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Type 85-III / Type 88C / Type 96

A variant, the Type 85-III with an upgraded 1,000 hp diesel engine was introduced in 1995. Though primarily designed for export, the Type 85-III was further developed following design finalization in 1997 into the Type 96 series. This tank was also sometimes referred to as Type 88C.

The Type 96 incorporated significant improvements over the Type 85, including significant improvements in the three key areas of MBT design: armor, mobility, and firepower. The turret and hull are of all-welded steel armour construction with an additional layer of modular composite armor over the frontal arc. The main armament is a 125mm smoothbore gun, fitted with a thermal sleeve and a fume extractor. Features include a stabilized turret, slaved targeting sight and gun, and an autoloading gun capable of firing APFSDS, HEAT, and HE-FRAG rounds. The gun is also capable of firing the 9M119 Refleks guided missile, though it was unclear whether the Type 96 had the necessary equipment to utilize this capability.

With the addition of reactive armor panels, an improved laser rangefinder, and increased mobility, the Type 96 was the most advanced Chinese main battle tank at the time of its introduction in 1997.

The Type 85-III main battle tank is the China North Industries Corporation recently introduced a new main battle tank. It inherited the domestic 85-IIM advantage of main battle tanks, while the protection, mobility and fire control systems, there has been considerable progress, more suitable for operations under conditions of modern warfare requirements. The Type 85-III main battle tanks installed a new power plant, combat weight 42.5 tons, the engine power of 735 kilowatts (1,000 hp). The unit power (tank engine power and tanks to weight ratio) The Type 80 tanks have been 14.1 kW / t up to 17.3 kilowatts / ton. The Type 85-III main battle tanks, this indicator is close to the German "Leopard" 2 (20 kW / t) and U.S. M1A1 (19.6 kW / t), and more than the British "Challenger" (14.4 kilowatts / ton ) and the Russian T-80 tanks (14.1 kilowatts / ton) must be high. Its maximum speed of 65 highway km / h. Transmission part of the tank also made major improvements, using a hydraulic control and planetary gear box, the operator the ability to further improvements. The driver can choose according to the different needs of automatic control, semi-automatic control or manual control three kinds of operation.

The Type 85-III main battle tanks use self-contained power unit for easy maintenance. On the battlefield, disassembly can be completed within 40 minutes. On the weapon equipped, the original 85-II main battle tanks, 105 mm rifled gun firepower change is more powerful 125 mm smoothbore gun. The gun is the world's largest active medium caliber artillery tanks, one conforms to the requirements of today's trends tanks. 85-III-type main battle tanks, 125 mm smoothbore gun capable of firing three types of ammunition: armor-piercing fin-stabilized, shaped charge warhead and anti-burst grenades. Projectile muzzle velocity of 1730 m / sec, firing speed 8 rounds / min. As a result of automatic loading machine, and thus the number of crew only three (car length, gunner, driver). Amount of ammunition carried by the domestic 85-II of the 40 rounds to 42 hair. 85-III main battle tanks supporting arms and a 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun and a 12.7mm machine gun.

Using stabilization-type fire control system, is the domestic 85-III main battle tanks is another feature of this advanced fire control system enables the tank firing on the move with the moving target capability, and has a high first round hit probability The reaction time is greatly shortened. Meanwhile, the tank also used for night fighting the second generation of night vision, so that the tank on the battlefield night fighting capability can be improved. The Type 85-III main battle tanks, low profile height of only 2,200 mm, compared with the German "Leopard" 2 (2,480 mm), the U.S. M1A1 (2,885 mm), Japan's 90-type (2, 300) of the body such as the tank is lower.

Removable tank body on both sides of the skirt; car is also equipped with a GPS global positioning system. Turret front and the front part can be mounted composite armor blocks. Can also add a reactive armor. Vehicle is equipped with three prevention and fire suppression system, will enable the tank after being hit by car in 60 milliseconds extinguish the flames, protect the occupants from harm. In addition, the turret on both sides with smoke launchers, but also through the fuel emissions to create a smokescreen. In addition, the tank can be converted into a command vehicle according to need and other variants.

Domestic tanks for Type 96 publicly reported first appeared in 1993 published "Ordnance Knowledge" was published model 85-2M. The tank is actually the Department by the export-oriented 85-2AP improvements comes occupied type. While the 85-2AP is in the second generation of main battle tanks - Type 88 improved on the basis, it is precisely because of this origin, type 96 are still in service at the beginning of the extension of the 88 family number, termed as 88C, renamed after the Type 96. Type 96 Type 88 retained the basic chassis, but increased the turret ring, dress up a new type of welded turret and stabilization-type fire control system, in front of the body and the installation of a new turret 683 composite armor, and In imitation from T-72 self-loading machines and 125 mm smoothbore gun replaced the 88-style on a 105 mm rifled gun. According to data recently published abroad, since the mid-1990s, the Chinese Army has fielded a 1200 Type 96 main battle tanks, equipment, second only to the number of troops has been half a century of 59 family, in each of Army equipment main battle tanks in the second.

As a type of tank evolved from the second generation, third generation tanks with some features of the "quasi-three generation" main battle tanks and Type 96 basic types firepower, protection, mobility equipment, the three properties and Russian Basic T-72C rather, the latest main battle tanks with the West, such as M-1A2, Leopard-2A6, etc. In comparison, in addition to artillery power, but in the fire control system performance, armor protection, mobility and night fighting capability and other aspects gap significantly.

The Chinese army can only open up a new path to achieve the modernization of armored forces, from the current trend, this responsibility has fallen on the Type 96 main battle tanks latest improved shoulder. On the national armed forces, the armed forces and enhance the combat effectiveness of the military reality always exists between supply irreconcilable contradictions faced serious aging military equipment and Type 99 troops in large quantities and can not reality, the use of the Type 99 mature technology to improve service for many years, Type 96 tanks to meet the number of troops needed facelift to become the Chinese army could make the most realistic choice.




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