via Defense Aerospace.
China's military is likely to deploy the Type-96B tank as the pillar of its tank fleet, replacing most of its old models, observers said.Interesting. This is telling in one way at least. They're talking about a serious production run. Instead of a small batch (several thousand in Chinese terms) of highly advanced Type-99's they'd rather have a larger force of Type-96B's. Many "good" is preferred to a few "better".
Gao Zhuo, a military observer in Shanghai who has close contact with the People's Liberation Army, told China Daily that the excellent capabilities of the Type-96B qualify it to be the backbone of China's tank force.
"The Type-96B is the strongest variant of the Type-96 family and is truly an advanced, third-generation main battle tank," he said. "The PLA will use it to replace the old tanks such as the Type-59 and Type-69 models."
His remarks came as the Type-96B delivered impressive performances in the ongoing Masters of Automobile and Tank Hardware competition, also known as the Tank Biathlon, at the Alabino training range in Moscow.
The PLA sent several Type-96B tanks to take part in the tank competition, the most watched part of the Russia-hosted International Army Games.
The eight-day individual part of the competition, which involved 54 teams from 17 countries, ended on Sunday, with the Chinese delegation scoring the highest.
All of the PLA's three teams were to compete in the semifinal that started on Tuesday.
By the end of last year, the Chinese military had more than 7,000 tanks in active service, including about 2,000 Type-96s and Type-96As, as well as about 600 Type-99s and Type-99As, so the majority of the PLA armored force is still equipped with tanks made several decades ago, according to foreign military analysts.
Huang Guozhi, senior editor at Modern Weaponry magazine, said that despite the fact that Type-99 series tanks are more advanced, their high price and limited production capacity mean that it's unrealistic for the PLA to purchase and deploy them on a large scale.
"Therefore, the Type-96B, with a better price and satisfactory capabilities, is very attractive to the Chinese and foreign militaries. It is the best option for the PLA to modernize its armored forces," he said.
Armor is alive and well in the Chinese military. What do they know that the Marine Corps doesn't...and does this give us an indication of how the Chinese plan on fighting future conflicts? We've heard stories from the Old Skool Marines about Chinese wave attacks in Korea. Could we be looking at a modernized "armor swarm" on a future battlefield?