The Type 96B Tank (aka ZTZ 96B Tank) is the latest version of the Type 96 Tank and made its first public debut at the 2016 Tank Biathlon. Developed by Norinco, an estimated 5 to 7 had been built and were seen being moved to the event by freight train. On August 15th, the front left road wheel came of the vehicle whilst in motion at the Biathlon.
Type 96B Tank Upgrades
The Type 96B Tank main upgrade has been the engine. Reports from varying high ranked Chinese Officers in the media have always highlighted the need for a bigger engine in the Type 96 Tank and its believed a new 1200hp diesel engine has been installed.
This would explain the removal of the old twin circular exhausts and housing on the right side of the hull. The rear of the hull has also been modified and appears flat with a circular exhaust on either side of the air vents.
The increase in horsepower will give the Type 96B Tank increased power-to-weight ratio, improving its acceleration and hill climbing abilities.
Whilst the armor and main gun appears to be the same as the Type 96A Tank, it is speculated that the Gunners Fire Control Systems have been updated, possibly from those of new export tanks developed by Norinco.
However, despite publications reporting the Type 96B Tank is a 3rd Generation Main Battle Tank, it still lacks a Commanders Independent Sight.
This means it has no “Hunter Killer” capability, which is the definition of a 3rd Generation MBT by Western standards.
Type 96B Tank Status
China: First spotted in the Summer of 2016, IHS Janes reported that “China Daily” had stated some 2000 Type 96 and Type 96A tanks are in PLA Service and that the Type 96B Tank will replace at some point production of the Type 96A, increasing the number of Type 96 in service and eventually replacing much older Chinese Tanks still in PLA service.
Type 96B Tank Specifications
|Main Gun||125mm, calibre Length 48 smoothbore
Elevation -4 to +12 (?)
|Secondary Weapons||x1 coaxial 7.62mm MG, x1 12.7mm MG|
|Ammunition Storage||x42 125mm, x2,350 7.62mm, x500 12.7mm|
|Engine||1200hp Diesel ?|
|Top Road Speed||65 km/h ?|
|Road Range||400 km ?|
|Water Capability||1.4m (5m with Snorkel)|
|Length Gun Forward||10.65m|
|Length Hull||6.33m (?)|
|Height||2.3m (roof top)|
|Weight||41,500+kg aka 41.5 tonne combat|
|Armor Type||Steel/Composite/Modular/Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA)|
|Active Protection Systems||No|