The creation of the “99 Type” began in the mid-nineties of the last century, when the PLA command once again requested NORINCO tank designers to make a combat vehicle capable of reducing the quality gap between Chinese and foreign tanks. During the development of the appearance of a promising tank, various options for weapons, protection, as well as a complex of electronic equipment were considered. For example, a lot of time was taken away calculations and tests, during which it turned out the optimal caliber of the gun. According to the results of the mass of work, the “Soviet” version with millimeters 125 caliber was considered more suitable for a promising tank. The situation was similar in the same way with the other units of the tank, in which, as a result, several existing foreign, including Russian, developments were applied.
The existence of a new type of tank "Type 99", originally received the foreign designation "Type 88G", became known after one of the military parades 2000 year. Later it turned out that by the time of the parade the first batch of forty cars had already been ready. Externally, the “Type 99” tanks were significantly different from everything that was previously demonstrated by China, which immediately attracted the attention of foreign public. Over time, technical details as well as the characteristics of the new combat vehicle came from official and unofficial sources.
According to the most popular opinion, the basis for the “Type 99” was the Soviet / Russian T-72 tank, received by China from third countries. The hull of the original tank was slightly elongated and repacked. At the same time, the overall layout of the combat vehicle remained the classic one: the command and control unit, the combat one and the engine-transmission compartment, were placed one after the other. The dimensions of the German MTU WD396 diesel engine with 1200 horsepower, one of the main reasons for the lengthening of the tank hull. The dimensions of the imported engine did not allow it to fit into the hull of the T-72 or any other previous Chinese tank. With a combat mass of more than 50 tons, the tank "Type 99" has a specific power of about 23-25 hp. per ton. This allows the tank to accelerate on the highway to a speed of 65 km / h, and fuel is enough for a march of 600 kilometers in length. It is noteworthy that the engine and transmission units of the tank are made in the form of a single unit. It is alleged that in the field, its replacement takes no more than 40-50 minutes.
The chassis “Type 99” to some extent resembles the corresponding units of the T-72, but it has several differences. The Chinese tank is equipped with six support rollers on board, each of which has two rubber bands. Suspension is made on the basis of torsions. In addition, the suspension of the most loaded two front and two rear rollers on each side is additionally reinforced with hydraulic shock absorbers. Four supporting rollers are fixed above the support rollers. Due to the rear location of the MTO, the drive wheels are located in the stern of the tank. The transmission of torque from the wheel to the track is carried out with the help of bolt-on gear. The tracks of the tank “Type 99” are equipped with rubber-metal hinges.
The protection of the tank is based on composite blocks consisting of two steel plates and a filler between them. Composite armor collected frontal part of the hull and turret. Precise data on steel grades or aggregate type are not available. At the same time from official sources it is known that the level of protection of the frontal part of the body is equivalent to a homogeneous slab 500-600 millimeters thick. For the forehead of the tower, this parameter is equal to 700 millimeters. The type and class of shells used to compare composite and homogeneous armor were not disclosed. On tanks "Type 99" you can use dynamic protection systems that increase the level of protection of the machine.
The main armament of tanks "Type 99" is 125-mm smooth-bore gun. This gun was developed on the basis of the Soviet / Russian tank gun 2А46. According to the Chinese side, after the rework, the characteristics of the new tank gun exceed the data of the German RH-120 by a third, and the Russian 2A46М1 is inferior to it by 45%. Details of this comparison were not specified, which makes it possible to doubt the objectivity of the declared data. Guidance of the gun in the vertical plane is in the range from -6 to + 14 degrees. The gun is stabilized in two planes.
The main means of defeating enemy armored vehicles in the “Type 99” are armor-piercing feathered sub-caliber shells. Probably, such ammunition was created on the basis of the Israeli IMI M711 projectiles, which have an initial speed of the order of 1700 m / s and a penetrability index at the level of 600 millimeters of homogeneous armor. There is information about the creation by the Chinese of a new sub-caliber projectile, the initial speed of which is higher than that of M711 on 80-90 meters, and penetrability increased to 800-850 mm. In addition, the ammunition "Type 99" includes cumulative and fragmentation ammunition.
22 separate-sleeve shots of any type are placed in the cells of the automatic loader. This mechanism is a reworking of the Soviet construction used on the T-72. Automatic loader allows you to fire with a rate of fire up to 7-8 rounds per minute. Naturally, in practice, this parameter is much smaller. In addition to 22 shots in the cells of the automatic loader, another two dozen ammunition are stored in stacks inside the turret and the fighting compartment. They are loaded manually. At the same time, the tank commander or gunner must assume the duties of the loader, because the crew of the “Type 99” was reduced to three people due to the presence of the automatic loader.
At the beginning of the two thousand years, information appeared on the change in the status of the tank gun "Type 99". In China, an anti-tank guided missile was designed for use with it. Thus, the gun has become a weapon-launcher. According to reports, the Chinese tank missile complex was created on the basis of the Soviet / Russian system 9K119 "Reflex". Missile ammunition data is missing. The characteristics of the guided missiles are also unknown. Probably, their data partially or fully correspond to the characteristics of the complex 9K119. Auxiliary armament tanks "Type 99" consists of two machine guns. One of them - "Type 86" caliber 7,62 mm - is paired with a gun and has ammunition in two thousand rounds. Near the commander's turret there are fastenings for a regular W85 anti-aircraft machine gun of 12,7 caliber of millimeters. At the disposal of the arrow is ammunition from 300 cartridges. On the side surfaces of the tower are installed two five-barrel smoke grenade launchers.
The basis of the electronic equipment of the tank "Type 99" is a fire control system. It includes a dual-channel (television and thermal imaging) gunner's sight with a built-in rangefinder, a panoramic commander's sight, a two-plane stabilizer, a digital ballistic computer, and a set of environmental sensors. An interesting feature of the "Type 99" electronics is the ability to display images from both sights on the screens of both the commander and the gunner. In this way, the search for targets and targeting them is facilitated to some extent. weapons. Judging by the reports on the availability of guided weapons, it is possible to draw conclusions about the presence of the corresponding equipment on the tank.
It is worth recalling that the original "Reflex" uses missile guidance on a laser beam. One interesting technical tool is connected with laser technology on a new Chinese tank. In addition to booking and dynamic protection to protect the armored vehicle from being hit with anti-tank ammunition, the “Type 99” is equipped with the JD-3 active laser counter-action system (also known as ZM87). It works as follows. A set of sensors distributed over the surface of the tank, captures the exposure of the machine with a laser beam of a rangefinder or similar enemy system, and then gives the appropriate signal. Next, the emitter of the JD-3 system, together with the turret, rotates in the direction of the radiation source, after which the automation, using a relatively low-power laser beam, determines the location of the emitter of the enemy. The detected target can be attacked using barreled or guided weapons, but there is another interesting possibility. With the appropriate command, JD-3 is aimed at the enemy's optics, after which it instantly raises the radiation power by several hundred percent. A powerful beam damages the enemy's opto-electronic systems or blinds the crew of an enemy vehicle. At a distance of 10 kilometers, at least a temporary blinding of a person is possible. Because of this impact on the crews of enemy armored vehicles or anti-tank crews, the JD-3 system is a subject of controversy: the development and production of laser blinding systems was banned in the mid-nineties by a relevant UN decision.
Starting in 2000, Chinese industrialists have mastered the production of several modifications of the “Type 99” tank. To date, the troops have the following versions of this armored vehicle:
- "Type 99". The original tank of the late nineties;
- "Type 99G". Modernization of the beginning of the two thousandth years. The aim complex underwent serious changes, which received a number of new instruments. In addition, the laser countermeasure system was upgraded;
- "Type 99A." Further development of the option "G";
- "Type 99А1". From the previous versions of the tank differs updated dynamic protection. According to a number of sources, the tank “Type 99А1” for the first time in Chinese practice used multi-layer dynamic protection, significantly increasing the survivability of the machine on the battlefield. Also on this modification finally formed the dynamic protection of the rear of the tower. A special box-shaped farm is fixed on the back surface of the arable land, on which the “boxes” of dynamic protection are placed. This method of installation of protection blocks reduces the possibility of anti-tank ammunition due to the additional gap between the dynamic protection and the surface of the tower;
- "Type 99А2". From the previous versions of the tank differs in most of the electronic equipment. Radically updated communications and control, changed the composition of the sighting system, refined dynamic and active protection, etc. Earlier it was reported that this modification of the “Type 99” will be equipped with an HP 1500 engine. and a new gun caliber from 140 to 155 mm. Later it turned out that information about the change of the instrument was only a rumor, and information about the new engine has not yet been confirmed by official sources.
At the end of 2009, the chief designer of the 99 Type tank, Zhu Yusheng, gave an interview to the Chinese TV program “Great Masters”, which caused a flurry of discussions around the world. The designer, comparing the newest and most modern tanks, finally came to the conclusion that the “Type 99” is one of the three best cars of its class in the world. If in some way he is inferior, then only in certain characteristics. Therefore, the German Leopard 2A6 or the American Abrams M1A1 / A2 can only compete with him, but not exceed. Such statements by the designer simply could not fail to provoke a corresponding public reaction. During the discussion of the Chinese "super-tank" revealed a lot of technical details. From the available data, we can safely say that Zhu Yusheng succumbed to the temptation to use the wording of the family "has no analogues", which have long been the object of monotonous offensive jokes.
In general, the "Type 99" is a solid third-generation main tank, with both pluses and minuses. The advantages of the “Type 99” include good armament, close to optimal values of the specific power and the system of active laser counteraction. Negative features of the tank are the incomprehensible situation with the guided weapons complex, not too high mobility, the dubious legal status of the JD-3 laser system, as well as the secondary design, armament and a number of systems in relation to the Soviet / Russian technology. In fact, "Type 99" is a specific mixture of modern developments and technologies that appeared in the late sixties of the last century. Of course, modernization of one or another piece of equipment or tank armament has certain prospects, but completely new and original solutions are needed to fundamentally improve the situation. So far, it seems, Chinese tank builders have nothing to offer, and therefore they can only boast of a unique and unmatched system of laser counteraction. Naturally, this is not enough to ensure real superiority over the enemy. Therefore, the "Type 99" remains quite good and, under certain circumstances, a promising main tank, lagging behind foreign competitors in some indicators.
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