Type 79 Main Battle Tank
Type 69-III Main Battle Tank
The Type 79 was a main battle tank developed in 1982 from the Type 69-II tank and initially designated as Type 69-III. Recognition features and vehicle characteristics for the Type 79 were similar to some of the features on Type 59-II, Type 69-II, and Type 80 tanks. The Type 79 chassis was similar to the Type 59 and Type 69 tanks and weighed 37.5 tons compared to the 36 tons on the Type 59. The Type 79 had a maximum road speed of 50 kilometers per hour. The Type 79 also had towing eyes under the nose of the tank, headlamp arrangements similar to the Type 80 tank, a turret with a large rectangular window forward of the commander's cupola that could be an internally-mounted laser rangefinder, and a bank of 4 electrically-operated smoke dischargers mounted on each side of the turret. The turret differed slightly from the designs used on the Type 59 and Type 69 tanks, but incorporated many of the same features, especially when compared to the Type 69-II. The Type 79 also had a metal stowage box mounted to the rear of the smoke dischargers that likely housed additional grenades, only slight differences in the rear of the hull compared to the Type 59 and Type 69 suggesting a similar engine arrangement, 5 removable skirts on the upper suspension like on the Type 69, new tracks with removable rubber pads replacing the more normal all-steel tracks fitted to other Chinese tanks, and night vision equipment for the commander, gunner, and driver.
The Type 79 had both primary and and secondary armament like its predecessors. The Type 79's main armament was a 105mm rifled tank gun that was provided with a fume extractor and a thermal sleeve, as on the Type 59-II tank. Type 79's secondary armament consisted of a 12.7mm machine gun mounted on the loader's cupola for local and anti-aircraft defense and a 7.62mm machine gun mounted coaxially with the main armament. The vehicle also featured an automatic fire suppression system, a fire control system, a second generation night vision observation devices, and VRC-8000-type vehicle radio and VIC-1 internal intercom. The vehicle's performance was said to be similar to that of the Type 69-II.
Later production Type 79 tanks featured improved fire control systems, including the introduction of a thermal imager and an electro-hydraulic hybrid 2-axis gun stabilizer. These vehicles were also fitted with an expanded bustle rack similar to that found on the Type 69-II.
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