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Type 90-II

Main battle tank

Type 90-II MBT

The Type 90-II failed to meet performance expectations to be accepted to Chinese army

Entered service -
Crew 3 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight 48 t
Length (gun forward) 10.28 m
Hull length 7.3 m
Width 3.45 m
Height 2.3 m
Main gun 125-mm smoothbore
Machine guns 1 x 7.62-mm, 1 x 12.7-mm
Elevation range - 6 to + 16 degrees
Traverse range 360 degrees
Ammunition load
Main gun 39 rounds
Machine guns ?
Engine 6TD diesel
Engine power 1 200 hp
Maximum road speed 65 km/h
Range 500 km
Gradient 60%
Side slope 40%
Vertical step 0.85 m
Trench 2.7 m
Fording 1.4 m
Fording (with preparation) 5 m


   The Chinese Type 90-II main battle tank is a further development of the Type 80/85 series main battle tanks. The Type 90-II was previously known as the Type 85-IIM. It was first publicly revealed in 1991. It is the first Chinese tank of the third generation, however it was not accepted to service with Chinese Army. Later an improved Type 96 was selected. The Type 90-II programme continued, however it was intended for export customers. In the late 1990s this tank was marketed as the MBT-2000. Pakistan acquired its production license. The MBT-2000 is locally known as the Al Khalid. The Type 90-II also influenced development of the current Chinese Type 96 and Type 99 main battle tanks.

   The Type 90-II is not an entirely new design. It resembles the Soviet T-72 MBT. In the 1980s China obtained a T-72 from Romania in exchange for plasma spray technology. So a number of its subsystems were copied. Also about half of the Type 90-II components come form previous Chinese medium tanks and main battle tanks. The main reason why the Type 90-II did not entered service with Chinese army was that it failed to meet performance expectations. Despite all improvements it was still no match for Western MBTs of the 1990s.

   The Type 90-II has improved armor protection comparing with the previous models. It had composite armor plating. Later models were fitted with explosive reactive armor blocks. It is worth mentioning that the Type 90-II is the first Chinese tank, with modular armor. Its armor was developed from the start to be replaced if damaged or better armor becomes available.

   The Type 90-II main battle tank is armed with a 125-mm smoothbore main gun. It is also fitted with an autoloader. Both the main gun and the autoloader were copied from the Soviet T-72 MBT. This gun might be compatible with Soviet 9K119 Reflex (NATO designation AT-11 Sniper) gun-launched ATGW or its Chinese copy. It is a significant leap, considering that the previous Type-85 had a manually loaded 105-mm gun. The Type 90-II MBT has similar fire control system to the Type 80-II. Secondary armament consists of coaxial 7.62-mm machine gun and 12.7-mm machine gun, mounted on top of the roof.

   Vehicle has a crew of three, including commander, gunned and driver.

   Four diesel engines were tested on the Type 90-II main battle tank, including Perkins CV-12 Condor engine (fitted on the Challenger 2). Its variant - the Pakistan-manufactured Al Khalid is powered by Ukrainian 6TD diesel engine, developing 1 200 horsepower.




   Type 90-IIA was an export model offered to Pakistan. It was powered by French diesel engine, developing 1 500 hp. It did not entered service, because France joined embargo of Pakistan for its nuclear tests;

   Type 90-IIM or MBT-2000 also was an export model aimed to meet Pakistani armed forces requirement. This version was developed to avoid the problem of embargo. Initially it was fitted with Chinese-made engine, which proved to be unreliable. In 2001 this MBT was demonstrated and was still proposed with an option to be fitted with foreign-made powerpack;

   Al Khalid is a further development of the MBT-2000 with some modifications. It is powered by an Ukrainian 6TD diesel engine, developing 1 200 hp. Pakistan acquired license to produce these tanks locally.


Type 90-II MBT

Type 90-II MBT

Type 90-II MBT

Type 90-II MBT

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