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Type 90 Main Battle Tank
Type 90-II/A/M Main Battle Tank
MBT-2000 Main Battle Tank

The existence of the Type 90 MBT was first revealed in late 1991. The Type 90 was an outgrowth of the Type 85 MBT design and weighed roughly 48 tons, had a 125 mm smooth bore gun and a crew of 3. The Type 90 demonstrated a conventional design with the driver's compartment in the front, the turret in the center, and the power pack in the rear. Type 90-II main battle tank is the Northern Company [NORINCO] design to meet the requirements of modern warfare and the development of a new tank. The tank focused on many of the world's most advanced main battle tank's main advantages, extensive use of high-tech and advanced production technology, and thus its use, superior performance, design, operation and maintenance simple.

The PLA concluded in the 1970s that a new main battle tank was needed to defend against a potential Soviet invasion that would have been backed by the T-72. China procured an unknown number of T-72s in the late 1970s and used knowledge gained from studying the T-72 to design its new MBT, using the hull design of the T-72 and 120mm smoothbore gun and advanced fire control system, both imported from the West. Sanctions following the Tiananmen Square Massacre blocked the sale of these items to China. The initial Type 90 apparently did not meet the PLA's performance expectations during trials in China, and subsequently a major effort was initiated to improve the design.

The Type 90-II demonstrated several design improvements in at least three areas of main battle tank design including armor, mobility, and fire-power. Type 90-II tanks relatively light weight (less than 48 tons), strong firepower, mobility, and the overall size of 7x3.4x2 m (L x W x H), the maximum road speed greater than 60 km / h, max. Highway travel greater than 400 km, the maximum gradeability 60%, more trench three meters wide and over a vertical wall height of 0.85 meters. Type 90-II easy maintenance, the power plant can be integral lifting, effectively shortening the major maintenance or repair work time.

The turret and hull were reported to be all-welded steel armor which also has an additional composite armor added over the frontal arc. The composite armor was reported to be modular allowing for easy removal in the event that a module was damaged or better armor became available. Tank protection on the front curved office get special enhanced turret front and slanted front deck wears a composite armor blocks. These can be quickly removed or installed, which is to meet the requirements and adapt to anti-tank threats. As the tank protection perfect tank has an anti-neutron liner layer and automatic fire and explosion suppression systems. In addition, the tank externally coated with a layer of anti-infrared paint. These new measures have greatly improved the tank's overall viability.

Type 90-II has a powerful 125 mm smoothbore gun, compact structure, superior performance, can be equipped with a variety of advanced shells, such as: APFSDS, HEAT and grenades, the former with a high muzzle velocity and armor penetration performance. This powerful weapon is subject to an advanced fire control system support, the system comprising stabilized ranging sights, fire control machine computer control control board, laser power meter (warning device), control box, stepper motor drive unit, horizontal wind sensors, angular rate sensors, and other auxiliary equipment. Can deal with day and night moving target, and the operation procedures are simple, and the reaction time is shortened, so that the tank's combat capability has been greatly improved. The main armament smooth bore 125 mm gun is fitted with a fume extractor and a thermal sleeve. The gun is fed by an automatic loader and can fire HEAT, HE-FRAG, and APFSDS. The gun is also capable of firing the 9M119 Refleks guided missile.

The turret has a sloping front with vertical sides with smoke grenade launchers mounted halfway along turret side, and a large stowage basket at rear. The 12.7 mm AA MG is on right side of turret roof, while the gunner's stabilized sights are on left, front of turret roof. The commander's stabilized, independant sight is on right front of turret roof. A 7.62 mm MG is coaxial with the 125 mm gun.

The computerized fire control system includes a stabilized rangefinder sight, computer, commander's control panel, passive thermal imaging, laser rangefinder, crosswind sensor, tilt sensor and angular velocity sensor. This allows the Type 90 MBT to engage moving targets under both day and night conditions.

The suspension has six large unevenly spaced road wheels, support rollers, idler front, drive sprocket rear. It was unclear what the power plant of the Type 90 was, as 4 powerplants were known to have been tested, including two supplied by the Perkins Engine Company, both comprising of a 1,200hp CV-12 Condor diesel (found on the Challenger 1 and 2 MBTs), coupled to a French SESM ESM 500 automatic transmission (as installed in the Leclerc MBT). The tank's mobility, by an eight-cylinder, four-stroke, water-cooled, turbocharged intercooled 1,200 horsepower diesel engine. The engine is characterized by high reliability, low fuel consumption, which in a hydraulic mechanical shift gearbox connections, there are four forward gears, 2 reverse. The tank's power to weight ratio (t hp) is 25 hp / ton.

In 1999 during the 50th anniversary military parade, the Chinese displayed a probable laser-based, anti-tank guided missile countermeasure on its Type 90-II tanks. Also displayed in 1999 were Type 98 tanks, a development of the Type 90 series. The design work done on the Type 90 directly led to the Type 98 and Type 99 tanks.

Pakistan was licenced to produce the Type 90-II under a contract signed in May 1990. The Pakistani model of the Chinese Type 90-II was also known as the MBT-2000 and was given the local name Al-Khalid. An improved variant of the MBT-2000, which also has a 14.5mm machine gun in place of the standard 12.7mm machine gun, as well as an improved armor suite, similar to those subsequently fitted to the Type 98/99 series of tanks, was revealed in 2007. The MBT-2000 was shorter in overall length suggesting a shift in general engine compartment arrangement

The Al Khalid was said to have been fitted with a Ukranian 6TD powerpack (also referred to as Type 90-IIM). This came after the initial plan to fit a 1,500 hp French diesel (also referred to as Type 90-IIA) was canceled because of French participation in the arms embargo following the Pakistani nuclear test.




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