Type 85-II: Entering the composite era

Would you like to see this in-game?
  • Yes
  • No
0 voters

Welcome to another suggestion, in this one we’ll be having a look at a somewhat obscure Chinese MBT: the Type 85-II.

The Type 85-II and its less significant predecessor the Type 85-I were further developments of the Type 80/88 tank. While the latter was mass-produced for use by China, the Type-85 series of tanks never had that fortune. Nonetheless they were a very significant step in the development of China’s domestic main battle tanks.
While being based on the same chassis as the Type 80/88, the Type-85 featured, for the very first time, a welded turret which incorporated composite armor. A huge step forward from previous designs, and one that stunned observers on Russia and the West.
On top of the new turret, the tank was also outfitted with a state-of-the-art computerized fire control system which featured an independently stabilized sighting system. These improvements made the tank a much larger threat even when on the move.

However, despite being promising, the vehicle was not perfect. While the turret armor on the Type 85-II was believed to be capable of stopping the APFSDS shell from a Soviet T-72, the Type 83 cannon that the tank was outfitted with, would be equally incapable of damaging the enemy tank. The Type 83 cannon was, after all, but a copy of the venerable British L7.
Further developments did following leading to the design of the Type 85-IIA, 85-IIM and Type 85-III which would be outfitted with more powerful 125mm cannons. It is also believed that the ZTZ-96 is an even further development of the Type 85-IIM.
These later upgunned versions did find success on the export market, with Pakistan choosing to invest and acquire some 300 Type 85-IIAP tanks.

Despite its armament being somewhat lacking compared to its contemporaries of the time, the Type 85-II was under no circumstances a slouch. This cannon was capable of firing any NATO standard ammunition for 105mm cannons of its time. This version of the tank was still expected to load with a conventional manual loader. Something that would change with the switch to a 125mm main gun, when an auto-loading mechanism was integrated (probably also copied from the T-72). It could additionally be equipped with a 12.7mm machine gun on the commander’s hatch, something that is very commonly seen on Chinese tanks of this period. The tank was also equipped with an 800 hp engine, which gave the 39.6 ton vehicle more than enough power to get around comfortably.
Combine all this with the brand new armor array, said to be heavily inspired by the one found on the T-72, and you get a potent vehicle. This new armor array was not only limited to the turret, the front of the hull supposedly also received some composite upgrades.


General characteristics:

  • Crew: 4 (driver, gunner, loader, commander)
  • Length: 6.32 m
  • Width: 3.37 m
  • Height: 2.29 m
  • Weight: 39.6 tons
  • Engine: 12150L-7BV diesel providing 800 hp
  • Maximum speed: 57 km/h


  • Main gun: 1x 105mm Type 87 cannon
  • Coaxial: 1x 7.92mm machine gun
  • Extra armament: 1x 12.7mm hatch-mounted machine gun


  • 2-plane stabilizer
  • Laser rangefinder
  • Computerized FCS with ballistics computer
  • Independently stabilized sighting system

The Type 85-II is a fun and unique vehicle, setting itself apart from its Soviet counterpart with its brand-new turret design. I believe this vehicle can be a great addition to the Chinese tree in the 8.7 - 9.3 bracket. At 9.3 specifically it could serve to reinforce a lineup which currently is rather small. Admittedly the balancing is a bit odd as this vehicle is definitely a step-up from the ZTZ-88s, but still a step down from the ZTZ-96 that follow the former.
In playstyle, the Type 85-II would most likely play out similar to its relatives, but it would most certainly excel in hull-down tactics, where it can limit its exposure to only its strong turret. The main gun would indeed struggle to penetrate enemies in an uptier, but with good aim you should still be able to do significant damage. You can use your laser rangefinder to pinpoint shots into the enemy vehicles for maximum efficiency.


Type 85 Main Battle Tank - Chinese PLA (1985)
Type 85-II Tank - Fighting-Vehicles.com
Army Guide
NORINCO Type 85-II Main Battle Tank (MBT)
The Chinese Type 85 Tank - TankNutDave.com
Type 85 Main Battle Tank


literally ZTZ96 with ZTZ88 gun, but idk if it should be 9.3 or 9.0

1 Like

for game, 85-2 (105) can be divided into three types.
they are:
the version with composite armor installed on the vehicle body and the version without composite armor installed
and long tube 105 version

1 Like

Actually Type 85-II is on Olivia’s leak list, so I expect this to come, hopefully in the TT.

1 Like

Oh is it? That would be awesome!

Belongs in the game for certain! +1

1 Like

I tend to think that the ones without side skirts and a more box like turret are early prototypes (the bottom right 2 photos)

1 Like

It should be the prototype 105mm gun Type 87 with longer barrel, L59, Type 83 is same as L7 with L52, and Type 94 is L58.
superrrrrrrrr long


Isn’t this an image of the two Storm-II tanks transported to pk for testing?

I guess I can add it as an additional option, though likely a variant with a different gun would require a desperate suggestion altogether.

no, both 85 II uses type 87, storm1 is 730hp engine, storm2 is 800hp.
one of the picture should be a 80 II tank with early welded turret(the one looks like a large box).


Oh I see, thanks for the clarification!
I’ll update the suggestion. Sources tend to be rather confusing on this tank so it probably won’t be the only mistake I made in this suggestion.