The Type 59D is an upgrade package for the PLA’s Type 59 fleet that focused on improvements in firepower and protection, the package was fitted from 1995 onwards by the Inner-Mongolia First Machine Group Company Limited (617 Factory).
Type 59D Tank Firepower
The Type 59D has been fitted with 2 different rifled 105mm main guns. The long-barrel Type 83A and the older Type 79 105mm rifled gun. Both guns are capable of firing standard 105mm APFSDS, HEAT, and HEAT-FRAG rounds.
The Type 59D uses the same Type 37A “Light Spot Fire” Control System as used on the former Chinese Type 80 Main Battle Tank. The system consists of dual-way stabilisation, ballistic computer, an integrated laser rangefinder and commander sight, and a gunner sight with image intensifier night vision. The driver also has an image intensifier vision block for night vision.
Type 59D Tank Protection
The Type 59D is fitted with additional protection, the indigenous FY series of Explosive Reactive Armor. These are fixed to the turrets front and hull upper glacis plate. Additional storage racks can be fitted across the rear and remaining turret sides. Its not clear if the racks are strong enough to protect against an RPG hit or tank fired HEAT round.
Type 59D Tank Operators
China – As of 2014 still had 550 Type 59D Tanks in service, however this number is constantly going down as newer tanks enter PLA service and surplus Type 59D are being sold to other countries
Myanmar – 25 Type 59D (surplus) delivered 2004
Sudan – 50 Type 59D delivered between 2010/15 (to add to the 50 Type 59 already delivered in 1972)
Type 59D Tank Specifications
|Main Gun||105mm, Rifled
Elevation -4 to +17 (?)
|Secondary Weapons||x1 coaxial 7.62mm MG, x1 12.7mm MG|
|Ammunition Storage||x34 105mm (?), x3,500 7.62mm, x200 12.7mm|
|Engine||Model 12150L 520hp Diesel liquid-cooled|
|Transmission||Manual 5 forward / 1 reverse gears|
|Top Road Speed||50 km/h|
|Road Range||440 km (without rear fuel drums)|
|Fuel Capacity||815 Litres|
|Water Capability||1.4m (Preparation 5.5m)|
|Length Gun Forward||9m|
|Height||2.59m (roof top)|
|Weight||36,000kg aka 36 tonne combat|
|Armor Type||Steel/Sloped/Explosive Reactive (ERA)|
|Active Protection Systems||No|