From its introduction in 1956, the Type 56/SKS remained the workhorse of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) for 30 years. In 1968, the army was briefly re-equipped with the unsuccessful Type 63 assault rifle , which had been intended to combine the sustained firepower of China's first AK-47 variant (confusingly called the " Type 56 assault rifle ") with the precise semi-automatic fire of the SKS/Type 56 carbine and replace both of those separate rifles. However, by the mid-1970s, all manner of problems were plaguing the unreliable Type 63 rifle. Troops clamored to be given back their carbines, which had been redistributed to local militia units, and the army staff abandoned the Type 63 and returned the Type 56 carbine (SKS) and Type 56 assault rifle (AK-47) back into service. The standard practice was for squad leaders and assistant squad leaders to carry an assault rifle and for most other soldiers to carry a carbine, so that a front-line infantry squad fielded two assault rifles, two light machine guns, and seven carbines.