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April 20, 2014

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China says bigger soldiers causing cramped tanks

Updated Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014 | 4:46 a.m.

BEIJING (AP) — China's military says its average soldier has grown taller and wider over the past two decades, leading to cramped tanks and other equipment problems.

The official People's Liberation Army Daily newspaper said Tuesday that a survey of 20,000 troops begun in 2009 showed them to be an average of 2 centimeters (about three-quarters of an inch) taller and 5 centimeters (about 2 inches) bigger around the waist.

It said that was causing discomfort when soldiers tried to squeeze into tanks designed 30 years ago for troops of considerably smaller size. It said rifle barrels were also relatively short for the taller soldiers, leading to accuracy problems.

It said adjustments would be made, with 28 body measurements taken into consideration when designing new firearms and other equipment.