Monday, January 28, 2008

China’s Type 59P MBT shows more details

In last year August’s IDEX2007, China Poly Corporation once displayed the so-called T-59P MBT model in public. 5 Months later, pictures showed that Type 59P MBT dose not only remain in concept stage but has been produced out real sample vehicle and entered testing.

Some self-driving tourists pictured that the testing vehicle of Type 59P MBT in some area of North China.

Obviously, from the 5 pairs of road-wheels, the vehicle is modified from previous Type 59 MBT family. A more convictive result is that the chassis is from NORICO’s AL ZARRAR MBT for Pakistan. China has said that Type 59P is for foreign customers, and using a mature and highly praised chassis is not a bad idea.

From opened information of Type 59P’s armament, it has a 105 mm rifled gun, which can be nearly verified by picture. Some resources believed that Type 59P would equipped with more powerful 120mm smoothbore gun, but this will limited the ammunition carried by the vehicle. After all, 105 mm gun has provided enough firepower in most battlefields, like in some losing states.

Strangely, the main gun has a steel annular device, which is just placed behind the bore evacuator. Now this ring set’s purpose is still unclear.

It is hard to identify that the tank turret is improved from original Type 59 cast dome-shaped turret, except the hatch girder circled with concave holes. Arrow-shaped armor has been melted on the frontispiece of turret, but the armor bulge’s shape has nuance with those installed on Type 96 and Type 99 MBTs.

The front and side faces of arrow-shaped armor are also attached with some wasted steel pieces. Obviously, those steel pieces are being loaded for turret Counter-balancing and later will be replaced with ERA in practical model.

As a whole, previous Type 59 turret has modified to a new appearance. In additional of front side armor, the dome-shaped turret flank sides is also covered by new armor layer, on which slat armor and smoke grenade launchers are installed.

Unlike Type 59D’s observation and aiming system, Type 59P MBT’s “Sight system” is also almost similar to AL ZARRAR MBT. With upgrading protection, Type 59P MBT can be the ultimate variant of Type 59 family.

China is always seeking breakthrough in world weapon market, which is mainly occupied by U.S. Russia and Israel. Due to the quality and technological reasons, China’s weapon systems are usually inferior in hi-tech conflict. But in some unenlightened state conflicts and civil wars, cheap and easily manipulative Chinese weapons are still welcome.

In Sudan, Type 85-II MBT and other armed vehicles has been found; in Pakistan and Iran, Thunder Fighter and Missile craft are playing great roles. In future, large combat ship and tactic ballistic missile will be provided for buyers, who are the hidden allies of China.

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