Type 99 tank

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Type 99
ZTZ-99A MBT 20170716.jpg
Type 99A tank at Theme Exhibition of the 90th Anniversary of Chinese People's Liberation Army.
TypeMain battle tank
Place of originChina
Service history
In service2001 (Type 99)
2011–present (Type 99A)
Used bySee Operators
Production history
Produced1998–2001 (Type 98)
2001–2011 (Type 99)
2007–present (Type 99A)
No. built890[1]
Mass54 tonnes (type 99), 58 tonnes (Type 99A)
LengthHull: 7 metres (23 ft)[2]
WidthHull: 3.7 metres (12 ft)[2]
HeightHull: 2.35 metres (7.7 ft)[2]

Anticipated to be welded turret with applique and modular composite/reactive armor
125 mm ZPT-98 smoothbore gun
Type 85 heavy machine gun[3]
Type 59 7.62 millimetres (0.300 in) coaxial machine gun[3]
Engine1500HB liquid-cooled V12 twin-turbo diesel 33.9 litre
1,500 hp (1,119 kW)
Power/weight27.78 hp/tonne
SuspensionTorsion bar suspension
600 kilometres (370 mi)–800 kilometres (500 mi)[2]
Maximum speed Road: 80 kilometres per hour (50 mph)
(Type 99A) Off-road: 60 kilometres per hour (37 mph)

The Type 99 MBT (Chinese: 99式主战坦克; pinyin: Jiǔjiǔshì Zhǔzhàn Tǎnkè) or ZTZ-99 is a Chinese third generation main battle tank (MBT).[4] The vehicle was a replacement for the aging Type 88 introduced in the late 1980s. The Type 99 MBT was China's first mass-produced third generation main battle tank. Combining modular composite armour and tandem-charge defeating ERA, 125 mm smoothbore gun with ATGM-capability, high mobility, digital systems and optics, the Type 99 represents a shift towards rapid modernisation by the PLA.

The tank entered People's Liberation Army (PLA) service in 2001.[4] The People's Liberation Army Ground Force (PLAGF) is the sole operator of the Type 99. Three main versions of the Type 99 have been deployed, the Type 98 prototype, Type 99 and the Type 99A.[5] The Type 99's deployment has been lessened due to its high cost, with the Type 96 tank seeing service as the primary main battle tank of the PLA.[citation needed]


The development of China's domestic third generation MBT was started in 1989, under China's eighth five-year plan. In the early 1990s China produced one of its second generation prototypes, the Type 90-II series. The Type 90-II was designed by studying the T-72 tank.[6] The chassis was to be based on the T-72's hull but with Chinese subsystems.[7] The Type 90-II had a 125mm smoothbore cannon with an autoloader, modular composite armor and a centered driver position.[6][8] While the Type 90-II series ultimately did not enter PLA service, it saw success as an export tank and was built under license in Pakistan as the Al-Khalid.[6][9][10]

The Type 98 or WZ-123 was China's domestic Type 90-II derivative.[6] It was first seen in rehearsals for the 1999 National Day parade and was officially revealed on 1 October 1999.[11][12][13][14]

An improved version was shortly produced and was named the Type 98G or Type 99.[7]

An updated Type 99 model was officially introduced at the 2015 Victory Day Parade as the Type 99A.[15][16] This variant had previously been used by PLA troops during the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) military exercises in 2014.[17]


By 2008, 200 Type 98 and Type 99 tanks may have been deployed to the Beijing and Shenyang Military Regions.[18] The Type 99 has seen less deployment than other tanks in PLA service due to cost factors.[8][19] The Type 96 is instead the primary main battle tank of the PLA and has been built in far higher numbers than the Type 99. This is similar to the relationship between the Soviet T-64 and T-72, with the former only being supplied to elite tank units while the latter was the frontline MBT of the Soviet Army.[citation needed]



The main armament is a 2-plane stabilized 125 mm smoothbore gun with a carousel-style autoloader. The gun may be fired under computerized or manual control. The tank can carry 42 rounds including 22 in the autoloader. The rate of fire is 8 rounds per minute using the autoloader, and 2 rounds per minute with manual loading.[20] The Type 99A mounts an improved 125 mm gun.[21]

The 125 mm gun of the Type 99 is capable of firing APFSDS-T, HEAT, Frag-HE-T, and gun-launched anti-tank missiles (ATGM). The gun may fire a range of Chinese, Russian, and ex-Warsaw Pact ammunition. The Type 99 can fire tandem shaped charged ATGMs similar to the Russian Invar with a range of up to 5 kilometres.[20] In 1998 the 9M119 ATGMs were approved for domestic licensed production by Russia.

The APFSDS ammunition is estimated to be able to penetrate 700 mm of RHA (Rolled Homogeneous Armor) at 1000 meters and at least 600~500 mm of RHA at 2000 meters. The HEAT ammunition is estimated to penetrate 500 mm of armor. The missile has a range of 5000 meters during daylight and a range of 4000 meters during night operation. [22]

Secondary armament consists of a 12.7 mm machine gun on the commander's cupola and a coaxial 7.62 mm MG. The 12.7 mm machine gun has an elevation of -4 to 75 degrees.[2]

Fire control[edit]

The Type 99 has hunter-killer capabilities, operating an ISFCS-212 fire control system with an IR automatic target tracker.[20] It is capable of firing on the move with a stabilized gunner's thermal sight and laser range finder. The gunner has a maximum target acquisition range of 5 kilometres.[20] The gunner's thermal sight has optical magnification at 5x and 11.4x.[7]

The Type 99A MBT is equipped with the improved 1A45T Fire Control System (which includes a new thermal imaging scope, ballistic computer and weather measurement sensors) thus improving ballistic trajectory under adverse conditions. The commander also has an independent panoramic sight with laser range-finding function that can rotate 360 degrees. Both the gunner and commander sight is fully stabilized and capable of day/night operations.[2]

The tank is fitted with data-link, global positioning system and other form of communication devices along with an inertial navigation system as well as a battle management system used in conjunction with the data-link and communication systems to coordinate combat with other forces such as aircraft and infantry.[2][22]


Type 99 MBT driver's position

The tank's welded turret is of an angular design with spaced modular armor and composite panels.[8][20] The frontal protection is comparable to the M1 Abrams.[20] Applique armor consists of modular armor mentioned above and track skirts. The Type 99A may mount 3rd generation (Relikt-type) ERA that provides protection against tandem-charge warheads.[21] It has a nuclear-biological-chemical protection system[3] as well as fire detection and suppression system. The storage baskets on the turret sides and rear are buffer spaces, and are protected by ERA.[2] The tank is also equipped with an active protection system.[22]


Type 99A's driver position

The driver sits in the center front of the hull. The latest Type 99A shows the driver's hatch in the center left of the hull. The suspension system consists of six rubber tired road wheels on each side with power sprocket at the rear. The first, second and sixth road wheels are fitted with special hydraulic shock-buffer.[2] The Type 99A tank is powered by a 1500 hp diesel engine giving it a power-to-weight ratio of about 27.78 hp/ton. The original Type 99 had a manual transmission but later Type 99 variants have a semi-automatic transmission with six forward gears and one reverse gear.[7][16][23] The maximum road and off-road speeds are 80 km/h and 60 km/h respectively. The cruising range is 500 km.[3]

The tank can be equipped with a snorkel for deep fording. With the deep fording kit, the Type 99A can cross waters up to 4.5 meters in depth.[2]


The tank is equipped with a laser dazzler countermeasure with a range of five kilometres, a laser warning receiver, and twelve 81-mm smoke grenade launchers.[24][3]

The Type 99A is equipped with the JD-3 infra-red jammer that is located at the base of the barrel. The jammer is able to interfere anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM) utilizing SACLOS such as the MILAN.[2]


Type 98 tank prototype (9910) at the 1999 National Day parade.

Type 98 prototype[edit]

Also known as the WZ-123.[4] The early pre-production (small batch production) prototype was called Project 9910. Features included composite armor panels and a 1200 hp diesel engine.[3] 1st generation ERA may have been an option.[21] The armor layout of the early pre-production prototype may have been similar to the T-80U and T-80UK.[13]

Type 99[edit]

Type 99 front right view. Note the distinct wedged shaped turret and applique armor panels on turret front and sides

Also known as the Type 99G and Type 99A1.[4] Upgradable from small batch production prototype. The wedged shaped turret and applique armor panels on turret front and sides. Upgraded to third generation ERA and second generation thermal sight. Has a semi-automatic transmission.[16][23]

Type 99A[edit]

Type 99A tank

Improved Type 99. In 2003, the 99A model was developed. Prototype testing was underway by August 2007[25] and believed to be the standard deployed Type 99 variant in 2011. The position of the driver's hatch was moved from the centre left to the centre right of the hull. The improved main gun carries Invar-type ATGM. It mounts 3rd generation ERA, and an active protection system.[21] The tank has a new turret with "arrow shaped" applique armor.[8] The larger turret has improved armour and a commander's periscope, and the tank has an integrated propulsion system.[12] 1200 hp engine replaced by 1500 hp engine. The tank also features laser warning receiver.[21]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b International Institute for Strategic Studies (2017). The Military Balance 2017. Routledge. p. 280. ISBN 978-1857439007.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "TYPE 99A A2 ZTZ-99A MBT MAIN BATTLE TANK". armyrecognition. Archived from the original on 2018-04-11. Retrieved 2018-04-10.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g US Army TRADOC Intelligence Support Activity (2011:5-45)
  4. ^ a b c d US Army TRADOC Intelligence Support Activity (2011:5-40)
  5. ^ "Type 99A2 Main Battle Tank". globalsecurity.org. Archived from the original on 30 May 2017. Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d "Type 90 Main Battle Tank". www.globalsecurity.org. Archived from the original on 2015-09-21. Retrieved 2015-11-10.
  7. ^ a b c d Foss, Christopher F (2006). Jane's Armour and Artillery 2006-2007. Janes Information Group. ISBN 978-0710627476.
  8. ^ a b c d Blasko, Dennis J. (2012). The Chinese army today : tradition and transformation for the 21st century. Abingdon, Oxford: Routledge. p. 153. ISBN 9780415783217.
  9. ^ "Al Khalid MBT-2000 / Type 2000 Main Battle Tank". www.globalsecurity.org. Archived from the original on 2013-11-04. Retrieved 2015-11-10.
  10. ^ "MBT-2000 / Type 2000 Main Battle Tank". fas.org. Archived from the original on 2015-12-08. Retrieved 2015-11-11.
  11. ^ "Type 99 Main Battle Tank". globalsecurity.org. 7 June 2015. Archived from the original on 12 September 2015. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  12. ^ a b "ZTZ99 Main Battle Tank, China". army-technology.com. Archived from the original on 1 September 2015. Retrieved 16 August 2015.[unreliable source?]
  13. ^ a b "Type 98 Main Battle Tank". globalsecurity.org. 7 June 2015. Archived from the original on 10 September 2015. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  14. ^ "中国T-98式主战坦克". www.people.com.cn. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-11-10.
  15. ^ "庆祝抗战胜利70周年9.3阅兵完整版(国家领导+大阅兵)". Youtube. CCTV News Official Channel. Sep 3, 2015. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  16. ^ a b c Zhang, Tao (2 September 2015). "ZTZ-99A Tank, China's King of Land Battle". China Military Online. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  17. ^ "Update: China showcases new weapon systems at 3 September parade - IHS Jane's 360". www.janes.com. Archived from the original on 2015-10-13. Retrieved 2015-11-10.
  18. ^ United States Office of the Secretary of Defense (2008). Military Power of the People’s Republic of China (PDF) (Report). p. 5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 February 2010. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  19. ^ "ZT-Z99 Main Battle Tank". Army Technology. Archived from the original on 2015-11-05. Retrieved 2015-11-10.[unreliable source?]
  20. ^ a b c d e f Worldwide Equipment Guide 1 (2011 ed.) Ground Systems. US Army TRADOC Intelligence Support Activity. pp. 5–45.
  21. ^ a b c d e US Army TRADOC Intelligence Support Activity] (2011:5-46)
  22. ^ a b c "Worldwide Equipment Guide 2016 Volume 1: Ground Systems". US TRADOC. 1: 275–277. 15 December 2016. Archived from the original on 6 March 2019. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  23. ^ a b "军事纪实 《军事纪实》 20130620 作战部长当兵记". Retrieved 15 November 2015.
  24. ^ "The Kremlin Hints at Reviving Cold War Laser Tanks | War Is Boring". Archived from the original on 2019-02-10.
  25. ^ Weng, Jonathan (24 August 2007). "China trials enhanced Type 99 MBT - Jane's Defence News". Janes.com. Archived from the original on 26 December 2007. Retrieved 16 August 2015.

External links[edit]