ZTZ 96B: Raising the standard

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Welcome to another suggestion, in this one we’ll be looking at the latest iteration of China’s ZTZ 96 main battle tank, the ZTZ 96B.

The ZTZ 96B is a further development of the ZTZ 96 tank, a vehicle that first entered service in 1997 and has continued to serve the Chinese army until the current day, with an estimated number of around 2500 still in service. The first models are considered a second generation MBT, but the procedural upgrades that the platform has received continue to bring it more up to date with the standard of today’s MBTs. Some state that the 96B variant can very much be considered to be a third generation main battle tank, although this is debatable since it still lacks an independent commanders sight and hunter-killer capabilities. This final upgrade was first seen in action during 2016’s tank biathlon event in Russia, where some 5 of these vehicles took part in the activities.
Externally very few differences are noticeable to the vehicle, as these are mostly found under the hood of the vehicle. Upgrades are reported to have been made in communication systems, armament and motorization of the vehicle, as well as some other electronic systems.
It is expected that the current ZTZ 96A in service with the Chinese military will gradually be upgraded to the new 96B standard. This vehicle will then probably remain the backbone of the Chinese tank force, as it offers a decently capably platform for a much lower price than the more advanced ZTZ 99 series tanks.

Since the vehicle is Chinese, outlining exactly what was upgraded on the vehicles is quite the challenge. Almost all sources agree that the communication systems were upgraded alongside the suspension, the ventilation, fire control system and others. The biggest upgrade (but also the biggest if) comes in the form of the engine of this vehicle. Several sources mention that the engine would have been upgraded to a new model which produces 1200 hp, a significant upgrade over the older models which are powered by 800 hp or less engines. This upgrade gives a huge boost in mobility to the ZTZ96 platform, making it much more mobile and responsive. This change appears to be supported by several top Chinese officials having already claimed alongside mentions from internal communication of the manufacturer. The likelihood of this change is also supported by the fact that the exhaust system of the tank seems to have been overhauled. The rear of the tank has been modified and appears flat with a circular exhaust on either side of the air vents.

Other than the upgrades, the vehicle still retains all the features that made it a powerful tank to begin with. The main armament consists of the Type 88C 125 mm smoothbore cannon, capable of firing a wide variety of ammunition types to deal with an equally wide variety of opponents. Alongside the main cannon is a coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun. The commander’s hatch can also feature an additional 12.7 mm machine gun.

The fire control system is believed to be upgraded to the level of sights found on Norinco export tanks, but there’s no solid source for those claims as far as I’m aware. At the very least they should be as good or better than the one found on the ZTZ 96A that we already have in-game.

General Characteristics:

  • Crew: 3 (gunner, commander, driver)
  • Length: 6.33 m
  • Width: 3.3 m
  • Height: 2.3 m
  • Weight: 41.5 tons
  • Powerplant: 1200 hp diesel engine
  • Power-to-weight: 28 hp/ton
  • Top speed forward: 65 km/h
  • top speed reverse: -34/-36 km/h

Armament:

  • Main armament: 1x Type 88C 125 mm smoothbore cannon
  • Coaxial armament: 1x 7.62 mm machine gun
  • Additional armament: 1x 12.7 mm hatch-mounted machine gun

Systems:

  • 2-plane stabilizer
  • Laser rangefinder
  • Advanced fire-control system with automatic ballistics computer
  • Thermal sights

In-game:
I believe the ZTZ 96B would be another great addition to the top ranks of the Chinese ground tree. It could perhaps fit in at 10.7 to support the small lineup that is currently present at the battle rating. The vehicle should be a good upgrade over the ZTZ 96A thanks to its much upgraded engine, the better mobility will allow it access to positions and playstyles that it would have otherwise struggled with.
The armor on the vehicle will still be average at best though, as it has not been upgraded over the ZTZ 96A variant, meaning that you will still have to be careful in engagements, especially so since you will be facing much more potent rounds at a higher br than you would have in the 96A.
All-in-all this vehicle should be an enjoyable one, sporting excellent mobility on a decently capable platform, which should allow any player to use a wide variety of tactics on the battlefield.

Sources

Type 96B Tank - Fighting-Vehicles.com
NORINCO ZTZ-96 (Type 96) Main Battle Tank (MBT)
ZTZ-96B - application for victory
China's Type 96 Tank: A Paper Tiger with Armor? | The National Interest
ODIN - OE Data Integration Network
Meet the ‘Backbone’ of China’s Deadly New Tank Force – The Diplomat
China Reveals New Main Battle Tank – The Diplomat

4 Likes

+1. It has new gearbox and engine. This means better maneuverability and reverse speed
and
if gaijin wants to add this tank to the game, he should first correct the 3D model of the 96 series in the game.
they all have errors.
these errors resulted in the 96 series missing a barrel pitch angle of approximately -2 °

4 Likes

+1
The official racing car of the PLA

1 Like

damn, missing -2 degrees of depression? that’s huge!

can you help me post suggestions for these two tanks?
i have not figured out how to publish vehicle suggestions and it is difficult to pass the review.
they are respectively OBJ211 (prototype vehicle 1) 76mm


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one of the variants of WZ132 (76mm)

they can serve as low-level vehicles for rank2/3
I can provide more photos

2 Likes

Just a slight correction, these are the not the WZ132. They’re just 132, 132A and 132B.

The WZ132 was the set of prototypes designed in the 70s with the 100mm gun. They are separate vehicles.

ok
these contents are all very good low-level vehicles
they should all appear on the technology tree

and ,there is an error in this image
the photo of the 59-16 overturned was actually a misunderstanding. that’s just a ZSD63

lets try to keep the content to ZTZ 96B and not WZ132 :)

4 Likes

To add: the 96B uses a CH series integrated hydraulic automatic transmission with 6 forward gears and 3 reverse gears, so its reverse speed is around -34/-36km/h

2 Likes

That’s amazing!
Thanks for the information, I’ll update the suggestion.

why you gonna suggest that? we already got a Obj211

Once again, can we please just stay on topic?

these are two completely different vehicles. And the 76mm gun can stay at a lower BR.
obj211-85mm is currently at 5.0
so the 76mm version can stay at 4.0

actually, that is Obj.211A in game,very close ZTS63.
Obj.211 carries a 76mm cannon and an auto loader.

+1
Would be a great addition to the chinese high tier lineup.