|Manufacturer:||NORINCO - China North Industries Group Corporation - CNGC|
|Product type:||Armoured Vehicles|
|Name:||Main battle tank|
The existence of the NORINCO (China North Industries Corporation) Type 90 MBT was first revealed in late 1991 and, compared to earlier Chinese MBTs, it has significant improvements in the three key areas of MBT design: armour, mobility and firepower.
Under a contract signed in May 1990, the Type 90-II is also to be manufactured under licence in Pakistan and further development has resulted in the Khalid MBT which is tailored to meet the specific operational requirements of the Pakistani Armoured Corps.
Additional details of the Khalid, the first prototype of which was completed in June 1991 and which is also referred to as the MBT-2000 or P-90, are given under Pakistan. Late in 1998 it was revealed that China, Pakistan and the Ukraine were working together on MBTs and available details are given in the entry on the MBT-2000 under Pakistan.
In many respects the NORINCO Type 90-II is similar to the Type 85-IIM although the former is heavier with improved protection and is powered by 1,200 hp diesel engine.
Early in 1997, additional information on the Type 90-II MBT was released by NORINCO and at the same time it was revealed that it was now being offered fitted with explosive reactive armour to its hull and turret for improved battlefield survivability.
By early 1999, volume production of the Type 90-II MBT had yet to commence. It is understood that this vehicle is for the export market and not for the People's Liberation Army.
The overall layout of the Type 90-II MBT is conventional with the driver's compartment at the front, fighting compartment in the centre and power pack at the rear.
The hull is of welded steel construction with an additional layer of composite armour at the front. Explosive reactive armour has been added to the glacis plate and nose of the vehicle.
The driver is seated in the centre and has a single-piece hatch cover that lifts and swings to the right and in front of this are three periscopes, the centre one of which can be replaced by a passive periscope for driving at night.
The turret is in the centre and is of all-welded steel armour construction to which a layer of composite armour has been added over the frontal arc. In addition to the turret front, sides and forward roof has been added packs of explosive reactive armour.
The commander is seated on the right and the gunner is seated on the left with both provided with single-piece roof hatches and vision devices.
Main armament consists of a 125 mm smoothbore gun fitted with a thermal sleeve and fume extractor. It is fed by an automatic loader which holds a total of 22 projectiles and charges which can be loaded at the rate of six to eight per minute. After the gun has fired it returns to an angle of 4° 15' for loading and then returns to the firing position. The 125 mm smoothbore gun has a life of 500 rounds.
Types of separate loading ammunition that can be fired by the 125 mm smoothbore gun include APFSDS (muzzle velocity 1760m/s), HEAT (muzzle velocity 850 m/s) and HE-FRAG (muzzle velocity 950 m/s). According to NORINCO, the APFSDS-T projectile will penetrate 460 mm of steel armour at a range of 2,000 m. A total of 39 projectiles are carried in the normal ratio of four APFSDS-T, three HEAT and three HE-FRAG.
Mounted coaxial to the right of the main armament is a 7.62 mm machine gun, while mounted on the commander's cupola is a 12.7 mm machine gun, for engaging ground and aerial targets.
The 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun has a cyclic rate of fire of 700 to 800 rds/min with a practical rate of fire of 250 rds/min. Effective range is quoted as 1,000 m.
The 12.7 mm machine gun has a cyclic rate of fire of 650 to 700 rds/min with a practical rate of fire of 80 to 100 rds/min. Traverse is 360° with elevation from -4.5 to +70°. Effective range is quoted as 1,600 m.
The commander is provided with a two-axis stabilised panoramic sight while the gunner has a two-axis stabilised fixed roof-mounted sight.
The image stabilised fire-control system (ISFCS) includes a laser range-finder integrated into the gunner's sight, control panel, ballistic computer and a roof mounted sensor for crosswind, tilt and angular velocity.
This, together with the stabilised 125 mm gun and roof-mounted stabilised sights, enables the Type 90-II to engage stationary and moving targets while it is stationary or moving. If required, the tank commander can take over and lay and fire the main armament.
According to NORINCO, Type 90-II has a 71 per cent hit probability on a moving target while the vehicle itself is moving. Target engagement time, stationary to stationary target is quoted as 7 seconds, while on the move 10 seconds.
Mounted either side of the turret is a bank of six electrically operated smoke grenade launchers which fire forwards and to the rear of this is a large stowage basket. When not required, the snorkel is normally carried in this stowage basket.
The power pack consists of the engine, transmission and cooling system and can be removed as a complete unit in 30 minutes. The engine is a British Perkins Engines Company Shrewsbury CV12-1200 TCA diesel developing 1,200 hp coupled to a French SESM ESM 500 automatic transmission.
The V-12 diesel engine is similar to that installed in the Vickers Defence Systems Challenger 1 and 2 MBTs used by the British Army, while the ESM 500 transmission is installed in the French Giat Industries Leclerc MBT used by the French Army.
Suspension is of the torsion bar type and consists of six large dual rubber-tyred roadwheels with the drive sprocket at the front, idler at the rear and track return rollers. The upper part of the suspension is covered by a rubber skirt with the forward part on either side being covered by explosive reactive armour.
Standard equipment includes an anti-neutron liner for the crew compartments, collective NBC system, explosion/fire detection and suppression system and infrared reflecting paint. It can also lay a smoke screen by injecting diesel fuel into the exhaust outlets at the rear of the hull.
To extend the operational range of the Type 90-II MBT, two additional fuel drums can be mounted externally at the rear.
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