Land Weapons

NORINCO

ZTZ-99 (WZ123)

The Type 99 (ZTZ-99)is China's first third generation tank, and represents the closest attempt to produce an indigenous design to rival contemporary Western and Russian models. The hull of the Type 99 retains similarities to that of the T-72 and features a conventional layout in an all welded steel design with composites and ERA over the frontal arc. The turret veers sharply from early Chinese designs and strongly resembles that of the Leopard 2 due to its arrow-shaped modular armor at the front as well as the large bustle. Protection is further enhanced with soft- and hard-kill systems, the former modeled after the Russian Shtora-1. M1-style stowage racks are also fitted to the turret sides. The 125-mm ZPT98 smoothbore gun is the latest Chinese adaptation of the Russian 2A46M and can fire a variety of ammunition including depleted uranium rounds. Like Russian tanks, it is fitted with a carousel-style autoloader and can allegedly fire a Chinese version of the AT-11 while dual axis stabilization allows it to fire on the move. Equipment is from both Chinese as well as Western origin or influence, and includes a laser rangefinder, laser dazzler, thermal sights and a computerized fire-control system. The Type 99 (and small numbers of its predecessor, the Type 98) is currently in service with the PLA, complementing the Type 96; the steeper cost of the Type 99 makes it unlikely that it will be fielded in the same numbers as its counterpart and will therefore be provided mostly to elite forces.

Development of the Type 98 (ZTZ-98 or WZ 123) began in 1989 and the first prototype was ready the following year. It was not until 1999 that the first production models made their appearance but only a few were built before priority switched to the Type 99 (ZTZ-99 or WZ 123B). The most notable change was the arrow-shaped turret front, compared to the Type 98's sloped front reminiscent of the US M1. It also features a more powerful 1,500-hp engine as well as thermal sights. Newer variants include the Type 99A1 with a redesigned turret top, and the Type 99A2 with a hard-kill active protection system. Both are also likely to feature numerous equipment upgrades.

Preceded by:

ZTZ-96 (1997)

Succeeded by:

None

Datafile

DesignZTZ-99ZTZ-99A2
OrdnanceWZ-123WZ-123
TypeMain Battle TankMain Battle Tank
Year19992001
Crew33
Dimensions
Length (w/Gun)??
Width3.37 m3.50 m
Height2.40 m2.37 m
Weight
Loaded50,000 kg58,000 kg
Ground Pressure0.90 kg/cm²0.90 kg/cm²
SuspensionTorsion barTorsion bar
Performance
Speed (Off-Road)65 km/h80 km/h (60 km/h)
Range (Off-Road)500-650 km400-600 km
AmphibiousNoNo
Fording1.40 m (5 m)1.40 m (5 m)
Vertical Obstacle0.85 m0.85 m
Trench3 m3 m
Gradient60%60%
Powerplant
Engine1 x 1,200-hp
Model WD396
1 x 1,500-hp
MB871ka501
FuelDieselDiesel
Power/Weight24.00 hp/t25.86 hp/t
Armament
Main1 x 125-mm L/48
ZPT-98
Smoothbore Gun (42)
↑ 14° / ↓ -6° / ↔ 360°

1 x 125-mm L/50
ZPT-98 L/50
Smoothbore Gun (42)
↑ 14° / ↓ -6° / ↔ 360°

Secondary1 x 7.62-mm (c)
1 x 12.7-mm
1 x 7.62-mm (c)
1 x 12.7-mm
Armor
TypeSteel/Composite/ERASteel/Composite/ERA
Thickness450 - 640 mm630 - 800 mm
Max Effective450 - 640 mm RHAe630 - 800 mm RHAe
Hull Upper Front450 mm630 mm
Turret Front640 mm800 mm
Production
Built??
Total700