"Knowledge is power."
Altank's Reviews: Chapter II, The Type 99.
2. -In-game overview.
3. -Development and upgrades.
4. -How to get the best out of it (Role) and How to deal with one (Countermeasures).
6. -Special thanks.
Patch 1.22 version; last update: 06/08/15.
The Type 99, also known as ZTZ 99, Chinese industial code WZ 123, is a successor to the Type 98 G, which in turn was a successor to the Type 98.
in 1981, groups emerged within the Chinese military who argued that a third, more advanced tank generation was still needed. Out of these, two main camps emerged: one group argued for a design based on the Soviet T-72, with three crewmembers and a 125 mm autoloader cannon, while the other favored an Israeli Merkava-styled design with a power pack closer to the front of the tank, a 120 mm semi-automatic-loading cannon, and a high-output diesel or gas turbine engine. The project was delayed for some years because of the division. Finally, in July 1984, the Army settled on the T-72-based design.
In the Spring of 1989, Norinco signed a contract with the Chinese government to manufacture the Type 99 and at the beginning of the following year, its Factory 617 produced the first Type 99 prototype.
In August 1994, two prototypes produced by Norinco underwent climate durability tests in southern China while from 1995 to 1996, three prototypes underwent arctic climate tests in Tahe County, Heilongjiang.
Finally, at the end of 1999, following over five years of extensive government testing, the design of the Type 98, as it was then known, was fully completed. Its firepower, control systems, armor and electronics were deemed by the Army to have met or exceeded the project's original goals.
Following the completion of the Type 98, research into improved versions of the tank continued within the Chinese government. These programs produced the Type 98G, a refined iteration of the Type 98 with a better reliability record, which eventually gave rise to what is now known as the Type 99, officially revealed by the government in 2001.
The final version of the Type 99 included a 1,500-horsepower engine, as opposed to its immediate predecessor's 1200-horsepower powertrain. Also added were a Leopard 2A5-style sloped-arrow armor plate on the front of the turret, and additional composite armor layers on the sides.
2. -In-game overview:
The Type 99 is one of the least known high-tier tanks in the game, often overlooked and underestimated: therefore it's one of the rarest tank to find on the battlefield.
Aside from being one of the least known tanks in the game, the Type 99 is also one of the cheapest among higher tier tanks, having a purchase price of 16000 silver coins (this purchase option is unlocked once reaching rank 37, Major Grade 1) or of 950 gold coins (this purchase option is unlocked once reaching rank 33, First Lieutenant Grade 2).
The Type 99 has the highest level among all the tanks of the Chinese line, featured in the Asian tech tree, following in its line the Jaguar, starting at level 55 and reaching level 69. It's also worth mentioning that the highest-tier unit of the Asian tech tree is the S.Korean SPG K9 Thunder at level 70.
3. -Development and upgrades:
Type 99's starting stats:
Reloading speed: 2.9
Turret rotation speed: 22.0
Damage per minute: 8958.6
Fully upgraded Type 99's stats:
Reloading speed: 2.4
Turret rotation speed: 34
Damage per minute: 12575.0
- Hull upgrades: two-tier hull upgrade available.
The Type 99 features a two-tier hull upgrade; both of them are required in order to acquire most of the other upgrades and don't change the tank's appearance; as of patch 1.22.
3.2 -Health pool:
- Health pool upgrades: three-tier upgrades available.
The Type 99 features a three-tier upgrade of the health pool. The resulting amount of hitpoints is above average.
3.3 -Armour and active protection system:
- Passive armor upgrades: three-tier upgrade available.
- Reactive armor upgrades: three-tier upgrade available.
- Spaced armor upgrades: no upgrades available.
- Active protection system upgrades: three-tier upgrade available.
The Type 99 is similar, in a lot of specifications, to the M1A1 tank and the Western Leopard 2. Western influences have been noticed in the angular welded turret design.
The hull and turret are built of welded steel armour and the modular design allows damaged sections to be easily replaced. Currently, the actual armor composition of the Type 99 remains unknown, due to the classified nature of the Chinese military, and, therefore, the RHA steel equivalency of the main armor cannot be accurately determined. However it's thought to be approximately 1000mm to 1200mm of steel armour.
Explosive reaction armour (ERA) units were added to the turret and hull's front portion.
Located on the turret roof is the electro-optical countermeasures suite just behind the gunners hatch. The system has laser warning receiver (LWR) with a box-shape active laser self-defence weapon (LSDW). The powerful LSDW is capable of disrupting the enemy's missile laser/infrared guidance signal. It can also disable the enemy's optics and can damage the enemy gunner's eyesight.
The Type 99 features a three-tier upgrade of passive armor and a three-tier upgrade of reactive armor, which is, however, only present on the front hull and the front turret, similarly to many NATO-related tanks.
Another major downside of this tank is the total absence of spaced armor, thus making this tank rather vulnerable to HEAT rounds. This downside is also emphasized by the nerf of APDS rounds' damage in patch 1.21 that led most of the players to use mainly HEAT rounds.
The Type 99 also features a three-tier upgrade of active protection system.
3.4 -Main gun and ammo:
- Main armament upgrades: three-tier upgrade available.
Dual axis stabilised 125mm/51-calibre ZPT98 smoothbore gun equipped with a fume extractor, a thermal sleeve and an autoloader comprise the MBT's armament. The gun is electronically or manually controlled and the barrel is replaceable in one hour.
Gun loading is mechanical and can fire 11 rounds per minute with autoloader and 1 to 2 rounds per minute manually. The tank gun fires separate loading projectiles.
The tank also carries the 9M119 Refleks: an anti-tank guided missile of Russian origin, produced in China under a local licence. Its NATO codename is AT 11 Sniper.
The Type 99 features a three-tier upgrade of the main gun, which grants a bonus to the damage and a bonus to the accuracy, while, however, giving also a malus to both speed and trasmission.
The tank's damage is high, very similar, although inferior, to the C1's. However, unlike the latter, the Type 99 can shoot ATGMs.
The different types of ammo available for the tank's gun are:
- Armor Piercing (AP): two-tier ammo upgrade available;
- Armor Piercing Discarding Sabot (APDS): three-tier ammo upgrade available;
- High Explosive Anti Tank (HEAT): three-tier ammo upgrade available;
- High Explosive (HE): four-tier ammo upgrade available;
- Anti Tank Guided Missile (ATGM): three-tier ammo upgrade available.
- Engine upgrades: three-tier upgrade available.
The tank is powered by a 1500HP diesel engine, derived from the German MB871ka501 diesel technology. The power-to-weight ratio stands at approximately 27.78, and the tank's battle weight is 54t. The engine propels the tank with an on road speed of 80km/h and cross country speed of 65km/h. It takes only 12 seconds to climb acceleration speeds from 0 to 32 km/h. One reverse gear and seven forward gears assist the transmission.
The Type 99 features an extremely good power-to-weight ratio thanks to its powerful engine: a three-tier upgrade of the engine allows this tank to roam the battlefield at very high speed, making the Type 99 one of the fastest tanks in the game. The engine supplies enough power to reach speeds around 65/70km/h or of 60km/h when both the gun and armour upgrades are bought.
Acceleration is also amazing, allowing this tank to reach its maximum speed in no time at all. Another amazing feature is the very high reverse speed, second only to the Type 10's.
However a major downside is constituted by the fact that the tank is not very agile: turning this tank is quite hard indeed.
The engine is located at the rear end of the hull and it's of average size: this tank isn't very prone to engine fires and breakdowns, especially when taking shots from the sides.
3.6 -Reloading system:
- Reloading system upgrades: three-tier upgrade available.
Loading is mechanical with 41 rounds carried inside the turret and vehicle hull while 22 rounds are stored within the autoloader. The gun can fire about 11 rounds per minute using autoloader and 1/2 rounds per minute with manual loading.
The Type 99 features a three-tier upgrade of the reloading system, achieving an average rate of fire.
3.7 -Turret rotation system:
- Turret rotation system upgrades: two-tier upgrade available.
The Type 99 features a two-tier upgrade of the turret rotation system, achieving an average turret rotation speed.
3.8 -Additional upgrades:
- Radio upgrades: one-tier upgrade available
- Radar upgrades: two-tier upgrade available
- Smoke grenade dischargers upgrades: four-tier upgrade available.
- Infrared optics upgrades: no upgrades available.
- Thermal optics upgrades: one-tier upgrade available.
- Fording kit upgrades: one-tier upgrade available.
- Floating kit upgrades: no upgrades available.
4. -How to get the best out of it (Role) and How to deal with one (Countermeasures):
Now that we have analyzed the characteristics of the Type 99 it's time to sum up:
-Above average health.
-Very good front armor with total absence of peculiar weakspots.
-High damage along with the ability to shoot ATGMs.
-Very high speed, one of the highest of the game.
-Very high reverse speed.
-The engine is rather small and occupies only half of the engine compartment, therefore it's difficult to hit, resulting in rare engine fires and engine breakdowns.
-The turret is small and has a low silhouette.
-Total absence of reactive armour on the sides and the rear of the tank.
-Total absence of spaced armour.
-Very long tank: hitting it from the sides, even from afar, is rather easy, however the fuel tanks aren't hitboxes.
-The tank isn't agile: turning is almost painful when fully upgraded.
-The turret rotation speed is just average and therefore doesn't make up for the lacking of agility when it comes to take countermeasures to avoid being outflanked.
The Type 99 shares a similar playstyle with the M1 Abrams: both of them share the lacking of spaced armour, the amazing front armour and the high damage.
However, while the M1 Abrams can rely on its agility and its high turret rotation speed to avoid being outflanked, the Type 99 must rely on its very high reverse speed and acceleration, which allow the tank to keep pace with the enemy trying to flank, effectively, in some cases even putting distance between itself and its foe.
While not being a breakthrough battering ram, this tank should always stay on the frontline, as its average rate of fire and the high damage allow the Type 99 to make a quick work of its enemies, while the good front armor can withstand the enemy fire effectively. However one should never push beyond the frontline, as the lacking of agility and of spaced/reactive armor on the sides and the rear make this tank vulnerable, unless engaged from the front. So, just like the Abrams, one should always keep the front armor facing the enemy, by taking advantage of its amazing reverse speed. Also, one should always aim their shots carefully, take their time and be sure it won't miss, as the reload is just average and a well placed shot will make quick work of an enemy tank, because of the high damage.
Because of the extremely high speed this tank can be used to take and hold strategic positions for putting flanking shot into the enemy tanks, but be sure to have support, otherwise, just put that reverse speed to use and get quickly out of there before being outflanked or outnumbered.
Hull down engagements should be also taken into consideration, as the turret is very small and has a low silhouette, aside from not having any kind of weakspot. Also the dome shaped upper part of the turret isn't a hitbox and any shot will just pass through it, just like the fuel tanks at the back of the tank.
Therefore the turret has, indeed, a very low silhouette, second only to the Black Eagle's, but without the terrible weakspot the latter has.
4.2 -How to deal with one:
In the hands of a skilled player, this tank won't go down without putting up a serious fight: the front armour is strong and the gun packs a punch. The best way to deal with a Type 99 is the same that goes for an M1 Abrams, i.e. flanking it and using HEAT rounds. However, unlike an Abrams, this tank must reverse in order to avoid being outflank and it needs space to do that. So this tank should be engaged only in closed quarter combats, where there's the lack of space needed for this tank to prevent you from outflanking it, otherwise it's better not to engage and relocate.
When spotting one from the sides or the rear just shoot, but be ready to react, as, thanks to its acceleration, it will probably get out of your sight quickly.
The Type 99 is an amazing and versatile tank, as well as overlooked and underestimated, and in the right hands it's a fierce opponent. Surely this tank is a "must have" for all the M1 Abrams' drivers out there, because of the similar playstyle.
Here I end my review of the Type 99, a lightning bolt on tracks. I apologize in advance if something written is wrong and I hope you enjoyed it. If you liked it, another one will shortly follow! Tell me what you think about it in the comments and any advice you may suggest is welcome.
If you want to help contact me via PM.
Take care on the battlefield, fellows!
Copying/Using any part of this review anywhere else is strictly forbidden, unless my proper authorisation is given.
6. Special thanks to:
The Reviews Team.
Feildmarshal for allowing the Reviews Team to perform armor tests on his Type 99.
And last but not least all of you that read this review!