screenshots of PT-85s from a movie, probably related to the parade
Despite the poor quality of the images, it shows some interesting details:
the shape of the turret, clearly not fully circular, but horseshoe shaped;
only one white light under the guard on the frontal plate, plus one on the left side plate;
3 track links are located over the light guard;
the inscription is painted on the downed wave shield;
some details of the engine deck are vaguely visible.
|A night image of tanks on parade, probably in 2015. The front lights are definitely 3 on the right side (of which two are IR) and one on the left side.|