Sudanese Future Soldier System

The Sudanese military have selected the Chinese QBZ-97 bullpup for their Future Soldier System. The Sudanese military have been using Chinese weapon for a while now and those including: Type 96 main battle tank, HJ-8 anti-tank missile, Type 56 and Type 81 rifles, CQ rifle (copy of the M16A1), QJZ-89 50-cal heavy machine gun, M99 50-cal sniper rifle and the QLZ-87 automatic grenade launcher. Sudan is also the main middle-man in trafficking Chinese arms into the Syrian Civil War.





Writer and gear editor with articles published in major gun publications. A five year combat veteran of the US Marine Corps, Tim is also part of Point & Shoot Media Works, a producer of photography, video and web media for the firearms and shooting sport industry. Tim’s direct contact: Tyan.TFB -at-


  • dp

    Treading outside of political considerations (e.g. alleged Syria connection) on technical end only, this makes sense. I would even go that far to say that this is way, how ‘poor’ country’s army should be equipped. Actually, reasonable quality with utter practicality makes always sense.

    • Otis

      What this really shows is the growing influence of china in Africa. The Chinese have been building infrastructure there for the past decade and now they’re grabbing military contracts. On the technical end it’s easy to see how Sudan would choose these weapon systems however it may have been a better bet to stick to some AKs and save the money to put towards ending their draught.

      • Phil Hsueh

        Then funny thing about that is that the Chinese do produce their own version of an AK as well, but I guess that Sudan wants to appear more militarily advanced than their neighbors which would be why they went with the Chinese bullpup. They probably would have been better off with a Chinese AK since I seem to recall that these Chinese bullpups didn’t do that well in the Chinese Army where it was intended as an AK replacement but I’ve heard/read that they’re sticking with their AK clones instead.

        • dp

          My understanding that a superior new design in form of QBZ-03 in conventional layout is taking priority in Chinese military. It is also my understanding that QBZ-97 was disappointing to some, so they phased in an alternative. The QBZ-03 is akin of SIG-550 rifles with Chinese flair. But, as you correctly pointed out, the AK related design (actually predecessor of 03model) are still probably in majority. From detailed description I have seen time ago it is NOT identical to Russian AK though.

          • LCON

            97 has it’s flaws. the Sudanese probably went to it as China is more willing to over look internal political issues then NATO, not to mention that the Sudan has a number of major Chinese investments. The PRC seems to be angling to be the big player in African finance and military development

          • Jobjed

            Incorrect, the QBZ-03 was developed solely for units that specialise in being inserted behind enemy lines i.e. paratroopers and marines. The rationale for this, according to an interview with a PLA officer, is that the rear and forward sights on the QBZ-03 are further apart and thus when lined up, is marginally more accurate than the QBZ-95. Paratroopers and marines generally lack armour support and thus, accuracy and marksmanship is valued above the compactness of the bullpup QBZ-95.
            The QBZ-95 is well-liked in terms of structure, especially the forward grip, but there are complaints as to the awkward positioning of the safety selector. The revised edition; the QBZ-95-1, re-positions the safety selector above the pistol grip but forsakes the forward grip to support an improved UBGL. Recent photos of PLAN marines serving aboard vessels conducting Somali anti-piracy operations indicate that the QBZ-95-1 has being introduced to some units and is being slowly introduced for the rest of the military.

          • LCON

            But this is not likely to be the QBZ95G it’s likely to be the 97 that means the older configuration with the flawed selector.
            95 has has complaints about the accessibility of the charging handle and height of the sights.

        • gallann

          In Australia the introduction of the Steyr Aug increased accuracy scores. But this was probably due to the integrated optic at the time.

          But there are plenty of good reasons why bullpups are better than traditional layout. Here’s a list
          – Easier entry and exit from vehicles.
          – Easier to shoot from inside vehicles.
          – Faster to point
          – Less tiring to point
          – Better in indoors fighting (faster, more maneuverable)
          The only downsides are shooting on the off shoulder is harder, but not impossible. And a non adjustable in length stock and no cheek riser. But this is no design fault of the bullpup format, just a difficult challenge. The VHS 2 rifle for example has both features.

      • SD3

        And yet, those boots/DCUs/body armor/helmets/molly gear look awfully familiar, don’t they? 😉

        • LCON

          bought off the shelf no doubt. every thing in this load out looks like it was imported.

      • dp

        You are right on money, Otis. Indeed, Chinese influence is considerable and growing in parts of Africa. It may be bit surprising to some (including myself), since Chines traditional view of black people is well know, but the reality on ground indicates to contrary. BTW, China and Brazil had substantial vested interest in Libya, before her takedown. Hard to avoid underlining facts…. better to face them.

        • bbmg

          If someone is handing over money or resources, it doesn’t matter what color the hand that is doing it is 🙂

        • Jammer

          Well the Chinese never enslaved Africans nor occupy African soil. Admiral Zheng He brought an entire armada to East Africa before European colonialism arrived there and left without any sort of violence or criminality. So who is and more notoriously racist?

  • gannnan

    This actually makes alot more sense than the bloated and too expensive future soldier systems of the west.
    Just use a commercial smartphone! (for gps/communication/monitoring/ballistic calculator/nightvision and anything else it’s just a computer)

    • bbmg

      When your life depends on it, a commercial smartphone simply isn’t enough. Many people don’t realize how much R&D effort and testing goes into verifying that an item like this will not fail at a critical moment even when it is subjected to the sort of abuse it would receive on the battlefield.

      • gallan

        Of course I was talking about rugged / militarized smartphones. What’s important is that it runs a security strengthened version of Android, that way apps can be quickly developed and improved by your average person.

        • bbmg

          Doesn’t that mean that the average person would then find it easier to hack into?

          • Rogier Velting

            Android IS based on the Linux kernel, and Linux incorporates NSA style encryption. So it shouldn’t be too bad if secured properly.

          • Steve Truffer

            Not necessarily. Barring manufacturer Stupidity (Looking at YOU, Mediatek), The source code is open, but becomes rather locked down after compiling and flashing to a Read Only Media partition. This makes unrooted access very limited. Closed Source Military ROM + QFuse Locked bootloader + unrooted + SELinux Enforced = Good luck with that.

          • FourString

            Actually, the secret service (?) is looking into Android for the POTUS’s next smartphone right now

          • bbmg

            He only uses it for taking “selfies” anyway 🙂

    • LCON

      the Latest Net Warrior is based on Off the Shelf Tablets and Smart Phones using a Specialized OS. The Israelis have also been working on military specific Tactical Tablets.

      • Azril @ Alex Vostox

        Cool! Can it play Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja?

        • LCON

          probably not but perhaps the next call of duty game

  • Azril @ Alex Vostox

    Did those ‘Future Sudan Soldier’ in the second picture just floating on the rock?? Either :-

    A) Sudanese finally managed to produced floating combat boot. An technology salvaged from mysterious DeLorean DMC-12 crashed in Hill Valley railway tracks many years ago..

    B) With the help of Lord Dracula, The Future Sudanese Soldier will walk without a shadow to maximize camouflage capability.


    • Rogier Velting

      Totally option A. NO DOUBT.

  • hami

    Im pretty sure those guys are photoshopped into that desert.

  • whodywei

    I hope they redesign the mag well and mag release of the rifle.

  • galland
    • Christopher

      It looks like somebody put a rails on a rifle made in the early 1990’s.

      • LCON

        May be a little earlier. If you look back at it QBZ 95 and 97 resemble the 1980’s Brazilian LAPA FA03

  • RealWorldIssues

    Sweet, new weapons systems to be used defending their country against tiriny. They’ll finally be able to massacre none Muslim citizens more efficiently!

    • iksnilol

      Yes, because the religion and not the government is the problem.

      • BOB

        … well yeah

  • Lance

    I don’t think it will replace the hordes of AKs its army uses since like many third world nation Sudan has so any units with different weapons in use. Think elite units may receive these weapons. As for tanks most Chinese tanks suck so I don’t see it be a major upgrade China’s new tank is a knock off of a T-72 anyway.

  • JumpIf NotZero

    Well, it’s clear the next call of duty or battlefield game will feature Sudan as an enemy 🙂

  • Mr Mxyzptlk

    Weird that they are wearing British Osprey Mark II body armour. I’m pretty sure that this was never sold to anyone else and it is now largely obsolete, so I’m thinking army surplus shop.

  • suchumski

    Waiting for the futur soldier of S-Sudan.

    • whodywei

      S-Sudan needs to focus on its future, not future soldiers.

      • john huscio

        Kinda hard to do that with the north constantly interfering with their internal matters..

  • Graham 1

    That’s some 1337 photoshop right there.

  • Ryan.

    So that chap is rocking Osprey body armour, odd.

  • kyle

    I think this article should be titled Chinese future soldier program modeled by Sudanese. I mean you know the hardware and likely software is made by the Chinese. So until the Sudan designs as well as manufactures its own rifles and supporting software systems it is not the “Sudanese future soldier program”.

    • LCON
      • kyle

        For its army yes for exports less so, Why do you think they export the type 97 in 5.56 and not 5.8mm. China keeps it latest and greatest tech for it self and exports its platforms in other calibers to other nations ( They like to do the reverse engineering rather than having it done on their own tech). hence the 5.8mm caliber staying in china as well as j20 aircraft and their 5.8 pistol caliber.

        • LCON

          Kyle I always thought that the PRC sells type 97 for the same reason it sells CQ Types and 9mm smgs and pistols in NATO spec, because the nations who are more likely to buy from them are not capable of manufacturing large amounts of there own bullets and are there for dependent upon imported ammo stocks making them favor existing standards rather then having to establish a new standard. I mean CQ types are M16/M4 clones but other then the occasional appearances in the hands of the PAP the PLA never used them. When the PLA adopted the QBZ95 they also introduced a LMG the Type88 and a DMR the QBU88 and later type 92 pistol and type 05 PDW right yet along side these we see them introduce NATO spec variants the Type 97 which even feeds from a AR magazine, a 5.56mm LMG, the KBU 97 9x19mm versions of the type 92 and the CLSL02 submachine gun which even uses MP5 magazines. For these systems I think the goal was and visibly as there are also alternative offerings from Norinco in military arms exports to nations who want NATO spec modern weapons.
          now as to the gear suite we see pictured the majority of the gear seems off the shelf, common boots, camo, body armor types. The electronics may be Chinese but I highly doubt the PRC would issue it in this configuration to any Chinese units. More likely if they did do the electronics they were done specifically for The Sudanese government. Hence why this is the Sudanese Future soldier system and not the Chinese Soldier System as my bet it that this system is based upon a much more simplified form with considerably less sophistication. Where as the PLA would for it’s future soldier demand and far more advanced technology base and mission set. Additionally if we look at the concept shown for the Sudanese model I think we should be saying ” there for the grace of god go I” as the standard set and laid out for there future is in fact based on the same set that we saw set by US in previous years in the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan.

          • kyle

            The Chinese do uses Cq m16 and m4 clones when they are abroad and competing with other countries in international competition or doing international black ops to hide their signature (5.8×42 cases on the ground would be a dead give away to activities). So some PRC units use them for that purpose only. Now as for NATO specific caliber reasons I doubt it I mean back in the 1990’s you could get a case of norinco 7.62×39 for 12 cents a round so I think nato standardization is less important when the chinese can make ammo that cheap. Also with how low cost chinese weapons are might as well get the all chinese package and get low cost chinese magazines as well. Also the Chinese 5.8 has better long range performance than the 5.56 (their claims you can youtube it). Now I think you are right they would not issue that system to the Chinese but they would export it to developing countries much like the ussr exported the SKS well before they exported AK’s when the FAL was widely exported by the west they upped the exported firepower. Just like if we were fielding hyper burst weapons the russians would be exporting AN-94’s. So obviously the chinese are keeping the best tech for them and likely exporting simpler lower cost system to african nations that are starting to recover from their civil wars during the 1990’s. Thus less likely to have money to throw at developing infrastructure let alone have the industrial capability to make night vision equipment. Just because the Chinese would not issue this does not mean they did not design and sell it. It could also be a streamlined western design but then again so is most chinese made airsoft replicas of western vest and armor.

            However for NATO spec. unless they are selling to NATO nations which the Sudan is not, that makes sense or for civilian markets but for military contracts It does not make sense. Since this gives them a chance to have their hardware tested by other nations and further show their influence in a region, as well as promote their caliber. However the Chinese are trying to protect their 5.8mm calibers from falling into the hands of other nations (especially the US and russia).

  • Lechurus

    I love that the brochure says: Shooting gun. As a bullet point.
    If he/she is a soldier I would hope they are equipped with a weapon capable of firing something. (haha)

  • Jobjed


    The interviewee, who is a PLA paratrooper, just repeated exactly what I said about the QBZ-03’s marginal improvement over the QBZ-95 in terms of accuracy in addition to other advantages.

  • T78

    Shouldn’t the brochure say Present Day Soldier? We been had this stuff years ago.