In the video he emphasized the role of Type 99A in joint warfare. Central command can coordinate down the the vehicle and the vehicle can call upon other assets like air support.
As I'm aware, MBTs don't have composite armour on their hull because putting the same grade of front composite armour all around, would make tanks really heavy.Most modern MBT has some kind of substantial armor blocks covering at least part of the upper run or the track, as HEAT/kenetic protection for the hull. But Type-99 AFAIK has never been seen with anything more than a thin steel skirt. The skirt might provide some HEAT protection. But it can effort no meaningful protection against kenetic. The sides of the hull behind the track can be thick rolled steel, but certainly wouldn’t have space for any sophisticated composite armor. Is there some war use armored package that just has never been shown to the public?
I don't think any tank in the world has meaningful protection against APFSDS from the sides.
A possible two man crew tank which China is developing might solve side armor protection for the crew since turret armor is not needed so can be exchanged for a heavily armored crew cabin.IMHO, side armor against sabots is a fundamentally flawed concept. If your tanks are taking sabot hits in their flanks from a near-peer enemy, tactically, you've already lost that battle. Side-armor isn't going to save you. At that point, your best option is an orderly tactical retreat (assuming your units don't panic and completely loose their shit), while praying that you don't march straight into a kill-box, because you clearly have no idea where the enemy is.
Main Battle Tanks are supposed to be an analog to the cavalry archer. They are supposed to be fast, mobile and offensively maneuvering to attack the weakest flank of their enemy (not getting flanked themselves.) There is a larger discussion to be had here on the theory of warfare. Some have argued that even the 1991 Gulf War was a misapplication of armor by NATO, which resulted in too many frontal engagements between armor vs armor. I can't remember where I read this, but it was an analysis by an American officer or military historian. Theoretically, you would get your MBTs to engage the enemy's weakest points, while countering the enemy's armor by using your gunships, artillery and CAS. That's the most elegant approach.
With that said, Murphy's Law still applies... but I'd still spend the money wasted on side-armor on R&D for better APS solutions, which may one day be able to defeat sabots.