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Vehicles of the PLA: Now with refreshing new topic title!


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So, basic introduction, to start off, we'll go with the latest backbone of the PLA Ground forces' Armored divisions, the ZTZ-96 G/A


Basic specs.


Crew: 3


Weight: 42-45 tonnes depending on equipment and addon armor/era.


Power plant: 1,000 hp liquid cooled Diesel engine


Speed: 65 km/h on roads 45 km/h off road


Range: 400km without external tanks


Armament: 125mm L/48 main gun with autoloader similar to the Soviet 2A46 (8 rounds per minute rof), ATGM capable, based on Russian Refleks-M missile, also has HEI-FRAG, HEAT, and APFSDS ammunition choices, W-85 12.7mm cupola machine gun (not pictured in this photo), 7.62mm coaxial machine gun.




Wow, such sharp looking, very armor.


Capability wise, this tank was recently pitted against some modern T-72B variants in a Russian tank Biathalon, and while it was deemed better in Armor, Armament, and Electronics, it lost out in mobility due to the underpowered engine, this killed all 730 and 780 hp engines in other ZTZ-96 G/As for the 1,000 hp engine.


One interesting note: the boxes on the side actually contain equipment that interferes with the targetting systems of SACLOS missiles, aswell as laser designators, rangefinders and guidance systems, these can be seen when the tank is viewed from above.




The heavier, far stronger pride of the ground forces.


ZTZ-99 (A2 variant pictured.)


Crew: 3


Weight: 54-60 tonnes depending on variant


Powerplant: 1,500 hp turbo charged liquid cooled diesel engine


Speed: 80 km/h on roads, 60 km/h off road


Range: 600km without external tanks.


Armament: ZPT98 125mm L/52 autloaded gun with 8 rounds/minute rate of fire (some sources quote later variants at 11 rounds per minute), higher pressure tolerances, redesigned autoloader and other improvements, this allows it to fire improved ammunition such as far more deadly APFSDS then other 125mm autoloaded gun platforms in the PLA's inventory, it can still fire all other types of rounds aswell, W-85 12.7mm cupola machine gun, 7.62mm coaxial machine gun.


Armor: While the exact thickness and composition isn't known, It's known from cutaway photos and some are pubically released information to have a hard spall liner as many other tanks these days, the actual armor composition itself are plates of high strength/toughness maraging steel sandwiching materials such as high hardness Aluminum oxides, aswell as layers of Graphene and unknown materials from there (likely something very dense), the boxes on the side of the turret and on the pike nose on the front are likely addon ceramic armor as opposed to ERA as originally believed and may be hollow to act as spaced armed, aside from the physical armor package, the tank also features ERA, NERA, and active defense systems that jam or alter the trajectory of various types of guided projectiles.




So, this is the actual "elite" tank of the PLA to supplement the cheaper 96's, Originally it started out with a modest $2,500.000 production cost, however, as time grew on and they kept advancing it to the lastest standards of a top tier MBT, that sort of spiraled out of control a bit, coupled with the fact that the PLA ground forces don't get the same funding as the PLAAF and the PLAN, and the result was that, while the 99A2 has turned out to be a beast in it's own right, it simply isn't feasible price wise to give every tank crew a Type 99A2, however this is probably one of the most underrated 3rd generation MBTs as it's rarely talked about and theres a fuck ton of misinformation about it (mainly that it's a clone of the T-72/T-80 which is completely wrong) and well, it's goddamn pretty, and that counts for alot.


Be sure to check my other topics covering other branches of the PLA


http://sturgeonshouse.ipbhost.com/index.php?/topic/80-the-plan-present-and-future-or-the-rapid-modernization-of-the-chinese-navy-and-marines/- Regarding the Navy, Marines, and Weapons used by them and also land based anti ship defense systems.


http://sturgeonshouse.ipbhost.com/index.php?/topic/71-the-future-of-pla-bullit-spitting-devices-powerful-chinese-weapons-and-units-thread/ - Regarding Infantry, small arms, and infantry support weapons.


http://sturgeonshouse.ipbhost.com/index.php?/topic/87-the-plaaf-and-airborne-a-look-at-the-past-present-and-the-future/- Regarding the PLAAF Aircraft and weapon systems, helicopters, and the Airborne.


A special thank you.

I'd like to personally honor a few posters who have aided me and provided very solid data and posting in this thread, without them this thread and the other PLA related threads would be far less interesting. These should be the first people in here to ask about something.

In no particular order.

JimZhangZhang, Lightning, Akula_941, and U-47.

And of course LoooSeR for keeping content in this thread when I wasn't able to.

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What little I can find on the internet about this tank says that the 1500 HP engine designated is derived from the German MTU MB871ka501.  If so, they have improved it a bit.  THe MB871 is the smaller, 8 cylinder version of the 12 cylinder MB873 which powers the Leo2.  It is claimed that the MB871ka501 has 1200HP, so the Chinese have managed to squeeze another 300HP out of it.


Incidentally, the South Korean K-1 88 also uses the MB871ka501 engine. 

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China's Tank Industry seems to be one of the foremost in the world. Not only has it produced some of the best post-cold war vehicles like the ZTZ-99, but has been able to make them in pretty large numbers. I wouldn't be too surprised if Chinese vehicles start to overtake Russian and Western export models. Pakistan has already partnered with China with the MBT 3000, and you'll probably see more deals made with other Asian, African, and Latin American militaries. 


Have you seen the Chinese unmanned "Walker" AFV concept?



Now you have. 


PopSci has a blog dedicated to Chinese Weaponry called Eastern Arsenal. Here is the article on the "walker."

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What's the story on that Chinese smoothbore firing unitary ammunition?


Two-piece ammo to fit into Russian-style autoloaders seems like a pretty poor compromise right now since APFSDS are the better gun-launched AT munition type.  OTOH, that insane Russian triple-charge HEAT stuff might narrow the gap enough that it's not a crippling penalty.

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What's the story on that Chinese smoothbore firing unitary ammunition?


Two-piece ammo to fit into Russian-style autoloaders seems like a pretty poor compromise right now since APFSDS are the better gun-launched AT munition type.  OTOH, that insane Russian triple-charge HEAT stuff might narrow the gap enough that it's not a crippling penalty.


To be honest, even though I've had some people dig up numbers for me, I only have some pretty basic information on the 1 piece combustible case APFSDS that gets used in the 99A2. (It can also still use older 2 piece designs oddly enough.)


The story about the rouds themslves are that they're confirmed to be DU Alloy (with small amounts of Titanium being the likely alloying agent) with a 30:1 L/D ratio and presumably 25mm in diameter (for 750mm total length.) and a very high muzzle velocity of 1780-1800m/s


The claimed penetration in RHA is very high, likely because well....high velocity DU tends to do very well in plain steel compared to Tungsten, but it's claimed to be 850mm at 2km, there was also a claim of 960mm, I think that was either a mistranslation of the ATGM it uses (which is listed around 950mm usually) or the fact that unlike the first number, it simply says "steel" and not "armor steel" so, could just be softer test matierial for whatever reason on the second number.


As for why, It's more because tanks like the 96 which use Soviet style 2 piece rounds simply lacked the effectiveness compared to, say, an Abrams using M829A3 so 1 piece rounds are likely going to become far more commonplace over the next few years.

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I figure I'll get this one out of the way now, with the trend of "BIG GUN!" and such showing up, and we'll go unto the rumor mill, which is of course, the rather infamous Type 99KM "proposal".


This one rather annoys me because of the whole "China making a super tank, we must respond by x x blah blah" crap that gets posted when people see the concepts of it, or even worse, people who fanboy it as "THEIR NATIONS MAIN TANK HURR DURR MY INVENTION TOTALLY" on sperglordstates, for reference, here's a couple versions.













Things to note, aside from the fact that it's overall profile is really low, is the fact that the reason people sperg about it is because of the supposed specs, it was stated to weigh 75-80 tonnes, have a 2700 hp diesel fueled turbine (some sources state a conventional engine), and, as mentioned before as far as the whole "BIG GUN!" thing goes, a 155mm smoothbore main cannon,


This tank emerged around the time the name "ZTZ-99/Type 99" first appeared to outside sources, they didn't know what the vehicle was or that it was merely an improved version of the Type 98 family, there were concept images as seen above of said tank and rumors spread this was going to be one of the variants, this has yet to be seen.


However, basically everyone I talked to with an inkling of knowledge inside the country has pretty much told me that it was indeed a proposal ...A proposal that wasn't taken seriously by almost anyone at all and was pretty quickly canned before any building whatsoever started, mainly considering they just started on the actual Type 99 you'll more often see today and the PLA ground forces get far less then the PLAAF and PLAN as it is, but because no one really bothered to look into it, rumors still spread about it.


Some have even gone as far as to say It was never real in the first place, which could also be true.


So, that wraps up that, but, there's at least some merit to the Chinese testing larger guns then 125mm or I wouldn't bother to write this in the first place, as every now and then you'll see photos such as these.




Which is supposedly a 140mm gun, so I guess while it's possible there may be a PLA tank with a gun larger then 125mm in the future, It won't be the 99KM.

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A 2700HP engine should set off alarms in peoples head that this is not a realistic proposal.  Assuming they could even pull that much power out of something that would fit in a tank, there really is no need for that much power.  Power levels above 1500 offer diminishing returns as far as performance goes.  And, that sort of power output is going to gobble up a lot of fuel. 

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A 2700HP engine should set off alarms in peoples head that this is not a realistic proposal.  Assuming they could even pull that much power out of something that would fit in a tank, there really is no need for that much power.  Power levels above 1500 offer diminishing returns as far as performance goes.  And, that sort of power output is going to gobble up a lot of fuel. 


You can get turbine engines pretty small these days, but yes, for the most part, It's not a question of "can you?" but "why would you?" Which apparently was also thought by those in power who said no to any work being put into it.

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I will add just little bit more pictures and CHINA STRONG here:

















Note a device mounted on top of the gun mantlet/mount - it can be FCS radar or some kind of jammer. Also note a device on turret roof, near turret rear part - it is rumored to be active protection system that use laser to blind enemy optics (similar to Soviet Stilet and Szhatie system).









MBT-3000 video of presentation/demonstration.

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Next topic is a feature I'd like to call "get fucked Mike Sparks".


So, we have a thread about IFVs in the forum, figured I'd add a bit about a (relatively) new series of 8x8 wheeled armored fighting vehicles, the Type 07P(pilot design)/ZBL-09 "Snow Leopard"/VN-1 (export version), while this has about a thousand different variants so far, I'll stick to the ACV/IFV Variants for now.


Enter the Snow Leopard




Things of note.


Crew: 3


Troop carrying capacity: 7-10


Weight: 15-20+ Tonnes


Armor: Originally 25mm APFSDS resistant on the frontal arc and 12.7mm SLAP immune 360 degrees, increased to 30mm APFSDS resistant on the frontal arc and 14.5mm SLAP resistant/API immune 360 degrees with later armor addon packages, hard spall liner, immune to fragments from 152/155mm artillery shells and blasts from at least 25m, various defenses and design features to protect against mines and IEDs.


Armament: has a large assortment of different armament packages, however as I'm only referring to APC/ACV/IFC variants here, I'll only go with those for now, which are: 12.7mm or 14.5mm protected gun mount or remote controlled machine gun turret, a compact 25mm turret, and (as pictured above) a 30x165mm armed turret with a 7.62mm coaxial and the option to mount an HJ-73C, a highly modified, modernized AT-3 Sagger variant (The reason for using a dated design is that engaging enemy armor headon isn't a primary function, plus larger missiles like the HJ-8 and 9 were hard to do on the relatively small turret) on each side of the turret.


Speed: Up to 100 km/h on roads, 8 km/h in amphibious operation.


Engine: 440hp Diesel


Range: 800km.




So, the story with this is simple, "Fuck Mike Sparks", and what I mean by that is, a big part of the development process of this was highly inspired by the PLA witnessing the Stryker and the success of US Stryker brigades in Iraq and Afghanistan (To a lesser extent, the way the Russians operate their BTR-80s was also an influence), pretty soon, they wanted a similar vehicle family that could perform the same functions: A respectably mobile platform on roads that could carry a large number of troops safely despite a relatively light weight and also be able to perform many other functions depending on what the mission calls for.


Similar to the US, China has many roads (and are building more at quite a fast rate) and lots of country side to cover, this made it necessary to able to travel up to 800km on a full tank in the event it needs to travel without the aid of aircraft or railroads.


One small note to add, that space between the second and third road wheels is there partially because some variants of the vehicle have access doors there.


I actually like the concept of the US Stryker brigades and, more importantly, the fact other nations seem to like the idea enough to design their own clearly proves that the US made a grave error in not scrapping the Stryker program in favor of the ALMIGHTY M113 GAVIN!

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Do you have any information on Chinese heavy tank projects (such as the 113)?


Late response but yeah, have some things I can dig back up, might take a bit since between lots of new games and preparing for holiday seasons, I'm kind of pre occupied at the moment.


For now though, since you mentioned the 113, this was something I helped out with that was posted on the wot forumsa  while back, there were bits he couldn't translate he needed help on.


It starts out with the wot version then goes into the real life history of the designs,  among some other tanks like the 111 and 122 medium. (check the comments for more.)





I'll post some book scans when I can, just tell me whatever parts you want translations of.

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  • 3 weeks later...

WZ-550 Wheeled, high mobility Tank Destroyer. (Missile based.)






So, as you probably guessed by their descriptions, these are designed for either prepared ambushes or hit and run attacks against tanks, It was one of the first platforms to demonstrate the use of the HJ-9 family (HJ-9, A mod, B mod) of missiles, which is arguably the best surface to surface AT missiles in the PLA's inventory. (at least subsonic/transonic wise.) which features massive armor penetration and range for it's class thanks in part to it's 2 stage design. (even though it's listed as a standard Tandem charge, it's speculated to be a double full sized charge as only cutaways older cutaways of the front of old variants have been seen.) these feature protection from a good majority of small arms fire and shrapnel/artillery splinters, and are amphibious to help get into better positions when needed (though, not really intended to fire while on the water.) depending on the variant, both the missile and the launch platform itself is capable of 2 tracking/seeking modes, including laser beam riding, or semi millimeter wave radar guidance that allows them to enter fire and forget mode and even fire on multiple targets at once before moving. I don't know, these really have a glass jaw in the event they are caught out, but their range, sensor packages, and mobility are intended to prevent that.




Weight - 14,000kg.


Crew - 3.


Speed - 100 km/h on roads, 5km/h amphibious.


Propulsion, 4x4 powered by a 320hp turbo charged diesel.


Range - 600km.


Launcher/Vehicle sensors - Fully night vision/thermal capable, digital target zoom, TV goniometry, long range ground search radar (unknown type), laser command transmission systems. fire control for MMV mode. day/night driving mode.


Protection, very limited mine protection, protection against 7.62mm AP all around and shrapnel/artillery fragments, fully NBC equipped, automatic fire suppression system, IR smoke canister launchers.


Armament - x4 HJ-9 family two stage anti tank missiles, x8 held in reserve. (Launcher tilts from -10/+10 degrees.)


And, about the different variations of the HJ-9 itself.


HJ-9/A/B Specifications.


Weight - 36kg, 37kg (A), 38kg (B ), Missile only.


Length - 1200mm


Diameter - 6"/152mm


Minimum range - 100m (50m for B variant).


Maximum range - 5000m, 5,500m (A) 6,000m (B ).


Propulsion - 2 stage solid fuel rocket engines.


Speed - unknown.


Penetration - 1100-1200mm RHA behind ERA (Standard and A). 1300-1400mm Behind ERA (B ).


Fuzing - Contact fuze on nose probe, demonstrated to work at impact angles of up to 68-75 degrees.


Guidance - Laser beam riding (Standard), Laser beam riding or Semi-MMW guidance. (A and B ).


Note: had to space out B here or the ) at the end would make it an emotion, and any emoticons not canonized by the holy forum of SA are heretical.

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So yeah, I mentioned the Snow Leopard has like a billion variants, going to just make a post about those now. (Note that yes, these variants are all still amphibious.)


105mm Anti Tank/Direct fire variant with a high powered T83 series gun. Using the long, strengthened high pressure barrels, large charge combustible cases, and very long DU penetrators, this gun series can hit an astounding 600mm of RHA penetration at 2 kilometers distance.


x1 105mm main gun, x1 7.62mm coaxial, x1 roof mounted 12.7mm roof mounted HMG.





35mm SPAAG/Support gun.


Note: this is listed as a support gun because, despite It's intention as an short range (4km) AA gun and the bulky turret, it can still depress far enough and target ground forces.


x1 35mm gun, 1,000-1,200 rpm.




Engineer/Recovery Variant.




x1 12.7mm HMG.



Command/Medical variant









APC variant.


Less armed, however carries more troops to fill that whole "APC" role thing.


x1 remote controlled or small 1 man protected turret, armed with anything ranging from a 12.7-14.5mm HMG, to a 25mm-30mm (lighter model) autocannon.







And...another SPAAG variant.


I've pointed out China has some weird obsession with creating as many air defense systems as possible, here's another one, and infact, in the background you can see yet another which ill write about later. This one, after the air show last month, finally has an actual name, which is the CA/SA5.


x1 30mm 6 barreled Gatling gun with an rof believed to be in excess of 4,000 rpm, x4 FN-6A or HN-6A MANPAD missiles.




120mm Mortar mount.


Appears unarmed, aside from an optional 12.7mm machine gun, but the top unfolds much like the Stryker variant that does the same to reveal a 120mm mortar on a 360 degree mount that can deliver fast, rapid high angle indirect fire where needed.





122mm medium range howitzer.


For when longer range, heavier fire support is needed quickly, they made...this thing.


x1 122mm Gun-Howitzer, x1 12.7mm HMG.




There also is a 155mm variant that requires some rather heavy modifications to the basic design, but I can't find it at them moment for when the above isn't enough, but I'll try.


Anyway, thanks for reading, be sure to comment.

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Basically an updated, heavier armored version of the ZBD04, which itself was an upgrade of the ZBD97. the extra weight does come at the cost of reduced amphibious capabilities, but considering this is an army vehicle, this isn't seen as a huge requirement.


As you'll probably notice, China did buy the rights for the 100mm gun system and fire control used on the BMP-3 for this, the secondary armament is a 30mm autocannon (not visible in this picture as its directly to the right of the main gun), and a 7.62mm coaxial.




Crew - 3


Troop capacity - 7


Speed - 65 km/h on land, 8km on water


Range - 500km


Engine - 600hp Diesel engine


Weight - +25 Tonnes.


Length - 7.2m


Width - 3.2m


Height - 2.5m


Armor - Welded High hardness Steel hull with thin layer of an unknown ceramic in between, applique armor plated, proofed vs 30mm APFSDS on the front and 14.5mm APDS everywhere except the rear arc, which can still resist 12.7mm APDS, 152/155mm artillery blasts and fragments within 15m, mine and IED protection features.


Armament - x1 100mm 2A70 gun/launcher, with a 10 rounds/minute auto loader and 30 rounds. (x22 HE-FRAG shells, x8 license built 9M117M1 Arkan ATGMs), x1 30x165mm dual feed autocannon with 600 rounds. (x300 APDS-T or APFSDS-T, x300 HEI-FRAG-T, note that the PLA have different variants of 30mm rounds then the Russians.) firing at 300 rounds per minute. x1 7.62mm coaxial, 2000 rounds.

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  • 3 weeks later...

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