The serial production of the third generation Chinese main battle tank Type 99 (ZTZ-99) is a machine created on the basis of the Type 98 prototype. One of the first options for this tank with enhanced armor protection was demonstrated by NORINCO in 2000. The tank was put on public display on a special pedestal. Initially, in some sources, this modification was designated as "Type 98G" (from the Chinese "guy" - advanced, modified). In the same 2000, the first batch of 40 Type 99 tanks was launched. North China Mechanical Engineering Research Institute No. 201 (NEVORI, Beijing) and the First FIRMACO Engineering Company (formerly Factory No. 617 in Baotou, Inner Mongolia), the developers of this machine, began work on improving the prototype as soon as Type 98 went to the test. The main directions for improving the characteristics of the tank are: increasing mobility by installing a more powerful 1500-horsepower turbocharged diesel engine, improving the fire control system, increasing security by installing built-in dynamic protection on the frontal projections of the tower and the hull.
Combined armor protection of the frontal projection of the tank is enhanced by the installation of blocks of built-in dynamic protection, located above the main booking, and the blocks are located on the tower "corner". In addition, the aft niche of the tower is additionally protected, where the dynamic protection is mounted on top of the lattice basket. A similar booking scheme could also be seen on the upgraded 96 Type tank and the Al Khalid Pakistani. If the first models of the "Type 99" blocks DZ installed over the main armor parts, then they were originally built into the general reservation. In addition, the configuration of additional units in the production process of machines has changed somewhat. Initially, the cheekbones of the tower were increased only forward, and then they became more sloping from the sides, where DZ blocks were also placed. In addition, part of the blocks on the last machines was installed on the roof of the tower, thus strengthening it from cumulative ammunition acting from the upper hemisphere. The modular booking design allows you to quickly replace damaged blocks with new ones.
Like the 98 Type prototype, the 99 Type tank is equipped with an integrated JD-3 active-response laser system, consisting of an integrated laser range finder, an LRW laser irradiation warning sensor, and an LSDW combat quantum generator. Upon receiving a signal about the tank’s irradiation with a laser beam from an enemy, the warning system generates a signal to turn the turret towards the detected source, then a weak-power laser beam turns on, determining the exact location of the target, after which the beam power instantaneously increases to a critical level and disables the optical media or organs of vision of the enemy operator.
The advanced fire control system of the tank includes a combined gunner’s and commander’s sights with independent stabilization, a laser range finder, a thermal imager, a digital ballistic computer, an 2 plane armament stabilizer, a set of sensors (atmospheric conditions, barrel bore wear, etc.), a commander’s multifunctional panel color indicator and target tracking system. The image from the thermal imager is displayed on the color displays of the commander and the gunner (multiplicity x11,4 and x5). In addition, the tank is equipped with a navigation system with inertial and satellite (GPS) channels, the data from which are also displayed on the display of the commander and superimposed on the digital map of the area. The tank is equipped with a modern radio station and TPU.
The main armament of the tank - 125-mm smoothbore gun - the Chinese version of the Russian tank guns 2А46. The barrel of the gun is equipped with a thermal insulation jacket. As on the “Type 98”, the tank “Type 99” is equipped with a hydro-mechanical carousel-type automatic loader on the 22 shot. The total ammunition is 41 shot separate-sleeve loading with armor-piercing podkalibernymi shells with a separating pan, cumulative shells, high-explosive and tank anti-tank 9М119 "Reflex" of Russian production (with laser-guided). Auxiliary armament consists of a twin 7,62-mm machine gun "Type 86" and anti-aircraft 12,7-mm W-85. On the sides of the turret, two 5-type 84 smoke grenade launchers were installed.
Installed on the tank "Type 99" diesel engine water-cooled turbocharged power 1500 hp created on the basis of the German MB871ka501. With the mass of the tank 54 tons, it gives the power density 27,78 hp / t. and the maximum speed of movement on the highway - 80 km / h (over rough terrain - to 60 km / h). The tank accelerates from standstill to 32 km / h in just 12 seconds. Mechanical planetary transmission provides 7 speeds for forward movement and one in reverse. Torsion bar suspension with gyro-shock absorber.
After the release of 40 tanks "Type 99" their production was continued, but at a slow pace. Now these modern machines are armed only elite units of the PLA, deployed in the Beijing and Shenyansky military districts.