Type 80 Main Battle Tank

Last updated on February 19th, 2019 at 10:21 pm

China’s Type 80 main battle tank was based on the Type 69, which was in turn based on the Soviet Union’s T-54.

The first prototype of the Type 80 main battle tank was finished in 1985, and tank development was finished in 1988.

The Type 80 MBT has a low silhouette, similar to the silhouette of Russian tanks.

While the Type 80 main battle tank uses the turret of the Type 69, the designers of the Type 80 gave it an entirely new hull, which is made of all-welded steel.

Composite armor can be fitted to the turret and the front of the hull.
Type 80 main battle tank. Source: Jane's Tanks and Combat Vehicles Recognition Guide
The Type 80 MBT was given a new torsion bar suspension. There are six road wheels and three track return rollers on each side of the tank. The drive sprocket is in the rear and the idler is at the front.   Skirts cover the upper part of the suspension. The skirts are hinged to make it easier to get to the suspension if it needs maintenance.

A more powerful Model VR36 diesel engine, generating 700 horsepower, was fitted to the Type 80 main battle tank, giving it a better power to weight ratio than the Type 69.

The Type 80 MBT has a maximum speed of 37 miles per hour (60kph) and a maximum road range of 267 miles (430km). Fuel tanks can be mounted to the rear of the tank to increase the range.

A stowage basket surrounds the sides and rear of the turret.  This stowage basket can act as a form of protection against HEAT projectiles, as it will cause them to detonate before they can reach the turret armor.

The Type 80 main battle tank has a stabilized Type 83 4.13 inch (105mm) rifled main gun with a fume extractor and a thermal sleeve. The main gun, which is based on the UK’s L7, can be elevated from -4 degrees to +18 degrees and can fire standard NATO ammunition.

Secondary armament on the Type 80 MBT consists of a 0.3 inch (7.62mm) coaxial machine gun and a 0.5 inch (12.7mm) anti-aircraft machine gun. There are four pairs of smoke grenade dischargers.

The tank is operated by a four man crew – driver, commander, gunner and loader.  The driver sits at the front left of the hull. Some ammunition is stored to his right. The commander, gunner and loader sit in the turret, which is in the center of the tank. The commander and gunner sit on the left and the loader sits on the right. The powerpack is in the back.

The Type 80 main battle tank has night vision equipment, an NBC system, a fire extinguishing system, explosion suppression and a computerized fire control system with a laser rangefinder.

A snorkel can be fitted to the Type 80 MBT so that that the tank can ford deep waters. There is a splashboard on the glacis plate to prevent water from rushing into the driver’s compartment.

In a variant of the Type 80 main battle tank, the Type 80-II, the laser rangefinder and the fire control system have been combined. The Type 80-II has improved NBC protection and more storage.

The Type 80 main battle tank has been exported to Myanmar.

The Type 88 main battle tank is a variant of the Type 80-II that entered service with the Chinese Army in 1988.

In the Type 88 main battle tank, the front storage racks on the turret were removed so plates of explosive reactive armor could be fitted.

There are three variants of the Type 88 main battle tank: Type 88B, Type 88A and Type 88C. Type 88B is believed to have entered service before Type 88A.

The Type 88B MBT has an improved fire control system.  The main gun has an improved loading assembly, which enables modern NATO 4.13 inch (105mm) rounds to be fired.

Type 88A has improved explosive reactive armor, which can withstand HEAT-FRAG and APFSDS rounds.

The main gun on the Type 88A MBT was modified to increase its range and accuracy.

Type 88C is based on the Type 85-IIM main battle tank, and has a 4.92 inch (125mm) gun.

The Type 80 and Type 88 main battle tanks are no longer being produced.


Type 80 MBT

Active: 1988
Crew: 4
Weight: 37 tons (38,000kg)
Length: 20ft 9in (6.33m), 30ft 7in(9.33m) with gun forwards
Height: 7ft 6in (2.29m) meters to turret roof
Width: 11ft (3.7m)
Weapons: Main – Type 83 4.13in (105mm) rifledgun, Secondary – 1 x 0.3 inch (7.62mm) machine gun, 1 x 0.5 inch (12.7mm) anti-aircraft machine gun, 4 pairs of smoke greanded dischargers
Armor Classified
Engine: V-12 Model VR36 diesel, 100hp
Speed: 37mph (60kph)
Range: 267 miles (430 km)