The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW


Type 96 Main Battle Tank / ZTZ-96

By the end of 2015, the Chinese military had more than 7,000 tanks in active service, including about 2,000 Type-96s and Type-96As, as well as about 600 Type-99s and Type-99As, so the majority of the PLA armored force is still equipped with tanks made several decades ago.

Type 96 basic military equipment was the first using welded turret and modular armored main battle tanks, in its front part and the front turret (guns on both sides) were equipped with three 683 composite armor. This three composite armor modules are connected by means of bolts and can be quickly replaced when damaged armor pieces, with the use of a great deal of flexibility and the emergence of the new armored module for quick upgrades. According to "Contemporary China's weapons industry," a book about 683 composite armor system by the 52 and 617 plants and other units in the country's first self-developed composite armor - 681 composite armor based on the improvements made, using the "Special material + metal + nonmetal metal", "sandwich"-type structure, for fin-stabilized projectile and warhead has good defensive skills. By type of special armored equipment 683, Type 96 basic turret armor at 2000 meters distance on APFSDS protection capacity has reached 530 mm homogeneous steel armor level. This indicator with the Russian T-90 tanks (not equipped with reactive armor) considerably, exceeding Woguo Type 90 (520 mm), but significantly lower than the M-1A2 (700 mm). Taking into account Type 96 basic-and M-1A2 in fighting the whole weight of the gap (96 basic combat weight of 41 tons, while the M-1A2 reached a staggering 63 tons), so that the gap is also reasonable.

Production of the Type 96 tank continued through the mid-2000s, though the rate of increase seemed to have declined as US Department of Defense estimates became more static. Military Balance indicates that China had roughly 400 Type 96s in 2000, though this estimate may have been incorrect, or lacked confidence as IISS refused to give any individual system estimates in 2001. In 2002 The Military Balance indicated that the PLA had some 550 Type 88Cs and "some" Type 96s. The 2003 edition's stipulation that the PLA has 800 Type 96s may reflect IISS's realization that the two systems were actually the same tank.

The annual report on the Chinese military issued by the Department of Defense in 2002 stated that the total number of Type 96s deployed would reach 1,800 by 2005 but this estimate was decreased to 1,500 in 2003 report, without an explanation for the revision. By 2008 the PLA was reported to have between 1,200 and 1,500 Type 96 tanks. Production of the Type 96 tank reportedly ceased between 2005 and 2006, but production continued after that time of the improved Type 96G (also referred to as ZTZ-96G) variant.

Type 96B

China's military is likely to deploy the Type-96B tank as the pillar of its tank fleet, replacing most of its old models, observers said. Gao Zhuo, a military observer in Shanghai who has close contact with the People's Liberation Army, told China Daily August 10, 2016 that the excellent capabilities of the Type-96B qualify it to be the backbone of China's tank force. "The Type-96B is the strongest variant of the Type-96 family and is truly an advanced, third-generation main battle tank," he said. "The PLA will use it to replace the old tanks such as the Type-59 and Type-69 models."

His remarks came as the Type-96B delivered impressive performances in the ongoing Masters of Automobile and Tank Hardware competition, also known as the Tank Biathlon, at the Alabino training range in Moscow. The PLA sent several Type-96B tanks to take part in the tank competition, the most watched part of the Russia-hosted International Army Games. The eight-day individual part of the competition, which involved 54 teams from 17 countries, ended on 07 August 2016, with the Chinese delegation scoring the highest. All of the PLA's three teams were to compete in the semifinal that started on 09 August 2016.

Huang Guozhi, senior editor at Modern Weaponry magazine, said that despite the fact that Type-99 series tanks are more advanced, their high price and limited production capacity mean that it's unrealistic for the PLA to purchase and deploy them on a large scale. "Therefore, the Type-96B, with a better price and satisfactory capabilities, is very attractive to the Chinese and foreign militaries. It is the best option for the PLA to modernize its armored forces," he said.

According to an article posted by China North Industries Group Corp on its WeChat social media account, the Type-96B-compared with its predecessors in the Type-96 family-has a high-performance 125 mm smoothbore gun, an improved, more powerful engine, newly developed transmission gear and a state-of-the-art fire-control system. Yu Shuo, a tank researcher in Beijing, said the Type-96B is among the latest achievements by the nation's land arms industry. He suggested that too much emphasis should not be placed on the results of the Tank Biathlon, as the experience gained is more important to the PLA.

Type 96G

Unveiled in 2006, the Type 96G featured a revised turret armor suite, visually similar to that of the Type 98/99 tanks, and a passive countermeasures system, which appeared similar to the Russian Shtora-1, used for jamming SACLOS ant-tank missiles, laser rangefinders and target designators. A thermal imaging system is also fitted to the gunner's sight, not found on standard Type 96s.

Public information from Type 96G and Type 96 basic compared the installation of a new gunner thermal imaging night vision, with a new fire control system on the trans replaced the next trans-fire, and in the front hull and turret and Type 99G on the installation of a new domestic same reactive armor. After these improved Type 96G tanks, the fire performance and protection capabilities compared to Type 96 basic model has been noticeably improved. However, due to an increase in the fighting, while the whole weight of the power system is not upgraded accordingly, so that the tank's mobility has declined.

In the fire performance, Type 96G biggest highlight is equipped with a new type of thermal imager and upper gunner of trans-fire, as a highly cost-effective type of "quasi-three generations of" main battle tank, the Type 96 is the most criticized shortcomings night fighting capability seriously low, Type 96-in service at the beginning because there is no requirement to achieve practical thermal imaging night vision available, only the first level of equipment, technology is relatively mature night vision meet their urgent needs. If the daytime at war Type 96 also by virtue of the technology gap is relatively small trans stabilization under fire control system and powerful 125 mm main gun with M-1A2 barely a fight and then once into the night fighting, M- 1A2 is fully equipped with its discovery distance of 3000 meters on the maximum thermal imaging night vision distance of only 800 meters of the 96-type form irreversible overwhelming. Since the advent of Type 99, using its thermal imaging night vision equipment for the new Type 96 improved accordingly plan was put on the agenda, and eventually became a reality on the Type 96G, Type 96G night which means that the distance from the Type 96 warring style jumped 800 meters to 2000 meters elevation.

In addition to night fighting capability enhancement outside, Type 96G on new equipment, thermal imaging cameras also told us that another important information - Type 96G on the equipment is not on the original Type 96 under basic trans-fire control system, but the new on the trans-fire. I come to this conclusion is not groundless, tank fire control system for a little understanding of military buffs will know, under fire by its design principle of trans limitations, it is difficult to achieve and the normal thermal imager crosslinking. To make an expensive night vision real play, they must dress more advanced level of technology on the trans-fire, and this will also enable Type 96G in the reaction speed and shooting accuracy, especially the "move right move" When shooting accuracy to get a significant upgrade.

However, due to financial constraints, Type 96G and did not compare to the Type 99 and M-1A2 for the vehicle as long as the night vision equipment and observation capabilities and the latter two are compared, there are still some gaps. In fact, the current domestic tank fire control system in terms of the overall level of development, as Type 96G equipped with the latest fire control system has automatic tracking there is no obstacle. But the most important military equipment updates determinant never advanced level of technology or not, as the national security situation changes, the army's military assignment began full tilt to the Navy and Air Force, the Army limited funding must also do its utmost to maintain and enhance the combat effectiveness, so had to make a choice in equipment development. In such circumstances, the Type 96 is not equipped with a new type of "hunting F" fire control system, nor equipped independent car long weekends, as night vision, are also reasonable.

In protection, first point of concern is that Type 99 main battle tanks most characteristic protective equipment - installed in the turret at the top of the laser suppression system is not in Type 96G main battle tanks appeared on only one reasonable interpretation - the cost of the set of equipment is too expensive for economic considerations, Type 96G abandon the system. Because the system is not equipped with any active defense, Type 96G protection capability is completely dependent on their armor.

Type 96 basic compared with Type 96G in the shape of the body is the biggest change. The turret front and sides of the front and installation of a new type of reactive armor modules. According to NORINCO release reactive armor domestic foreign trade data, China's newly developed FY series reactive armor protection indicators in the main Russian military equipment has reached a "contact -5" reactive armor level, that armor-piercing fin-stabilized The protective capacity equivalent to 300 mm homogeneous steel armor. Through the installation of new reactive armor, just pay a certain weight consideration (tank combat weight increase of 3 tons) Type 96G anti-armor-piercing capability jumped a staggering 830 mm, and equipped with a "contact -5", T- 90 quite! According to United States, Germany and China in 1996, 1999 to the many years of live fire test results show that even when using the latest model of M829A2 U.S. depleted uranium penetrators type in the 1,500 m distance design, and can not effectively damage equipped with "contact -5 "type reactive armor T-72 tanks, and Type 96G of protection is still equipped with a" contact -5 "The T-72 on top! In a sense, it is precisely because of new domestic reaction gives Type 96G main battle tank armor unusually strong protection, just let our designers dare to abstain in Type 96G Type 99 equipped with the same laser repression system.

As for the performance of the three tanks another - mobility is currently no information to demonstrate that Type 96G in the power system has taken steps for improvement. So basically, the, Type 96G is still in use in the 88 and Type 96 series on basic equipment for many years 12150ZL type V-12 cylinder water-cooled diesel engine exhaust gas turbocharger, the engine rated power 537 kilowatts (730 hp), rated speed 2200 rpm / min. Type 96 series have also had friends in another modified - Domestic 85-3 main battle tanks equipped with over 1,000 horsepower diesel engine has an instance as the basis, presumably Type 96G is also equipped with a similar high-power diesel engines. Netizens is undoubtedly a good starting point, but not realistic.

Tank Engine is a multi-year China's military research and development bottleneck as though 85-3 and Type 96G series comes from the Type 96 basic improvements (ie, drawn on the Type 96G model engine equipped with no obvious technical barriers conclusion), but 85-3 is just a vehicle for the export of foreign trade market, according to China's tradition of military research work, trade equipment, equipment used in a variety of new trial was significantly greater than practical value. And in addition to blip 85-3, but it again did not see any equipment in the domestic main battle tank record of this type of engine.

This type of engine equipped with 12150ZL course a very sharp contrast is formed. According to official data, 12150ZL turbocharged diesel engine from 1973 started to develop in 1974 produced the first prototype car, has since gone through 13 years of development improvements, beginning in 1987 Report stereotypes, 1989 The model engine with its supporting models - together with the Type 88 main battle tanks officially fielded forces, from the date officially installed, this type of engine has served the army for 17 years. Force is a reflection of the model engine "rugged, reliable, rugged and durable, easy to maintain," there is the most important thing is this "easy maintenance" from the hands of the author information see, 12150ZL is through 12150L-7 type diesel engine based on the turbocharged technology developed from, and 12150L-7's predecessor is the Soviet B2-54A tanks diesel engine, which is made in China Type 59 tanks equipped with an engine type. This means that China's military-industrial sector in the development 12150ZL engine, it is already taken into account the maximum technical equipment succession, as much as possible the use of all available mature part, through this "small run" model of development , greatly reducing maintenance Force Logistics department Pressure - original used 12150L-7 maintenance equipment and spare parts used in 12150ZL majority are continuing, the military has been inadequate for troubled military purposes, such inheritance and consequent economy is extremely valuable.

The same idea is also reflected in the Type 96 basic improvement work, from the front, the Type 96G was chosen as first-line main equipment armored forces, the economic factor played a decisive role. Type 96G, and Type 96 carried out compared to all improvements - simplified thermal imager, the additional armor tanks are already in use on Type 99 years of proven technology. It is difficult to imagine that the military will not be considered in order to improve one of the most important indicators of motor performance, and equipped official service that has never been recorded in the new tank engine and the logistical support system has been forming never completely overturned , which has been completely contrary to the original intention of the transformation Type 96 - with the least money, to do most things.

Indeed, to Type 96G MBT 44 tons combat weight of about 730 hp engine power is indeed a bit smaller (unit power only 16.6 hp / t), which has broken the Russian T-90 tanks to create the third generation main battle tank of the engine unit power lowest recorded (T-90 engine rated 840 horsepower, combat weight 46.5 tons, the unit power 18 hp / ton). Unit power reduction is a direct result of tanks tactical mobility, especially acceleration performance decline, which is bound to Type 96G of practical use adversely affected. But for the urgent need to enhance the line of the Army armored combat purposes, this "two less harmful" option though reluctantly, but it is not totally unacceptable.

However, from the perspective of enhancing combat effectiveness, the Type 96 power system within its power to make some improvements, such as the car's steering mechanism planetary certain improvements to improve reliability and to increase the hydraulic booster tank driver devices to reduce the driver's physical exertion to play better operational effectiveness and military when conditions permit, consider Type 96G facelift suitable high-power engine.

The emergence of Type 96G army armored troops under realistic conditions with limited funds to improve the combat effectiveness provides a practical way. According to my estimates, Type 96G batch after serving army armored troops and equipment system is likely to adopt the following components: to equip a large number of 88A, 88B and 59 improved to maintain a large number of troops and equipment, while a small amount of Type 99 tanks to equip to maintain our military armored armored forces on neighboring countries technological advantage, and the best value for money will be large quantities of equipment Type 96G backbone of military frontline troops, military armored fighting force backbone.

In a sense, this improved overall system performance and fire protection capability of Type 96 main battle tanks large retrofit service, marking the long-standing Chinese army Selection of third-generation main battle tank battle off the dust fixed. Army fans have been given countless hopes Type Type 99 main battle tank is limited by the cost of expensive, only a small amount of equipment, some of the main army north. The Type 96G virtue of its good value for money and more flexible strategic mobility, and ultimately won the battle tigers.


The VT-1/VT-2 and VT-4 are export versions of the Type 90-IIM/MBT-2000 mixing features of the Al Khalid and Type 96A/G. VT-1 MBT is the new name for the "MBT-2000" [the old export designation for the same tank], originally called Type 90II at home. VT-1A MBT is a improved version of VT-1/MBT-2000.

The VT-2 MBT is the ZTZ-96A export version. It was reported that a modernized tank planned to establish a more powerful engine of 1000 hp But, apparently, the Chinese engineers for VT-2 managed to force an old 12150L7BW from 730 to 800 hp. The discussions that this tank may seem a 1500 hp motor, unfounded, because the suspension of the tank is at the limit of their own abilities.

Join the mailing list

One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger - by Matthew Yglesias

Page last modified: 17-08-2016 17:27:03 ZULU