Chinese 96-A


by78

Lieutenant General
A Type 96A runs a junked car under its treads. This is a relatively rare sight, since PLA is not known to perform such stunts. The image is a screen capture from a TV segment on armored warfare in urban areas.

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Two additional image of a 96A firing its main gun. Of interest is the bustle storage basket, which now partially wraps around the backside. This must be a fairly recent addition, an ad hoc bolt-on to provide more external storage for the crew.
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Sardaukar20

Junior Member
Registered Member
Didn't notice this being posted yet. This was supposedly the turret design of the prototype 96A, noticeably different than the turret design on mass production 96As. Before application of ERA. View attachment 69759View attachment 69760View attachment 69761
Interesting. Never seen this kind of turret applique armour before. Has a slight resemblance to the Merkava's turret front. Nevertheless, its definitely looks like one of the rejected ideas.
 
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ougoah

Colonel
Registered Member
This is a much poorer design (even for PLA doctrine where it doesn't expect to use too much low volume line formation runs) because it provides even poorer than the already poor 30 degree or so frontal angle shot protection. Soviet designs in this respect is better for lighter MBTs - less armour. Western designs just beat the problem with another 5 metric tonnes of armour. But Soviet designs place some protection effort to that 30 degree angled frontal shot, they have less emphasis on pure direct frontal than 99 and 96 because of material. They can beef up pure frontal but heavier and more costly complex etc. T-14 is overall the much better ground up solution to these old problems.

Turret geometry design is remarkably basic stuff but it is complicated (and determined) by factors like costs, material use, maintenance, ease of manufacturing, and mobility+range. Then throw in the army's doctrine and the terrains they expect to deploy these tanks in. However it is, this turret design is quite a bit worse because it focuses a little too much on pure frontal direct shots. The angled wedge geometry of current 99 and 96 can be argued to be more than satisfactory for PLA's needs when one considers that PLA doesn't plan on deploying low volumes and doesn't plan on being outflanked in land war. It needs mobility and range as much as good firepower than it does protection.

the greater emphasis on pure direct frontal protection (with finite material) makes more sense when you remember this is for the 96. It's obvious that they would have explored this with 96 - the mass produced numbers filler that would be less employed for high level threats and much less likely to be in a situation where they need to deal with angled shots since they get deployed and sent out in their dozens if not hundreds. Then they probably realised this was just a little too much in that direction lol.
 

Sardaukar20

Junior Member
Registered Member
And the Shtora IR dazzlers on turret.
Yes. I had overlooked those Shtora IR dazzlers. Looks like a fairly smart way to mount them. Unlike in the T-80 or T-90, these won't be occupying the space of some frontal turret ERA panels, compromising frontal protection.

Nevertheless, the Shtora system had largely fell out of use, even by Russia. China was probably considering it for the Type 96, but then decided that it was no longer worth it. Its value on the battlefield was already quite questionable. It didn't help that it underperformed for some T-90s in Syria, further justifying its obsolescence in today's warfare.
 

FishWings

Junior Member
Registered Member
Yes. I had overlooked those Shtora IR dazzlers. Looks like a fairly smart way to mount them. Unlike in the T-80 or T-90, these won't be occupying the space of some frontal turret ERA panels, compromising frontal protection.

Nevertheless, the Shtora system had largely fell out of use, even by Russia. China was probably considering it for the Type 96, but then decided that it was no longer worth it. Its value on the battlefield was already quite questionable. It didn't help that it underperformed for some T-90s in Syria, further justifying its obsolescence in today's warfare.

Some in PLA service might have retained the dazzlers. Here is one with a serial number and the finalized turret design

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E: Nope I was wrong that one is in fact a prototype. That said, at least these dazzlers made it past the questionable turret design during the prototype phase. There are other images of testing-phase 96As with the dazzlers and better turret armor scheme
 
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