Type 80/88 main battle tank

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Type 80
Chinese Type 80-ІІ Tank.jpg
Type 80 with 105mm rifled gun
TypeMain battle tank
Place of originPeople's Republic of China
Service history
In service1980–2005 (China)
Used bySee Operators
Production history
Designed1970s (Type 80)
1981–1987 (Type 88)
ManufacturerFirst Inner Mongolia Machinery Factory
VariantsType 80/80-II
Type 85/85-I/85-II/IIA/IIM/AP
Type 88A/B/C
Mass38–39.5 tonnes
Length6.325 m (10.369m gun forward for Type 85-III)
Width3.372 m
Height2.29 m
Crew4 (3 in Type 85-IIA/Type 88C)

ArmorType 80: Cast Steel Turret Type 85II/Type 88: Welded Steel/Composite Armor Turret. May be fitted with Explosive Reactive Armor
Type 80/85: 105mm Type 83 or 83-I rifled gun Type 85IIA/Type 88C: 125mm smoothbore gun
7.62 mm coaxial machine gun
12.7 mm air-defence machine gun
EngineDiesel (Type 88C)[1]
730 hp (544 kW) (Type 88C)[1]
400 km (Type 88C)[1]
Maximum speed 57.25 km/h (Type 88C)[1]

The Type 80 (Chinese: 80式; pinyin: Bālíng Shì) and the Type 88 (Chinese: 88式; pinyin: Bābā shì) are a family of Chinese second-generation main battle tanks (MBTs). They are also known as the ZTZ80 and ZTZ88.


In the 1970s China's primary MBT in service was the Type 59, a copy of the T-54 tank which was obsolete compared to contemporary Soviet and Western designs. The People's Liberation Army (PLA) thus requested new tanks that could match Russian designs, which led to the development of the Type 69 tank that incorporated some technologies from a captured Soviet T-62 tank. However the Type 69 failed to satisfy PLA requirements and was only an export success that saw limited domestic service.

Further tank development commenced which led to the WZ122, Type 80 and Type 90 prototypes. The Type 80 began development in 1980 under 617 Factory with 201 Institute, 447 Factory, and 616 Factory.[2][self-published source] None of the prototypes entered service.

A brand new tank was designed for export based on the Type 80 chassis. It was named the Type 85 and marketed as the "Storm". However, the Storm series of tanks failed to gather interest among potential buyers. From the Type 85-IIA onwards, the tank featured an expanded, angular turret with a copy of the T-72's 125mm gun with autoloader. The Type 85-IIM variant eventually caught the interest of the Pakistani government and was exported under the designation Type 85-IIAP.

The Type 85-III was renamed the Type 88C for domestic production.[3][self-published source] The Type 88C was renamed as the Type 96 and upgraded in the 1990s.


The Type 80 inherited the design philosophy of the Type 69/79 which combined a Soviet style chassis and turret with Western technology. Like the Type 69 series, the initial Type 80 design possessed a hemispherical turret similar to the T-54/55. Another similarity was that the driver sat in the left forward section of the hull.[4] However, the Type 80 used a local copy of the NATO 105mm rifled gun instead of the Soviet 100mm rifled gun. It was also the first Chinese design to be observed using a system of six road wheels and three support rollers.[4][self-published source] The first Chinese tanks to incorporate applique composite armor were later variants of the Type 80 family.[5]

The Type 85-I (Storm-1) series had a new welded turret design that was angular instead of the familiar bowl-shape. The Type 85IIAP/M was the first tank in the series to be equipped with a 125mm smoothbore gun.


The "M" in the designation represents a variant primarily intended for export.[6]

Type 80[edit]

Type 80

First Chinese second generation tank design.[7] Uses an older-style round steel cast turret with new chassis.[7][8] Four-man crew.[9] Export version of Type 88.[8]

Type 80-I

Export version. Distinguished from Type 80-II by type of 105 mm. gun mounted.[8]

Type 80-II

Export version. Distinguished from Type 80-I by type of 105 mm. gun mounted.[8]

Type 88[edit]

Type 88

Domestic version of Type 80. Uses an older-style round steel cast turret with new chassis.[7] Domestic version of Type 80.[8]

Type 88A

Domestic version of Type 80-I. Export version. Distinguished from Type 88B by type of 105 mm. gun mounted.[8]

Type 88B

Domestic version of Type 80-II. Distinguished from Type 88A by type of 105 mm. gun mounted.[8]

Type 88C

Domestic version of Type 85-III. Uses an angular welded turret.[10] Armed with a 125 mm. smoothbore gun with an autoloader.[11] Equipped with JSFCS-212 fire control system (FCS) (with laser rangefinder, ballistics computer, stabilized gunner's sight and dual-axis gun stabilization), and Type 889B radio with range of up to 30 km.[1] Later renamed to Type 96.[10][11]

Type 85[edit]

Type 85

Type 80/88 chassis with welded turret.[7][11]

Type 85-I[11]

Type 85-II[11]

Type 85-IIM

Armed with a 125 mm. smoothbore gun with an autoloader.[10][11] Three-man crew.[12] Export designation to Pakistan may be Type 85-IIA[10] or Type 85-IIAP.[11]

Type 85-III

Upgrade for the Type 85 with 1000 hp engine, explosive reactive armour, improved FCS, and thermal night sight.[10]


Map of Type 88-85 operators in blue with former operators in red


300 Type 88A/B as of 2018[13]


275+ Type 85 as of 2018[14]


10 Type 85-II-M (local designation Al-Bashir) as of 2018[15]


~5 Type 85-II-M received in 2008[16][17][18]

See also[edit]

Tanks of similar era[edit]

Tanks of similar performance[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "中国陆军88C式坦克". www.people.com.cn. 16 July 2002. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  2. ^ "Type 88 Main Battle Tank - SinoDefence.com". 2010-06-07. Archived from the original on June 7, 2010. Retrieved 2015-11-03.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
  3. ^ Pike, John. "Type 85-III / Type 88C". www.globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 2017-08-06.
  4. ^ a b "Type 80". www.globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 2015-11-03.
  5. ^ "中国坦克专家谈"外贸"坦克发展". www.huaxia.com. Retrieved 2015-11-07.
  6. ^ Blasko: page 123
  7. ^ a b c d US Army TRADOC Intelligence Support Activity: page 5-39
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Blasko: page 124-125
  9. ^ Foss: page 16
  10. ^ a b c d e US Army TRADOC Intelligence Support Activity: page 5-40
  11. ^ a b c d e f g Blasko: page 125
  12. ^ Foss: page 14
  13. ^ International Institute for Strategic Studies: The Military Balance 2018, p. 251.
  14. ^ International Institute for Strategic Studies: The Military Balance 2018, p. 292.
  15. ^ International Institute for Strategic Studies: The Military Balance 2018, p. 489.
  16. ^ "Trade Registers". Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Retrieved 22 April 2019.
  17. ^ Binnie, Jeremy; Cranny-Evans, Samuel (27 July 2017). "Ugandan president reveals T-90 and Chinese tanks". IHS Jane's 360. Archived from the original on 27 July 2017. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
  18. ^ International Institute for Strategic Studies: The Military Balance 2018, p. 493.