Chinese Soldiers Conduct Drills With PLA’s ‘Most Powerful’ Tank, Type 99A, In Xinjiang Region At -20° Celsius

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s Type 99A, the most powerful tank in service, recently participated in a military drill in the Xinjiang Military District. 

China Central Television (CCTV), a state-owned media company in China, broadcast the video of the military exercise on January 5. The video reveals that armored divisions in the Xinjiang Military District are now fielding Type-99A tanks. 

The Type 99A, also known as ZTZ-99A, is one of China’s latest main battle tanks (MBT), with better firepower capabilities and anti-tank missiles. It is classified as a third-generation Main Battle Tank (MBT) and is the most advanced Main Battle Tank currently in service with the People’s Liberation Army.

The Type 86 infantry fighting vehicle, also known as WZ501, was also part of the military exercise, which was likely carried out by a division of the Lanzhou Military Region, Western Theater command. 

The Lanzhou Military Region is one of the seven military regions of China. The Lanzhou Military Region is in charge of the Ali region in northwest Tibet, as well as Xinjiang, Qinghai, Gansu, Ningxia, and Shaanxi. 

In the video, the Chinese soldiers can be seen maneuvering their armored vehicles in the high-altitude areas while maintaining battle formation and firing at targets. The training was conducted at a temperature of -20 degrees Celsius, according to a text in the video.

A Snap from the released video

Chinese soldiers simulated military combat training. The unit that conducted the drill is reportedly stationed close to Aksai Chin. However, the EurAsian Times could not verify this particular claim. 

The Type 99A is China’s most lethal main battle tank and features superior armor and firepower. In February 2021, Global Times reported that PLA’s Type 99A was deployed by the Xinjiang Theater Command in the high-altitude border frontier at Karakoram Mountain.

The 57-ton 99A stands between the 70-ton American Abrams and the 48-ton Russian T-90 (one of India’s MBTs).

PLA’s Type 99A

The Type-99 is China’s third-generation main combat tank, which was inducted into service in 2001. China’s indigenous battle tank development goes back to the 1980s. The People’s Liberation Army of China produced one of its most technologically advanced battle tanks, the Type 99, as part of its military modernization program.

In the mid-2000s, Norinco produced the enhanced Type 99A variant. The turret armor was upgraded and had a distinctive pointed design, but the 99 and 99A are relatively identical.

Additionally, it has a brand-new Fire Control System with cutting-edge thermal sighting tools. The Type 99A project was supposed to begin sometime in 2007 and is currently in full production.

The Type 99A units are digital and networked and can strike foes even when out of sight. The primary gun for the Type 99A is an upgraded ZPT98 series 125mm smoothbore. It has a muzzle velocity of 1780 m/s and can fire a range of rounds.

The Type 99A has a new-shaped modular front on its turret and an enhanced composite armor protecting the front of the hull and turret. The vehicle is equipped with new explosive reactive armor, which experts say can stop tandem-charged anti-tank missiles. 

Type 99 tank - Wikipedia
Type 99 tank – Wikipedia

To provide more protection, the new ERA is mounted along the flanks of the turret and continues along the side of the storage racks. Along the front of the hull, the ERA is likewise installed.

The vehicle incorporates an NBC system, a fire suppression system, and smoke grenade launchers. There are no visible “hard-kill” launchers in the new system. A traversable laser detection and jammer device with what is thought to be ZM87 capability (the ability to blind an enemy gunner) is mounted on the roof. 

The Chinese 99A has not yet engaged in a real-combat situation. The Type-99A made its debut at the 2015 Victory Day Parade, where it was intended to be a “true competitor to international designs.”

The 150HB, a 1500hp diesel engine, drives the Type 99A. The engine is thought to be based on the German MT883 diesel engine seen in the EuroPowerPack. The Type 99A has a new automatic transmission and torsion bar suspension.