Type 99 Main Battle Tank

Last updated on February 19th, 2019 at 10:57 pm

China’s Type 99 main battle tank, also known as the ZTZ99 main battle tank, was designed to be a match for modern western tanks.

In the 1990s, China began working on an improved version of the Type 90 main battle tank, which was developed as part of a joint project with Pakistan to create a tank that would be produced in Pakistan.  (This project resulted in the creation of Pakistan’s Al Khalid main battle tank .)

China’s improved version of the Type 90 became known as the Type 98 main battle tank.

The Type 98 main battle tank entered service in 1988 and was first seen in public during the 1999 National Day Parade.
Type 99 main battle tank
Unlike the Type 90 MBT, the Type 98 did not have an autoloader, as was common in Chinese and Russian tanks. This mean that the Type 98 man battle tank had a four man,  rather than a three man crew – the four man crew consisting of driver, commander,  gunner and loader.

An autoloader was added to an upgraded variant, the Type 98G, bringing the crew size back down to three. The Type 98G was also given a better fire control system, better armor, and a more powerful engine.

The Type 99 main battle tank, which entered service in 2001, is based on the Type 98G.

The hull of the Type 99 main battle tank resembles that of Russia’s T-72.  However, the angular turret is of western design.

Both the turret and hull of the Type 99 MBT are made of all-welded steel.

While the Type 98G main battle tank has a 1200 horsepower diesel engine, a 1500 hp engine powers the Type 99. This new engine is believed to be based on German technology.

Explosive reactive armor modules on the front of the hull and on the turret provide the Type 99 main battle tank with additional protection.

The Type 99 MBT has a torsion bar suspension.

It can move at a maximum road speed of 56 miles per hour (80kph) and has a maximum road range of 249 miles (400km). External fuel tanks can be fitted to the hull to increase the range to 373 miles (600km).

Main armament on the Type 99 MBT is a ZPT98 4.92 inch (125mm) smoothbore gun with a thermal sleeve and fume extractor. The main gun can fire a Russian AT-11 Sniper laser guided missile (also known as the 9M119 Refleks laser guided missile – AT-11 Sniper is the NATO reporting name). This missile is produced under license in China. The gun can also fire HEAT, HE-FRAG and APFSDS rounds.

Secondary armament consists of a 0.3 inch (7.62 mm) coaxial machine gun, a 0.5 inch (12.7mm) anti-aircraft machine gun and five pairs of smoke grenade launchers.

The Type 99 main battle tank has an autoloader, so it is operated by a three man crew – driver, commander and gunner. No human loader is needed. The driver sits in the front of the hull. The commander sits in the right side of the turret and the gunner sits in the left side of the turret

If the Type 99 main battle tank is identified by an enemy tank, a laser defense system on the Type 99 debilitates the enemy tank’s optics system. The laser defense system can damage the eyesight of the enemy gunner.

The Type 99 MBT has a ballistic computer, a laser rangefinder, automatic fire suppression, night vision equipment and NBC protection.

Because the Type 99 main battle tank is very expensive to produce, not very many of these tanks have been built.


Type 99 MBT

Active: 2001
Crew: 3
Weight: 53 tons (54,000kg)
Length: 36ft 1in (11m)
Height: 7ft 2in (2.2m)
Width: 11ft 1in (3.4m)
Weapons: Main – ZPT98 4.92in (125mm) smoothbore gun/missile launcher, Secondary -1 x 0.3in inch (7.62mm) coaxial machine gun, 1 x 0.5 in (12.7mm) anti-aircraft machine gun, 5 pairs of smoke grenade launchers
Armor Classified
Engine: Water-cooled turbocharged diesel , 1500hp
Speed: 56mph (80kph)
Range: 249 miles (400 km), 373 miles (600km) with external fuel tanks