Hello! This is a suggestion for the ZTZ99-I, the first variant of the ZTZ99 we all know and love. It notably does not feature FY-4 ERA like the variants in-game, and as such could be a lower battle rating than the ZTZ99-II, perhaps with the DTW-125 APFSDS round introduced the same year as the tank. With this, I feel it would make it unique enough from the succeeding models to warrant its addition to the game.
Before I get started, I also wanted to note that this vehicle has gone by a few names. Most commonly, and incorrectly to my knowledge, it is called ZTZ98, Type 98 and Project 9910. Due to this, some of the sources and information on this vehicle may use these names in reference to it. To clarify completely, the name I will be using here, ZTZ99-I, is in reference to the vehicle first seen during the National Day Parade in 1999, going under the factory code name WZ123. If you have any corrections on this vehicle, be it the name or otherwise, feel free to leave them in a constructive manner, as the old forum post for this vehicle had some…less than kind discussion. I do apologize if this is the case, much of the information on this vehicle is contradictory and my research is unfortunately limited to what I can find online. Thank you for your understanding.
Following the clash with the Soviet Union at Zhenbao Island in 1969, China’s capture of a T-62 opened a gateway of sorts to new technology for future tank designs. At the time, Chinese tanks had been in a quagmire of delays due to political turmoil and a lack of technology to go off of besides the aging Type 59. In the 1970s, the Commission for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense overlooked the WZ122 project which saw a number of prototypes built, but ultimately did not go anywhere.
Further development would see the WZ1224, a tank designed with influence from the Leopard 2, a new tank at the time. The WZ1224 significantly outperformed previous Chinese designs, having a 120mm smoothbore main gun, a 1,200 hp engine, and heavily sloped armor, with the idea of adding applique armor or composite armor into the design floating around. Ultimately, the WZ1224 did not see service, but wasn’t a failure either. Despite not being accepted for service with the People’s Liberation Army, it did provide excellent technological experience for future designs.
In 1984, China received a T-72 from Romania, giving Chinese engineers a look at the tank that had become famous over the past decade. It was given the name Type 64, and was used as a reference for Project 784, a 1978 set of requirements for a tank issued by the Commission for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, as well as the 5th Ministry of Machine Building. A meeting in July of that year appointed Institute 201 for its design, with Zhu Yusheng as the chief designer of the new tank, now going under the factory codename WZ123.
As the mid-1990s passed by, and much trouble with engine placement was resolved, the famous Factory 617, or Inner Mongolia First Machinery Group Corporation, delivered a WZ123 prototype for testing to the People’s Liberation Army Ground Forces in 1996. The WZ123 underwent 20,000 kilometer travel distances, fired hundreds of main gun rounds, and was even sent to Tahe County in the north of Heilongjiang Province for cold weather testing in December.
While the trials were ultimately successful and the tank was deemed fit for service, it was unlikely the tank would see service before the 1999 National Day Parade, a larger celebration than usual, as it would be the 50th Anniversary of the People’s Republic of China. It was decided to produce a small batch within the time constraints set forth, and the design itself would pass its final tests for approval in late 1998. By the time of the parade, 18 had been produced, and would form a phalanx, followed by other PLA armor, such as the ZTZ96, ZBD86, and PTZ89. The prototypes for the parade entered service as the ZTZ99 not long after, and since then, the ZTZ99 has expanded to around 1,200 in number, with a majority of them upgraded to a better standard, notably with the addition of ERA. In the early 2010s, the tank underwent a redesign, becoming what is today known as the ZTZ99A, and the ZTZ99 family is arguably one of the most famous Chinese tanks to this day.
- Crew: 3
- Length: 11 m
- Hull length: 7.3 m
- Width: 3.5 m
- Height: 2.37 m
- Main armament: 125mm ZPT-98 smoothbore gun
- Secondary armament: 7.62mm Type 86 & 12.7mm QJC88
- Defensive countermeasures: 5× smoke grenades per turret side
- Engine: 1,200 hp 150HB-1 diesel engine
- Maximum speed: 65 km/h
- Maximum range: 600 km