Type-96B seen as pil­lar of na­tion’s tank force

China Daily (Canada) - - NEWS CAPSULE -

China’s mil­i­tary is likely to de­ploy the Type-96B tank as the pil­lar of its tank fleet, re­plac­ing most of its old mod­els, ob­servers said.

Gao Zhuo, a mil­i­tary ob­server in Shang­hai who has close con­tact with the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army, told China Daily that the ex­cel­lent ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the Type96B qual­ify it to be the back­bone of China’s tank force.

“The Type-96B is the strong­est vari­ant of the Type-96 fam­ily and is truly an ad­vanced, third-gen­er­a­tion main bat­tle tank,” he said. “The PLA will use it to re­place the old tanks such as the Type-59 and Type-69 mod­els.”

By the end of last year, the Chi­nese mil­i­tary had more than 7,000 tanks in ac­tive ser­vice, in­clud­ing about 2,000 Type96s and Type-96As, as well as about 600 Type-99s and Type99As, so the ma­jor­ity of the PLA ar­mored force is still equipped with tanks made sev­eral decades ago, ac­cord­ing to for­eign mil­i­tary an­a­lysts.

Huang Guozhi, se­nior ed­i­tor at Mod­ern Weaponry mag­a­zine, said that de­spite the fact that Type-99 se­ries tanks are more ad­vanced, their high price and lim­ited pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity mean that it’s un­re­al­is­tic for the PLA to pur­chase and de­ploy them on a large scale.

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