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Type 99 Main Battle Tank
ZTZ-99 / WZ-123 / MBT-2000

Developed from technology developed in a number of Chinese MBTs, the Type 99 was originally mistaken as a continuation of the Type 98 series (sometimes referred to as Type 98G). The Type 99 is also referred to as ZTZ-99 or by the industrial designator WZ-123, the same used for the Type 98/ZTZ-98. There are evidently a number of variants of this tank, and the association of specific designators with specific configurations is not particularly robust.

The Type 99 was the most advanced Chinese MBT at the time of its introduction in 2001. The tank was generally similar to the pre-production Type 98, but with a variety of minor changes. The armor suit was slightly modified, with the armor on the front glacis being modified from the original configuration and Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA) blocks mounted on the front hull. The armor suite appeared to be modular, allowing individual elements to be replaced if damaged.

In 1999, the PRC National Day military parade on 50 years, domestic Type 99 main battle tanks were for the first time officially unveiled as China's first truly third generation main battle tank, the car's performance has been fully three and three generations of Western newest tank front counter. It must be noted is that the National Day military parade on the Type 99 can not be counted as a true sense of the batch production models - to participate in the parade Type 99 main battle tanks, and even the number of vehicles is insufficient to form a separate square, so must Type 96 with 8 to padded. In fact, Type 99 of the formal service time away in the shape of time, and so far only a small part of the focus of the Army equipped army.

Starting from an operational performance perspective, Type 99 is undoubtedly the best choice for Chinese armored forces. However, along with performance improvement comes is the high cost of the Chinese army, in the case of limited funds, is difficult to purchase a sufficient number of troops Type 99 tanks to achieve a comprehensive facelift. Meanwhile, Type 99 up to 50 tons combat weight also severely limits its water network in southern China, rice and other areas of combat use. Many factors together determine the Type 99 armored forces in China in the final status - ace, but it is not the protagonist.

The tank is visually similar to the Russian T-72 series, but is one meter longer. The Type 98's 1,200 hp diesel is replaced with a 1,500 hp diesel. The new diesel, like the Type 98's powerplant, is based on German technology, produced in China on a license from MTU.

The internal layout is very much like the T-72, with a crew of three and an autoloader for the 125mm smooth-bore main gun. The gun is also equipped to fire the 9M119 Refleks missile. The initial fire control components were still manually fed, despite Chinese programs to develop a more automated targetting system. The system did allow for the on the move targeting, and reportedly showed an 85 percent first hit probability during tests.

The Type 99 also incorporates the countermeasures system first seen on the Type 98. The system comprises a laser warning receiver (LWR) and an active laser self-defence weapon (LSDW). An active countermeasure, the laser would be used to attack the enemy weapon's optics and gunner. The LWR detects that the tank is being illuminated by an enemy range-finding or weapon-guidance laser, which results in a alert to the vehicle crew. The LSDW is then employed against the source of the enemy laser. While the primary purpose of the LSDW would be the impair the capability of the enemy's targeting equipment, engaging it against a vehicle periscope or weapon optic could also damage the eyesight of the enemy gunner. The position of the LSDW suggested that it could also be targeted at enemy helicopters.

The first 40 vehicles were delivered to the PLA in 2001, after extensive testing of the Type 98 during the 1990s. The vehicles were said to have had a prohibitively high production cost (estimated at 1.9 million USD in 1999), leading to limited procurement and deployment with elite armor formations. Estimates of how many vehicles were in service by 2008 ranged from 130 to 200, including an unknown number of Type 98s. It also appeared that because of the Type 99's cost that various technologies would be refitted to existing MBTs, including the Type 96 series.

The ZTZ99 (also known as Type 99, industrial designation WZ123) manufactured by China Northern Industries Group Corporation (CNGC) is the most advanced main battle tank (MBT) fielded by the PLA. First entering the PLA service in late 2001, the ZTZ99 provides a significant improvement in firepower, mobility, and protection compared to older Chinese-made tanks. As a high-end MBT, the ZTZ99 was only built in small numbers (~200) due to high unit price (~US$1.9 Million in 1999). These tanks were deployed by two elite armor regiments in Beijing and Shenyang Military Regions. Some of the ZTZ99s technologies have been used to upgrade the less expensive ZTZ96 MBT.

In February 2008, a variant, referred to as Type 99G or ZTZ-99G, with a possible independant thermal imager and a revised version of the electro-optical countermeasures system was displayed.

A number of tanks, referred to as ZTZ-99A, were seen at the parade to mark the PLAs 90th birthday on 30 July 2017. Unlike traditional Chinese tanks, the 99-style turret does not use the Soviet-style traditional oval-shaped turret, but uses welded structure of the Western-style turret. In the era of composite armor, the welding turret began to show advantages, because compared to the T-72 oval cast turret, welding turret favored large thickness, large angle of the composite armor module. The M1A2, leopard 2, Challengers and other Western third generations of tanks are precisely because the use of welding turret, established protection advantages over the T-72, T-80 tank.

The 99-type tank power system using WR703 / 150HB series diesel engine, this engine is from the German MTU company MB870 series V-type liquid-cooled diesel engine developed on the basis of the engine output power of 1200 horsepower. For 99 tanks over 50 tons of combat full weight, the engine can provide high maneuverability. The Type 99 tanks with a torsion spring suspension system, the maximum highway speed can reach 65 km / h, the maximum cross-country speed of 46 km / h, 0 to 32 km acceleration time of only 6 seconds, the maximum travel up to 450 km. Previously 80, 85 tank engine power was only about 750 horsepower, which is a huge leap.




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