China’s OICW: Type 05 Strategy Rifle (ZH-05 5.8mm + 20mm)

Photos have appeared online showing a new combination rifle from China. Like the XM-29 OICW, it combines an assault rifle (chambered in China’s standard 5.8mm round) with a semi-automatic 20mm airburst grenade launcher. The below weapon appears to have be built upon a Type-03 rifle.

Another photo shows a different rifle with the rifle and grenade launcher in reverse positions:

Given China’s fondness for producing and equipping their troops with both bullpup and conventional rifles, I suspect one or both of these rifles are prototypes.

A Russian article about the system says (Translated using Google)…

At the heart of China’s kit is a new combined assault rifle, ZH-05. It represents-automatic grenade launcher similar to the XM-29 OICW. In developing the ZH-05 provides for the conjugation of the complex with the infantryman combat systems, in particular the presence of a data channel video information with an eye on the helmet-mounted display, a soldier or a commander.

Weight of the rifle is about 5 kg, slightly less than 6.1 kg Daewoo K11 and 6.8 kg of the American XM-29. ZH-2005 allows firing with two kinds of different caliber ammunition intended for use in primary and secondary weapons systems. In the primary weapon ammo is shot with a 20-mm air fragmentation grenade explosion. In the ammunition support weapons systems include standard cartridges 5.8 mm.

The measured range-finder range to the target displayed on sight and entered automatically into the fire control system to calculate corrections for the shooting conditions and determine the number of revolutions grenades on the trajectory. Programming grenades carried in the arms, at the stage of loading, and provides an introduction to the original data and amendments issued by the ballistic computer, to solve the problem of combining non-contact point with the contour of a grenade explosion goal.

Also in the equipment includes: protective clothing with the elements of moisture and plamezaschity and NBC protection, as well as personal body armor (the basis of this subsystem is to vest and unloading of the new modification, which is hinged on personal body armor, the so-called “e-vest” – system optoelectronics and other electronic equipment as part of a personal computer, communications, interface, human-machine, satellite navigation receiver, etc.; knapsack with a capacity for drinking water as well as spare magazines for assault rifles and hand grenades).

“Manpack electronic platform, which is the foundation,” heart “of the kit includes including those optoelectronic and radio equipment, are included in the e-vest.” Hardware platform is built on the digital interface and has an open architecture to include, as appropriate, and new or additional samples of electronic equipment.

Judging by the photos and reports from China, this complex “digital equipment” field trials will be accepted for service in late 2011 or early 2012.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Cobetco

    oh i see the Chinese are waisting there money on this stuff too.

  • It will be interesting to find out more, especially about the 20mm ammunition and its performance.

    With such a weapon, one of the elements has to be a bullpup since for packaging purposes you want one magazine in front of the pistol grip and one behind (assuming the use of conventional box magazines). Which needs to go where should depend on which element needs the longer barrel.

  • Well I like this Rifle and grenade launcher and its very helpful in wars

  • Spencer

    I think the most logical reason to China’s production of bullpup weaponry is because asians are generically smaller in physique and size, therefore bullpups are made to maximize engagement range out in the field

  • Martin

    So, who is this stolen from then?

  • Bandito762

    trigger discipline?

  • charles222

    They’ll figure out the same thing about 20mm that we did: too small to fragment effectively. Now, if they’re planning to use it as a lightweight antiarmor weapon against, say, pickups with machine guns on them, 20mm is nicely suitable for that.

  • Vitor

    Only 5kg? That is 4 pounds lighter than the XM29, congrats to the chinese IF they really managed to make it this light.

  • Mark

    Apparently they don’t train their troops to keep their booger pickers off the trigger until they are ready to fire.

    They’ll lose half their troops to NDs before they set foot on US soil.

  • nick

    I noticed the trigger discipline (or lack of) too!

  • JP

    I’m not sure if that last guy is actually soldier, most likely some guy from design team.

  • Lance

    I don’t see this replacing the Type-95 I think China invested too much into it. But possibly supplementing Type 95s in infantry squads possibly. And yes this is a Major waste of money none likes the bulky crap like this.

  • GE

    Direct copy of russian tactical gear with additional US interceptor carriers. + Trying to copy the land warrior systems with OICW’s. T03’s with 20mm airburst GL and still weighs less or equal to 5kg??! That’s a little too much of a stretch.

  • M, Norway

    Allright.. what’s up with the “they’ve wasted their money”-comments?

    About the weight:

    The south koreans have had major success with the K-11, weighing in at 6.8 kilo’s. If the chinese have managed to get the weight down to 5 kg’s, that would be a massive achievement(seing as a loaded M4 with bells and whistles weighs over 4 kg’s and a XM-25 weighs 6.35), and if I remember correctly, the OICW was dropped mainly because it was deemed to heavy.
    Well, If your lugging SAW/FN minimi, you are infact lugging around around 10.5-11 Kg’s. And the guys in theater seems to have no problems lugging that around.

    Too bulky:
    I’ll bring up the SAW again. The SAW isn’t any less bulky than a K-11, zh-05 or the XM-25(which he guys in the sand has done nothing but praise).

    My point to all this is:

    I don’t really see why this would be a waste of money. The airburst system has proven to be higly effective against infantry. And weapons like the K-11 or the Chinese ZH-03 are here to stay.

    IMHO, what it comes down to is prioritization of firepower vs. weight.
    The US millitary is higly weight-consious when it comes to standard issue AR’s, and I agree, you don’t need every soldier to have a 7-10k rifle.
    That would definitely be a bad allocation of resourses.
    But, the Koreans offer a good compromise/solution:
    Equip one man in each squad with it, and make it a separate MOS.
    That, or kick it up to the platoon level.

    Other thoughts?


  • Squidpuppy

    Here’s what I think this _really_ is: a nod to the South Korean deployment. The Chinese are saying: “Okay, just so you know? We could deploy these too, if we wanted to…” And here’s another thing, everyone knows they could make them faster, and in far vaster quantities than the SoKos, or even the US.

    Other than that, they’re using this as a technology development platform. They’d have to be quite daft not to be aware of the lessons learned from the US OICW program. The Chinese may be a lot of things, but they’re not daft. So build this first, then on to the next stage…

  • Seven-Six-Two

    Just like Land Warrior…tech nerds and designers love them because they have lots of potential, but at the end of the day the people who have to hump them across mountains will detest them because they weight so much. Still, if it is 5kg aka 11 Lbs, that’s VERY significant weight loss over similar K-11 and OICW systems. This might actually work.

  • Burst

    The words “paper tiger” spring to mind.

  • Lance

    Yeah GE got it. I wouldnt trust Chinese media. Just a few weeks ago they used scenes from Top Gun to be part of there J-20 new report. Their gear is crap but their human wave assaults can be respected. Ask a Korean war vet on that.

  • Hj

    The PLA ‘digital soldier’ project is going on for quite a few years now.
    Nice to see that another component of this system matured enough, to be offered for export.
    ZH-05 indicates that this weapon is already finished since 2005, and was in fieldtrials up to this day, which would also indicate, that the PLA is pretty satisfied with it.

  • @Hj

    “…which would also indicate, that the PLA is pretty satisfied with it.”

    But which version? With the 20mm magazine in front of the pistol grip or behind it?

  • Mark K.

    @Tony Williams

    The last image is floating through the web since 2005, I think.

  • charles222

    The Chinese also historically have quality-control problems everywhere; that’ll magnify the issues of getting actually working examples into the field.

  • Lance

    This gun isnt going anywhere since the Type 95 is the gun there useing and there not NOT useing the Type 03. South Kore may have had success with the OICW idea but every other country has wasted there money on this. The Fact is haveing a seaperate weapon for is better than a bulkey overweight combo gun ask men in Afghanistan armed with new M-25s.

  • MrSatyre

    Hype aside, and yea and nay-saying aside, I think everyone here would agree that thanks to a complete (or nearly so) lack of standards and corrupt oversight committees, Chinese consumer goods—for Chinese—are rife with cheap, toxic disposables which cause far more grief than they do praise or endearment. Again, For The Chinese. I would strongly suspect that most of the failures of the Chinese consumer goods manufacturing applies to their military manufacturing as well. Chinese firms rip off their domestic customers as much as they do their foreign ones, unless specifically targeted and regularly reviewed by their paying overseas clients. Cutting costs and lining pockets and bribing officials by cutting corners is the norm.

    I see absolutely no reason whatsoever to believe that China cannot reverse-engineer and copy anything we or our allies can develop, but once past that critical “one-off” stage…then what? Is there ANYONE here who can say with authority that the quality and tolerances of their MASS-produced weapons meet Western standards? That they are not?

    Sure, they can buy all the advanced Russian fighters and nuclear power stations and Boeing engine parts they want, and copy all of them. But how many will work as reliably as the original, or that precious first copy did? Put 1000 Type 05’s in the field and how many will actually function as intended?


  • subase

    The 5.56 rifle of this weapon is the ‘addon’ the actual weapon itself is the grenade launcher. Thing is with the AR design is that one can add conventional bullet firing capability for less than a kilo/2 pounds in weight. So you might as well do it.

  • Hj

    @Tony Williams

    Seeing that the exibition ad shows an conventional design, with the QBZ-03-styled 5.8mm rifle with a bullpup 20mm gun above, I would say that this one is the desired version of the PLA.

    Anyway. I expect that only the elite of the PLA (Airborne, Marines, Recon, SpecOps) will be equipped with this weapon and no more. For the rest, QLZ-87 single-man operatable 35mm AGL’s will be sufficient for squad based explosive support.

  • Mountainbear

    I don’t know. All this OICW stuff looks great on paper.

    But see, in Austria for example, the main fighting would happen in the Alps. That’s bad terrain, not useable for tanks or even trucks. Supplies are still run with horses (Gebirgsjäger here have a horse unit that does only that, they lug supplies on and over mountains, on goat trails or worse.)

    Combat there also deals with sub-zero temperatures and LOTS of snow. At times you essentially live IN the snow. Dugouts are holes in the snow. Positions are accessed by climbing up walls of rock or ice.

    I don’t see how a bulky thing like an OICW would be even remotely useful under such conditions. Where do I get my spare batteries from? And all the extra weight, I’d rather carry more ammo.

    It sure is nice in a controlled environment, let’s say some peace keeping nonsense. But I wouldn’t want to lug that thing into actual combat somewhere in the flipping mountains, or a desert, or a jungle.

  • subase

    I’m sure it does work in the cold, they have subzero temperatures in South Korea, Afghanistan and China. Mountain combat will be revolutionized too. They’ll see where you are with their thermal sight then explode a grenade over your head, game over. No need to worry though noones invading Austria anytime soon.

    China is militarizing itself to get back Taiwan, so the quicker and bloodless the military combat, the less interference they’ll get from foreign powers. This weapon is a infantry force multiplier, that reduces collateral damage as well as infrastructure damage. Perfect.

  • jdun1911

    M, Norway,

    It’s a waste of money because it does so little for so much resources. The 20mm and 25mm grenade pack little explosive. Basically you’re giving away a lot of fire power and mobility at squad level to use this weapon.

  • Lance

    Sorry Subase

    If they invade taiwan they will get Nuked. And the lose of US ships would galvanise the west to atack chinas forces. The Chinese lack training and combat experince which puts them at a BIG disadvatage.

    • Dave

      lol you’re just a keyboard warrior blabbering shit on the internet. Go join the army u bitch. China is developing missiles to take out US air carriers. And if US intervenes with Taiwan, China will nuke Taiwan. Have you been reading or have you been living in a cave? China now has 2000+ warheads targetting Taiwan you idiot. RussiaToday says that those warheads will destroy 90% of Taiwan’s infastructure. China will use those warheads if US makes a move to defend Taiwan. And if US nukes China, China will nuke back. The US president that orders the nuke will get assassinated because innocent american lives are gone just because of Taiwan. ROFL! Think Lance THINK!!!! And Read alot ok?

  • subase

    You mean the U.S will nuke China or Taiwan will nuke China? (Taiwan don’t have nuclear weapons to anyones knowledge) Both are ridiculous assertions.

    In anycase, I was just mentioning this weapons systems usefulness in that situation. It’s a precision weapon for combat against real infantry not IED planting and sniper/potshot shooting taliban. Far too expensive to be of any real combat advantage in Afghanistan combat conditions (where one rarely sees the enemy) But then again military cost cutting has never been a priority. (defense budgets only getting bigger) Maybe special forces will have more use for it, not sure in what manner, seeing as they operate primarily in covert operations.

    But it being in the hands of a conventional military infantry invasion force against a similar barricaded enemy, it would be very powerful indeed. (Which is exactly the situation South Korea and China vs Taiwan find themselves in)

  • jdun1911

    China does not have the capability to invade Taiwan. In order for China to be successful it needs a strong Navy which it does not have. Without a Navy any area that is held by China will be contested immediately by Taiwan troops. If you can’t get supplies to the invading army it will sooner rather than latter run out of fuel, ammo, and food.

    Airpower does cannot move enough supplies for the invasion.

  • John

    The US is not going to Nuke China over Taiwan, because China will NUKE back. I’m glad you’re not in charge of our nuclear arsenal.

  • Juuso

    There is already ovet 2 million taiwanese working in mainland. Why would mainlanders try to invade Taiwan? They will most likely join to PRC in some time future.

    I guess SK has proven that OICW concept might work when done right.

  • M, Norway

    I have to disagree with you there. You’re loss of mobility isn’tgoing to be that much of a problem, seeing as the zh-05 doesen’t really weigh alot.
    It’s actually significantly lighter than a LMG.
    and if you look at an AR like the HK416 with optics, vertgrip, taclight and an AGR 40 mm GL attached to it(As someofus in my unit does) well you’re allready looking at over 6.5 KG’s of metal to lug around, ammo not included.

    I guess if they came out with smart 40mm rounds, weapons like the K11/ZH05 would be a waste, but seeing that 40mm’s lack the capabillity to airburst, it’s safe to say that carrying a 4-7KG combined kinetic/Airburst platform might not be such a bad idea afterall.

    It’s not really that expensive either if you look at what an AR with ACOG optics, vertgrips, extra mags, AGR etc. totals too.

  • @M: “I guess if they came out with smart 40mm rounds, weapons like the K11/ZH05 would be a waste, but seeing that 40mm’s lack the capabillity to airburst,”

    Not true. Advanced airburst systems for low-velocity shoulder-fired 40mm grenade systems are available from at least three different manufacturers that I know of.

  • Lance

    @ Norway

    Sorry but you forget it might be light but its very very Bulkey and for small asian men too bulkey.

  • charles222

    Except that Chinese are closer to Europeans, size-wise; the average male height for people from Southern China is 5’4″-5’7″ (more typically Asian) but the average male height in Northern China is 5’1″-6’2″. In other words, there’s plenty of Chinese this wouldn’t be bulky for.

  • Lance

    Its not just hight its sature the Chinese are smaller in weight and build hight has nothing to do with this.

  • Juuso
  • fgt

    Right, this is the first time the ZH-05 has been seen outsides of that presentation poster back from 2009.

    But it doesnt indicate, that the weapon wasnt field tested earlier than that, as the “05” designation indicates.
    Anyway, in the newly released photos, it seems that the ZH-05 carried by those soldiers lack the 20mm magazine that is positioned behind the grip bullpup-styled. So, some dry testing I pressume, or testing out the fire-control and electro-optics without the air-burst grenades. Anyway, computerized optronics and rangefinders are still useful with the 5.8x42mm carbine…

    Also, those soldiers seem to wear new, more compact, MICH-styled helmets with the monocluar HMD mounts on it, that are different to the larger aramid fiber helmets regularily issued to the PLA. Maybe this is the new standard issue specially made for the PLA “digital soldiers”?