[Would you like to see this in-game?]
TL;DR: A production ZTZ96A experimentally fitted with an electro-optical active protection system.
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 the early 2000s, development on an upgrade to the ZTZ96 began, which eventually led to the ZTZ96A. This upgrade would feature a more powerful engine and the addition of wedge shaped armor to the turret face. One of the prototypes for the ZTZ96A would feature an electro-optical soft-kill active protection system, similar to the Soviet Shtora, that consisted of two dazzlers mounted to the sides of the turret. This system was not accepted into service, however, some time in the 2010s, a production ZTZ96A was observed to be equipped with the rejected system. The reason for this as well as the the vehicle’s fate are unknown.
Place In War Thunder:
The upcoming addition of the ZTZ96A (P) is very welcome. It gives China a truly competent top-tier MBT premium, similar to the T-72AV and XM-1, while also adding something unique. What would be even more welcome is the uniqueness of a premium tank also being available in the tech tree. In all seriousness, China doesn’t have much to offer when it comes to soft-kill active protection system equipped vehicles that would be in BRs that would make them somewhat actually matter. This vehicle and the ZTZ96A (P) are the only two I can think of off the top of my head and one of those is a premium. There should really be a tech tree alternative. The production ZTZ96A equipped with soft-kill is perfect for this as it was a modification of a production vehicle. Playstyle would be nearly identical to the ZTZ96A already in-game, the only difference being the ability to shrug off any older ATGMs; TOWs, HOTs, etc.
Armament: 125mm ZPT-98 smoothbore cannon, 1x 7.62mm Type 86 MG, and 1x 12.7mm QJC-88 HMG
Dimensions: 6.33m, 3.45m, 2.30m (L,W,H)
Armor: Same as ZTZ96A in-game
Ammunition: Same as ZTZ96A in-game
Type 80/88 main battle tank - Wikipedia
In Development: Type 96A | Armored Warfare - Official Website
Tanks in China - Wikipedia
中国硬杀伤型主动拦截系统高清照公布，构建国产坦克的“宙斯盾” | 今日悉尼
Type 96 tank - Wikipedia