Class: Main Battle Tank
Vehicles Built: 3000-4000
Operators: China (early Type 69, late Type 69-I), Iraq, Iran, Thailand, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Burma, Sri-Lanka, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Albania
The Type 69 Main Battle Tank is an upgraded Type 59, which in turn is a direct Chinese copy of the Soviet T-54A Medium Tank. As a part of their “brotherly help” to fellow communists, the Russians provided the Chinese with the means and the license to produce the T-54A. At first, the Chinese assembled the tanks from parts delivered by the Soviets and later on, the vehicle was entirely built in China. However, as the Sino-Soviet relations deteriorated for ideological reasons, the Chinese found themselves with a massive fleet of Type 59 tanks that were becoming quite obsolete over the years and without the access to Soviet technology. As a result, they attempted to upgrade the Type 59 tanks as much as they could to increase their combat value and to keep them relevant on modern battlefields with what they had.
The Type 69 program was one of the results of the effort. The first prototypes were built as early as 1964-1966 (sources vary) by Factory 617 (also known as the Baotou Tank Plant). There were several major differences compared to the Type 59. First, the original clone of the rifled 100mm D-10T gun (called Type 59 cannon in Chinese service) was replaced by a new 100mm smoothbore called Type 69, an IR searchlight and an indigenous first generation laser rangefinder were both added. The original 520hp 12150L diesel was replaced by a more powerful variant called 12150L-7, producing 580hp.
It wasn’t exactly a successful design and it did not meet the expectations the military had. Especially the gun was problematic, too inaccurate and generally unable to deal with modern western or Soviet MBTs. The vehicle was shelved until 1969, when the Chinese captured a Soviet T-62 tank during the Damansky Island incident. The tank was carefully studied by the Chinese and several upgrades based on its technology were introduced to the Type 69 chassis such as a new NBC protection set and a copy of the Luna IR searchlight. This variant was produced in very limited numbers.
Following the development of the Type 80/88 series MBTs in the 1970s, thanks to the improved relations between China and the west and the subsequent access to western technologies, a decision was made to develop the Type 69 into an export vehicle. This was the Type 69-II from 1982. Its smoothbore gun was replaced by the 100mm Type 69 rifled gun with modern APFSDS ammunition and the vehicle also received an advanced FCS, a more reliable 580hp engine, automatic fire extinguisher and several other improvements, effectively becoming a late T-55 variant, inferior to the T-72 series but also very affordable. It is estimated that between 1982 and 1985 or so, around 3000 to 4000 export Type 69-IIs were produced and widely exported. They are often mistaken for the Soviet T-54/55 series.
A domestic variant called Type 69-I was developed in China in 1988, retrofitted with late Type 59 modernization. A very limited amount was produced for second-line use.
- Armored: This vehicle's armor can withstand a lot of punishment, allowing it to survive even serious firefights.
- Smoke Generators: This vehicle generates smoke all around it and lays down smoke cover by driving forward.
|100mm BR412D APCR||APCR||Stock||270||400[note 1] mm||1050 m/s||5.20 s|
|100mm 3UBM8 APDS||APDS||680||300||430[note 2] mm||1415 m/s||5.20 s|
|100mm 3UBK4M HEAT||HEAT||XXX||390||510 mm||900 m/s||5.20 s|
|7.62mm AP||AP||Stock||8||18[note 3] mm||855 m/s||5.00 s|
|XP Cost||Credit Cost||Hull
|Stock||Stock||350 mm (vs AP)
470 mm (vs HEAT)
|Steel||695 mm (vs AP)
750 mm (vs HEAT)
|Steel||N/A||N/A vs AP|
N/A vs HEAT
|This MBT features basic sheet armor without any advanced components, making it vulnerable to HEAT shells and ATGMs.|
|Name||XP Cost||Credit Cost||Aim Time||Reload Time||More Info|
|100mm Type 69 Rifled Cannon||Stock||Stock||1.40 s||5.20 s|
100mm BR412D APCR
100mm 3UBM8 APDS
100mm 3UBK4M HEAT
- 400 mm at 150m;
300 mm at 500m
- 430 mm at 150m;
323 mm at 500m
- 18 mm at 100m;
9 mm at 1000m