Tanktastic - Type 99 MBT Review

"Knowledge is power"
Tanktastic Reviews: Type 99

~ Index ~
~ History ~
~ In-game overview ~
~ Modules and upgrades ~
~ Getting the best outta it & Dealing with one ~
~ References & Credits ~
~ Special thanks ~

History ~
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.

~ In-Game Overview ~

Being one of the least known high-tier tanks in the game, and thus often overlooked and underestimated, the Type 99 is subsequently a rather rare tank to encounter on the battlefield.
It should also be noted that this MBT is one of the cheapest AFVs among all high-tier units in the game.
  • Silver currency purchase price: 16,000 coins. This purchase option is unlocked once reaching rank 37, Major Grade 1.
  • Gold currency purchase price: 950 coins. This purchase option is unlocked once reaching rank 33, Chief Warrant Officer Grade 2.
The Type 99, once fully upgraded, has the highest level among all the tanks of the Chinese line; though, taking the whole Eastern Regions tech tree into consideration, it falls behind the S.Korean SPG K9 Thunder, which reaches level 70, once fully upgraded.
  • Tier development: level 55 to level 69.
  • Tech tree: Eastern Regions tech tree - Chinese line.

~ Modules and Upgrades ~

Type 99's starting stats:
• Health: 689,0
• Armor: 381,0
• Damage: 433,0
• Speed: 51,0
• Reloading speed: 2,9
• Turret rotation speed: 22,0
• Damage per minute: 8958,6

Fully upgraded Type 99's stats:
• Health: 809,0
• Armor: 909,3
• Damage: 503,0
• Speed: 60,3
• Reloading speed: 2,4
• Turret rotation speed: 34,0
• Damage per minute: 12575,0

• Hull upgrades: two-tier hull upgrade available. (Upgrade class II)

The Type 99 features a two-tiers hull upgrade; both are required in order to acquire most upgrades and don't change the tank's appearance; as of patch 1.22.

Health pool:
• Health pool upgrades: three-tier upgrade available. (Upgrade class III)

The Type 99 features a three-tier health upgrade: this MBT's health pool is above average.

Armour and Active Protection System:
• Passive armor upgrades: three-tier upgrade available. (Upgrade class III)
• Reactive armor upgrade: three-tier upgrade available. (Upgrade class III)
• Spaced armor upgrades: no upgrades available. (N.A.)
• Active protection system (APS) upgrades: three-tier upgrade available. (Upgrade class III)

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 passive armor upgrade and a three-tier reactive armor upgrade, which is, however, only present on the front hull and the front turret, similarly to several NATO-related tanks.
Another major downside is the total absence of spaced armor, thus making this MBT rather vulnerable to HEAT rounds, which are arguably the primary type of ammunition used in higher tier battles.
Effective protection against ATGMs is provided by a three-tier APS (Active Protection System) upgrade.

Main gun and ammunition:
• Main armament upgrades: three-tier upgrade available. (Upgrade class III)

• Ammunition types and upgrades:
Armor Piercing (AP): two-tier ammo upgrade available. Damage increased with each tier. (Upgrade class II)
Armor Piercing Discarding Sabot (APDS): three-tier ammo upgrade available. Damage increased with each tier. (Upgrade class III)
High Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT): three-tier upgrade available. Damage increased with each tier. (Upgrade class III)
High Explosive (HE): four-tier upgrade available. Damage increased with each tier. (Upgrade class IV)
Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM): three-tier ammo upgrade available. (Upgrade class III)

Dual axis stabilised 125mm/51-calibre ZPT98 smoothbore gun equipped with a fume extractor, a thermal sleeve and an autoloader comprise this 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 main armament upgrade, increasing the main gun's damage and accuracy. The upgrade, however, also reduces the tank's speed and acceleration. due to the increased weight of the gun and fire-control system, starting from the second tier of the upgrade.
Once fully upgraded, the damage dealt by the Type 99's main armament is high for its tier range; on a similar, although inferior, level to the C1 Ariete's. However, unlike the latter, the Type 99 can shoot ATGMs.

• Engine upgrades: three-tier upgrade available. (Upgrade class III)

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 once fully upgraded, due to the increase in weight.
Acceleration is also amazing, allowing this tank to reach its top speed in no time at all. Another amazing feature is the high reverse gear, second only to the Type 10's.
However there is a major downside concerning the tank's mobility: the Type 99 is not very agile; and turning often proves to be quite a hard maneuver.
The engine is located at the rear end of the hull; its limited size resulting in rare engine fires and breakdowns.

Reloading system / Loader skill:
• Reloading system / Loader skill upgrades: three-tier upgrade available. (Upgrade class III)

The Type 99's main gun is mechanically loaded, with 41 rounds carried inside the turret and vehicle hull; the remaining 22 rounds being stored within the autoloader. 
A three-tier reloading system upgrade results in an average RoF; however, the main armament's high damage means the Type 99's resulting DPM is nothing to laugh at.

Turret rotation system:
• Turret rotation system upgrades: two-tier upgrade available. (Upgrade Class II)

The Type 99 features a two-tier turret rotation system upgrade: once fully upgraded, the tank can perform a full turret rotation in just over 10 seconds, meaning you should always be aware of your surroundings lest you get outmaneuvered and unable to get your main gun on the target.

Additional upgrades:
• Radio upgrades: one-tier upgrade available. (Upgrade class I)
• Radar upgrades: two-tier upgrade available. (Upgrade class II)
• Smoke grenade dischargers upgrades: four-tier upgrade available. (Upgrade class IV)
• Infrared optics upgrades: no upgrades available. (N.A.)
• Thermal optics upgrades: one-tier upgrade available. (Upgrade class I)
• Fording kit upgrades: one-tier upgrade available. (Upgrade class I)
• Floating kit upgrades: no upgrades available. (N.A.)

Getting the best outta it ~
~ Dealing with one ~    
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.
• Low silhouette.
• Very high speed, one of the highest of the game.
• Very high reverse speed.
• Amazing acceleration.
• The limited dimensions of the engine, along with the fact it only occupies half of the engine compartment itself, result in rare engine fires and engine breakdowns.
• The turret is small and has a low silhouette.

• Total absence of reactive armour tiles 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 at the rear end of the hull aren't hit boxes.
• The tank isn't agile: turning is almost painful once the tank is fully upgraded, due to the increased weight.
• The turret rotation speed is nothing exceptional, not making up for the lack of agility; this is particularly painful in close to very close engagements.

Getting the best out of it:
The Type 99 shares a similar playstyle with the M1A2 Abrams; both of them sharing the absence of spaced armour, an amazing and solid front armour and a high damage output.
However, whereas the M1 Abrams can rely on its agility and its high turret rotation speed to avoid being outflanked, the Type 99 must instead rely on its high reverse gear and excellent acceleration: the combination of the two will result in the tank effectively being able to keep pace with most opponents that are trying to flank you; in some cases you will even be able to put a good distance between yourself and your pursuer
Despite not being a breakthrough battering ram, this MBT's natural position is the heat of the frontline: the impressive damage output of tank's main gun, along with its good front armour capable of effectively withstanding enemy fire, definitely make the Type 99 a force to be reckoned with. 
However one should never push beyond the frontline, its lack of agility , the absence of spaced armour and the presence of reactive armour tiles only on the front section make this tank very vulnerable, from any other angles. So, always be sure to keep your front armor facing the enemy, just like it goes for the M1A2 Abrams; put that lovely high reverse gear to good use whenever necessary.
The tank's relatively-slow RoF is effectively made up by its high damage output; however, in order to make this equation work, you need to connect your shots: carefully, take your time and be sure to not miss your target.
Due to this MBT's amazing speed, the Type 99 can thus be used to quickly take hold of advanced strategic positions, but be sure to be supported support: only as long as your opponents are dealing with the tank's front armour will you be able to survive; once the time has come, just put that reverse speed to use and quickly relocate 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; particularly, it's worth noting that the dome-shaped upper part of the turret roof isn't a hitbox, just like the fuel tanks at the back of the tank.

Dealing 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 M1a2 Abrams, i.e. flanking it and using HEAT rounds. However, unlike an Abrams, this tank relies on its acceleration and high reverse gear to avoid being outmaneuvered; and it needs space to do that. It naturally follows that this tank is to be engaged only at close to very close range, and where obstacles and terrain doesn't allow for wide maneuvering. In other cases, it should better to not engage and relocate, waiting for an opportunity to flank.
When spotting one from the side or the rear, hold your fire and close the distance if you can, before opening fire.

Here I end my review of the undeservedly underestimated Type 99, a lighting bolt of tracks!
I apologize in advance should something written being wrong and I hope you enjoyed it.
Take care on the battlefield, fellow tank commanders!

~ References & Credits ~
• Www.military-today.com
• Www.army-technology.com

~ Special thanks to ~
• User "Fiutel_88" for allowing me to perform armor and miscellaneous tests on his Type 99.
• And last but not least all of you who took time to read this review!

Copying/Using any part of this review anywhere else is strictly forbidden, unless my proper authorisation is given. Please, contact me in the case.
@2016 Altank

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