Type 59-I Royal Ordnance rev. 2: Exotic Export Attempt

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Hi everyone today I would like to suggest an incredibly exotic demonstration vehicle that belonged to royal ordnance during the early 80’s, that being Type 59-I Royal Ordnance rev. 2. This formerly Pakistani example of an well know chinese derivitive of the soviet T-54A was aquired with the intention of creating and selling an export upgrade package for both Type-59’s, but also t-54’s and t-55’s that where common in a wide range of armed forces during the cold war, and where starting to show their age. This upgrade program changed basically every major component of the vehicle bar its transmission and powerplant, with new sights, a new gun, ERA/ composite armour and night vision being installed on the tank in an attempt to create a vehicle that would be appealing to the export market in countries that had alot of outdated T-55 derivitives in service. Unfortunately like with alot of these projects a buyer was never found, and though certain technologys shown off in the demonstrator would make their way into export upgrade packages, with the most notable being the L7A3 addapted to fit in the T-55 turret.

The TLDR for this vehicle is that it is a Type-59-I with the following additions done by Royal Ordanance:

  • ROMOR-A reactive armour on the sides of the hull (300mm of heat protection)
  • ROMOR-B passive applique armour on the UFP and front of the turret (400mm of heat protection)
  • installation of a L7A3 105mm gun, fully stabalized
  • Vicker’s L50 laser range finder
  • Commanders thermals, with Driver NVD
  • smoke grenade launchers carrying 16 smoke grenades


Vehicle History:

This vehicle as previously stated spawned from an aquisition by royal ordanance of a ex-Pakistani Type-59-I, which they then created a modernization package around in an attempt to sell a upgrade kit for what they perceived as a potentially profitable export market of T-55 and type-59 operators seeking an upgrade program for their aging armour. The initial offering lacked the Heat protection package and was refered to as Type 59-I Royal Ordnance rev. 1, which as the addition of an L7a3 105mm cannon, new commanders sight including thermals, Driver NVD devices, a laser range finder, and an improved firing computer and fire supression system. This first offer failing to find any interest so in an attempt to improve the specification they added the additional ROMOR armour and relabled the tank as the Type 59-I Royal Ordnance rev. 2 and began presenting it at trade shows in 1984, as a quote on quote modern tank. Unfortunately they again failed to find any buyers, though egypt did express and interest in getting the gun upgrade on its own, which they commited to a year later when they began upgrading their existing t-54 and t-55’s to carry the L7a3, though this variant lacked any of the other features of the Type 59-I Royal Ordnance rev. 2.


In total the only thing that remained the same between the type-59-I and the Type 59-I Royal Ordnance rev. 2 was the propulsion system and its its initial hull and turret, which where suplimented by the additions done by Royal Ordnance, with the most noticible being the ERA and applique armour, along with the now legendary L7 gun. Even with these powerful additions the Royal Ordnance rev. 2 was never adopted for service by any nation, and the concept demonstrator was stripped of its ROMOR and donated to the Bovington tank museum where it can be seen to this day in running condition, with a visual attempt to restore the vehicle to a condition closer to its original Chinese specification, though a keen eye will see that the L7A3 still in place, as the Thermal sleeve is rather noticible, along with the sensor module above the gun and the smoke grenade launchers mounted on the side of the turret.

the Aforementioned tank preserved at Bovington:


Historical Photos:

The original Type 59-I Royal Ordnance rev. 1, at a trade show, the only difference between this and the rev. 2 is the addition of ROMOR add on armour:


The accompanying text from the article the image is taken from:


Side view of the tank showing the smoke grenades present on the side of the turret as well as the ROMOR-A/B that to the frontal arcs of the tank :


Better view of the upperfront glacis, showing how smooth the composite module addition was to the tank:


Pages from the Romor sales brochure:





Vehicle Specification:


The document notes that the ROMOR adds about 1.5 tons to the vehicles overall weight, which with the additional equitment likely results in a tank 2 or 3 ton’s heavier than the standard Type-59-I, this would create a vehicle with the following specifications:

Mass 37 long tons
Length 6.04 metres (19.8 ft) (hull)
Width 3.27 metres (10.7 ft)
Height 2.59 metres (8 ft 6 in)
Crew 4
Armour 20–203 mm with (300mm era protection,/ 400mm passive protection against HEAT)
armament 105mm royal ordnance L7A3 cannon
armament 1 x Type 59T 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun, Type 54 12.7 mm air-defence machine gun, ROF type-59 smoke dischargers
Engine Model 12150L V-12 liquid-cooled diesel
520 hp (390 kW)
Power/weight 14.44 hp/tonne
Suspension torsion bar
range 450 km, 600 km with external tanks
Maximum speed 50 kilometres per hour (31 mph)


1 Like

This would be such a cool vehicle to have for the UK, maybe as a Squadron tank? +1


With the ROMOR as a squadron tank for sure.

Its a clear cut event or squadron tank, i just find it very cool the UK has an entire sub tree of type 59’s, though this is by far the most interesting one.

most western countries have a lot of interesting trophy/ upgrade/demonstration vehicles like this, if gaiin wanted they could stick mig 21s into the US air tree as their was an air unit that flew them, would actually make a funny premium

if you want to see a crazy list of demonstration vehicles just look at everything we slapped the marksman turret on XD

true, or all the shit we the US stole during WW2 or acquired from former soviet states so we could test them. at one point we had mig 29’s that we bought from Moldova

Finally UK can get some unique T series tanks.+1

1 Like

I was just about to start writing a suggestion for this, why am I not surprised that you’ve already taken care of it haha

Big +1, would love to see this in game as a premium, event, or squadron vehicle

+1 Since everyone has a Sherman, everyone now must get a T-54/55 pattern tank. So be the will of the Lord.

this would definitly make for a good squadron as much as i like the Indian t-90 it should have been a premium not a squadron vehicle

This would be a interesting premium especially with the ERA