Description: The Type 99, also known as ZTZ-99 or WZ123, is a Chinese-made third generation main battle tank (MBT) intended to provide the People's Liberation Army (PLA) with a capability similar to Western-made Leopard 2 and M1A1 tanks. The PLA's Type 99 tank highlights by its improved firepower, protection and mobility compared to previous Chinese tank models. The hull design is based on the Type 98 and Type 98G prototypes tested by the PLA in the 1990s. According to the Pentagon's China Military Power 2007, the PLA fielded the Type 99 MBT beginning in April 2006 to units in the Beijing and Shenyang military regions. As of 2015, NORINCO has produced several hundreds (more than 700) as the spear head for the PLA which prefers the less expensive Type 96 as the backbone for its armored forces.
The Type 99 is equipped with a Russian-style 50-caliber 125mm smoothbore cannon with autoloader which translates into a crew of three-man. The 125mm cannon is capable of firing the Russian-made Refleks laser-guided anti-tank missile and the ammunition magazine at the rear turret has room for 41 rounds. The heavily armored turret is fitted with explosive reactive armor (ERA) and add-on armor modules. The Refleks missile is being manufactured under license in China. In addition to the 125mm cannon, the Type 99 is equipped with a 12.7mm antiaircraft machine gun and a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun. The 50-ton class Type 99 tank is powered by a 1,200-hp liquid-cooled diesel engine based on German technology developing a top speed of 80 kilometers per hour (kph) on-road and 60 kph cross country.
The basic ZTZ-99 tank entered service with the PLA in 2006 with approximately 200 units produced.