China: December 30, 2000


China has developed a new amphibious tank designated the Type-99 which it intends to deploy to replace the older Type-63. This appears to be a Type-63 hull with a new all-welded slab-sided turret, but it cannot be confirmed how much the design owes to the Type-63. Both have six large road wheels, an idler at the front, drive sprocket at the rear, and no return rollers. The hull and turret are welded steel and provide protection only from small arms and shell splinters. The turret has a large bustle and an external wire storage rack. The commander and gunner sit on the right side of the turret while the loader stands and works on the left side (his right hand feeding the gun). The tank mounts a 105mm rifled cannon. The gun is fully stabilized, and the commander and gunner both have day/night sights allowing hunter-killer tactics. There is a 7.62mm machinegun inside the turret firing coaxially with the main gun, and a 12.7mm machinegun on the turret roof for nominal anti-aircraft defense. There are four smoke-grenade launchers on either side of the turret. It is assumed that the Type-99, like the Type-63, has two water jets for propulsion.--Stephen V Cole 


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