|Manufacturer:||NORINCO - China North Industries Group Corporation - CNGC|
|Product type:||Armoured Vehicles|
NORINCO (China North Industries Corporation) has developed a new light amphibious tank called the Type 99. This is understood to have been developed as a replacement for the older Type 63 light amphibious tank that has been in service with the People's Liberation Army for some years.
At this stage it is not clear whether the Type 99 light amphibious tank is a new design or is possibly based on parts of the now obsolete Type 63 light amphibious tank.
Some sources have indicated that it is an upgraded Type 63 light amphibious tank chassis fitted with a new turret.
It is known that at least three prototypes/pre-production models of the Type 99 light amphibious tank were completed by 1997 at the latest. Recent information has stated that the Type 99 light amphibious tank is now operational with the PLA.
The hull and turret of the Type 99 are of all-welded steel armour construction that provides the occupants with protection from small arms fire and shell splinters.
The driver's compartment is at the front, fighting compartment in the centre and the power pack at the rear. The driver is seated at the front left and has a single-piece hatch cover and three periscopes.
The turret is of a new design with a large bustle at the rear and with the sides sloping inwards towards the roof. There is a wire stowage basket that extends from the sides of the turret to the turret rear.
The turret fitted to the Type 99 may be related to the turret fitted to the new NORICO (6 × 6) armoured car, revealed early in 2001.
Main armament comprises a 105 mm rifled gun that is provided with a fume extractor. It is believed that the 105 mm gun is fully stabilised and is probably coupled to a computerised fire-control system with the commander and gunner having day/night sights. It is probable that the gunner's sight incorporates a laser range-finder that feeds information to the onboard ballistic computer.
A 7.62 mm machine gun is mounted co-axial with the main armament and a 12.7 mm machine gun is mounted on the turret roof for air defence purposes. A bank of electrically operated smoke grenade launchers is mounted either side of the turret firing forwards.
Suspension appears to be similar to that of the Type 63 light amphibious tank with either side having six large roadwheels and with the idler at the front and the drive sprocket at the rear.
It is believed that there are no track-return rollers. The upper part of the track and suspension is covered by a skirt that may help reduce drag and therefore improve water speed.
The vehicle is fully amphibious with the minimum of preparation apart from activating the bilge pumps and the trim vane that is mounted at the front of the vehicle.
It is probable that, like the earlier Type 63 light amphibious tank, the Type 99 is propelled in the water by two water-jets positioned one either side at the rear of the hull.
The Type 99 is probably fitted with NBC systems of the overpressure type and a fire detection and suppression system for the engine compartment at least.
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