Type 80/88 main battle tank

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Type 80
Type 80 with 105mm rifled gun
Type Main battle tank
Place of origin People's Republic of China
Service history
In service 1980 – 2005 (China)
Used by See Operators
Production history
Designed 1981 – 1987
Manufacturer First Inner Mongolia Machinery Factory
Variants Type 80/80-II
Type 85/85-I/85-II/IIA/IIM/AP
Type 88A/B/C
Weight 38-39.5 tonnes
Length 6.325 m (10.369m gun forward for Type 85-III)
Width 3.372 m
Height 2.29 m
Crew 4 (3 in Type 85-IIA/Type 88C)


Type 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
Engine 12150L-7BV diesel
730 hp (544 kW) [1]
Power/weight 18.5-19 hp/tonne
Transmission Mechanical, planetary
Suspension Torsion bar
430 km, 600 km with external fuel
Speed 57.25 km/h [2]

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 early 1980s China's primary MBT in service was the aging Type 59 which was obsolete compared to the Soviet T-62, T-64 and T-72 and other 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 along with 201 Institute, 447 Factory, and 616 Factory.[3] The only variant that went into PLA service was the Type 88 in the late 1980s.[4] The Type 88 was further developed into the Type 96 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 bowl-shaped 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] 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. The export Type 85IIAP was the first tank in its family to equip a 125mm smoothbore gun which was later equipped on the Type 88C/Type 96.


The Type 80 and 85 series were prototypes for export while the Type 88 series was for domestic use. The "II" designation is usually for export tanks (Except Type 85).[6][7]

Type 80[edit]

  • Type 80 - First Chinese second generation tank design. Prototype, none produced [4]
  • Type 80-II - Includes new NBC protection system and fire control systems.[4]

Type 85[edit]

Storm-1/Type 85-I. Prototype designation for export. Never mass-produced. Welded turret on Type 80 chassis.
Type 85-III variant with 125mm gun
  • Type 85-I - Prototype with Type 80-II chassis, welded turret and 105 mm rifled main gun. Also known as Storm-1(Chinese: "风暴"1). None sold.[5]
  • Type 85-II - Equipped with new locally produced 105mm gun.[8] Engine power upgraded from 730 horse power(HP) to 800. Also known as Storm-2(Chinese:"风暴"2). None sold.[5]
  • Type 85-IIA/Type 85-IIM - Prototype with Type 80-II’s chassis and the Type 85-II’s turret. Early versions had poor reliability.[9] Combat weight of 41 tons. Armed with 125mm gun with autoloader which reduced crew to 3.[6] Pakistan ordered several hundred Type 85-IIAP ("P" signifying Pakistan).[3]
  • Type 85-III - Prototype with 1000hp engine and the T-72's transmission system.[5] Included ERA panels.[9]

Type 88[edit]

  • Type 88 - Based on Type 80 design. Front storage racks on turret removed to fit explosive reactive armor (ERA) plates.
  • Type 88A - Improved 105mm rifled gun. Could be fitted with ERA plates.
  • Type 88B - Type 88A with a different smoke discharger configuration and JSFCS-212. [10] Used in a training unit in Beijing.
  • Type 88C - Domestic version of Type 85-IIM. [6] Also known as Type 96. 125mm smoothbore gun capable of firing ATGMs. JSFCS-212 fire control system with laser rangefinder, ballistics computer, stabilized gunner's sight and dual-axis gun stabilization. 889b radio with range of up to 30km.[11] Later upgraded to Type 96A standard.[6]


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

Current operators[edit]

See also[edit]

Tanks of similar era[edit]

Tanks of similar performance[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.people.com.cn/GB/junshi/192/8559/8563/20020716/777241.html
  2. ^ http://www.people.com.cn/GB/junshi/192/8559/8563/20020716/777241.html
  3. ^ a b c "Type 88 Main Battle Tank - SinoDefence.com". 2010-06-07. Archived from the original on June 7, 2010. Retrieved 2015-11-03. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Type 80". www.globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 2015-11-03. 
  5. ^ a b c d "中国坦克专家谈"外贸"坦克发展". www.huaxia.com. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Blasko, Dennis J. (2012). The Chinese army today : tradition and transformation for the 21st century. Abingdon, Oxford: Routledge. p. 152. ISBN 9780415783217. 
  7. ^ "Type 85 Main Battle Tank - SinoDefence.com". 2013-06-01. Archived from the original on June 1, 2013. Retrieved 2015-11-06. 
  8. ^ "Type 80". www.globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 2015-11-06. 
  9. ^ a b Worldwide Equipment Guide 1 (2011 ed.) Ground Systems. US Army TRADOC Intelligence Support Activity. pp. 5–45. 
  10. ^ "网友拍摄的北京郊外的88B坦克". wwbbs.tiexue.net. Retrieved 2017-04-21. 
  11. ^ "中国陆军88C式坦克". www.people.com.cn. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  12. ^ John Pike. "Pakistan Army Equipment". Globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 

External links[edit]