WZ1226:The last piece of the WZ122 series

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WZ1226 is the last model of the WZ122 series of Chinese experimental tanks, WZ1226 in some respects gave up the more advanced and difficult scheme technology of the previous experimental models and used the already mature technology instead, and WZ1226 also has a follow-up improved model, the name is WZ1226F2, which has not changed in appearance, but replaced the engine, although this tank finally gave up but provided a lot of technical reserves for the Chinese tank industry.

R&D History:


In March 1969, in the Battle of Zhenbao Island, the People’s Liberation Army captured the Soviet Union’s own 545 T-62 tank in the Heilongjiang River, and dragged it back to Beijing for comprehensive technical mapping, the PLA realized a very real problem: the Type 59 on hand is rapidly outdated, and it can no longer effectively deal with the tanks of most countries in the world, so the PLA, aware of the gap, began to step up the development of the next generation of tanks to replace the existing Type 59 tank, that is, the later 121 tank. The first submission of the design bureau was a Type 100 tank with a 69mm smoothbore gun. However, the early model of the Type 69 performed poorly, even worse than the original Type 59, and continued improvements were needed in the future. In this case, the Commission of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense requested the development of a second-generation tank, one of which was to counter the threat of the T-62. The second is to avoid all resources being smashed on the 69 project. Therefore, under the leadership and organization of the armored corps, a medium tank battle group was formed in March 1970 and the development of 122 medium tanks began. The “24th Battle” refers to the first large-scale tank development activity in which many units of China’s military industrial enterprises participated in the 70s of the last century. In the spirit of “not being afraid of difficulties and having the courage to take responsibility,” a group of young and energetic scientific and technological workers followed the deployment of the State Council and the Central Military Commission to develop China’s second-generation tanks and armored vehicles. 122 tank and other important project phased results, for the development of China’s tank industry has made outstanding contributions, after receiving the requirements of the Commission of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, Baotou’s 617 factory immediately began the development of a new type of tank, but the indicators of the 122 tank for China at that time was simply a heavenly night: the use of China’s domestic 120 mm artillery; the use of combustible cartridges; equipped with the ability to measure, night sighting, double stability, The fire control system for night vision, the high-power multi-fuel engine, and the hydraulic transmission, steam suspension and fluid-assisted control functions were comparable to the requirements of the Chinese tank industry at that time. In September 1970, the first prototype of the 122 “Three Liquids” appeared. This prototype car adopts more advanced technologies and components such as hydraulic transmission, hydraulic control and liquid gas spring suspension, so this prototype is also known as the “three-liquid” prototype. However, due to the failure of the “three-liquid” technology, the development of the 122 “three-liquid” prototype was suspended after only a short period of testing.In the process of design and manufacturing, the 617 Factory and the People’s Liberation Army both realized that the indicators of the new tank were a bit unrealistic, and turned back to develop the “three-machine” prototype. It adopts mature mechanical transmission, torsion bar spring suspension and mechanical control. After the study by the Commission of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense and the Design and Research Institute, the original unrealistic design indicators were abandoned and the development of the second type of 122 tank was carried out. The original liquid vapor suspension was replaced by a mature mechanical transmission and torsion bar suspension. Because most of the design of the three-liquid prototype is retained, this prototype is also known as the “three-machine” prototype. The three-machine prototype is equipped with an old 120 slide like the three-liquid prototype, because it has a new smoking device, and the appearance is similar to the U-5TS smoothbore gun on the T-62, so that the 122 “three-engine” prototype is often considered a copy of the T-62 tank, at the end of 1970, the 617 factory began to develop the “three-engine” prototype, and by January 1971, the 617 factory completed the assembly of two “three-engine” tank prototypes. From 1971 to 1973, the “three-machine” prototype was tested nearly 3,000km in many regions in China, and achieved certain results, but because there are still many problems in the performance of the vehicle and the structure of the components, the PLA believes that it is still necessary to continue to carry out a large number of component technical research and test work, so the 122 “three-machine” prototype has not been finalized and produced. At the end of the 70s of the last century, the 617 factory in the follow-up prototype design of the 122 project coincided with the beginning of a new period of China’s reform and opening up, China’s relations with the West gradually warmed up, the military industry took this opportunity to introduce a number of technologies to the West, when the PLA sent some representatives to Europe to visit the Krauss-Maffei factory, where the Leopard II tank that has not yet been put into service refreshed the Chinese representative’s perception of the main battle tank in the new era with its excellent mobility. Although the German representative said that he could provide a license for the import and production of finished vehicles, the German asking price was too high, and China, which was in the early stage of reform and opening up, could not afford it. Therefore, in April 1978, the National Development Industry and Science and Technology Commission and the Fifth Machinery Department held the No. 784 meeting in Datong, Shanxi, and once again proposed the research and development of the second-generation tank, reformulated various research and development indicators, and demonstrated tactical combat technology. It was determined that the second-generation tank of the People’s Liberation Army took the Leopard II as a technical reference, and the main hypothetical enemy was the T-72 tank equipped by the Soviet Union, and the 617 factory and the 201 institute were the research and development units of the project. The new generation of main battle tanks continues the previous designation - WZ122. The design indicators of the WZ-122 series were quite advanced compared to the PLA at that time: the tonnage was controlled between 43-45 tons, the engine power needed to reach 900-1000 horsepower, the maximum travel speed was 65 km / h, the use of 120mm smoothbore guns and the fire control system was a computer-centered integrated fire control system. This is the WZ1224 tank, because China did not have the ability to develop high-horsepower diesel engines at that time, so the 617 factory introduced the 1000 horsepower MB-8V331 TC 41 engine produced by MTU from West Germany in 1979 and installed it on the WZ-1224, but this engine is a complete civilian product. Because the MTU8V331TC41 engine is a civilian engine, the design of the pipes and accessories is not very compact. In order to accommodate it, the 122-4 prototype was not only forced to reserve a huge power compartment. Although the 8V331 engine of the WZ122-4 test vehicle has been proved to have good performance after the test run in summer and winter, the weight of the civilian 8V331 diesel engine is still too large compared with the military engine. In addition, although the transmission part meets the performance requirements of the vehicle, it is still a mechanical transmission system, and does not meet the index requirements for the development of hydraulic integrated system transmission. And the consequence of the overly large engine tail compartment is that the 122-4 sample car is the same as the Leopard II, and there is almost no depression angle for shooting backwards, I don’t know if it is because of the poor efficiency of the two large cooling fans of the original engine, so the PLA hung two small cooling fans outside the engine tail compartment。
【WZ1224 additional engine cooling fan photo】
After the initial performance evaluation of the WZ1224, Fab 617 moved on to the next stage of prototype manufacturing, the WZ1226. The WZ1226 built two Phase 2 prototypes, but the main difference was in the powertrain options, and there were no differences between the two. The 8V331TC41 engine used on the WZ-1224 was a more suitable engine with a technical level that could be bought in China at that time, but the PLA believed that it could really have what it could build. Judging from the situation at that time, the development of a domestic tank engine based on the 8V331 engine was undoubtedly the best choice. The Military Commission immediately instructed the 636 factory to take the lead in copying and improving it, and the imitation model was called the 8V165 engine. No matter how you say it, there will be a certain risk of being choked by someone if the imported engine is the first choice for the power of domestic tanks, so the Military Commission also asked the 616 factory to come up with its own engine as an alternative, and the finished product is a 12V150 engine. The 12V150 engine is an improved high-horsepower engine that has been redesigned on the basis of the 12150L engine and added exhaust gas turbocharger, water-cooled intercooler, oil heat exchanger and other accessories. Both engines have an output of 1,000 hp. The driver’s seat of the WZ-1226 has undergone a radical change, from the original pull-rod driving style to the sleek steering wheel driving
【WZ1226 cab photo】
WZ-1226/F2 is equipped with a new 120 smoothbore gun [This new 120 smoothbore gun is not the 120 smoothbore gun on the PTZ89, the 120 smoothbore gun equipped in the ptz89 when this 120 smoothbore gun was installed on the experimental tank is still under development, so this should be the finished product of the tank gun project in the “Two Artillery Plan” of the People’s Liberation Army at that time] WZ1226 and WZ1226F2 carried out various tests and verification work from 1981 to 1982, although most of the performance indicators are close to the design requirements, but there are still many problems in reliability and maintainability, and due to the failure of the development of the automatic loader, coupled with the limited technical level at that time, WZ1224 and its successor models were finally defeated by the Type 80 tank and dismounted, and failed to achieve mass production and installation.



The WZ1226 is equipped with the same 120 smoothbore gun as the WZ1226F2 [No. 2 car], and the machine guns are also Type 54 12.7mm anti-aircraft machine guns and Type 59 7.62mm coaxial machine guns, with spare ammunition 120x30, 12.7x1200, 7.62x3500.

Protection Capabilities:


The turret of WZ1226 and its No. 2 car is also a cast turret (200mm), and the hull armor is made of hull fusion armor + 683 composite armor, [ The alumina ceramic compound used in the 683 composite armor, also known as the Ming corundum, is very difficult to prepare, and it is difficult to process after sintering, and can only be placed in the first layer in the form of sheets or strips as a blocking layer, and the incoming ammunition is deformed and fragmented through collision, the second layer of phenolic glass fiber fabric mainly interferes with the jet and attenuates the stress wave, and the outer shell of the armor is made of 603 armor steel, mainly to prevent the collapse of chrome corundum, in general, the defense of the Type 683 composite armor against armor-piercing shells is 350 mm, and the defense against armor-piercing shells is 500 mm. 】



The engine used by the WZ1226 and the No. 2 car [WZ1226F2] is different, the WZ1226 uses an 8V165 engine, while the No. 2 car [WZ1226F2] uses a 12V150 engine, both of which have 1000HP horsepower and 736 kilowatts, The gearbox type is a hydromechanical integrated gearbox, with 4 forward gears and 1 reverse gear, the suspension device uses a torsion bar spring and a hydraulic cylinder barrel composite suspension with 6 small load-bearing wheels, the chassis adopts a hydraulic / torsion bar chassis system, WZ1226 combat total weight of 45.3 tons of No. 2 car [WZ1226F2] combat total weight of 45.8T, power-to-weight ratio wz1226 is 22, No. 2 car [wz1226F2] is 21.8, and the maximum driving speed can reach 65km / h



In order to be able to penetrate the front armor of the former Soviet T72 tank, the new 120mm smoothbore gun determined the technical scheme of “high chamber pressure”, “high muzzle velocity”, and “firing heavy metal long-rod deshelling armor-piercing projectiles” in the process of preliminary demonstration. The plan decided to achieve the goal by adopting the methods of “lengthening the body tube” and “enlarging the large medicine room” and using new technologies such as “electroslag remelting” and “self-tightening of the body tube”. It is planned to increase the chamber pressure of the 120mm smoothbore gun from the existing 318MPa to 540MPa, increase the volume of the chamber to 16.1L, and lengthen the barrel of the gun to no less than 6m. The 120mm high-pressure smoothbore tank gun developed according to this technical standard was successfully developed in 1984, and all technical indicators met or exceeded the original requirements. The length of the gun hull part of the gun was shortened to 5750mm (48 times the caliber) in consideration of the trim of the tank hull, and the body tube was a self-tightening tube with a light metal thermal sheath, and a semi-automatic gun latch with an electric fire wedge was used. The gun can fire tail stabilized armor-piercing shells, tail stabilized grenades and armor-piercing shells, using a semi-combustible cartridge fixed ammunition design, set to a distance of 1500 meters on the shell-out armor-piercing projectile and armor-piercing projectile can penetrate the 681 composite armor target with a 68-degree inclination angle of 204mm. The 681 composite target is a composite plate structure with a 20mm panel, an 80mm back plate, and two layers of mixed sandwich in the middle, 36mm FRP and 68mm chrome corundum, which are used as the target plate for simulating the composite armor of the T-72 main battle tank. The target is the first composite material armor with advanced protection performance in China, and later comparative experiments show that the protection ability of the 681 composite target has fully reached the level of the T-72 hull head armor. In mid-1981, an armor-piercing performance experiment of the 120mm new armor-piercing projectile “817” was held at a shooting range. The test successfully demonstrated the good armor-piercing performance of the 120mm semi-steel sleeve shelling armor-piercing projectile. The average muzzle velocity of the projectile exceeds 1700 m/s, the ultimate penetration rate (90% penetration rate) of the homogeneous steel armor plate with a thickness of 120 mm and an inclination angle of 68 degrees is reduced to only 1300 m/s, and the ultimate penetration velocity of the 681 composite target at the same inclination angle is 1410 m/s, which is equivalent to penetrating the front armor of the T-72 main battle tank at a distance of 4800 m (limited to the T72 tank in that state) at a distance of 4800 m



Country of origin: China
Tank member group: 4 people
Main armament: 48 times 120 smoothbore guns x1
Secondary Armament: Type 54 12.7mm machine gun
Type 59 7.62mm machine gun
Spare ammunition: 120x30, 12, 7x1200, 7.62x3600
Ammunition equip types: armor-piercing, armor-piercing, and grenades
Cartridge type: Semi-combustible cartridge
WZ1226 is equipped with an 8V165 engine
The No. 2 car [WZ1226F2] is equipped with a 12V150 engine
Power: 736 kW (1000 hp) all
Transmission type: Hydromechanical integrated transmission
Gears: 4 forward gears, 1 reverse gear
Suspension device: Composite suspension of torsion bar spring and hydraulic cylinder barrel
Weight wheels: 6 small wheels
Chassis: Hydraulic/torsion bar undercarriage
Weight: The WZ1226 has a combat total weight of 45.3 tons, and the No. 2 car [WZ1226F2] has a combat weight of 45.8T
Power-to-weight ratio: WZ1226:22
Car No. 2 [WZ1226F2]: 21.8
Maximum travel speed: 65km/h
Depression angle: -4°
Elevation angle: +18 °
Total length of the tank [main gun forward]: 9.947m
Width: 3.372 m
Height: Approximately 2.5m or more
Turret: Cast turret (200mm)
Armor: Hull Fusion Armor + Type 683 Composite Armor
Owned equipment
Two-way stabilizer
Ballistic computers with multiple corrections
Day/night/laser ranging 3-in-1 periscope sight
Night vision
Laser rangefinder
Loading method: semi-automatic filling machine
Projectile smoke grenades: NO
Obstacle Crossing Ability:
Wall: 2.7m
Drain: 0.8m
ford:1.4m (with OPVT - 5)



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A great addition! +1

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+1,In the technology tree

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I’m always on board with new unique tanks.

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Is this 120mm smoothbore gun the same as that on Object 122 TM in game?


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+1, but turret looks very ugly.

122 TM’s gun is a relatively low chamber pressure cannon based on soviet 115mm.1224 use a improved one with higher pressure.1226’s gun is another new gun, developed with PTZ-89’s gun, it should be much better than the old one, but no match to PTZ-89’s huge gun.
edit: 1224 use the same gun in 122TM

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The basket behind the turret allow us to carry some groceries after visiting the market with our wife.