Type 88

Manufacturer: NORINCO - China North Industries Group Corporation - CNGC  
Product type: Armoured Vehicles  
Name: Main battle tank  

SERVICE STATUS: The batch production stopped in 1995, with about 500 tanks delivered to the PLA under the designation of Type 88/A/B.


The Type 88 , also known as Type 80, was first revealed in 1984. It is a typical example of using modern Western technologies to upgrade Chinese weapon systems derived from the 1950s-era Soviet designs. The Type 80 is a hybrid of the Soviet-style cast turret and western technologies including a 105 mm rifled gun, a laser rangefinder, fire-control systems, and a 730 hp turbocharged powerpack.

Type 80B main battle tank on the national day parade

The Type 80 is slightly larger and heavier than the Type 69/79. The driver has been moved to the front left of the hull. The turret is surrounded by storage racks to provide extra protection. The 105 mm rifled gun fires standard NATO ammo (as does the Type 59-II and Type 79). A fire suppression and collective NBC defensive system is also installed as standard equipment.

The general performance of the Type 80 is estimated to be comparable to the U.S. M60, British Chieftain, French AMX-30, German Leopard 1, and Japanese Type 74.


Type 80-I: Experimental variant based on the Type 79, with six small road wheels and three track rollers instead of five-roadwheel design originated from the Type 59. Also fitted with rubber track skirt, new light spot fire control, external laser rangefinder, and storage racks on the rear of the turret.

Type 80-I main battle tank prototype

Type 80-II: Laser rangefinder and sights integrated into one unit and placed on top of the turret allowing for armour mods to front of turret. Incorporates Built-In-Test (BIT) system for rapid identification of malfunctions. New automotive enhancements, a lens protective system for the sights, and NBC overpressure system. The turret is completely surrounded by storage racks for extra protection against high explosive anti-tank (HEAT) projectile. This variant only serves as an experimental design and has never entered production.

Type 80-II main battle tank prototype

Type 88: Domestic variant in use with the PLA. The basic design is similar to the Type 80-II, but the front storage racks on the turret were removed to fit the explosive reactive armour plates.

Type 88 main battle tank

Type 88B: A new improved variant of the Type 88, the gun-loading system was redesigned so that it can fire new 105 mm ammunitions. The original light spot fire-control was replaced by an image-stabilised FCS.

Type 88B main battle tank

Type 88A: Interestingly, this is actually an improved variant of the Type 88B! The Type 88A has a modified Type 83-I 105 mm rifled gun with longer tube and better performance. The Type 88A is also fitted with FY series double explosive reactive armour, which can resist both APFSDS and HEAT-FRAG rounds.

Type 88A main battle tank


The Type 88 has a cast turret and a conventional hull layout with four crewmembers. The driver compartment is located in the left front. The turret is mounted in the middle and the engine compartment in the rear.

Another notable difference of the Type 88 is that it has six smaller roadwheels instead of five large roadwheels seen on previous Type 59/69/79 MBTs.


The Type 88 has a Type 83 rifled 105 mm gun, which can fire all NATO ammo. The tank can carry 48 rounds, and the gun can fire at 7 rounds per minute.

The Type 88A is fitted with an improved Type 83-I 105 mm gun, capable firing APFSDS, HEAT, and HEAT-FRAG.

Auxiliary weapons include one 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun and a 12.7-mm/50-calibre anti-aircraft machine gun mounted on the command cupola.

Type 37A fire control system on the Type 80/88 includes dual-axis stablised optical sight, light spot FCS, onboard computer, and laser rangefinder. While on the Type 88A/B it is replaced by a more advanced JSFCS-212 integrated fire-control system.


Wheels and tracks are protected by rubber hull skirts. The turret of early versions is surrounded by storage racks to provide additional protections against HEAT projectiles, but they are removed on later variants to fit reactive armour plates. There are four smoke grenade launchers on each side of the turret. Additional smoke can be generated by injecting diesel fuel in to the engine's exhaust.


The Type 88 combat weight is 39.5 tons. It is powered by a liquid cooled, turbocharged 730 hp 12150L-7BW diesel engine.

Property Value
Weight (kg)
Length (mm)
Height (mm)
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Max. road range (km)
Max. road speed (km/h)
Main weapon caliber (mm)
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Depression (degree)
Auxiliary gun calibre (mm)
AA gun caliber (mm)

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