NORINCO Type 69 MBT

Development :

The Type 69 MBT made its first public appearance during a parade near Zhangiakou outside Beijing in September 1982. Iraq placed orders with China for between 100 and 200 Type 69-I tanks armed with the 100 mm gun and first deliveries of these were made in 1983 via Saudi Arabia. Total deliveries of the Type 69 MBT to the Gulf combatants are estimated at between 1,800 and 2,500 over a three-year period up to late 1987. In early 1987, Thailand placed orders for substantial quantities of Chinese military equipment including Type 69-II MBTs. Type 69-II is called the Type 30 MBT by the Royal Thai Army. Recent information has indicated that Thailand may have only taken delivery of between 50 and 150 of these vehicles and Pakistan is now manufacturing the 105 mm Type 69-II MBT under licence. Additional details are given under Pakistan.

Description :

First production Type 69s were produced with rifled and smoothbore guns but extensive trials demonstrated that the rifled gun was more accurate and had greater armour penetration characteristics than the smoothbore weapon. After 150 Type 69s had been built with smoothbore guns it was decided to concentrate on the rifled gun which was used on all subsequent production Type 69 series MBTs for home and export markets. The Type 69-I has the smoothbore gun; the Type 69-II has the rifled gun and a different fire-control system. The Type 69-I MBT is a further development of the Type 59. It differs mainly in the areas of armament, fire control and night vision equipment. The actual layout of both vehicles is virtually identical. The Type 69-I is armed with a 100 mm smoothbore gun as distinct from the 100 mm rifled gun installed in the earlier Type 59 MBT. This is slightly longer than the rifled gun and has a bore evacuator near the end of the muzzle. Types of ammunition that can be fired by the smoothbore gun include anti-personnel, high-explosive, high-explosive anti-tank and high-velocity armour-piercing discarding sabot. A laser rangefinder, similar to that on the Type 59 MBT described in the following entry, is mounted externally over the main armament in front of the mantlet.

Night vision equipment includes an infrared searchlight on the commander's cupola, an infrared sight for the gunner, an infrared searchlight above and to the immediate right of the main armament and an infrared driving light on each running board. Mounted externally on the loader's cupola is a 12.7 mm Type 54 anti-aircraft machine gun. Mounted coaxially with the main armament is a 7.62 mm Type 59T machine gun and there is a similar weapon in the bow of the tank. The Type 69 MBT has a complete NBC system, semi-automatic fire extinguishing system and, like Soviet T-series tanks, can lay a smoke screen by injecting diesel fuel into the exhaust system on the left side of the hull. The vehicle is also coated with infrared reflecting paint.

Variants :

Type 69-II

Further development in 1983 of the Type 69-I MBT by No 617 Factory resulted in the Type 69-II MBT. Main improvements include the installation of the Tank Simplified Fire-Control System with laser rangefinder, rubber shielding for the side skirts, turret grid armour, hydraulic booster for the steering mechanism and main clutch, double pin rubber tracks, NBC system, automatic fire detection and extinguishing system, engine low-pressure alarm and smoke grenade launchers either side of the turret. Further development of the Type 69-II MBT resulted in the Type 79 MBT which is covered in the previous entry. Main armament consists of a 100 mm rifled gun which is stabilised in both elevation and traverse. This fires Chinese-developed HEAT, HE, APHE and APFSDS ammunition. At least three types of APFSDS ammunition have been developed including one with a semi-combustible cartridge case. The TSFCS consists of three main components, the TLR1A tank laser rangefinder, a ballistic computer and the TGS-A tank gunsight. The TLR1A measures the distance to the target and this information is automatically fed into the ballistic computer which supplies information to control the automatic range-setting mechanism of the sight and simultaneously the gun control system, and sets the gun elevation required in order to hit the target. The laser rangefinder is mounted externally above the 100 mm gun and is vulnerable to shell splinters and small arms fire. The TSFCS-L, which is an option for the Type 69-II, has the laser rangefinder combined with the gunsight in a single unit mounted inside the tank. The Type 69 can also be fitted with the TSFCS-C, which can also be retrofitted into existing T-series tanks of Chinese and Soviet origin. This system consists of the gunner's sight, laser rangefinder, fire-control computer, control panel and sensors for elevation and azimuth rates and cant, crosswind, air temperature, and ammunition charge temperature. The computer calculates target range, direction and lead angle and also interfaces with the weapon stabilisation system.

The driver's day periscope can be replaced by a night periscope with a range of 60 m and a 30 field of view. The tank commander's Model 69 infrared sight has a day magnification of x5 and a 12 field of view and a night magnification of x6 and 8 field of view. On the Model 70, the gunner's infrared sight has a magnification of x7 with a 6 field of view and an effective range of 800 m. The Type 69-II has a Type 889 radio and a Model 803 intercom for the commander, gunner, loader and driver. There are two command versions of the MBT. The Type 69-II Mk B command tank has one Type 889 radio and one Type 892 radio while the Type 69-II Mk C has two Type 889 radios. Some Type 69 MBTs have been observed fitted with an external stowage bin on the turret rear and armour protection for the anti-aircraft machine gun. Thai Army Type 69-IIs have had their 12.7 mm weapons replaced by US 12.7 mm M2 MGs. The Type 69-II has a combat weight of 36.7 tonnes and a power-to-weight ratio of 15.8 hp/tonne. A total of 44 rounds of 100 mm, 500 rounds of 12.7 mm and 3,000 rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition are carried.

SPECIFICATIONS :

Crew: 4
Combat weight: 36,500-37,000 kg
Power-to-weight ratio: 15.89 hp/t
Ground pressure: 0.82-0.83 kg/cm{2}
Length:
(gun forward) 8.657 m
(gun rear) 8.485 m
(hull) 6.243 m
Width:
(over skirts) 3.298 m
(over hull) 3.27 m
Height:
(to axis of AA MG) 2.807 m
(with AA MG at max elevation) 3.909 m
Axis of fire: 1.75 m
Ground clearance: 425 mm
Track: 2.64 m
Length of track on ground: 3.845 m
Max road speed: 50 km/h
Max road range: 420-440 km
Vertical obstacle: 0.8 m
Trench: 2.7 m
Fording: 1.4 m
Gradient: 60%
Side slope: 40%
Engine: Type 12150L-7BW V-12 diesel developing 580 hp at 2,000 rpm Suspension: torsion bar
Armament:
(main) 1 x 100 mm gun
(coaxial) 1 x 7.62 mm MG
(bow) 1 x 7.62 mm MG
(anti-aircraft) 1 x 12.7 mm MG
Ammunition:
(main) 34
(7.62 mm) 3,400
(12.7 mm) 500
Gun elevation/depression: +17/-4
Turret traverse: 360
NBC system: yes
Night vision equipment: yes

Status : Pakistan has 200+ of these tanks.