[Would you like to see this in-game?]
TL;DR: A Type 85-IIM equipped with the GL5 hard-kill APS for demonstration purposes.
In the early 1980s, relations between China and the western world had begun to warm, which made getting their hands on western tech much easier. This allowed the aging Type 69 to be equipped with a NATO standard 105mm cannon and other western tech, turning it into the Type 79. While the upgrade was nice, it was, by all accounts, a stop-gap. What China really needed was a true second-generation MBT. As such, work on such a vehicle began, using the Type 79 as a base. The resulting upgrade was the Type 80, which would later be further upgraded and accepted into service in 1988 as the Type 88. At the same time, NORINCO also unveiled their own upgrade of the Type 80, named the Type 85. This design did not initially enter service with the PLA as the Type 88, at the time, was seen as sufficient. This changed, however, when the PLA made the troubling discovery that the 105mm cannon, which many of their tanks were now equipped with, could not defeat the armor of the Soviet T-72 from a reasonable distance while, at the same time, the 125mm cannon found on the T-72 could defeat the armor of the Type 88 at any distance. This led to samples of the T-72 obtained from the middle east being thoroughly inspected. NORINCO used the information gathered from these inspections to upgrade their Type 85, fitting it with a reverse engineered 125mm cannon and carousel autoloading system. This upgrade was called the Type 85-IIM and caught the attention of the PLA, accepting it into service as the Type 96 (ZTZ96). In 2018, NORINCO unveiled their completely domestically developed hard-kill active protection system, named GL5. This system, intended for export, is comprised of 12 launchers and 4 radars, which provide 360 degrees horizontal protection and 20 degrees of vertical protection. The system is designed to defeat direct attack ATGMs as well as slower projectiles like HE-FRAG and HEATFS within 100 meters of the vehicle. It is not, however, effective at neutralizing APFSDS or top-attack ATGMs. A major drawback of the GL5 is that it is incredibly dangerous to infantry and potentially even light vehicles positioned close enough, with an at least 25 meter kill area. To show that the system did, in fact, work, it was fitted on to an old Type 85-IIM. An ATGM was fired at it and was successfully intercepted. That being said, likely because the system was only mounted for demonstration purposes, only 6 launchers and 2 radars were mounted on to the Type 85-IIM. This effectively reduced the vehicle’s horizontal coverage from 360 degrees to only the 180 degrees at which the turret is pointed. The system also blocks the smoke dischargers, making them unusable. The GL5 APS is being marketed as an option for customers of the VT-4 MBT, however, no pictures of the system being mounted on it seem to exist.
Place In War Thunder:
With the surprisingly sudden announcement and implementation of hard-kill active protection systems to War Thunder, the door has been rather violently been flung open for more vehicles with such systems. As the GL5 appears to be China’s only hard-kill APS and the Type 85-IIM is the only vehicle confirmed to have actually been equipped with it, it only makes sense to see its addition in the near future. It would play nearly identically to the ZTZ96 present in-game, with the only differences being the ability to write any ATGM, HE, or HEATFS round off as insignificant, so long as your turret is pointed at it, and no ability to launch smokes. As all hard-kill equipped vehicles have been added as separate from their base model, I think its only fair that the Type 85-IIM GL5 follows suit. It would make a perfect addition to the Chinese tech tree, foldered with or right after the standard ZTZ96 or, if they are ever added, with the rest of the Type 85s.
Armament: 125mm ZPT-98 smoothbore cannon and 7.62mm Type 86 MG
Dimensions: 6.33m, 3.45m, 2.30m (L,W,H)
Armor: Same as ZTZ96 in-game
Ammunition: Same as ZTZ96 in-game
Full GL5 APS system:
Type 80/88 main battle tank - Wikipedia
Tanks in China - Wikipedia
GL5 Active Protection System - Wikipedia
Type 96 tank - Wikipedia
China tank active protection system demonstration. GL-5 active protection system - YouTube