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Type 96

Main battle tank

Type 96

The Chinese Type 96 main battle tank was built in large numbers

Entered service 1997
Crew 3 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight 41.5 t
Length (gun forward) 10.65 m
Hull length ?
Width 3.3 m
Height 2.3 m
Main gun 125-mm smoothbore.
Machine guns 1 x 7.62-mm, 1 x 12.7-mm
Elevation range - 4 to + 12 degrees
Traverse range 360 degrees
Ammunition load
Main gun 42 rounds
Machine guns 500 x 12.7; 2 250 x 7.62
Engine diesel
Engine power 1 000 hp
Maximum road speed 65 km/h
Range 400 / 600 km
Gradient 60%
Side slope 40%
Vertical step 0.8 m
Trench 2.7 m
Fording 1.4 m
Fording (with preparation) 5 m


   The Type 96 main battle tank was developed from the Type 85-III with minor modifications. Sometimes it is referred as the the Type 88C or ZTZ96. It's predecessor was mainly aimed at the export market. The Type 96 entered service with Chinese army in 1997. It replaced in production the previous Type 88 MBT. Production of the original Type 96 ceased in 2005. It is estimated that over 1 500 of these main battle tanks were built. Other sources claim, that 2 000-2 500 of these tanks were produced. The only export customer of this MBT is Sudan.

   The Type 96 MBT is armed with a fully-stabilized 125-mm smoothbore gun, fitted with an autoloader. Both the gun and autoloader were copied from the Soviet T-72. This main battle tank might be compatible with the Russian AT-11 Sniper gun-launched anti-tank guided missiles, or it's Chinese copy. Maximum rate of fire is 6 - 8 rounds per minute. A total of 42 rounds are carried.

   The tank is fitted with new computerized fire control system. It incorporates laser rangefinder and automatic target tracker. This MBT can engage moving targets accurately, while on the move. It has a high first round hit probability against stationary and moving targets, while the tank is firing on the move. Fire control system of this tank is superior to those, used by the Soviet T-72 series tanks. The Type 96 is also fitted with a night vision system with image intensifier.

   Secondary armament is similar to all Russian and Chinese tanks. It consists of coaxial 7.62-mm machine gun and another 12.7-mm machine gun, mounted on top of the roof.

   The Type 96 has steel and composite armor. Vehicle is fitted with NBC protection and automatic fire suppression systems.

   The Chinese Type 96 tank is powered by a turbocharged diesel engine, developing 1 000 hp. It seems that tanks exported to Sudan are powered by the older and less powerful engine of the Type 85 tank, developing 730 hp. Engine and transmission are built in one module for easier servicing and maintenance. It can be replaced within 40 minutes in field conditions. This main battle tank has a maximum road range of 400 km, which is extended to 600 by adding external fuel tanks. Vehicle can be fitted with a deep wading kit.




   Type 96G, upgrade of the Type 96, fitted with explosive reactive armor and thermal imaging system for all-weather, day/night operation. It was revealed in 2006. It is believed that upgraded vehicles approach the Type 99 in terms of protection, firepower and mobility. Weight of upgraded MBT increased to 42.8 t. All Type 96 MBTs might be upgraded to this standard. This tank is also proposed for export customers. Export variant is fitted with passive countermeasures system, similar to Russian Shtora-1;

   VT2 is an export version with new turret.

Video of the Type 96 main battle tank


Type 96G

Type 96G

Type 96G

Type 96G