China's Main Battle Tank -2021

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
Non-armoured ex REMF here.

Please excuse a really stupid question - is the Chinese Main Battle Tank any good ?

Type 99 main battle tank design

Type 99 is similar, in a lot of specifications, to the M1A1 tank and the Western Leopard 2. Western influences have been noticed in the angular welded turret design.

The MBT carries 9M119 Refleks. This anti-tank guided missile of Russian origin is produced in China under a local licence. Its NATO codename is AT-11 Sniper. The diesel engine is turbo charged and uses German technology, and the tank is liquid cooled.

Explosive reaction armour (ERA) units were added to the turret and hull’s front portion. This contains approximately 1,000mm to1,200mm of steel armour. The Type 99 has a 1,500HP diesel engine while the ZTZ98 uses a 1,200HP diesel engine. The tank layout has three compartments. Frontage has the driving compartment; the middle serves as fighting compartment and the engine is placed at the rear end.

The driver sits in the hull and in front of the turret, while the gunner sits on the left side of the turret. Tank commander takes up the turret’s right side and operates the 12.7 mm anti-aircraft machine gun. The gun is mounted on turret roof. An over-pressure collective NBC protection and a fully automatic fire suppression system protect the crew.

The hull and turret are built of welded steel armour. The modular design allows damaged sections to be easily replaced. New upgrades can be placed giving it increased service life. The turret’s inside design layout is modelled on Russian style. The MBT closely resembles the Russian 2A46M autoloader’s design. There is provision for extra ammunition in the fighting compartment. This makes the MBT highly susceptible to fire once penetrated. The MBT requires a bustle autoloader, on which production has not been started yet.



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Rolling imagery here


Thanks. I'll get my coat
 
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AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
  1. Steel, not composite armour, readily defeated by HEAT, HESH, Fin.
  2. No mention of an ERA fit. See 1.
  3. Reverse slope on the turret front plate creates a shadow, making it an aiming point and potentially deflects an incoming round downwards through a relatively weak hull roof because
    1. It is certainly thinner
    2. It's compromised by having a driver's hatch.
At stated above, looks good on Tiananmen Square.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
Type 99 tank - Wikipedia

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.

1. Explosive Reactive Armour is fitted in some pictures

2. I wouldn't push my luck on what constitutes a ' modular composite armor ' - but I doubt if the ZTZ99 is just plain old steel.

I've never got ma heid around what they carry in the two barrel-shaped drums lashed to the back , but I'm sure some bright spark can illuminate my darkness.


I don't have access to The Military Balance 2021 these days - but I would be interested to know what the current edition says about China's armoured fleet.


Marking the launch of The Military Balance 2021 today (25 February), The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) released figures, held in its Military Balance Plus database, illustrating the growth in China’s power-projection capabilities.

Beijing seems intent on achieving primacy in its littoral areas, and while China’s maritime paramilitary forces have taken the lead – and are using facilities on Chinese-occupied features in the Spratly Islands as forward-operating bases in the South China Sea – the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has maintained an ‘over-the-horizon’ presence. China’s corvette numbers have more than doubled in the last five years, reaching 55 in 2020. Meanwhile, the anti-submarine warfare capability of China’s navy is increasing. Other naval shipbuilding has continued at pace, and the number of large amphibious vessels has doubled, to six, since 2015. This will increase as new vessels, including amphibious assault ships, are commissioned.

China is also developing the military capabilities that will be needed to support its armed forces’ operations at reach. For instance, China’s fleet support ships now number 12, up from seven in 2015, while increased numbers of Y-20 heavy transports mean that the PLA Air Force has effectively doubled its heavy air transport fleet in the last four years. But the publication strikes a cautionary note, indicating that as China’s armed forces modernise and its power-projection capabilities grow, other aspects of Beijing’s plans – such as its drive to improve military training – will be at least as important in delivering successful and durable military capability.


These are their IFV's


1618775099171.png
 
Reverse slope on the turret front plate creates a shadow, making it an aiming point and potentially deflects an incoming round downwards through a relatively weak hull roof because
  1. It is certainly thinner
  2. It's compromised by having a driver's hatch.
Shot traps are much less of a concern with modern armour and anti-armour projectiles. HEAT and APFSDS tend not to ricochet with appreciable energy off any surface, much less a composite array.
Shot traps are more a feature of thick, rigid, armours (like homogenous steel) and relatively short penetrators (like fullbore AP)
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
I've never got ma heid around what they carry in the two barrel-shaped drums lashed to the back , but I'm sure some bright spark can illuminate my darkness.
There is a picture (it's probably on Arrse somewhere) of Scots DG on KAPE tour with a (CR1?) with the two diesel cans painted up as Irn Bru.

A quick Arrse search refers but I can't find the actual pic.
 
I think it’s about intent. The MBT is a great vehicle for showing the world you have a bit of intent.
They are hopeless at attack and bloody good at defence. A country like China can thus justify them, what with it’s large borders and all.
China will buy what it can, and for the rest, park these on the borders. Vaguely threatening, but could always advance.
 
If eBay is anything to go by, It's much smaller than it looks in the picture, is 100 watts lower power than advertised and the warranty helpline number is unknown to this planet.
 

Dread

LE
Non-armoured ex REMF here.

Please excuse a really stupid question - is the Chinese Main Battle Tank any good ?

Type 99 main battle tank design


Explosive reaction armour (ERA) units were added to the turret and hull’s front portion. This contains approximately 1,000mm to1,200mm of steel armour. The Type 99 has a 1,500HP diesel engine while the ZTZ98 uses a 1,200HP diesel engine. The tank layout has three compartments. Frontage has the driving compartment; the middle serves as fighting compartment and the engine is placed at the rear end.

Somehow I doubt that they chucking on +1 metre thick steel, unless they've changed the name of the Type 99 to 'Maus' and its top speed on flat terrain is the same as marching troops.
 
And if the PRC have heavy armour on those islands that the USMC are hopping over? They sure found their Shermans useful in WW2 on those Japanese occupied islands.
Precision guided weapons. Most of the islands in the South China Sea are so small that the only use for armor would be as static pillboxes, which means they’ll last minutes in a shooting war. We’re not talking reenacting Tarawa, but rather seizing small islands as a base for long range precision fires against the PLA Navy. If an island is heavily defended you don’t occupy it. The article I linked to describes the strategy.
 
PLA armour is designed to fight at comparatively short ranges from a railhead. They don't have the same legs as e.g. Abrams, Leopard or Challenger but they're not designed for that kind of fighting, only for relatively short strategic manoeuvre under friendly cover.

Think Granby rather than Bagration.
 
IIRC correctly the Chinese have little to no experience of conducting armoured operations against a real armoured opponent.

The only time they did commit armour in any numbers was against the Vietnamese in 1979, when the PAVN Vietnamese army gave the Chinese a damn good kicking...

It's all very well having lots of armour but if you don't know how to use it...

Sino-Vietnamese border conflict (1979)​


A part of the “Third Indochina war”, this obscure border conflict lasted from February 17 to March 16, 1979. The roots of the conflict can be found in the Soviet Union and Vietnam twenty-five year mutual defense treaty, the war against the Khmer Rouge of Cambodia, alleged mistreatment of Vietnam minorities and the Spratly Islands claimed by China. This time, the Chinese fielded a massive force of some 200,000 PLA infantry well supported by some 400-550 tanks. Opposing them were 70,000–100,000 regular Vietnamese force and some 150,000 local troops and militia. The terrain, again, was mountainous and difficult for tanks. The Chinese losses due to RPGs were massive. The first assault on February, 17, saw 200 Type 59, Type 62, and Type 63 tanks engaged in support of the infantry divisions. A pincer movement was launched, towards the west, aimed at Cao Bang, Lang Son and Quang Ninh Provinces, and the east, towards Ha Tuyen, Hoang Lien Son and Lai Chau Provinces.


Battle of Lang Son, Chinese PLA Type 58 destroyed
Type 58 destroyed at Lang Son


Battle of Cao Bang, Type 62 destroyed
Type 62 destroyed at Cao Bang.


All Vietnamese forces from Cambodia, southern Vietnam and central Vietnam were deployed to the northern border while the USSR provided intelligence and equipment support. The Soviet Pacific Fleet provided battlefield communication relays. What followed were the First Battle of Lang Son, Battle of Dong Dang, Battle of Lao Cai and Battle of Cao Bang, which saw the Vietnamese inflicting massive casualties on the attacking Chinese. Depending on the sources, Chinese casualties ranged from 9,000 (Chinese claim) to 62,500 plus 550 military vehicles and 115 artillery pieces destroyed (Vietnam claim) while about 117 000 Vietnamese troops and militias were claimed by the Chinese plus 10,000 civilians.


In the aftermath, not only did Vietnam consider the war a clear-cut victory against an invader, but this also allowed the Soviets to continue backing the Vietnamese in a war to defeat Pol Pot in Cambodia, ending a tragic genocide. The war was not over, with border skirmishes erupting throughout the 1980s, starting with the Shelling of Cao Bằng, the 1981 Battle of Mẫu Sơn, and the 1984 Battle of Vị Xuyên. Border shellings were discontinued until 1988 but an uneasy ceasefire and border pact were ultimately signed in 1999.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
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The Vietnamese have a L-O-O-O-NG history of aggravating Peking - by standing up for themselves.
Particularly when they took a drubbing when standing up for themselves and turned to Peking to bail them out.

Dragging your patrons into your wars tends to aggravate them, yes.
 

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