New Type98/99 MBT thread


Laviduce

Junior Member
Registered Member
Very weird article because T-72, T-80, and T-90 regardless of what variants (except T-90M types) are nowhere close to M1A2, Challenger 2 or even Leopard 2A4 levels of protection and yet they consider several 40 to 50 tonne range T-72 variants and T-80 variants as superior in protection to M1A2 and Challenger 2. Um... no.

What it gets right in my opinion is that PLA hasn't been spending funds on tanks except for the usual stuff like numbers, training etc. They haven't been investing in tanks for decades and 98, 99, 99A are all patches and electronic upgrades along with mechanical upgrades but not really comparable to western MBTs (or Eastern MBTs like Type 10 and K2) in firepower or protection. Okay 99A gets frontal protection well by pure brute forcing it with extremely thick (for Soviet/Chinese tank doctrine) armour then adding further layer of wedge modular armour and a layer of modern ERA on top. This is like twice T-90M's frontal but all those nearly 10 tonnes of extra weight emphasized just for that frontal engagement, sparing close to no additional armour for sides... just like 96, 96A, 98, 99. Well I guess PLA doesn't plan on using tanks where they'd get flanked like that and I'm inclined to think they are mostly correct. It's simply not worth the weight and cost. Indeed naval and air are priorities for PLA... space, cyber, electromagnetic etc of course also but firepower and targeting from those domains all fall under air and naval I suppose.

What else it gets right is the weak firepower of Soviet, Russian, and Chinese tanks that make use of this particular type of autoloader design. It is quite limiting. When PLA commissioned the Type 15 light tank (its most modern tank) notice how they stood well clear of this old carousel autoloader design. I have doubts the 99A can defeat M1A2 and Challenger 2 in pure frontal at longer distances. I have stronger doubts any cuurent NATO MBT can destroy 99A in pure frontal at longer distances. But these days, pure tank vs tank is a bit of a silly and unlikely scenario. Let's just say NATO MBTs balance their 60T of weight with some attempt at providing side protection. 99A puts all 55+ tonnes of weight with only focus on frontal protection. 99A also makes use of ERA and actually pretty decent hull down type engagement geometry (not considering side concerns of course lol). If the armour technology is even comparably decent on 99A, then pure frontal protection may be superior to NATO MBTs because it has many, many tonnes more armour up front... and a modular layer... and then an ERA layer that NATO MBTs don't typically employ. Firepower though is just lacking because of that ammo + propellant limitation due to carousel autoloader. PLA hasn't bothered to replace 99 series MBTs partly because of funding going to other services and partly because, like the article claims, isn't necessary or where the domain of future wars will require resources and technological investment and competence.

TLDR: I doubt 99A can destroy some of the tanks they listed as "can be defeated by 99a" and very much doubt that 99A can't destroy some of the tanks listed as "can't be defeated by 99A"... like T-80BVM?? really? okay sure. T-72xyz? now you're taking the piss... meanwhile 99A can destroy Challenger 2? Is this like engaging the Russian types at 3km only frontal and mission kills don't count whereas it's engaging M1A2s and Leopard 2A4s from the side only? Confounding.

Article seems to be full of shit but I only read the summary posted. The 99A's pure frontal angles have superior protection but sides are considerably weaker to the point any shot to the side in fact 30 degrees at most would easily penetrate. 99A's firepower is weaker and the gun is inferior as it is so limited by the autoloader and two piece ammo.
Ummm, i really do not even know where to start. I do not know where you have been but you seem to have not been aware of the leaks, declassified data, publications over the past 5+ years. The T-72B types and especially the T-80U, T-90A are tough opponents in terms of protection. Leopard 2A4 even with C-tech based inserts is not any better protected than a T-72B with K1. It clearly falls behind T-80U and T-90A in terms of protection (both KE and CE).


What gave you the idea that just because that Russian and Chinese tanks weigh 5-10 tons less , there are less well protected ? Both Russia and to a lesser extent Chinese tanks are overall smaller vehicles. It strongly depends on where are armor is distributed. smaller volume ? less armor needed to protect it.

Also, on a side note, from what has been revealed and can be pieced together, the Challenger 2 is not as well protected as the M1A2 (both export and US version) in terms of KE resistance. The Brits still seem to have emphasized CE protection as more important. During the Greek tank trials the Challenger 2E protection was deemed inferior to both the M1A2 (1999 improved export special armor package). Challenger 2 was deemed barely better protected than the Leclerc UAE, which surprised the testers. From what i could gather in the past 2+ years researching it is that both Leclerc have very similar CE and KE protection requirements where the Challenger 2 gets a slight edge in terms of KE protection.

Both vehicles fall behind the M1A2 (1994 baseline export special armor package) in terms of KE protection. With the new and improved export special armor package the KE gab seems to have widened even more. In terms of CE protection I would not be surprised if the Americans caught up with the Brits with their new export special armor package.

Having said that, Leopard 2A5 types with their wedge add-on armor and D-tech based special armor have very tough turrets both in KE and CE protection terms. At least in terms of turret protection the 1999 M1A2 export model was deemed inferior to the Strv122 but still good (or very good?) overall.

TL, DR: The T-72B, T-80U and T-90A types do not have a protection issue but a firepower and firecontrol issue.
Also Leopard 2 (B and C-tech), M1 Abrams were not well protected against KE threats compared to their T-72B, T-80B, T-80U counterparts. Around the laste 1970s and early 1980s, M1, Leopard 2 and even Challenger 1 special armor solutions seem to have emphasized protection against CE threats first and foremost. Basically good CE protection but mediocre KE protection. With the soviets the results seems to have been reversed prior to the introduction of K1 and K5 ERA, good KE protection but mediocre CE protection.

Also, all the tanks you mentioned can destroy eachother from the front in typical combat ranges of around 800-1000 m. The issue is that in some instances one side has to rely on "luck" to hit a weakened zone. Eventually it comes down to kill propabilites.
 

ougoah

Brigadier
Registered Member
Ummm, i really do not even know where to start. I do not know where you have been but you seem to have not been aware of the leaks, declassified data, publications over the past 5+ years. The T-72B types and especially the T-80U, T-90A are tough opponents in terms of protection. Leopard 2A4 even with C-tech based inserts is not any better protected than a T-72B with K1. It clearly falls behind T-80U and T-90A in terms of protection (both KE and CE).


What gave you the idea that just because that Russian and Chinese tanks weigh 5-10 tons less , there are less well protected ? Both Russia and to a lesser extent Chinese tanks are overall smaller vehicles. It strongly depends on where are armor is distributed. smaller volume ? less armor needed to protect it.

Also, on a side note, from what has been revealed and can be pieced together, the Challenger 2 is not as well protected as the M1A2 (both export and US version) in terms of KE resistance. The Brits still seem to have emphasized CE protection as more important. During the Greek tank trials the Challenger 2E protection was deemed inferior to both the M1A2 (1999 improved export special armor package). Challenger 2 was deemed barely better protected than the Leclerc UAE, which surprised the testers. From what i could gather in the past 2+ years researching it is that both Leclerc have very similar CE and KE protection requirements where the Challenger 2 gets a slight edge in terms of KE protection.

Both vehicles fall behind the M1A2 (1994 baseline export special armor package) in terms of KE protection. With the new and improved export special armor package the KE gab seems to have widened even more. In terms of CE protection I would not be surprised if the Americans caught up with the Brits with their new export special armor package.

Having said that, Leopard 2A5 types with their wedge add-on armor and D-tech based special armor have very tough turrets both in KE and CE protection terms. At least in terms of turret protection the 1999 M1A2 export model was deemed inferior to the Strv122 but still good (or very good?) overall.

TL, DR: The T-72B, T-80U and T-90A types do not have a protection issue but a firepower and firecontrol issue.
Also Leopard 2 (B and C-tech), M1 Abrams were not well protected against KE threats compared to their T-72B, T-80B, T-80U counterparts. Around the laste 1970s and early 1980s, M1, Leopard 2 and even Challenger 1 special armor solutions seem to have emphasized protection against CE threats first and foremost. Basically good CE protection but mediocre KE protection. With the soviets the results seems to have been reversed prior to the introduction of K1 and K5 ERA, good KE protection but mediocre CE protection.

Also, all the tanks you mentioned can destroy eachother from the front in typical combat ranges of around 800-1000 m. The issue is that in some instances one side has to rely on "luck" to hit a weakened zone. Eventually it comes down to kill propabilites.

Okay Chally 2 being lesser in protection with favour towards CE protection I wasn't aware of. Leclerc being superior overall I am sure but better protected? also wasn't aware of.

However, how do the info you provided show T-72 and T-80 modernised version have decent protection? Yes I'm aware of the volume and weights relation but where is the evidence showing those modernised Russian 72s and 80s are alright in protection?

ERA certainly isn't a magic solution. At best it's a decent help. No one thinks ERA is a magic solution. The Chinese tank designers put armour upon armour upon base armour instead of slap on ERA and call it a day... they also still slapped on ERA on top of all that though... you know for that extra help.

Russian tanks frontal armour is objectively thin and they are visibly less thick even if a lot of the space towards the front end of the wedged shaped models are assumed to be filled (they are not). The distribution covers a wider angle than Chinese tank turret designs but the Chinese tanks have more armour (evident from weight since your volume does increase anyway which is why western 60T+ tanks are more volumous NOT only because they do indeed have more interior space but because their armour truly is much, much, MUCH more substantial than 45 tonne T-72xyz and 50 tonne T-80abc. Yes Russian armour in Syria has shown to be able to survive hits in the front from FCKing antiquated rounds... but so what?? Any type 9x from China or NATO tank would survive the same shot at that distance in pure frontal. It is guaranteed. It is pure physics... have the Russians developed such amazing armour that 1kg of it is equal to 1.5kg of the Chinese or western one? it is simply impossible and given how relative science and industrial capabilities are... funding, it is the other way around. Have they worked out a much better structure? armour is easy peasy. It's all a matter of compromise and priorities. The main factor of how good a MBT is is guess what? it's engine. That determines how the engineers designing and deciding on the compromise, work. The engine sets the foundation and western drivetrains for MBTs are the best. There's no shame in that... they are more industrialised during those eras and far more funding than USSR + China together.

Even assuming the base armour of all these modernised 3rd gen tanks are roughly equal pound for pound, Russian tanks are severely less protected in pure frontal and poorly protected all round... western tanks are very well protected pure frontal and well protected all round... Chinese tanks basically only think there is a front, everything goes on the front not even a 20 degree angle is considered. But the Chinese tanks generally weigh in between the two ends of the spectrum and despite having more material (read armour) they place it all on the front... ergo they are MUCH better protected in pure frontal than Russian tanks around 10 tonnes lighter and distribute their armour material more than the Chinese counterparts.

Sorry but there really isn't any leaks and hints... we simply don't know here and only have hearsay or misrepresented war performance - western tanks destroyed seemingly as easily as 40 tonne range Russian tanks. I'm sure cracking modern tanks isn't difficult but it is fair to say some are certainly better protected than others in specific areas. That doesn't mean they are going to be more survivable in war x and less survivable in war y. It depends, it depends, it depends.

Until we have many samples in front of us to trial in destructive testing against combination and permutation of tank vs anti-tank, we do not know that one is better or worse than the other. We can however make some educated conjectures... weights, base armour composition technology, geometry, thickness, known structure underneath etc. All those point to 40 to 50 tonne Russians being much less well protected than 60 to 70 tonne western tanks and certainly not as well protected in frontal only compared to 50 to 60 tonne Chinese tanks that put ALL its armour against pure frontal attack... if material and tech is roughly equal, the Chinese 99A would have about the same frontal protection as the 60 to 70 tonne western tanks which distribute material a lot more than the Chinese tank.
 
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gelgoog

Brigadier
Registered Member
The main factor of how good a MBT is is guess what? it's engine. That determines how the engineers designing and deciding on the compromise, work. The engine sets the foundation and western drivetrains for MBTs are the best. There's no shame in that... they are more industrialised during those eras and far more funding than USSR + China together.
Not really. The Soviets first and now the Russians always had good tank engines. They had the V-2 V-12 diesel engine in the T-34 back in WW2 which was the best tank engine of that era. This tradition in leading edge tank engine design continued. And today you have the ChTZ 12N360 X-12 diesel engine in the T-14. They were also the only other country other than the US to put gas turbine tanks into service with the T-80.

You could say that US and Russian tank diesel engine lagged somewhat in the 1980s to 1990s because of the focus on the gas turbine powered tanks. But at least Russia went back to diesel engines in a big way since the fall of the Soviet Union and the lackluster performance of the T-80 in Chechnya. So the T-90 had a continuous upgrade program for its V-12 which went from 840hp to 1130hp today. And you have the X-12 for the T-14 with 1500hp standard and 2000hp in emergency mode.
 
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alanch90

New Member
Registered Member
But 99A and T-90M have nearly 10 tonnes of difference in weight. We know T-90M has better side and angle protection than 99A which places all its protection points on pure frontal.
99A is also noticeably bigger, with a truly modern (and better in every sense) and bigger powerpack.

If the 99A's armour package (base armour) and whatever the next layer of welded modular armour (the forward wedge section) is which the T-90M doesn't quite have (instead using ERA and a Leo 2A5+ like "wedge armour") then the 99A clearly has both better base armour, more of it, and a more substantial wedge section (whatever is being used since it's allegedly filled rather than the older ztz-99 style "wedge armour" similar to T-90M and Leo2A5+ where the wedge is empty space just a frame in Leo2A5+ and frame securing ERA on top in older ztz-99 and T-90M. The 99A has FY4 on top of an allegedly solid and filled "new" modular armour section.
99A doesn´t have a "wedge" or anything like it. The ERA sits on top of the base armor, not forming a different angle like you would see on a Leo 2 add-on or most of soviet derived MBTs with ERA (such as 90M). I´ll leave a picture of a "naked" 99A to demonstrate that.
Type 99A no ERA 1.jpg

But in any case yes, as i said both from visual assessments and public info we know that 99A has better base armor. According to NORINCO, at least on the turret the base armor´s effectiveness is somewhere between 700-800mm (source posted below) against APFSDS. So, even if a Svinets (whose penetration values can be estimated at 600-650ish millimeters at 2km depending if they are the Tungsten or DU model) resisted FY-IV, its penetration isn´t enough to defeat the main armor. On the contrary, while certainly a single DTC-10 won´t defeat Relikt, its penetration may be enough to defeat 90M base armor, so consecutive shots to the same area (ie. a lucky shot) might do the trick. However it is plausible that 90M got new base armor as well because the turret is totally new, different from 90A and its armor modules are visually distinctive (although they are similar). On the other hand, 99A has worse armor coverage on the frontal aspect (namely, at the 20-30 deg), so in some scenarios it may be penetrated by APFSDS.
45659413215_e169253d70_c.jpg
 

DeXM

New Member
Registered Member
Hey guys, does anyone have information about 99A stabilizer? I saw few statements about "E2006" stabilizer for all modern NORINCO tanks, which provides full 360 degrees turn at 8,4 seconds, may be someone know more?
 

Jiang ZeminFanboy

Senior Member
Registered Member
Do we know if 99A are still being produced or 96? We know that new ztq-15 are being often introduced like for marines or troops in Xinjiang or Tibet, so light tanks are mass produced, but we rarely get on sinodefence osint news about the new 99A.
 

Michaelsinodef

Junior Member
Registered Member
Do we know if 99A are still being produced or 96? We know that new ztq-15 are being often introduced like for marines or troops in Xinjiang or Tibet, so light tanks are mass produced, but we rarely get on sinodefence osint news about the new 99A.
I think both 99As and 96Bs are produced, although I would not be surprised if the numbers are below that of the type 15.
 

Michaelsinodef

Junior Member
Registered Member
Huh, I thought they weren't going to make 96Bs outside of the ones for the biathlons
I think they really weren't satisfied with the 96As (and the 96 without any letter was worse/really just a stop gap), so they made the 96B.

And since then, I believe they continued to make 96Bs (they are eating into what the 99As were supposed to replace as well I believe).
 

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