Type 69 Main Battle Tank

Last updated on February 19th, 2019 at 10:19 pm

China’s Type 69 main battle tank is based on the Type 59 main battle tank, which is itself based on the Soviet Union’s T-54.

The Type 69 main battle tank has been exported to other countries in Asia and Africa. It was used during the 1990/1991 and 2003 Gulf Wars.

Although development of the type 69 MBT tank is believed to have begun in the 1960s, and prototypes were thought to have been built in the 1970s, the first tank was not seen in public until 1982.

There are two versions of the Type 69 main battle tank – The Type 69 I, which has a 3.94 inch (100mm) smoothbore main gun,  and the Type 69 II, which has a 3.94 inch (100mm) rifled main gun.
Iraqi Type 69 II main battle tank captured in 1991,  during the Gulf War
There is a laser rangefinder above and an infrared searchlight above and to the right of the main gun.

Secondary armament on the Type 69 MBT consists of a 0.3 inch (7.62 mm) coaxial machine gun, a 0.3 inch (7.62mm) machine gun that is fixed to the glacis plate, and a 0.5 inch (12.7mm) anti-aircraft gun.

The Type 69 main battle tank can produce a smoke screen by injecting diesel fuel into the exhaust pipe.

A four man crew, consisting of driver, commander, gunner and loader, operates the Type 69.

The driver sits in the front left of the tank. Some ammunition is stored on his right.

The commander and gunner sit in the left side of the turret. The loader sits in the right side of the turret.

Both the commander and the loader have cupolas.

The driver operates the bow gun and the loader operates the anti-aircraft gun.

The Type 69 main battle tank has infrared night vision and an NBC system.

There is torsion bar suspension with pairs of five road wheels and no track return rollers. There is a gap between the first and second wheel. Each wheel has five small holes.

The idler is at the front and the drive sprocket is in the back.

Variants of the Type 69 MBT include a command version, an armored recovery vehicle, a bridgelayer and a self-propelled anti-aircraft gun.

The Type 79 main battle tank is an upgraded version of the Type 69 II with a 4.13 inch (105mm) main gun.

The Type 69 main battle tank is in service in China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, Thailand, Myanmar and Zimbabwe.  A locally produced version has been built in Pakistan.

It was used by both Iran and Iraq during the Gulf War of the 1980s and by Iraq during the 1990/1991 and 2003 Gulf Wars.


Type 69 Main Battle Tank

Active: 1982
Crew: 4
Weight: 36 tons (36,700kg)
Length: 20ft 5in (6.24m), 29ft 0in (8.86m) with gun forwards
Height: 9ft 2in (2.81m)
Width: 10ft 8in (3.3m)
Weapons: Main – 3.94 inch (100mm) smoothbore (Type I) or rifled (Type II) gun, Secondary – 2 x 0.3 inch (7.62mm) machine guns, one coaxial, one at the bow; 1 x 0.5 inch (12.7mm) anti-aircraft gun
Armor Maximum – est. 3.94in (100mm)
Engine: Type 12150L-7BW V-12 diesel, 580hp
Speed: 31mph (50kph)
Range: 273 miles (440 km)