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Armor: November 25, 1999
   
China has acquired the fire control system for the BMP-3 (including the technology needed to control the AT-12 Stabber cannon-launched laser-guided anti-tank missile) from Russia under an agreement signed two years ago. The Chinese appear to be trying to mount the AT-12 missile to their Type-69-II tanks.--Stephen V Cole

Turkey has found its first export customer for the amphibious 4x4 wheeled Otokar Cobra armored personnel carrier. The unspecified Asian country (thought to be the Philippines) has ordered a small number. The engine, transmission, and suspension is from the Humvee. The 6.3-ton vehicle mounts a 12.7mm machinegun in a turret on top. The armor is proof against 7.62mm bullets and shrapnel. It has two propellers for amphibious operations. The vehicle has a speed of 110km/hr and a maximum range of 500km. --Stephen V Cole

Australia has sent the two prototypes of its new Bushmaster armored personnel carrier to East Timor for operational use, calling it "an advanced trial" of the system. Production vehicles will not roll off the assembly line for two more years.--Stephen V Cole

Iran has begun series production of the Zulfiqar main battle tank. This tank has six road wheels; the chassis appears similar to the US M60 (which the Iranians have hundreds of). The Zulfiqar mounts the 125mm gun (with autoloader) from the T-72, along with a 7.62mm coaxial machinegun and a 12.7mm machinegun on top of the turret. The turret is slab-sided and looks more like the M1 or the Brazilian Engesa than anything else. Zulfiqar uses a 780hp Russian V-12 diesel engine with a maximum road speed of 65km/hr (40mph). Zulfiqar has a chemical-biological-nuclear defense system, a laser rangefinder, reinforced passive armor, and good cross-country mobility. --Stephen V Cole