Daily Archives: October 26, 2015

Royal Thai Army H125M/AS550 C3 Fennec Light Attack Helicopter

The Eurocopter (now Airbus Helicopters) AS550 Fennec and AS555 Fennec 2 are lightweight, multipurpose military helicopters manufactured by Eurocopter Group (now Airbus Helicopters). Based on the AS350 Ecureuil and AS355 Ecureuil 2 series, they are named after the Fennec Fox. The armed versions of the AS550 and AS555 can be fitted with coaxial weapons, rockets, torpedoes and various other munitions.


Airbus’ two-tonne H125M (formerly the AS550 C3e Fennec) responds to military requirements for a cost-effective armed platform with a very small footprint and excellent manoeuvrability.

The H125M is tailored for locating and attacking targets of opportunity. It relies on the qualities of power, simplicity, firing stability and stealth to carry out a diverse range of demanding missions.


The H125M can be equipped with Airbus’ HForce weapons system – a comprehensive, modular and cost-efficient weapon system that can be used on any military version of Airbus’ civil helicopter range (H125M, H145M and H225M).

Able to fly discreetly in the battlefield with a small silhouette, the H125M has a reduced radar signature through the use of composite materials and infrared-reflective paint.

This helicopter benefits from the excellent handling characteristics and easy-to-fly qualities that are inherent in Airbus’ single-engine Ecureuil family – which holds the world altitude record (landing on Mount Everest at 8,848 metres), and is fully operational in high and hot environments. Source airbus.com

Fabrique Nationale de Herstal twin 7.62 mm



1 × Turbomeca Arriel 2B turboshaft

1 × Turbomeca Arriel 2B turboshaft, 632 kW (847 shp)

• Special power ratings (OEI) can be used, without any shop visit,
as long as time-usage allowance permits.
• The 2C2 variant has a special extended “30 minutes Take-O
power” to match the missions of the United States Coast Guards
(Arriel 2C2CG).
• The FADEC provides a built-in ‘’creep-life management’’


20 mm Giat M621 cannon



The M621 is a French 20 mm automatic cannon, designed by GIAT (now Nexter Systems). It is used on armored vehicles, aircrafts, helicopters and small coastal vessels in France, India, Romania and other countries. Its variants include THL 20, chin mounting for helicopters; SH 20, door mounting for helicopters; CP 20, pintle-mounted naval gun, and others. The gun entered service in 1973 and is still in service today.


  • Type: Automatic gun
  • Calibre: 20×102 mm
  • Gun Weight: 100.3 lbs (45.5 kg)
  • Gun Length: 86.9 in (220.7 cm)
  • Bore Length: 57.5 in (146 cm)
  • Capacity: Belt fed, platform dependent capacity (160 for model 15A naval mounting, 300-750 for THL 20)
  • Rate of fire: 750 rpm
  • Muzzle velocity: 980-1030 m/s depending on ammunition type

Source imfdb.org

HMP400 gun pod with 12.7mm FN M3P machine gun

Royal Thai Army AS550 armed with .50″ HMP – wikiwand.com

Forges de Zeebrugge (FZ) makes the FZ220, a seven-tube, 70mm


7 x 2.75in Forges de Zeebrugge

Mechanical characteristics

  • Height : 244.3 mm
  • Width : 243.4 mm
  • Overall length : 1653.5 mm
  • Total mass (empty) : 20 kg


  • Firing mode : ripple / single
  • Intervallometry : 80 ms (minimum)
  • Dual purpose : designed for firing both types of FZ 2.75″ FZ FFAR and WA rocket motors
  • Rocket warheads : designed for firing all types of conventional 2.75″ FZ rocket warheads equipped with remote set fuze

FFAR – 4 Folding-Fins Aerial Rockets

The family of 4 Folding-Fin Aerial Rocket (FFAR) was the first type of rocket motors developed in the late 1940s.

The early FFAR rockets (with rocket motors Mk4 for aircraft and the Mk40 for helicopters) were conventional 70 mm diameter unguided rockets, comprising a solid-propellant motor with 4 folding fins and an appropriate warhead.

These were later replaced by the more performing rocket motors FZ67 (for fixed wings aircraft) and FZ68 (for helicopters)

WA – Wrap Around Rockets

The Wrap Around (WA) fin assembly was developed from the previous 2.75 inch Mk40 motor-based folding fin aerial rocket in the 1960s in order to increase stability during flight and precision (especially for rotary wings).

The WA rocket motor is suitable for both, rotary and fixed wing aircraft.

Source fz.be

Specifications (as550 c3)


The Royal Thai Army operates 8 units (2013)

Picture Source: Thai Defense News Blog

Specification Source: Wiki

Estimated Cost: USD 2.6 million (According to AircraftCompare.com)

Updated Sept 27, 2019


Kamov Ka-50 Hokum

In the 1980s the Soviet Kamov design bureau, well-known for its coaxial-rotor naval helicopters, began development of a single-seat coaxial-rotor helicopter gunship — which emerged as the

In the mid-1960s, the Kamov helicopter experimental design bureau (OKB in its Russian acronym) had designed a gunship version of the Ka-25 coaxial-rotor naval helicopter, the “Ka-25F” — but it was rejected, the authorities selecting the Mil Mi-24 “Hind” gunship for production instead.

Although the Mi-24 gunship proved a great success in service with the Red Army and Soviet allies, it wasn’t long after its introduction that the brass began to wonder if it was really the right tool for the job. The Mi-24 was a large machine, capable in principle of carrying a squad of infantry that could provide a ground combat capability to back up the machine’s air combat capability. It didn’t work out that way: it rarely carried infantry except in a pinch, and its large size cut into performance.

In 1972, the US began the “Advanced Attack Helicopter” program, which would ultimately result in the AH-64 Apache helicopter gunship. The Soviets felt obligated to respond in kind, and so in 1976 the authorities initiated work on their own advanced attack helicopter, focused on the anti-armor mission. Mil and Kamov, the two Soviet helicopter design bureaus, both submitted proposals. The Mil proposal would emerge as the “Mi-28 Havoc”, which is discussed elsewhere; the Kamov proposal was the “V-80”, to be designed by a team under Sergei Mikhelev. Two prototypes of each were ordered in 1980. The initial V-80 prototype, built at the Kamov plant in Moscow, performed its initial flight on 17 June 1982, with Nikolai Bezdetnov at the control. The second performed its first flight in August 1983.



V-80.01 – the first prototype of the Ka-50 helicopter ( Hokum A ). This machine has been dedicated to examining performance characteristics, stability and maneuverability. For this reason, he lacked the installation of a range of planned on-board systems, including a weapon system, cannon, and ejection seat. Its drive was provided by a pair of TV3-117V engines. But all of the following prototypes also differed in the installation of a differently shaped fuselage tip without an optics shielding system, and a differently shaped SOP with a lower height and depth. Source ruslet.webnode.cz



V-80.02  – the second prototype of the helicopter type Ka-50 ( Hokum A ). This machine was reserved for testing the weapon system. From the prototype of the first distinguished in particular the installation of an automated flight-navigation-offensive complex type PrPNK-80 Rubikon K-041, remotely operated firing range type NPPU-80 with one moving 30 mm cannon type 2A42, more powerful engines type TV3-117VMA and new SOP with larger height. Compared to the first prototype, it also had a more robust fuselage tip. Directly beneath it was the rectangular optics cover of the Škval-type sighting system. Later, while running tests, on the back of the bow of the fuselage of this machine was added a dummy cover of the TV sight of the Merkurij type, which works even in low light. Source ruslet.webnode.cz

The first V-80 prototype was lost in a crash on 3 April 1985, pilot Yevgeny Laryushkin being killed. The V-80 featured the coaxial rotor system traditionally associated with Kamov helicopters; investigation showed that the rotor blades had collided with each other in the course of maneuvers, with the spacing between the rotor systems increased as a result. A third prototype followed before the end of 1985. Initial evaluation was complete by the summer of 1986, with the V-80 being favored over the Mi-28. There was room for improvement, with the appropriate recommendations made, and the V-80 was ordered into production in late 1987, to be made at the state plant in Arseneyev. The Mi-28 still being seen as promising, its development was continued.



V-80.03 – the third prototype of the helicopter type Ka-50 ( Hokum A ). This machine was created as a replacement for the lost first prototype and was reserved for testing to test performance characteristics, stability and maneuverability. From a structural point of view, but coincided with the second prototype. From the prototype of the second it was easy to recognize especially the parts of the installation of dust filters in the air intakes of the power units. Later, while running the tests, this machine was additionally equipped, as well as the second prototype, the installation of a dummy cover for TV sights of the type Mercury on the back of the fuselage tip. Source ruslet.webnode.cz



V-80.04 – fourth prototype helicopter type Ka-50 ( Hokum A ). This machine differed from the previous prototypes, especially the installation of dummy targets ejectors type UV-26, laser warning system and a modified air-navigation-attack complex type Rubikon with four independent computers. In 1999 it was rebuilt to prototype model Ka-50N.  Source ruslet.webnode.cz



V-80.05 – the fifth prototype helicopter type Ka-50 ( Hokum A ). This machine became the standard for the serial model and was the first in the V-80 series to be equipped with ejection seat. In addition, it was also equipped with the installation of a dummy IR sensor type TpSPO-V at the tip of the fuselage, directly above the optics of the sighting system of the type Scale.  Source ruslet.webnode.cz

Two more V-80 helicopters were built, the fifth machine being close to expected production configuration. Further trials were performed into 1990 with the four surviving prototypes, an initial batch of production machines being ordered in that year, being given the service designation of “Ka-50”. Production was to be at the Progress Aircraft Plant in Arseneyev. The Ka-50 was authorized for fielding with the Russian Army in 1995; however, by that time it was apparent the collapse of the Soviet Union had largely sidelined the program. Source airvectors.net



The Ka-50 Black Shark helicopter, developed by Kamov Helicopters JSC, carries the Nato codename Hokum A, with Hokum B the two-seat version, Ka-52. Ka-50 is also known as Werewolf. It is a high-performance combat helicopter with day and night capability, high survivability and fire power to defeat air targets and heavily armoured tanks armed with air defence weapons. It entered service with the Russian Army during 1995 and is manufactured at the Sazykin Aviation Company Progress based in Arseniev Maritime Territory, Russia.


A first batch of eight Ka-50 aircraft has been delivered. 12 Ka-52 were to be procured for Russian Air Force special operations in 2005, but funding for the programme was cut from the 2005 budget. As of late 2008, the Russian Air Force operated 15 Ka-50 and ten Ka-52 helicopters

A night attack version, Ka-50N, with Samshit-50T thermal imager, day TV and laser rangefinder has been developed, and Kamov has also joined with Israeli Aircraft Industries (IAI) to produce a version, the Ka-50-2 Erdogan that is compatible with Nato weapons and has an Israeli equipped cockpit.



Ka-50 attack helicopter design



The coaxial rotor design provides a hovering ceiling of 4,000m and vertical rate of climb of 10m a second at an altitude of 2,500m. The rotor blades are made from polymer materials. The coaxial-rotor configuration results in moments of inertia values relative to vertical and lateral axes between 1.5 to two times less than the values found in single-rotor helicopters with tail rotors. Absence of the tail rotor enables the helicopter to perform flat turns within the entire flight speed range. A maximum vertical g-load of 3.5 combined with low moments of inertia give the Ka-50 a high level of agility.



Extensive all-round armour installed in the cockpit protects the pilot against 12.7mm armour-piercing bullets and 23mm projectile fragments. The rotor blades are rated to withstand several hits of ground-based automatic weapons.



The Ka-50 is the world’s first operational helicopter with a rescue ejection system, which allows the pilot to escape at all altitudes and speeds. The K-37-800 rocket-assisted ejection system is manufactured by the Zvezda Research and Production Enterprise Joint Stock Company in the Moscow region.




Ka-50 Black Shark orders

A request for proposal (RFP) to buy 22 attack helicopters was issued by the Indian Defence Ministry on 30 May 2008 as part of the $550m contract. The request determnined the attack helicopter should encompass weapons to boost the Indian Air Force’s surveillance and combat capabilities.



The air force also required that the helicopter would weigh 2,500kg or more when empty and have two engines. It should encompass a modern anti-armour capability along with a turret gun of 20mm or higher calibre and be able to fire 70mm rockets a range of 1.2km. The helicopter should be capable of working in all weather, day and night, and in desert and mountaineous regions.

The second RFP was issued in June 2009, stating that around 384 additional light helicopters were cleared for purchase. The $2bn order was for the Indian Air Force and Army, of which 125 would be for the air force and 259 for the army.




A combination of various armaments to a maximum weapon load of 2t can be selected according to the mission, including anti-tank missiles, unguided aerial rockets of different calibres, air-to-air missiles, guns, bombs and other weapons.

The helicopter has small mid-mounted wings, fitted with four underwing suspension units and wingtip countermeasures pods. Up to 12 Vikhr supersonic anti-tank missiles can be mounted on the helicopter’s two underwing external stores. The laser beam-riding Vikhr missile is stated as having a target hit probability close to one, against a tank at a range of up to 8km, and the capability of penetrating all types of armour, including active armour up to 900mm thick.

The Ka-50 is armed with a 2A42 quick-firing 30mm gun, which has an unrestricted azimuth and elevation range mounting for use against airborne or ground targets. The gun is equipped with 460 rounds of ammunition: two types being carried, high-fragmentation and explosive incendiary rounds and armour-piercing rounds. The pilot selects the type of ammunition in flight. The weight of the ammunition is 0.39kg each round, the muzzle velocity is 980m/s and the range is up to 4km. The gun provides an angular firing accuracy of two to 4 mrad.

2A42 30mm gun





Vikhr missile


APU-6 launcher

The 9A4172 Vikhr is a Russian long-range anti-tank guided missile. It is known in the West as the AT-16 or Scallion. It was developed in the Soviet Union during the 1980s. At the time Soviets needed a new missiles, to replace the 9K114 Shturm (Western reporting name AT-6 or Spiral) system, that could penetrate contemporary Western main battle tanks with composite and explosive reactive armor, such as the American M1 Abrams, German Leopard 2, and British Challenger. Prototypes were tested by the Soviet armed forces in 1989. First production missiles were delivered in 1992. During the same year the Vikhr was first publicly revealed. Since its introduction sales of the Vikhr missile have been slow, partly because Russia also uses Ataka missile, developed by another manufacturer, which is similar in function, but uses different guidance. In 2013 Russian MoD ordered over 6 000 Vikhr-1 missiles in order to prevent the manufacturer from going bankrupt. Delivery of these missiles commenced in 2015 and was completed in 2016. The Vikhr has been exported to Egypt, and possibly some countries. Source military-today.com


9K121 “Vikhr”

The anti-tank missile system 9K121 “Vikhr” includes:

  • supersonic, ACLOS8 anti-tank missile 9A4172;
  • automatic sight I-251 “Skval”9 (Ka-50), I-251 “Skval-M” (Su-25T) working both by day and night;
  • aviation moveable 10 launcher APU 11-8 (Su-25T with 8 missiles) or APU-6 (Ka-50/52 6 missiles).

The system allows to launch single missile and two missiles volley. Supersonic speed missile (up to 610 m/s) reduces the operating time of the helicopter allowing for one entering to hit more targets. The missile system is designed to destroy non-armoured, semi-armoured and armoured ground targets, including reactive armoured targets and low-speed air targets, which fly at a speed up to 800 km/h.

The missile guidance system is Line-Of-Sight Beam Riding Guidance (LOSBR) and it uses a
“beam” of laser, which is pointed at the target. I think this beam riding system is Automatic Command to Line-Of-Sight (ACLOS). LOSBR suffers from the inherent weakness of inaccuracy with increasing range as the beam spreads out. Laser beam riders are more accurate in this regard, but are all short-range, and even the laser can be degraded by bad weather conditions.


The automatic sight is provided with TV (daylight) and IR (night) channels for target sighting. Missile control and target tracing are automatic and the automatic sight is provided with a laser beam channel for missile control, a laser range-finder and with an automatic target tracking unit. The automatic sight completes target detection and identifies that by day and night. After tracking the target automatically it generates exact information for missile launching or gun firing.


The multi-purpose warhead consists of a high explosive anti-tank tandem-charge and an
additional fragmentation sleeve with proximity and contact (impact) fuse. The warhead allows the missile to be used against armoured, semi-armoured and non-armoured targets alike, for example tanks, vehicles, airborne and other area targets.

The target hit probability is reported to be about 0.95 against stationary targets and 0.8 against moving targets. That is provided by the automatic target tracking system and the highly accurate missile control system that makes allowance for changes in the parameters of the carrier and the target in the course of firing. Source repulestudomany.hu



Kamov Ka-50 Hokum – net-maquettes.com

Double-wall steel armoured cockpit, able to protect pilot from hits by 20 and 23mm gunfire over ranges as close as 100m. Interior black-painted for use with NVGs. Specially designed Zvezda K-37-800 ejection system, ostensibly for safe ejection at any altitude (actually from 100m); following explosive separation of rotor blades and opening of cockpit roof, pilot is extracted from cockpit by large rocket; alternatively, he can jettison doors and stores before rolling out of cockpit sideways. Associated equipment includes automatic radio beacon, activated during ejection, inflatable liferaft and NAZ 7M survival kit. Source aviastar.org


Kamov Ka-50 Hokum – rocketumbl.tumblr.com


Kamov Ka-50 Hokum – rocketumbl.tumblr.com

Kamov Ka-50 Hokum

Kamov Ka-50 Hokum – net-maquettes.com

Kamov Ka-50 Hokum

Kamov Ka-50 Hokum – net-maquettes.com

Zvezda K-37-800 ejection system

The К-37-800М system consists of two parts: a seat and an onboard part. The system is designed to serve as a working station for Ка-50 and Ка-52 helicopter pilot and provide (in complete with the ZSH-7ВS crash helmet and the ККО-VК-LP oxygen equipment) safe emergency escape by ejection with the use of the towing rocket motor at an equivalent air speed from 90 to 350 km/h in the range of altitudes from 0 to 5000 m; moreover, the system reduces the G-loads the pilot is exposed to at emergency landing by the seat’s shock-absorbing suspension.


Kamov Ka-50 Hokum – net-maquettes.com

At simultaneous ejection from two-seat air vehicles, the trajectories of the pilots and their parachutes may be diverged.

The ejection & shock-absorbing system is produced in several versions.


Kamov Ka-50 Hokum – net-maquettes.com

The К-37-800М ejection & shock-absorbing system features:

  • comfortable cockpit accommodation and a reliable crewmember restraint system;
  • safe emergency escape from the air vehicle by ejection;
  • reduction of emergency landing impact G-loads to the values a human being can withstand by the way of shock-absorption.

There are no analogues of this system.


  • Ejection speed range: from 90 to 350 km/h;
  • Ejection altitude range: from 0 to 5000 m;
  • Total mass of the pilot gear: from 6.5 to 12.8 kg;
  • Allowable pilot parameters:
    • weight:  from 57.0 to 91.4 kg;
    • sitting stature: from 810 to 980 mm;
  • Mass of the seat loaded with pyrocharges: no more than 57.25 kg.

Source zvezda-npp.ru


Kamov Ka-50 Hokum – net-maquettes.com


Kamov Ka-50 Hokum – net-maquettes.com


Flight systems include inertial navigation system (INS), autopilot and head-up display (HUD). Sensors include forward-looking infrared (FLIR) and terrain-following radar.



AVIONICS: Integrated by NPO Elektro Avtomatika.

Comms: Two R800L1 and one R-868 UHF transceivers. SPU-9 intercom, P-503B headset recorder, Almaz-UP-48 voice warning system and HF com/nav; IFF (‘Slap Shot’).
Flight: INS; autopilot; Doppler box under tailboom; ARK-22 radio compass; A-036A radio altimeter.


Kamov Ka-50 Hokum – net-maquettes.com

Instrumentation: Conventional instruments; ILS-31 HUD; moving map display (Kronshtadt Abris on some aircraft); small IT-23MV CRT beneath HUD, with rubber hood, to display only FLIR and monochrome LLLTV imagery. Pilot has Obzor-800 helmet sight effective within �60� azimuth and from -20 to +45� elevation; when pilot has target centred on HUD, he pushes button to lock sighting and four-channel digital autopilot into one unit. Displays compatible with OVN-1 Skosok NVGs.

Mission: To reduce pilot workload and introduce a degree of low observability, target location and designation are assigned to other aircraft; equipment behind windows in nose includes I-25IV Shkval-V daylight electro-optical search and auto-tracking system, laser marked target seeker and range-finder; FOV �35� in azimuth +15 to -80� in elevation. FLIR turret to be added in nose for use with NVGs.  Source aviastar.org




The Ka-50 is fitted with a radar warning receiver, electronic warfare system and chaff and flare dispenser.

L150 Pastel RWR


Kamov Ka-50 Hokum – net-maquettes.com

Self-defence: L150 Pastel RWR in tailcone, at rear of each wingtip EW pod and under nose; total of 512 chaff/ flare cartridges (in four UV-26 dispensers) in each wingtip pod. L-140 Otklik laser detection system; L-136 Mak IR warning. Source aviastar.org


Scans from 1.2-18GHz threat frequencies.
Accuracy is 3-5° with pinpoint location antenna, 10° in rough location antenna. 128 reprogrammable radar types. Detection range minimum of 120% of the radar’s range. 3 modes- operational target, programmed target, most dangerous target.
Detects and finds direction for pulse, pulse-doppler and CW mode radars in search, track and illumination modes. Classifies multiple threats by danger, with full display of all information about most threatening radar presented to crew. Controls EW systems, has the ability to control and assign targets to 6 anti-radiation missiles such as the Kh-31. Aural warnings for high threat situations.
Pastel may be made available for upgrade packages or built into new export models of the Mig-29 and Su-27 families. Source aerospace.boopidoo.com

General data:
Type: ESM Altitude Max: 0 m Range Max: 222.2 km Altitude Min: 0 m Range Min: 0 km Generation: Early 1990s

Sensors / EW: SPO-32 Pastel [L-150] – ESM
Role: RWR, Radar Warning Receiver
Max Range: 222.2 km

Source forums.eagle.ru



Kamov Ka-50 Hokum – net-maquettes.com

The Ka-50 is powered by two TV3-117VMA turboshafts engines, each providing 2,200hp (1,660kW). The engines are placed on either side of the fuselage to enhance the combat survivability. The helicopter also has an auxiliary power unit (APU) for self-contained operation.

2 x TV3-117VMA turboshafts engines


Engine TV3-117VMA
2.5- minute power rating,
with one engine inoperative (OEI) (SLS, ISA):
Power, shp (kW) 2400 (1765)
30- minute power rating,
with one engine inoperative (OEI) (SLS, ISA):
Power, shp (kW) 2200 (1618)
Specific fuel consumption, kg/hp•h (kg/kW•h) 0.210 (0.286)
Cruise power condition (SLS, ISA):
Power, shp (kW) 1500 (1103)
Dry weight, kg 294

Source motorsich.com


Kamov Ka-50 Hokum – net-maquettes.com

SYSTEMS: All systems configured for operational deployment away from base for up to 12 days without need for maintenance ground equipment; refuelling, avionics and weapon servicing performed from ground level. AI-9V APU for engine starting, and ground supply of hydraulic and electrical power, in top of centre-fuselage. Anti-icing system for engine air intakes, rotors, AoA and yaw sensors; de-icing of windscreen and canopy by liquid spray. Source aviastar.org




The Ka-50 attack helicopter can climb at a rate of 16m/s. It can fly at a maximum speed of 390km/h. The maximum range and service ceiling of the helicopter are 1,180km and 5,500m respectively. It can fly at a cruise speed of 270km/h. The combat radius and disc loading of the helicopter are 460km and 30kg/m² respectively. The endurance of the helicopter is three hours. The helicopter weighs around 7,800kg and the maximum take-off weight is 10,800kg.




Ø supporting rotors:  14.45 m
Wingspan: 7.34 m
Total length : 15.96 m
Length of hull: 14,43 m
Height: 4.93 m
Empty weight: 7 692 kg
Max. takeoff weight: 10,800 kg
Max. speed: 340 km / h
Practical access: 5 500 m
Max. range without / s PTB: 455/1 160 km

Source ruslet.webnode.cz

Main material source army-technology.com

Images are from public domain unless otherwise stated

Main image richard-seaman.com

Revised Aug 13, 2019

Updated April 24, 2020

ZTZ99/ZTZ99A2 Main Battle Tank

The ZTZ99 main battle tank (MBT) entered service in 2001. It is also called the Type 99 and the Chinese industrial code is WZ123. ZTZ99 is a successor to Type 98 G, which in turn was a successor to Type 98. Manufactured for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) by China Northern Industries Corporation (CNGC) or Norinco, the ZTZ99 MBT is considered one of the 12 best tanks in the world.



In 1996 a small batch of these MBTs were handed over to the Chinese Army for trials and evaluation. Tests were completed in 1998. These MBTs were first publicly revealed in 1999 during the national day parade, however the Type 98 did not entered operational service with the PLA. Sometimes it is referred as the ZTZ98. At least 18 of these tanks were built.

The Type 98 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 MBT. It has a maximum rate of fire of 8 rounds per minute. The Type 98 is capable of launching anti-tank guided missiles in the same manner as ordinary projectiles. It is compatible with the Russian AT-11 Sniper. China manufactures these missiles under license. These missiles can be used when the tank is stationary and can also target low-flying helicopters. Their maximum range of fire is 4-5 km.

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

The Type 98 main battle tank has an all-welded hull and turret. Its armor protection was improved over the previous Chinese MBTs. Vehicle is fitted with NBC protection and automatic fire suppression system. It is worth mentioning, that the Type 98 is fitted with active laser protection system. It uses a high-powered laser to disrupt missile guidance signal, disable observation optics and damages eyesight of enemy gunner.

Chassis of the Type 98 tank closely resembles that of the T-72. Vehicle is powered by a diesel engine, developing 1 200 hp.

A further improved variant, the Type 99, fitted with explosive reactive armor, improved thermal imager, more powerful diesel engine, was revealed in 2000. This improved variant was selected for production. Source military-today.com

Main Gun 125mm, calibre Length 50 smoothbore
Elevation -6 to +14
Secondary Weapons x1 coaxial 7.62mm MG, x1 12.7mm MG
Ammunition Storage x42 125mm, x2,000 7.62mm, x300 12.7mm
Engine WD396 turbocharged 1200hp Diesel
Transmission Manual
Top Road Speed 65 km/h ?
Road Range 500 km (650km with external tanks)
Fuel Capacity 1000 Litres
Vertical Obstacle 0.85m
Water Capability 1.4m (5m with Snorkel)
Trench Crossing 3m
Gradient 60%
Side Slope 40%
Length Gun Forward 10.92m
Length Hull ?
Height 2.4m (roof top)
Ground Clearance 0.47m
Weight 50,000kg aka 50 tonne combat
NBC Protected Yes
Armor Type Steel/Composite/Modular/
Active Protection Systems Yes

ZTZ-98 specification fighting-vehicles.com

ZTZ99 is a third-generation battle tank and, due to its high cost (unit cost approximately $2,500,000), it was built in small numbers.

In comparison to older Chinese-made tanks, the MBT has improved capabilities in terms of protection, power and mobility. It has a crew of three.

ZTZ99 was made to compete with western tanks, while its technology is used to improvise the more economical ZTZ 96. Regiments in China’s Shenyang and Beijing military areas currently deploy the MBT ZTZ99.

VT-4 (MBT-3000): Details

*Note: The VT-4/MBT 3000 sold to Thailand are almost $6 million per unit more expensive than the OPLOT.

Type 99 Designations

The tank has different designations in China from those used outside of China. Rather than “Type” China says “ZTZ 99”. Whilst outside of China called It the “Type 99A2” in China its referred to as the “ZTZ 99A” or sometimes ZTZ 99A2. Source tanknutdave.com

ZTZ99 main battle tank programme

ZTZ99 is a by-product of PLA’s extensive R&D effort. The third-generation MBT programme began in 1970. PLA entered into a contract with Norinco in the year 1989 for the development of the tank. A Russian 125mm gun with autoloader built in 1990 was the earliest known prototype called Type 90. After careful observation of the Gulf war, PLA realized the ineptness in design in comparison to the Western MBTs.

526dd429bf8d61cc735dfbbe61921b3eType 98 featured a T-72 hull which was 1m longer

Several improvisations led to the revised design Type 98. It featured a T-72 hull which was 1m longer. The MBT was unveiled during the Chinese National Day parade on October 1 1999.

Type 99 main battle tank design


Type 99 is similar, in a lot of specifications, to the M1A1 tank and the Western Leopard 2. Western influences have been noticed in the angular welded turret design.

screenshot-www.youtube.com-2018.08.09-13-42-43ZTZ-99A2 ERA – CCTV

The MBT carries 9M119 Refleks. This anti-tank guided missile of Russian origin is produced in China under a local licence. Its Nato (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) codename is AT-11 Sniper. The diesel engine is turbo charged and uses German technology, and the tank is liquid cooled.

Type-99A-Tank-Turret-Armor-1Overview of the Type 99A Tank turret having its ERA added during construction ZTZ-99A2 – tanknutdave.com

Explosive reaction armour (ERA) units were added to the turret and hull’s front portion. This contains approximately 1,000mm to 1,200mm of steel armour. The Type 99 has a 1,500HP diesel engine while the ZTZ98 uses a 1,200HP diesel engine. The tank layout has three compartments. Frontage has the driving compartment; the middle serves as fighting compartment and the engine is placed at the rear end.

Type-99A2-Image-11ZTZ-99A2 hull ERA – fighting-vehicles.comType-99A-Tank-Turret-Armor-SideZTZ-99A2 side turret armor on front and storage racks – fighting-vehicles.com

FY-4 or FY-5 ERA


Chinese source indicate that the ERA is FY-4 which is considered to have the same protection level as the Russian 4S22 (Kontakt-5) and other sources indicate it to be FY-5 which is considered to have the same protection level as the Russian 4S23 (Relikt). I only could find pictures of FY-4.

The driver sits in the hull and in front of the turret, while the gunner sits on the left side of the turret. Tank commander takes up the turret’s right side and operates the 12.7 mm anti-aircraft machine gun. The gun is mounted on turret roof. An over-pressure collective NBC protection and a fully automatic fire suppression system protect the crew.

screenshot-www.youtube.com-2018.08.09-13-36-06ZTZ-99A2 – CCTV

The hull and turret are built of welded steel armour. The modular design allows damaged sections to be easily replaced. New upgrades can be placed giving it increased service life.

screenshot-www.youtube.com-2018.08.09-13-39-16ZTZ-99A2  ERA – CCTVscreenshot-www.youtube.com-2018.08.09-13-37-33ZTZ-99A2  ERA – CCTV

The turret’s inside design layout is modelled on Russian style. The MBT closely resembles the Russian 2A46M autoloader’s design. There is provision for extra ammunition in the fighting compartment. This makes the MBT highly susceptible to fire once penetrated. The MBT requires a bustle autoloader, on which production has not been started yet.

Mission variants

Type-99-Tank-Comparing-Type-98-vs-Type-98G-vs-Type-99Type 99 Tank – Comparing The Type 98 (Top) to the Type 99G (Middle) and Type 99A1 (Bottom) – Image fighting-vehicles.com

Type 99A is a predecessor to the Type 99A1 and successor to the Type 99G MBT. Built by China Northern Industries Group Corporation (CNGC), the ZTZ99G has newly designed features and active protection system (APS). The new tank is larger with an autonomous commander thermal imaging viewer. The electro-optical countermeasures devices have been replaced by a new design.


The laser receiver on the original MBT has been remodelled into a box-shape. This is installed by the commander hatch. Type 99 A1 is deployed by PLA and is in service now. The turret top of Type 99A1 has been reshaped by thickening it. The turret’s height has been changed to make room for the tank commander and gunner and for protection.

Type-99-firing-A102ZTZ-99A1 – strategic-bureau.com

The armour packages are in the front and side areas and the ERA panels have been extended. Other distinct detail is upgrade in terms of targeting computers.

15a400079b7cf12179edZTZ-99A2 – nipic.com

Type 99A2, the most advanced variant, is undergoing trials and will enter service after 2009. Significant improvements of Type 99A2 make it a new tank altogether. Some of the upgrades are an information terminal and aiming system. It also includes bigger turret with a bigger tail chamber and arrow-shaped armour. It has a periscope for the commander and an integrated propulsion system with an active protection system which is set on turret .

Type-99A-Tank-DifferencesType 99A2 (bottom) Comparison with Type 99A1 (top)  –  Image tanknutdave.com


The tank is powered by a 1,500HP diesel engine, derived from the German MB871ka501 diesel technology. The power-to-weight ratio stands at approximately 27.78, and the tank’s battle weight is 54t. The engine propels the tank with an on road speed of 80km/h and cross country speed of 65km/h. It takes only 12 seconds to climb acceleration speeds from 0 to 32 km/h. One reverse gear and seven forward gears assist the transmission.

102935qqu5rf2ry4vqbmc9ZTZ-99A2 – moddb.com

Another revolutionary improvement of the ZTZ-99A tank is its considerably enhanced transmission system.

“We equip the ZTZ-99A tank with both manual and automatic operating systems, so that the over-50-ton tank is able to shift gear automatically. It also realizes continuous steering and even pivot steering at any radius through the steering wheel.” According to Mao Ming, this technology poses a sharp contrast to previous tanks that can only be operated with a lever, and it makes tank driving as easy as car driving, which is not only less demanding on the driver’s physical strength, but also improves the tank’s capability and maneuverability during continuous combat. Tank’s role not weakened. Source defense-aerospace.com

150HB1500 horsepower high-powered engine

17783438150HB engine – bbs.tiexue.net

The engine of the Type 99 tank finally jumped out of the “old 150” that was developed from the Soviet V2 series diesel engine. By introducing a series of military and civilian models from Germany MTU, we have finally made great progress in the manufacturing process and technical level of the engine. The new engine has a cylinder bore of 150 and is called a 150HB engine. It is a V-type 12-cylinder 60-degree angled twin-turbocharged intercooled engine with a rated speed of 2,200 rpm, a maximum speed of 2,450 rpm, and an advanced computer-controlled high pressure. Rail EFI technology is more efficient and environmentally friendly. The maximum power of the Type 99 is 1200 hp (883 KW. In all fairness, the 99-type 1200 hp engine is a bit smaller than the 1500 hp in the West, but since Western tanks are mostly over 60 tons, China’s 99 is only 50 tons. The gap is not very big, the main gap is still on the transmission; however, with the continuous improvement of the 99 type, especially the protection of the above, 99 is gradually moving closer to the 55-ton level, and the 1200-horsepower engine is also unable to control The tank was further upgraded. For this reason, the researchers strengthened the turbocharger based on the original 150HB-1200 engine, which achieved a power of 1500 hp (1103 kW), a maximum output torque of 5500 NM, and a more compact structure. The world’s advanced level.  Translated by google – Source bbs.tiexue.net

Armament and ammunition

screenshot-www.youtube.com-2018.08.13-13-44-58ZTZ-99A2 125mm / 50-calibre ZPT98 smoothbore gun  – 光复华夏

Dual-axis stabilised 125mm / 50-calibre ZPT98 smoothbore gun equipped with a fume extractor, a thermal sleeve and an autoloader comprise the MBT’s armaments. The gun is electronically or manually controlled and barrel is replaceable in one hour.

Type-99A2-Workbook-Turret-Overview-768x331ZTZ-99A2 the object above the gun barrel is the Dynamic Muzzle Reference System (DMRS) –  tanknutdave.com

Gun loading is mechanical and can fire 8 rounds per minute with autoloader & 1 to 2 rounds per minute manually. The tank gun fires separate loading projectiles. Other ammunition includes high-explosive fragmentation (HE-FRAG), high explosive anti-tank (HEAT) and armour-piercing fin-stabilised discarding sabots (APFSDS).

140mm main battle tank gun

U1335P27T1D297090F3DT20050614160159Type ZTZ-99G with 140mm gun – mil.news.sina.com.cn

China’s 99A2 main battle tank will have two different types of artillery configurations. China has experimented with 140mm main battle tank artillery in Northwest China in 2004-2005. Due to the quality problems of domestic high-precision electrolytic steel, it has caused the explosion of the barrel during the launching process. At present, a 99G type or A1 tank is equipped with a test-qualified 140mm Chinese main gun. At the same time, the People’s Liberation Army assigned him a newly developed new armor-piercing projectile , depleted uranium armor-piercing projectile. Although China has consistently not declared the use and development details of depleted uranium piercing. However, there is still news that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army has such an armor-piercing projectile that is almost the same level as the US Army’s armored forces. According to the Chinese department’s test, this armor-piercing projectile can penetrate the main armor of all third-generation main battle tanks including the M1A2 at 1,400 meters.  Translated by google –  Source baike.com

Weapon systems

Type-99-firing-A103ZTZ-99A1 – strategic-bureau.com

Weapon systems for the 125mm tank gun is the APFSDS round. It has a 30:1 length / calibre tungsten alloy penetrator. Muzzle velocity of the round is 1,780m a second and can penetrate 850mm steel armour from a distance of 2,000m. The tank can fire rounds of depleted uranium (DU), APFSDSs and kinetic energy penetrator. These can penetrate 960mm steel armour that is located 2,000m far.

Royal Thai Army Calvary Center – YouTube

The Type 99 also carries laser-guided anti-tank missiles, which fires from the main gun. Semi-automatic laser beam-riding guidance is employed by the missile. The missile’s effective range varies between 100m and 4,000m.

The missile system has been aimed at engaging ERA fitted tanks and low-flying air targets, at a maximum range of 5km. Four missile rounds are carried inside the vehicle.

Russian 9K119 Refleks (AT-11 Sniper) missiles

These are Russian 9K119 Refleks (AT-11 Sniper) missiles, produced in China under license. Missiles are launched in the same manner as ordinary munitions. Missiles have a maximum range of 5 000 m. Typically four missiles are carried. This anti-tank guided missile capability is not common in Western designs. A total of 38 rounds are carried for the main gun. 22 of them are loaded into the autoloader and are ready to use. Other rounds are stored inside the hull. Source military-today.com

Technical Characteristics
Calibre of 9M119F missile, mm 125
Firing range
maximum, m
minimum, m
Flight time of 9M119F missile at the range of 5000 m, s 16
Control system semi-automatic, jamming invulnerable, by a beam of the optical quantum generator
Temperature range for the combat use of 3UBK14F round, С° ±50*
Mass of 3UBK14F round, kg
9M119F missile
9X949 throwing device
Length of 3UBK14F round, mm
9M119F missile
9X949 throwing device
* Note. Combat use of 3UBK14F rounds is admissible after short-term (6 h) exposure to the ambient temperature from −60° to +60 С° and their subsequent keeping within the operating temperature range of ±50 С° during not less than 8 h as well as at temperature differences of the ambient air and the round charge of up to 70 С°.

Source zid.ru

autoloaderRussian auto loader for example

A 12.7mm anti-aircraft machine gun is mounted on the commander’s cupola; with an elevation of 4° to 75° with optical sight 1,500m is the maximum range against airborne target. The tank maintains a rate of fire ranging from 80 to 100 rounds a minute and carries up to 300 rounds. A fixed-mount coaxial 7.62mm machine gun on the right side of the main gun, can fire up to 2,000 rounds.

12.7mm anti-aircraft machine gun

screenshot-www.youtube.com-2018.08.13-13-14-14ZTZ-99A2  12.7mm anti-aircraft machine gun – New China TV

QJZ85 / W85 / QJC88 12.7 mm heavy machine gun?

The QJZ85 or Type 85 heavy machine gun was developed by China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO) to succeed the previous Type 77. It is tripod mounted and the vehicle mounted version is known as the QJC88 or Type 88.

The belt-fed and fully automatic QJZ85 / QJC88 uses the 12.7×108 cartridge of Russian origin. A variant exists using the 12.7×99 NATO cartridge for export only.

The gas-operated QJZ85 / QJC88 comes with an iron sight, but can also be fitted with an optical sight. Muzzle velocity is 850 m/s and the maximum rate of fire 600 rounds per minute.

The QJZ85 / QJC88 heavy machine gun weighs 18.5 kg and is being succeeded by the Type 89 or QJZ89.  Source defenseupdates.blogspot.com

QJT5.8mm coaxial machine gun (latest upgrade)

0IPtgkzLupQJT5.8mm coaxial machine gun

Type 99 tankAs the most advanced familytankNaturally, it is equipped with the same advanced foreign tanks.Coaxial machine gun. The role of the coaxial machine gun is to give the tank a strong suppression of the infantry. And with the captainmachine gunDifferently, the coaxial machine gun can be operated inside the turret to ensure the safety of personnel.

The coaxial machine gun used before was 86 Universal machine gun. This universal machine gun comes from the 80-type universal machine gun, and this gun can be said to be the most comprehensive general-purpose machine gun used so far. It was a generic machine gun designed and produced by the famous Soviet PKM/PKMS general machine gun, which was seized and has a caliber of 7.62 mm. This machine gun has the advantages of light weight, high reliability, high precision and compact structure. However, when competing with the 67 series machine gun for the company’s general-purpose machine gun, it was defeated by the 67-2 general-purpose machine gun for other reasons, and it became another type of machine (such as the 86-type coaxial machine gun that became a tank after foreign trade and modification).

It is understood that many advanced tanks no longer use the 80-type universal machine gun as a coaxial machine gun. Instead, use a 5.8 mm coaxial machine gun. The new machine gun is temporarily named QJT5.8mm coaxial machine gun. It is understood that this machine gun is based on the improvement of the 88-type universal machine gun, which was exposed at the beginning of this century. In recent years, this coaxial machine gun can be said to be truly implemented in the newly produced armored vehicles. For example, the coaxial machine gun on the latest 99A main battle tank is this weapon. Although the caliber of the QJT5.8mm coaxial machine gun has been reduced, it also has many advantages.

Compared with the 86 type, this coaxial machine gun has the advantages of more compact structure, higher bullet versatility, more bomb-loading capacity, faster firing rate, and similar bullet performance at 800 meters compared with the original 7.62 machine gun. However, this machine gun and the 88 type Universal machine gun. Similarly, when the enemy distance is greater than 800 meters, the shooting effect is not as good as the medium caliber machine gun. However, for a tank, since there is a 125mm smoothbore gun and a 12.7 machine gun, the response to an enemy greater than 800 meters is naturally not required to be responsible for the coaxial machine gun. Small caliber Coaxial machine gun. A series of advantages that are very suitable tank. Other subsystems are designed to meet their combat responsibilities and logistics. Therefore, the QJT5.8mm machine gun eventually replaced the 86 type.machine gun. Translated by google – Source pixpo.net

Two five-barrelled smoke grenade launchers are on each side of the turret. By injecting diesel fuel into the engine’s exhaust, additional smoke is also generated.

Five-barrelled smoke grenade launchers

screenshot-www.youtube.com-2018.08.09-13-42-59ZTZ-99A2 Two five-barrelled smoke grenade launchers are on each side of the turret – CCTV

Engine’s exhaust

screenshot-www.youtube.com-2018.08.09-13-43-14Additional smoke screen by injecting diesel fuel into the engine’s exhaust – CCTV


ZTZ-99_image.08Electro-optical countermeasures suite on ZTZ- 99A1 – sinodefence.com

Located on the turret roof is the electro-optical countermeasures suite just behind the gunners hatch. The system has laser warning receiver (LWR) with a box-shape active laser self-defence weapon (LSDW). High-powered laser can be employed so that the enemy weapon’s gunner and optics can be attacked. The powerful LSDW is capable of disrupting the enemy’s missile laser / infrared guidance signal. It can also disable the enemy’s optics and can damage the enemy gunner’s eyesight.

Electro-optical countermeasures suite


Mounted on the roof is a traversable laser detection and jamming device, which is believed to have a ZM87 capability (the ability to blind an enemy gunner). It has the ability to be elevated to a high angle to jam anti-tank helicopters. Source army-guide.com


The maximum working distance is 4,000 meters, “laser suppression sighting system”, as far as the current, compared with the main countries of the West Battle tanks, our system can indeed be called unique, laser compression sighting system by computer controller, tracking turntable and follower system, laser suppressor, thermal imaging, jammer (gas laser transmitter) composition. In order to realize the length of the vehicle, the gunner remotely tracks and targets, and the tracking turntable adopts a digital position closed-loop control method. The system can work 360 degrees: the pitch angle is -12 degrees to 90 degrees, the tracking angular velocity is about 45 degrees / second, and the pitch is 40 degrees / second. It takes only 1 second from the gunner (or the captain) to press the button until the system is aimed at the target. The laser output energy is 1,000 MJ, the pulse repetition frequency is 10 times/second, the system has a continuous working time of 30 minutes, and the laser has a lifetime of 1.2 million times. Translated by google –  Source airforceworld.com

Fire Control

screenshot-www.youtube.com-2018.08.14-07-43-12Dynamic Muzzle Reference System (DMRS) the object on top of gun barrel  (foreground) with thermal barrel sleeve – CCTV

Ballistic computer, laser range-finder, thermal barrel sleeve, wind sensor and muzzle reference system give the tank fire accuracy.

ztz99-commander-position-mbt-main-bettel-tank-gunner-pla-army-chinese-4Commander station

Dual axis stabilization helps in firing effectively while the tank is in motion. The commander can have a 360° sight using six periscopes and the gunner has roof-mounted stabilised sights.

Thermal imaging system (TIS)


These are fitted with thermal channels with auto tracker facility. The commander can view the gunner’s thermal sight. This helps the commander fire the main gun. The thermal imaging system (TIS) with cooled detector uses SPRITE (signal processing in the element) technology.

Sneak Peek Inside The ZTZ 99 (Type 99) Main Battle Tank Chinese PLA Army export MBT (4)Gunner station

It has a magnification of ×11.4 narrow field of view and ×5 wide field of view. The Type 99 also has an information processing system on-board.

sneak-peek-inside-the-ztz-99-type-99-main-battle-tank-chinese-pla-army-export-mbt-1Gunner station

Compared with the ZTZ-99 tank, the ZTZ-99A tank’s most conspicuous feature is that its main gun is equipped with a Dynamic Muzzle Reference System (DMRS).

“The firing accuracy of the tank is directly affected by muzzle turbulence of its main gun.” Mao Ming said that the Dynamic Muzzle Reference System can read muzzle turbulence and transmit the data to the computer to improve hitting rate. Compared with the ZTZ-96A tank that just participated in the Tank Biathlon in Russia, the ZTZ-99A and ZTZ-99A2 tank is more accurate with no need for manual calibration when firing its main gun. Source defense-aerospace.com


The fire control system adopts the internationally advanced and popular hunting-歼 fire control system (also called double-command). Its most remarkable feature is that the shooting reaction time is short, when the static is static, it is less than or equal to 5 seconds. The movement time is less than or equal to 7 seconds, the movement is less than or equal to 9 seconds, and the first hit rate is more than 85 percent at a distance of 2000 meters. Because the tank is also equipped with the latest type of domestically-made aiming and directing large closed loop type Fire control system, (This system is a fire control system that can automatically correct the shooting result. If my tank does not shoot in the first shot, the system can measure the off-target situation in real time, and automatically input the deviation distance and angle into the tank. The fire control computer immediately shoots after the correction calculation of the next projectile, which greatly improves the secondary hit rate of our military tanks. In the second shot of the moving target at the distance of 2000 meters (manual setting) ), the hit rate is 100%. In addition, the captain can also control the fire control system beyond (the gunner’s), including shooting, tracking targets and indicating targets; therefore, in terms of overall performance, 99 changed the main battle tank, this set of fire control system has the world Advanced level. Translated by google –  Source airforceworld.com


The tank is outfitted with HF/VHF radio and a laser communication device. The device is placed over the mast on the turret roof just behind the commander’s hatch. It assists in line of sight (LOS) transmission of information including encrypted voice, text and data and acts as identification friend or foe (IFF). The system can be traversed around 360° and 10° to 45° elevation. Its effective range is 3,600m. The tank can also be equipped with a GLONSS / GPS receiver, which can assist in navigation and positioning.

In addition to these changes on the appearance, the application of information technology has resulted in invisible changes.

Situations on the battlefield are constantly changing. For instance, when the tank commander sees a lot of targets, which one to hit first? Where should the tank go and at what speed? The firepower, defense capacity and maneuverability of the ZTZ-99A tank have been multiplied through information technology.

“It is China’s first information-based tank.” Mao Ming said proudly that the ZTZ-99A tank lays the information-based foundation for the first-generation army equipment in China, not only realizing such functions as information sharing, coordinated attack and defense, status monitoring and system restructuring, but its software, components and parts are all independently developed.

Moreover, the ZTZ-99A tank is able to monitor the system status and reconfigure the system. For instance, the equipment would automatically adjust to a lower level in case of failure, and report the need for fuel or ammunition replenishment to the backstage to ensure more accurate support. Translated by google – Source defense-aerospace.com

screenshot-www.youtube.com-2018.08.13-13-18-06New China TV

Although China has the ability to develop and manufacture ballistic computers for tanks, its design calculation accuracy needs to be greatly improved. The communication system is the biggest drawback of China’s main battle tanks. China’s current main use: 96C, 98B, 99B vehicle communication radio / call system. Its reliable accuracy is not ideal according to the Thai Army’s experimental process. This will seriously affect the overall performance of the 99A2 combat capability. For this reason, China may use radio stations from Ukraine instead. Translated by google –  Source baike.com


Type 99A2 Specifications

Main Gun 125mm, calibre Length 50 smoothbore
Elevation -6 to +14?
Secondary Weapons x1 coaxial 7.62mm MG, x1 12.7mm MG
Ammunition Storage x42 125mm, x2,000? 7.62mm, x300? 12.7mm
Engine 150HB turbocharged 1500hp Diesel
Transmission Automatic
Top Road Speed 80 km/h ?
Road Range 600 km (800km with external tanks)
Fuel Capacity 1245 litres
Vertical Obstacle 1.3m
Water Capability 1m (4.5m with Snorkel)
Trench Crossing 3m
Gradient 60%
Side Slope 30%
Length Gun Forward 10m
Length Hull 6.9m
3.7m (with side skirts)
Height 2.35m (roof top)
Ground Clearance 0.5m
Weight 58,000kg aka 58 tonne combat
NBC Protected Yes
Armor Type Steel/Composite/Modular/Explosive Reactive Armor
Active Protection Systems Yes

ZTZ-99A2 specification – fighting-vehicles.com

Main material source army-technology.com

Revised Aug 17, 2018

Merkava 4 Israel Defence Forces Main Battle Tank

The 65t Merkava 4 main battle tank entered full production in 2001 and began operational training with the Israel Defence Force in July 2003. The first battalion of Merkava Mk 4 tanks entered service with the Israel Defence Forces in 2004.

The Ministry of Defence plans to manufacture between 50 and 70 Merkava 4 tanks a year and up to 400 tanks may be manufactured in total, although budgetary constraints put these numbers in doubt. The Merkava 4 has been extensively improved including new armour protection and gun and electronics systems.

The Merkava 4 is slightly larger than the Merkava 3 Baz, which has been in service with the IDF since 1990. The Merkava 3 is offered for export by SIBAT based in Tel Aviv. The Merkava 4 is not offered for export but the systems and components are exported.

Merkava Mk.4 Meil Ruach / IVm Windbreaker


Merkava Mk.4 Meil Ruach (wind coat or windbreaker) – wikipedia.org

The Merkava Mk.4 Meil Ruach (wind coat or windbreaker) is an improved version of the Merkava Mk.4 tank, equipped with Trophy Active Protection System (APS). Sometimes this tank is referred as the Merkava Mk.4 Baz, or Merkava Mk.4M Windbreaker. The main goal was to improve protection of the Merkava Mk.4 tanks against advanced anti-tank guided missiles, fitted with tandem HEAT warheads. Production of this tank began in 2009. The first brigade equipped with these improved Merkava Mk.4 tanks was declared operational in 2011. In 2014 it has been reported, that Israel will export a number of Merkava Mk.4 tanks to an undisclosed customer, possibly Columbia. However it is unknown whether these will be fitted with Trophy active protection system. Currently the Merkava Mk.4 Meil Ruach is one of the best main battle tanks in the world.

The Trophy is an Israeli-developed hard-kill protection system for armored vehicles. It detects and intercepts incoming anti-tank rockets and anti-tank guided missiles by firing a shotgun-like blast within a few meters of the tank. The Trophy destroys incoming rockets and missiles before these have a chance of hitting the tank. Furthermore the Trophy system reportedly identifies the firing location and allows to engage anti-tank teams. Even though the original Merkava Mk.4 was one of the most protected tanks in the world already, the improved Mk.4 Meil Ruach with Trophy APS is even more survivable. The first operational success was in 2011, when the Merkava Mk.4 Meil Ruach tank successfully survived a missile attack. Since then these tanks intercepted dozens of anti-tank rockets, including RPG-29 and anti-tank guided missiles, including Kornet and Metis-M. Source military-today.com

Merkava Mk IV Barak


THE MERKAVA MK4 ‘Barack’ main battle tank (pictured) us currently under development.. (photo credit: IDF) – via jpost.com

The new “smart tank” will include an innovative sensor system as well as AI and VR capabilities. “The new tank brings the Armored Corps a step forward in the operational arena, and constitutes an innovative weapon that will change the face of the combat on the ground”

In order to improve the Armored Corps’ operational capabilities on the modern battlefield, the corps developed the Merkava Mark 4 Barak. The tank’s new elements include artificial intelligence, updated sensors, and VR capabilities.

“Israel has an Adir [F-35] in the sky and a Merkava-4 Barak on land,” Brig. Gen. Guy Hasson, Chief IDF Armored Corps Officer, said of the new tank, expected to be ready for trial runs in 2020.

The new tank is designed as a “smart tank” with dozens of sensors and a task computer that will present all information to both the crew inside the tank as well as the other tanks and vehicles present in the field. The advanced AI capability will reduce the team members’ workload and help them more accurately locate and strike targets.

“The advanced defense capabilities and the use of electronic means will prepare the combat soldiers to carry out missions according to the level of urgency,” said a senior official from the Armored Corps. “Along with all this, additional logistical improvements will also be introduced that will enable the tank to carry out missions that are up to 30% longer than current ones.”

The tank’s sensors, along with a 360-degree camera fitted outside the tank, will allow troops to remain in the tank at all times and a new smart helmet (Elbit Systems’ Iron Vision) will allow the commander of the tank to see exactly what happens outside the tank.


Defense WebTV

“The helmet will allow the combat soldiers to see the outside environment from inside the combat vehicle,” added the senior official. “The sensors will allow the combat soldiers to operate the tank in a simple and advanced way, and will contribute to its defense – both physically and technologically.”

The simplification and sharing of intelligence and information via C4I and the interoperability of all vehicles is crucial in order to identify the enemy and provide more precise and rapid fire closure, which allows the tank to eliminate the target before it disappears.


Defense WebTV

“The Armored Corps concludes a significant period of operational successes in various regions, which proves the relevance of the corps in protecting the security of the State of Israel and its civilians,” continued the senior official. “The new tank brings the Armored Corps a step forward in the operational arena, and constitutes an innovative weapon that will change the face of the combat on the ground.” Source israeldefense.co.il

Merkava 4 main battle tank capabilities


The tank is capable of carrying eight infantry soldiers, a command group or three litter patients (stretcher casualties) in addition to the tank crew of commander, loader, gunner and driver. The tank is capable of firing on the move at moving targets and has demonstrated high hit probability in firing against attack helicopters using conventional anti-tank munitions.


Major contractors include: the El Op Electro-Optic Industries subsidiary of Elbit Systems which is responsible for the fire control system; the Israel Defence Force which carries out main construction and system integration and testing; Israel Military Industries for the supply of the main gun, ballistic protection and munitions; Imco Industries for the electrical systems; Urdan Industries for the hull, main turret and castings; and IAI Ramta for protection components.


The main part of the tank production, the construction of the hull and integration of all the systems is carried out in the Israel Defence Force workshop.

main-qimg-2027adc1bd11f90971dd27a2422bbe20-cDamaged Merkava 4 exposes composite armor cross-section and the modular nature of the armor block

Merkava 4 battle tank weaponry



The Merkava 4 has a new all-electric turret developed by Elbit and subsidiary El-Op. Only one hatch is installed in the turret, the commander’s hatch.

120mm MG253 smooth-bore gun


120mm smooth-bore gun – Elbit Systems


• IMI’s SLAVIN Land Systems Division has developed and produced the 120mm L44 MG251 and MG253 smoothbore tank guns to meet the IDF’s requirements

• The MG251 and MG253 are type classified and combat-proven by the IDF’s Armored Corps on Merkava Mk3 and Mk4 MBTs, respectively

• The guns fire all NATO standard 120mm ammunition including IMI’s advanced KE, HEAT and  newly-developed Multi-Purpose tank cartridges

• Both guns comply with STANAG 4385 requirments

• MG253 has a maximum recoil distance of 530mm, which gurantees a 40% reduction in recoil force

Merkava Mk 4 Main Battle Tank – Vulpes zerdaMerkava Mk 4 Main Battle Tank – Vulpes zerda

MG253 Main Characteristics:

• Barrel Length: 5300mm
• Barrel Mass: 1200kg
• Recoiling Length: 2000mm
• Nominal Recoil Distance: 430mm
• Maximum Recoil Distance: 530mm
• Force Recoil in Nominal Recoil Distance: 350 kN (kilo Newton) at 0º elevation
• Total weight: 2900kg
• Operating temperatures: -40°C to + 70° C

Source archive.is

screenshot-svsm.org-2018.07.24-05-14-51Vidco thermal shroud on the gun Merkava 4 – Vladimir Yakubovscreenshot-svsm.org-2018.07.24-05-15-54Fume extractor on the gun Merkava 4 – Vladimir Yakubov

The improved 120mm smooth-bore gun has been developed by Israel Military Industries.

The new gun is an advanced generation of the gun developed for the Merkava 3. A Vidco thermal shroud on the gun reduces bending of the barrel resulting from environmental and firing conditions. The gun can fire higher power munitions including new 120mm high-penetration projectiles and guided shells.

The loader can select semi-automatically the ammunition type. The tank carries 48 rounds of ammunition each stored in a protective container. An electrically operated revolving magazine contains 10 ready-to-fire rounds.

Electrically operated revolving magazine

1429394633-mapsys-info-merkava-3aw.my.comscreenshot-www.youtube.com-2018.07.24-22-40-56Merkava Mk 4 Main Battle Tank – arronlee33screenshot-www.youtube.com-2018.06.26-18-45-44Merkava Mk 4 Main Battle Tank – arronlee33

Microprocessor controlled, fully automated, electrically driven, 120 mm magazine rounds. The system is located in an isolated space of the turret and is designed to protect the crew in case of ammunition explosion. The system is easy to operate from the crew compartment. Also, the tank loader can select ammunition out from TEN choices of 120mm ready rounds in the revolving magazine. Source supervideo.com


Merkava IV ammo store – aw.my.com

The range of ammunition includes APFSDS-T M711 (CL 3254), the HEAT-MP-T M325 (CL 3105) and the TPCSDS-T M324 (CL 3139) supplied by the Ammunition Group of Israel Military Industries. The gun is also capable of firing French, German or US 120mm rounds.



  • A 125mm second-generation APFSDS-T, Kinetic-Energy (KE) cartridge, capable of defeating modern armor
  • Provides excellent accuracy at long ranges, low barrel wear and high penetration capabilities
  • It incorporates a tungsten alloy penetrator
  • Type classified for 125mm tank guns


Source imisystems.com



  • The M325 is a dual-purpose High-Explosive Anti-Tank Multi-Purpose-Tracer (HEAT-MP-T) cartridge
  • Defeats Light to medium armored vehicles and bunkers, field fortifications and can incapacitate infantry troops
  • The M325 tank ammunition provides increased range, accuracy and penetration capabilities
  • It can be used with any NATO 120mm smooth-bore tank gun


Source imisystems.com



  • Used in training to simulate operational KE firing
  • In service by the IDF and various European armies
  • Approved for use and firing with Leopard 2, Ariete, Merkava III, IV and other MBTs
  • Identical external ballistics characteristics and accuracy to the operational cartridge, providing very reLAHAT (Laser Homing Attack) is an accurate lightweight missile, homing-in on a laser spot. It has a ground launch range of 8 km (10 km from helicopters) and can be supplied a variety of mission-customized warheads. The lightweight missiles and launcher do not adversely affect the helicopter’s effective mission time. LAHAT missiles, sold in significant quantities to various customers, serve as precision guided munitions, and may be launched from ships, vehicles and LAHAT (Laser Homing Attack) is an accurate lightweight missile, homing-in on a laser spot. It has a ground launch range of 8 km (10 km from helicopters) and can be supplied a variety of mission-customized warheads. The lightweight missiles and launcher do not adversely affect the helicopter’s effective mission time. LAHAT missiles, sold in significant quantities to various customers, serve as precision guided munitions, and may be launched from ships, vehicles and helicopters. Source iai.co.ilhelicopters. Source iai.co.ilalistic training scenarios


Source imisystems.com

Lahat missile


LAHAT (Laser Homing Attack) is an accurate lightweight missile, homing-in on a laser spot. It has a ground launch range of 8 km (10 km from helicopters) and can be supplied a variety of mission-customized warheads. The lightweight missiles and launcher do not adversely affect the helicopter’s effective mission time. LAHAT missiles, sold in significant quantities to various customers, serve as precision guided munitions, and may be launched from ships, vehicles and helicopters. Source iai.co.il


Merkava Mk 4 Main Battle Tank – arronlee33

The tank is fitted with 7.62mm machine guns and an internally operated 60mm mortar system developed by Soltam Ltd. The mortar can fire explosive and illumination rounds to a range of 2,700m.

7.65mm MAG coaxial machine gun


The MAG Coaxial is a variant for coaxial use. It is also known as the MAG 60.40 or MAG Coaxe. The coaxial models lack buttstock, carrying handle and bipod. It can be either trigger or solenoid fired. In the UK the coaxial models are known as the L8A1 and L8A2 with improved feed mechanism. The L37A1 and L37A2 are variants of the L8A1 and L8A2 for flexible use. They feature a normal trigger assembly and there is a kit for dismounted use. The US production models are known as the M240 and M240C, with left and right hand feed respectively.


Coaxial machine gun slit on Merkava 4 – TilTuli YouTube

7.65mm MAG coaxial machine gun traverse and elevation as main armament 10.000 rounds in total non-stabilized.

TYPE Machine gun
CALIBER 7.62x51mm NATO
OPERATION Gas operated, long stroke gas piston
RIFLING 4 grooves, 305 mm right hand twist
LENGTH 1.046 mm
WEIGHT 10.35 kg
REMARKS Solenoid fired

Source weaponsystems.net

60mm mortar within turret


60mm mortar Merkava Mk 4 Main Battle Tank – arronlee33

This Merkava Mortar went from the 2,700 meters range out to 3,700 meters. It’s now Auto Fired & Targeted by the BMS computer. Source supervideo.com

7.65mm MAG machine gun


7.65mm MAG on Merkava Mk 4 Main Battle Tank – arronlee33

In the United States the MAG is produced as the M240B and M240G, with the M240B having a heat shield around the barrel and the M240G looking similar to the standard late production MAG. The M240E6 is an effort to reduce the weight of the MAG withouth reducing its effectiveness. The M240E6 uses a titanium alloy receiver and a shorter barrel.

7.62mm MAG machine gun on turret roof 10.000 rounds in total, 100 ready to fire manual traverse and elevation non-stabilized.

TYPE Machine gun
CALIBER 7.62x51mm NATO
OPERATION Gas operated, long stroke gas piston
RATE OF FIRE 750 rpm
RIFLING 4 grooves, 305 mm right hand twist
LENGTH 1.232 mm
WEIGHT 12.25 kg
SIGHTS Iron sights, blade front and aperture rear, 851 mm sight radius, Picatinny rail for mounting optics

Source weaponsystems.net

The protection suite includes an advanced electromagnetic threat identification and warning system.

El Op fire control


Elbit Systems

The new fire control system, developed by El Op, includes very advanced features including the capability to acquire and lock onto moving targets, even airborne helicopters, while the tank itself is on the move.


The computer-controlled fire control system includes line-of-sight stabilisation in two axes, a second-generation television sight and automatic thermal target tracker, a laser range finder, an improved thermal night vision system and a dynamic cant angle indicator.

screenshot-www.youtube.com-2018.06.26-18-50-03Commander’s station – Elbit Systemsscreenshot-www.youtube.com-2018.06.26-18-51-18Gunner station – Elbit Systemsscreenshot-thaimilitaryandasianregion.wordpress.com-2018.07.29-15-51-57Driver station – Elbit Systems

The commander’s station is fitted with a stabilised panoramic day and night sight. The integrated operating system includes advanced data communications and battle management. Tadiran developed the Merkava’s communications system, the inter communication system and the VRC 120 vehicular transceiver radio with embedded auxiliary receivers



Merkava 4 – TilTuli YouTube

The tank is fitted with the Amcoram LWS-2 laser warning system, with threat warning display installed at the commander’s station. This links to the Israel Military Industries POMALS (pedestal-operated multi-ammunition launching system) decoy launcher. One launcher is fitted on either side of the tank, which can launch smoke grenades and decoys.

Laser Warning Systems (LWS)

Elbit Systems’ Laser Warning System (E-LAWS)  – Vladimir Yakubov

Elbit Systems’ Laser Warning System (E-LAWS) and Threat Detection System (TDS) detect, categorize and pinpoint laser sources such as rangefinders, designators, beam riders, infrared illuminators and trainers. In addition to laser sources, the Multi Threat Detection System (MTDS) detects, categorizes and pinpoints radar/RF sources. All of these systems allow for training within the vehicle and include built-in test. Source elbitsystems.com

A Merkava 4 has also been fitted with the Rafael Trophy Active Protection System.

Rafael Trophy Active Protection System


Rafael Trophy Active Protection System

Trophy provides 360° coverage against anti-tank rockets, anti-tank missiles and tank HEAT (high-explosive anti-tank) rounds. Once Trophy has detected a threat, it is tracked and classified and the optimal intercept point is computed, prior to launching a countermeasure.



Sensors include radar with four antennas placed around the vehicle. The system development was completed in April 2007 and the IDF has approved production for fitting on new Merkava tanks.

Zachi Evenor

The Trophy system entered low-rate initial production (LRIP) in June 2008 and is planned to achieve initial operating capability in late 2009.



The system was successfully tested on the tank by the Israel Defence Force in December 2010. The Trophy system deployed on a Merkava 4 MBT defended an anti-tank missile fired by a gunman near the Gaza Strip security fence in March 2011.

GD 883 V-12 diesel engine


Atube YouTube

The Merkava 4 is powered by a V-12 diesel engine rated at 1,500hp. The engine compartment and one fuel tank are at the front of the tank and two fuel tanks are at the back. The new engine represents a 25% increase in power compared to the 1,200hp powerpack installed on the Merkava 3.

General Dynamics GD883 (MT 883 Ka-500)


MTU MT-883 V-12 – trucktrend.com

The GD883 diesel engine, paired with Renk RK325 automatic transmission, comprises the Merkava Mk4 powerpack. Produced under cooperation between MTU and general Dynamics Land Systems, this liquid cooled, direct injection engine is considered the most powerful of its kind. It was designed as an alternative to the gas turbines, currently used in the M-1 family of tanks. The US-German engine develops 1500hp power, and with the utilization of the specially designed automatic transmission, it offers the best power/weight ratio for heavy tracked vehicles. The electronically controlled transmission has five forward gears, also provides steering and braking functions. Source defense-update.com

Engine model MT 883 Ka-500
Rated power max. kW (bhp) 1100 (1500)
Speed max. rpm 2700
Dimensions and masses
Length (L) mm (in) 1488 (58,6)
Width (W) mm (in) 972 (38,3)
Height (H) mm (in) 742 (29,2)
Mass (dry) kg (lbs) 1800 (3968)
Engine main data
Bore/Stroke mm (in) 144/140 (5,7/5,5)
Cylinder displacement l 2,28
Displacement, total l (cu in) 27,4 (1672)

Source mtu-online.com

An Israeli Tank maneuvers near kibbutz Kerem Shalom just outside the southern Gaza Strip April 8, 2011. Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip killed three militants from the Islamist group Hamas and three Palestinian civilians on Friday, in a second day of a fresh upsurge in the conflict. REUTERS/Amir Cohen (ISRAEL – Tags: CIVIL UNREST MILITARY)

The German company MTU manufactures the engine components and the GD 883 engine is manufactured under licensed production by General Dynamics Land Systems in the USA. The engine is transferred to Israel for installation and integration with the automatic transmission and with the engine computer control system. The tank has automatic five-gear transmission rather than four gears as in the Merkava 3. The transmission system is manufactured by Renk. The single position rotary shock absorbers are installed externally.

RK 325 powershift transmission

The RK 325 transmission is intended for front mounting in an L-configuration in combat tanks and related families of vehicles. It guarantees the ultimate mobility, performance, and acceleration of the vehicle on any terrain. The electronic, automatic gearshift system and modern brake system ensure optimal driving characteristics. The transmission is the right choice for sophisticated, pioneering combat tanks.

Source renk-ag.com




The redesign of the hull around the installation of the new powerpack has provided improved frontal armour protection and improvement to the driver’s field of view. For improved reverse driving the driver uses a camera.


Elbit Systems

A new feature of the tank is that the fitted modular special armour covers the turret. The tank is protected against a range of threats, including air-launched precision-guided missiles and advanced and top-attack anti-tank weapons. Automatic fire detection and suppression has been installed. The underside of the hull has been fitted with additional armour protection against mines.


LSS/NBC/AC (left) and APU (right)

The driver and crew compartments are equipped with heating and cooling air conditioning and a Shalon Chemical Industries combined individual and overpressure protection systems against contamination by NBC warfare.


Elbit Systems


TYPE Main battle tank
CREW 4 (commander, driver, gunner, loader)
LENGTH 7.60 m (hull), 9.04 m (gun forward)
WIDTH 3.72 m (without skirts)
HEIGHT 2.66 m (turret roof)
WEIGHT 65 t combat load
WHEELBASE Tracks, 6 roadwheels, sprocket front, idler rear
ENGINE MTU-883 V12 diesel, 1.500 hp
POWER RATIO 23.1 hp/t
TRANSMISSION 4 forward, 1 reverse
SPEED 64 km/h on road
FUEL 1.400 L
RANGE 500 km on road
SMOKE 2×6 smoke grenade dischargers
ARMAMENT 120mm cannon
7.62mm coaxial machine gun
60mm mortar
7.62mm roof machine gun
12.7mm roof machine gun

Source weaponsystems.net

Main material source army-technology.com

Images are from public domain unless otherwise stated

Main image by Israel Defense Forces

Revised Jul 30, 2018

Updated July 11, 2021