From War Thunder Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search



A Chinese-Macau citizen, speaking both Cantonese and Mandarin, as well as fluent English and some Japanese and German; mains on US,DE,RU,UK,JP,CN tech trees; a 9 year player of this game. Enthusiastic on IKEA's Blahaj the shark doll.

PLA Naming System

As we might know, PLAGF- People's Liberation Army Ground Forces has a "fax-machine like" naming system, according to PhlyDaily's title of his ZTZ96 video, but there is actually a pattern and standards. Known as the 《全军武器装备命名规则》(Standard Nomenclature Details of Armored Vehicles) since 1987 and the later 《中国人民解放军装备命名规定》(lit. PLA's Regulations on Equipment Naming) from 2012 (classified for now), instead of the very political naming in the early 1960s and the well-known Type XX of certain vehicle (as far as I can dig up from known documentations).

WZ-numbers means Wujibu-Zhuangjia 五机部-装甲 (5th Ministry of Machine Building-Armored Vehicle) code from factory issued by 5th Ministry of Machine Building (第五机械工业部,currently NORINCO and CSGC) such as WZ123 in ZTZ99 case.

The following table will give you a speculation of (usual) vehicles naming and how it works, capitalized character is the first letter of its pinyin.

(Note: Strikethroughs need further clarification from Chinese documents under current naming standards)

1st Letter 2nd Letter 3rd Letter Number Example
Z-Zhuangjia cheliang装甲车辆 AFV B-Bubing zhanche 步兵战车 IFV D-lüDai 履带 Tracked

L-Lunshi 轮式 Wheeled


(The first 2 digits can be ignored in normal use)

G-Gongcheng baozhang cheliang工程保障车辆

Engineering vehicle

Q-jiaQiao 架桥 Bridge layer

L-sao(bu)Lei 扫(布)雷 Mine sweeping/laying

G-Gongcheng 工程(作业车)Engineering operation



(based on ZTZ79)

S-zhuangjia Shusongche 装甲输送车 APC D-lüDai 履带 Tracked

L-Lunshi 轮式 Wheeled



T-Tanke 坦克 Tank D-lüDai 履带 Tracked

L-Lunshi 轮式 Wheeled

Q-Qingxing 轻型 Light

Z-Zhuzhan/Zhongxing 主战/中型坦克 MBT

S-Shuilu 水陆 lit.water and land Amphibious






Z-Zhandou qinwu cheliang 战斗勤务车辆 Combat service vehicles Z-Zhihui 指挥 Commanding

C-zhenCha 侦察 Scoution

T-Tongxin 通信 Communication

D-Dianziduikang 电子对抗 ECM

M-Miyaojiazhu 密匙加注 Battlefield code encryption

F-Fangbao 防爆车- Anti-explosives

X-zongheXinxi 综合信息 Intergraded information (of battlefield)

P-Pao 炮 Artillery G-Gaoshe 高射炮 AA gun L-Lunshi 轮式 Wheeled

Z-Zizou 自走 Self-Propelled



H-Huojiandan 火箭弹 Rocket PHZ89


***L-Liudan 榴弹炮 Howitzer PLL05


T-Tuji 突击炮 Assault gun PTL97


*Note: In early 2000s wheeled assault guns were counted as artillery, while after 2016 they were for heavy composite armored brigades. 

** The only ZTS among all PLA equipment

***Gun-mortars (迫榴炮) and howitzers are both counted as 榴彈砲 in this case.

Misconceptions on Chinese Vehicles

ZTZ99 Series

ZTZ99, being one of the most iconic PLAGF equipment to western players and the fist of elite armored brigades, has been in deep mystery in terms of its naming due to the relatively lack of information from PLAGF. From this video by Bilibili content creator 院长今天又划水, the naming for ZTZ99 series become more clear as follows:

Italic- Not introduced in game

Bold- Introduced in game

* Was ZTZ10 but rumor suggested to avoid duplicated name to JGSDF's Hitomaru (Type 10) or due to tight budgets, it was renamed to ZTZ99A.

(Possible) In-game name Introduced PLAGF name WZ Number Chinese alias Major appearance differences Certificated date First publicly shown Chief designer Note
ZTZ99-I [ZTZ99(一类)] N/A ZTZ(19)99

Main Battle Tank


WZ123 99一期 No ERA blocks and applique armor; V-shaped breakwater; bulged at the middle of the turret. 1999 1999/10/1

50th National Day

Zhu Yusheng



Erroneously known as Type 98 or by its project number "9910"; the model used in Battlefield™ 2
ZTZ99-II ZTZ99(二类) "Hot Tracks" 99一(期)改 ERA blocks on UFP and applique armor on the front and sides of turret based on ZTZ99-I. c. 2003 N/A Erroneously known as Type 99G; the model used in Battlefield™ 4.
ZTZ99-III ZTZ99(三类) "Direct Hit" WZ123B 99二期 New welded turret with extended side applique armor and revise of turret front applique blocks; repositioned ERA blocks on UFP with a horizontal breakwater. 2004 2009/10/1

60th National Day

Erroneously known as Type 99A1; basis of NORINCO VT-3 export MBT.
ZTZ99A "Danger Zone" *ZTZ1999A (2010) Main Battle Tank


WZ1001 99A Completely redesigned tank with a shorter chassis, increased UFP area and new turret; bulged rear chassis for new engine pack with higher horsepower 2010 2015/9/3

70th V-J Day

Mao Ming



Erroneously known as Type 99A2; has NO RELATIONSHIP with previous ZTZ99s other than the name.

150HB V12 Diesel Engine- Is It (West) German?

All the ZTZ99s mentioned above share the same family of engine: NORINCO 150HB V12 Diesel Engine manufactured by Shanxi Diesel Engine Factory (山西柴油机厂;Factory 616)and designed by Zhang Baozhong 张保中 of China North Engine Research Institute (中国北方发动机研究所;Institute 70)both at Datong, Shanxi and are literary neighbors (shared the same address and facility) , this family of engines, rated from 1200 hp to 1500 hp, had already become the powerplant for heavier MBTs. Although the bore diameter is the same 150 mm just like the previous 150 series engines (ChTZ V-54 engine), the engine itself has seen a long-lasting debate in both Mainland China and Western observers on whether the engine is totally a copy of MTU's top-of-the-line product: MB 873 Ka-501 engine found on Leopard 2 or Perkins CV12 engine; while Mainland sources later suggest 150HB is totally an indigenous design.

The TL;DR answer is: It is mostly indigenous, but it does have some (West) German lineage.

As it will be mentioned later in the ZTZ80 series essay below, during early 1970s, Mainland China has bought a few MTU MB 331 TC-41 engines and were used on the WZ122 project, this engine was also sought later as one of the candidates for Project 784 (3rd generation MBT program) as the 8V165 engine. While in the 1980s during the economic reform and modernization of Mainland China, the Ministry of Ordnance Industry兵器工业部;later reorganized into NORINCO and CSGC)seek for western technologies as Mainland was lagging behind diesel engines, evaluation teams were sent to the major engine companies like MTU Friedrichshafen (West Germany), Perkins (UK), SACM (France; now Wärtsilä) and Teledyne (USA; parent company of Continental Engine); MOI then opted for MTU as the technological partner for licensing their new MTU 396 series diesel engines, in view of their civilian-military production line fit the need for Mainland China. They then signed the licensing contract in 1985, introducing MTU 396-03 engine into Mainland China and Shanxi Diesel Engine Factory, as the only tank engine factory in Mainland, became the licensed manufacturer of MTU engines. For a less risky approach, they opted 8V396 TC-33 engine as the targeted engine to built locally, where they learnt the technologies from MTU for further domestic productions, marking the German lineage in manufacturing later engines.

Meanwhile, there's another reason why it was MTU 396 that was chosen: all the specifications of MTU 396 were very similar to MB 873 Ka-501 and both these engines shared the same production line back in Germany; Institute 70 consider that it would be easier to built their own MB 873 Ka-501 from MTU 396 which is just a bit larger in certain specifications (in terms of cylinder bore diameter and piston stroke distance). But the eventual choose for a low-profile design for Project 784 and later WZ123 given the death sentence to simply reverse engineering for a new engine due to oversize; with the other bids for WZ123 engines bit the dust due to underperforming or even accidents, Zhang's 150HB scheme which started way back in 1982 prior to the introduction of MB 396 engines, the hybrid of MTU 396's technology and the experienced 150 series engines, became the powerplant for WZ123, then for the sequence ZTZ99. 150HB achieved a higher displacement while being smaller and more fuel economic than MB 873 Ka-501, making NORINCO one of the leading companies in high-power tank engines.

Export Tanks

There are also some misconception on Chinese exported tanks, as shown below:

Export Name Based on Produced by AKA Powerplant Main gun Users
VT-1(A/B) ZTZ90-II prototype Heavy Industry Taxila Al-Khalid Kharkov 6TD-2 engine pack, 1200hp (VT-1;Al-Khalid)

NORINCO Shanchai 12V150HB and CH1000A transmission, 1300hp (VT-1A; Al-Khalid 2)

Taxila 125mm L/48 gun Pakistan; Morocco; Bangladesh; Myanmar
VT-2A/B ZTZ96A/B NORINCO Factory 617 N/A NORINCO 12V150ZLD 800hp (VT-2A)

NORINCO 8V150 and CH800 transmission,1000hp (VT-2B)

NORINCO 125mm ZPT88C L/48 gun Nigeria[1]
*VT-3 ZTZ99-III NORINCO Shanchai 12V150HB, 1200hp NORINCO 125mm ZPT98 L/50 gun N/A; reserved in catalogue
VT-4 New design NORINCO Shanchai 12V150HB and CH1000A transmission, 1300hp Pakistan; Thailand; Nigeria
VT-5 New design NORINCO Factory 617 and 627 NORINCO Shanchai 8V150 and CH700A transmission, 800hp (FX0011) NORINCO 105mm ZPT151 L/? gun Bangladesh
**Type 59G Type 59 and Al-Zarrar NORINCO Factory 617 **"Type 59P" NORINCO Shanchai 12V150ZL 730hp NORINCO 125mm ZPT88C L/48 gun Tanzania

* VT-3 was given to Type 59G erroneously; but later NORINCO export catalogue showed it was given to export version of ZTZ99-III.

**Was earlier known as Type 59P from its appearance in Polytec's defense expo instead of Zhuhai Air Show or other international occasions.

WZ122 family- Path to 2nd Generation MBT

(Based on current internet documents, Wikipedia and magazine interview to designers)

*The original Project 122 and the current WZ122s are different tanks in all aspects


Mainland China was among one of the countries which could build MBTs domestically, the renown ZTZ59 series (WZ120) was among one of the major program of the 156 Key Projects (156项重点项目) with the support of USSR in attempt to built a domestic T-54A at the new Factory 617 (NORINCO Inner-Mongolia First Machinery).

*Little tip: A easy way to tell a ZTZ59 from T-54s or T-55As was ZTZ59 has a front bore evacuator like T-55A but without its IR search lights.

While ZTZ59 proved Chinese capability to assemble tanks in their 10th Anniversary Parade, it didn't really proved their capability to design an indigenous tank. Later during the Damansky/Zhenbao Island (珍宝岛) conflicts with Soviet Border Troops where PLAGF captured a sunken T-62, the Commission for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (国防科学技术委员会, COSTIND) and Fifth Ministry of Machine Building (第五机械工业部;五机部) did found that PLAGF was lagging behind from the mainstream MBTs of the era, although the reverse engineer attempt of ZTZ69 (WZ121; the code included later ZTZ79) with a smoothbore gun and the best possible technologies in terms of the FCS from T-62, these tanks proved not a threat to the masses of Soviet Far East Military District's armored brigades, and it was based on previous ZTZ59 with upgraded (or on par) gun and engines. Although Mainland China was in the devastating Cultural Revolution, there were a few attempts to build a new MBT in view of enemies assaults.

The OG Project 122

*See “Project 2-4 二四会战” by Yu Xuesi 于学驷, pp.24-27, "Weapon 兵器" 2017 Issue #002, ISSN 1009-3567; vice-project manager selected from Fifth Ministry of Machine Building, military historian.

Before the Zhenbao Island Incident of March 1969, COSTIND had already issued a new program for new MBTs, the incident only accelerated the dire need from PLAGF armored troops for a brand new series of armored vehicles, ranging from MBT to new APC, alongside with the in-development WZ121 (ZTZ69 and ZTZ79).

Project 2-4 and Project 704 MBT 二四会战;704会战

Right at November of 1969, Fifth Ministry of Machine Building issued the new MBT program utilizing 100/115/120 mm cannon. The new MBT projected by Factory 617 was dubbed "Project 122" (122工程) under "Project 2-4 " (二四会战; established in 1970/2/4); 132 light tank by Factory 627, 212 amphibious tank by Factory 256 and 532 APC by Factory 618 (NORINCO Beijing North Vehicle Group) were among the projected new vehicles. A later conference of the Central Military Comission (中央军事委员会) with designers of Factory 617 decided the new Project 122 tank would opt for a domestic 120 mm gun; the program started with the help of PLAGF armored troops, multiple commissions and factories, led by Zhong Renfang (钟人仿) from PLAGF armored troops; the whole project was in view of new MBT and another Light tank, dubbed 132. This led to notably the Project 704 (704会战) MBT (issued in April of 1970) with a domestic 120mm smoothbore gun,  hydropneumatic suspension and 4 Model 302 anti-tank missiles mounted on the front of the turret; this were all expected to be ready before 1970's National Day, with the efforts of engineers and the cost of a few people, in just over 5 months (160 days), the main systems other than Model 302 ATGMs had phrase 1 progress done. The Project 704 prototype made it in an internal inspection of PLAGF in 1970/10/5 and it was asked to accelerate its progress so Project 704 could be inspected in 50th Anniversary of CCP (1971/7/1), the "triple-hydraulic scheme" (三液方案;122-1) for the transmission and suppression system not as realizable as expected, so a more practical "triple-mechanical scheme (三机方案;122-2)" was developed in parallel as well.

2 years later, new PLAGF officials decided to change their aim of the new tanks from "prototype over equipment" to "equipment over prototype", that is, having the subsystem ready before the project could advance; then the "firepower-mobility-protection" aim was also replaced by "mobility-firepower-protection" (ironically, this was revoked in 1978, as shown in Project 784) and decided to have a 100 mm gun instead of the original 120 mm gun. This given the death sentence of the efforts all the factories made in this brief 5 years; although they bit the dust, but the whole Project 2-4 successfully designed and built 6 different vehicles, 2 rounds of prototypes in mere 14 months helped the training of dozens of 2nd generation MBT engineers for future projects.

*(note, that's the so-called 122TM as in World of Tanks™; currently stored in Luoyang YTO main factory along with ZTZ59 "Jaguar" Chinese's scheme and ZTZ59-IIA; currently in-game as Object 122MT "MC")

Project 122's Cousin

Multiple prototypes such as the 1224 (as in Armored Warfare with a westernized welded turret and hull) and their cousins in prototype, with reverse engineered MTU 8V331 TC-41 engine or domestic engines. These tanks were also known as the "Triple-hydraulic scheme" (三液方案) but they were either too advanced or impractical for the post-revolution China (cost and overall design, such as 1224 had a budged engine thus none depression at rear angles; or 1226 with inferior reverse-engineered 12V165 engine, among one of the design for Project 784 as depicted in ZTZ99-II page) , thus these prototypes bit the dust in early 1980s. While they failed to be commissioned, they became the basis of the later WZ122 and WZ123 (ZTZ99) program.

ZTZ80 series (ZTZ80,85,88)

While the previous Project 122 bit the dust, one of its prototypes, the WZ1225 with a small diameter road wheel, in view for a low-end alternative to those high-end prototypes, made it into national evaluation (note: that's the very basic design for ZTZ96 in game with 6 small diameter road wheels); General Zhang Aiping (张爱萍) given the green light to WZ1225 and named it ZTZ80 (WZ122, inherited the Project 122 name) in November of 1980, started its decades of revised design and made it into PLAGF commission.

ZTZ80, designed by Fang Weixian (方慰先, he was also the designer of later ZTZ85, 88 and 96) inherited a new 12V150ZL turbocharged diesel engine by Zhang Baozhong (张保中, also the designer of ZTZ99's 12V150HB engine) with 730hp (thus ZTZ96's spaded config), imported L7A3 105 mm rifled cannon (later Type 81 cannon) and British FCS from the Project 3-7 (三七协定); although it didn't made it into commission, its design set the basis for later ZTZ85 and ZTZ88 series, marking the evolution of mostly domestic PLAGF tank designs into the 21st century.

Italic- Not introduced in game

Bold- Introduced in game

PLAGF Code Variant Chinese Name Industry Code Firepower Powerplant Introduced in Description
ZTZ80 - 80式 WZ122 105mm ZPL81 12V150ZLC, 730hp N/A A hybrid of ZTZ79 and the result of WZ1225 design, new two-plane stabilizator and 12V150ZL engine; with side skirts.
-I 80-I式 WZ122A 105mm ZPL81 12V150ZLC, 730hp ZTZ80 with a new FCS, individual NBC system and laser rangefinder was intergraded into gunner's sight instead of an independent component on the central line of the tank. Later went into commission as ZTZ88.
-II 80-II式 BW122 105mm ZPL81 12V150ZLC, 730hp Export ZTZ80 with new grouped NBC system for the crew and slat armor on the turret; no export orders received.
ZTZ85 -I (II) 85式 (风暴-I) WZ1227 105mm ZPL83 12V150-800, 800hp An attempt of Factory 617 for a tank with welded turret, domesticated 105 mm gun with longer caliber, domestic image-stabilizated FCS as well as a "12V150-800" 800 hp (Later 12V150ZLD) engine and composite armor (reinforced glass fiber); failed to earn funding, the only prototype was stored in PLA Tank Museum (now closed) in Changping, Beijing.
-IIA 85-IIA式 (风暴-II) WZ1228 105mm L/51 12V150ZLC, 730hp ZTZ85-II with new 105 mm gun and ZK03 automatic planetary gearbox; the upgraded prototype was considered to be the new MBT for Pakistani Army; the only prototype known is displayed in E'yuhu Park (鳄鱼湖公园; Crocodile's lake) at Baotou, Inner Mongolia; outside on the main road of NORINCO Factory 617.
-IIAP 85-IIAP式 BW122C/D 125mm L/48 12V150ZLC, 730hp Up-gunned ZTZ85-IIA using a new 125 mm gun with autoloader (passed for commission in 1990; reversed engineered from Romanian T-72U aka Model 64 with AZ-172 autoloader and NATO alloy technologies from L7A3) and delivered to Pakistani Army in 1992 (its successor, ZTZ85-IIM was later licensed to Heavy Industry Taxila) ; BW122C could be distinguished by a pillar-mounted QJC88 while BW122D has a pivot-mounted QJC88, with adjustable commander/gunner seats.
-IIM 85-IIM式 N/A 12V150ZLC, 730hp Later ZTZ85-IIAP with new composite armor and image-stabilized FCS (the basis of PLAGF ISFCS-212) built jointly by NORINCO and Heavy Industry Taxila; the basis of WZ122H (ZTZ88C and later ZTZ96); the current T 85-IIM serving in Pakistan have been upgraded with Thompson TVDs.
-III 85-III式 N/A ?, 1000hp The further upgrade of ZTZ85-IIM in 1993 with Yugoslav FCS, domestic 1000 hp diesel engine and Yugoslav transmission, new FY series ERA was available; but failed in biding with Ukraine's T-80UDs.
ZTZ88 B 88B式 WZ122E 105mm ZPL83A 12V150ZLC, 730hp Found in April 2022 leak The de falco ZTZ80-I with new ISFCS and Type 83A 105 mm gun, slat armor behind the turret, possible reserve for applique composite armor on UFP, as well as 105mm gun-launched missiles.
A 88A式 WZ122G 105mm ZPL94 12V150ZLC, 730hp Wing of Change ZTZ88B with longer-caliber ZPL94 105 mm; reserved for applique armor up front with the latest 105 mm APFSDS available. Was saw latest on the LAC conflict between Mainland China and India.
C 88C式 WZ122H 125mm ZPT88C 12V150ZLC, 730hp Shark Attack Hybrid of ZTZ88 chassis with a ZTZ85-IIM turret, basis for the later ZTZ96 series.
ZTZ96/VT-2 - 96式 ZTZ88C after its certification into PLAGF service.
A 96A式/VT-2A WZ122R 125mm ZPT88C 12V150ZLD, 800hp Viking


New ERA packs and applique armor on hull and turret with upgraded engine, new FCS and TVD; cannot be upgraded from ZTZ96. Nigeria is the only known operator of its export variant, VT-2A, as in 2021's parade.
B 96B式/VT-2B WZ122? 125mm ZPT88C 8V150HB, >1000hp N/A Revised hull protection with multiple changes in design for a new engine pack, new FCS; first seen in February 2016 and was used during the year's Tank Biathlon held in Moscow; cannot be upgraded from previous models.

J-8- The People's Republic Decade Old Legend

(Based on CCTV-7's 4-part “Chinese Fighters- The Soaring J-8 中国战机·歼八奋飞" and two-part "Gu Songfen 顾诵芬" documentary with comprised information from Wikipedia and Baidu Baike; as well as some of my own opinion.)

(My all time favorite and the most deserved jet for CN air TT)


Across the Chinese skies, before the 1960s, it was still ruled by imported Soviet jets and its domestic (un)licensed builds, J-4/5/6/7; although it was fairly an achievement that an agriculture country for centuries could built some of the latest jets of the era, but those were still non-indigenous design. The dream of all Mainland Chinese aircraft designers were building a totally indigenous Chinese jet (in terms of overall design), which was still rather difficult due to lack of experience; the dawn of this idea was from a obsolete yet sufficient design of JJ-1 歼教-1, designed and built by Factory 112 (today's AVIC Shenyang). The now -inspired team of designers included a legendary designer in China, Mr. Gu Songfen 顾诵芬 (1932/2/4-), CAS and CAE member, recipient of 2020 Highest Science and Technology Award 最高科学技术奖 and 2021 Touching China 感动中国. The design that was led by him was the legendary (for the Chinese) J-8 歼-8 (NATO: Finback 长须鲸).

The Inspiration

In 1962, the ROCAF ganged up with CIA for high-altitude recon mission over Mainland China for its defense facilities and most of all, the nuclear weapon program, the infamous 34th "Black Cat" Squadron; although PLAAF scored 5 kills over their state-of-the-art U-2 with SAMs, most of the time PLAAF would need to send J-6 and the new comer J-7 for fruitless interception of those 20km-high recon planes. A quote from Gu Songfen, "The biggest flaw of J-7 was its short flight time; it could only stay at high-altitude for around 2-3 minutes and it climbs slowly." Aircraft designers in Mainland were furious yet they could do nothing to those U-2s. With the test flights of XB-70 that was aimed to launch sudden strikes on Mainland's nuclear facilities (also Soviet ones as well), PLAAF was in dire for a new high-altitude interceptor. Two of the chief designers of JJ-1, Xu Shunshou 徐舜寿 (1917/8/21-1968/1/6, died during the 10-year havoc of Cultural Revolution) and Huang Zhiqian 黄志千 (1914/1/24-1965/5/20, died with all 121 passenger and crew of PIA 705 AP-AMH at Cairo) went for the design of a new interceptor, 22 schemes single or twin engine designs. For the Chinese at that time, "If we can build an atomic bomb, how hard could it be making a jet engine?" So the early design of new interceptor was a single-engine design while Huang Zhiqian kept on the alternative twin-engine design in view of a new jet engine could stall the development for decades. On the theorize meeting of the new interceptor, the pro-single engine designers couldn't ensure how long it takes to develop a new engine; so the model brought by Huang Zhiqian, aka "Roast Duck 烤鸭" with twin WP-7 engine became the go-to design for the interceptor before the single engine version could ever be build.

On 1965/5/17, the Central Military Commission has given the green light to the twin engine version of the interceptor; the J-8.


J-8I (J-8 "Daytime"; J-8A and J-8E)

The plan for J-8 was a twin-jet with a low aspect-ratio, delta wings and came with a nose intake that could flew at 20 km at M2.25 based of the earlier aerodynamic design of MiG-21F-13/J-7 (J-8I series). For this jet, 10 thousand of new parts have to be made and many of these parts were brand new parts. Surprisingly, J-8I's prototype was assembled in one-take albeit the inexperienced assemble crew; on 1968/6/23, J-8I's prototype rolled of the production line of SAC Dongling Airfield. Although some minor incidents, the 1st prototype made its maiden flight at 1969/7/5 while the second static test airframe was also built for ground tests. A major problem was found during the static tests of the 2nd prototype- during a pressure test of the airframe, when the overall structural pressure has reached 92%, the airframe broke into two half; Sun Shaokong (孙绍孔), chief test-flight manager mentioned that "The passing standard was 95%; but when the gauge hit 92%, no one clapped for the 'success' and we were felt rather sad for that." While the 2nd airframe suffer total structural loss, the airworthy 1st airframe was also affected by severe vibration during ground tests; the structural problem of the static test airframe was proved to be installation problem (3.5 mm bolts instead of the planned 4 mm bolts; fewer installed bolts than the required 64 bolts at read airframe), and vibration of airworthy prototype was due to landing gear.

While manufacture flaws have been solved, the maiden flight has been delayed for a year until the late June in 1969, where Cao Lihuai (曹里怀, PLAAF second-in command) has been persuaded that the design of J-8I was safe for test flights. He was then later given the green light for the maiden flight at midnight of 1969/7/5, Yun Yuhuan (尹玉焕) was the chief test pilot of the jet (this airframe, J-8I 69705 is now at SAC's main factory at Shenyang for outdoor exhibition) . With the successful test flight on that date, it started its 15 year long journey before it could enter PLAAF service.

At the 9th test flight conducted by the vice test pilot, 鹿鸣东 (Lu Mingdong) reported " 8000m, mach 0.86; my plane has experienced severe vibration," a rather ridiculous problem for a supersonic jet, "like riding on a fishing rod" as described by the test pilot. With the question opinion within Factory 112, the J-8 team kept on finding out the culprit of the vibration. Gu Songfen then used a rod and some ropes which proved that the rear part of J-8 has some aerodynamic flaws; it was then installed a fairing which fixed the vibration (the iconic long exhaust tail of J-8 series; but it couldn't go supersonic in this case). "It was a improvised idea to test flow separation at the rear, yet it did gave him (Gu Songfen) an impression that the culprit was there and it's severe during the ignition process," as mentioned by Jiang Zuofan (姜作范), another test flight manager of J-8. In later flights, J-8 could reach M 0.96; albeit very embarrassing for a supersonic jet.

Later, the exhaust tail (aka the fairing aforementioned, the skirt as called by the engineers) was reduced by 260 mm; at 10:00 am, 1970/3/10, J-8 has finally passed the supersonic barrier and reached M 1.2 at 10:04:05; the prototype was then transferred to Yanliang, Xi'an for tests in 1970/6/24. Due to the political turmoil and economical reform, it was until the late 1970s when J-8 could went for extensive tests; where it has faced engine stalls and fire alarms. For the designers, fortunately, both prototypes in deep trouble were managed to recovered/saved from catastrophic loss; although the vibration at higher speed still persist. So SAC has brought 100kg of wool yarn for flow separation tests; where Gu Songfen has rode onto a JJ-6 歼教-6 3 times lying to his wife (the couple made a promise not to board planes due to the demise of Huang Zhiqian) and he eventually found the culprit was the triangular area formed by the vertical stabilizator and the fairing. The revised design of this area eventually helped J-8 passed the M 2.0 barrier and met the requirements of PLAAF.

J-8I was then certificated in 1979/12/31, the day before 1980; and little was knew that was also the very first time Gu Songfen was drunk in his life.

J-8II (J-8II Block 1/2[B], J-8C, D, G, H, F and export F-8IIM)

After the pre-production J-8Is has enter PLAAF in the 1980s, they did a test with J-7; although J-8I shone at acceleration, but it was as well rather not nimble; meanwhile PLAAF has aimed for a MiG-23 as their new interceptor. Estimation was that J-8I could not compete with Flogger at all; where the variable swept-wing and advanced avionics shone over the nose-intake J-8I. Option A was reverse-engineer a MiG-23SM (No. 9501, obtained from Egypt, now stored in Chinese Aviation Museum 中国航空博物馆) while the other one was enhance the original J-8I airframe with a more aerodynamic design with side intakes. This was also the very first time Mainland China used composite material on aircrafts which made J-8II more nimble. Due to the overall redesign of, it was estimated to take 6 years before maiden flight, yet J-8II made it within 3 1/2 year. J-8II (J-8B Block 1) made its first flight at 1984/6/12, earning its nickname of "Beauty in Air 空中美男子" with revised airframe with side intakes and latest mono-pulse radar.

However, when Israel Air Force mascaraed the Lebanon Air Force who flew Floggers in 1983, SAC knew that they need quite some upgrades to kept J-8II on-par with the latest 3rd generation jets. Luckily, Sino-American relationship was better during the early 1980s and US pilots said that J-8II accelerate rather quick yet the avionics was a generation behind; Grumman became the handling company for the development of J-8II “Peace Pearl 和平珍珠” with F-16 avionics. Although the 1989 Beijing crackdown halted this program, SAC and Grumman continued the program till the 1990s when the Chinese decided to built J-8C but in vain as they opted for Russian Su-27SK Flankers instead, as well as unreliable engines caused multiple crashes during tests; they eventually built an aerial-refuel variant (J-8D), an pulse-doppler equipped one (J-8H) and the latest one with ARH missiles (J-8F). SAC also planned for an export version, dubbed F-8IIM with Russian avionics and weaponries but fail to earn any contracts.

The J-8II series, albeit its rather long time before fully commissioned (2002), it had become the cornerstone as the test platform of new technologies for PLAAF jets; but also one of the victim of post-cold war regional disputes. Only JZ-8F recon is still in service while the very last combat variants of J-8II would have been decommissioned by June 2022.


J-8I 歼-8I (I pronounced as Yi, 一 in Chinese)

It looks like "a Fishbed on steroids" , the major difference between it from a Fishbed is a side aux intake and a prolonged fairing on its tail, lower pair of fin-tail like Q-5.

J-8 Daytime and Recon 歼-8白/日间型;歼-8R (歼侦-8)

The very first block of J-8 manufactured by SAC with a pair WP-7B engines and also a pair of 30-1 cannon; a Marconi Model 226 rangefinder in its shock-cone. Distinguish by a front-opened canopy. The Recon version has a West German KA-112A recon pod installed.

J-8A 歼-8A

Armed with Model 204 (SL-4 射雷-4) search radar and 23-3 cannon (GSh-23L); could be converted from Daytime model, certificated at 1985.

J-8E 歼-8E

Armed with SL-7A radar and counter-measurements, RWR, new railing for PL-5 missiles. Certificated in 1993; all J-8As were then upgraded under this standard.

Specification of J-8I series (Daytime/A/E):

*courtesy of John_JIANG's suggestion page; as shown in People's Revolution Military Museum

  • Wingspan: 9.34 m
  • Length: 19.25 m w/o pitot tube
  • Height: 5.41 m
  • Powerplant: 2x AECC Shenyang Liming WP-7A turbojet engine
    • Thrust w/o afterburner: 43.15kN
    • Thrust w/ afterburner: 56.3kN
  • Maximum Speed: M 2.18/ 2,693 km/h at >13,600 m
  • Service ceiling: 20,500 m
  • Climb Rate: >150 m/s
  • Crew: 1
  • Radar equipment: Marconi Model 226 (Daytime); SL-4 (A) ; SL-7A(E)
  • Fixed weaponry: 2x Type 30-1 30mm autocannon (Daytime),120 rounds? or 1x Type 23-3 autocannon, 200 rounds (GSh-23-3; J-8A and beyond)
  • Other weaponry: 4x Rocket pods (but uncertain about the exact model); 4x PL-2B or PL-5B IR missiles

J-8II 歼-8II (II, er 二)

A more MiG-23 like side intakes with radar up front; the fin tail was redesigned into a single, foldable fin.

J-8II Block 1

The revised J-8II has new side intakes and a pair of WP-13B (upgraded R-13-300F), new Type 208 (SL-5) monopulse radar, intended to launch new PL-4A SRAH missile; certificated but not commissioned in PLAAF.

J-8 "Peace Pearl"; Project 8-2 歼-8B “和平珍珠”;八二工程

Upgraded with a modified F-16C HUD from Marconi Avionics, Honeywell MFD and Westinghouse AN/APG-66 radar; project started in February 1987; cancelled due to 1989 Beijing Crackdown and the introduction of Su-27SK Flankers. A mock-up front section of Peace Pearl is still a exhibit in an US aviation museum but only the analogue mock-up gauges were intact.

J-8II Block 2; J-8B 歼-8第二批次;歼-8B (Introduced in Patch "Wind of Change")

J-8II airframes with SL-5A (Model 208A) molo-pulse radar with capabilities of using Aspide (aka A-missile A弹) or later PL-11 SRAH missile and new railing for PL-8 霹雳-8 (Israeli Raffel Python 3). Certified at 1995 and the system tests was completed in 2003.

J-8C; Project 8-3 歼-8C;八三工程

The domestic upgrade program after Project 8-2; with a pair of WP-14 “Kunlun” turbojet engine and 1471 PD radar. Cancelled due to the introduction of Su-27SK Flanker-B and multiple prototype crashes caused by WP-14 engines.

J-8D 歼-8D

J-8B with aerial refuel capabilities; successfully tested on 1991/12/23. The baseline later J-8IIs.

J-8H/DH 歼-8H/DH

Upgraded J-8II with Type 1491 PD radar and new radar display; certificated on 2004/1/20; could be upgraded from J-8B Block 2.

J-8G 歼-8G

Capable of launching KD-88 AGM or YJ-91 ASM; didn't go into commission.

J-8F/DF 歼-8F/DF

New Type 1492 PD radar, WP-13II engines and capable of launching PL-12 ARH missile or other guided weaponry. Certificated in 2005.

JZ-8F 歼侦-8F

High-altitude recon based of F series with removed guns and WP-14, later reinstalled WP-13A-II for reliability.


Export version with MiG-29 equivalent avionics; capable of launching R-27.


J-8I and II's based FBW test platform as the back-up for CAC J-10. The former crashed during a test to a software bug; the latter survived as J-8II 99913 with a pair of canard, kept in SAC Museum as outdoor exhibition item, right next to J-8I 69705.

Specification of J-8II series (B/C/D/G/H/F/IIM):

*The more well-known model

  • Wingspan: 9.34 m
  • Length: 21.6 m
  • Height: 5.41 m
  • Powerplant: 2x AECC Shenyang Liming WP-13B-II turbojet engine (All but J-8C; JZ-8F after refit); 2x AECC Shenyang Liming WP-14 "Kunlun" turbojet engine (J-8C; JZ-8F before refit)
    • Thrust w/o afterburner: 42.7kN (WP-13B-II)/Unknown (WP-14)
    • Thrust w/ afterburner: 65.9kN (WP-13B-II)/73.5 kN (WP-14)
  • Maximum Speed: M 2.2-2.4 (no exact number)
  • Service ceiling: 20,500 m
  • Climb Rate: 200 m/s
  • Crew: 1
  • Radar equipment: Changhong SL-5(A) (J-8II; J-8B); NRIET Type 1471 (J-8C); Type 1491 (J-8H/DH) / Type 1492 (J-8F/DF)-Monopulse-PD; Westinghouse AN/APG-66 (J-8II Project 8-2); Phazotron-NIIR Zhuk-8II PD
  • Fixed weaponry: 1x Type 23-3 autocannon (GSh-23L), 200 rounds
  • Other weaponry: IR AAM: PL-5B/C, PL-8, R-73; (S)ARH AAM: Aspide-1A, PL-11, PL-12 (for J-8F standard), R-27; 8x 250-3 low-drag bombs; 4x Type 90-1 or 57-1 rocket pods; ASh(G)M KD-88, YJ-91 [Note: J-8II to J-8D only supported 4 missiles at once due to limitations on main bus; F-8IIM or beyond J-8H supported 6]

PLA's forces songs of 2020s

It's my little attempt to translate (literary) PLA's current military forces "anthems" into English(literary, not rhymical);see this video [1] :

中国人民解放军陆军——新型陆军向前进 PLAGF-Advance, Our New Era Army

(1st Stanza)


Let's advance, our ground forces


Let's advance, our ground forces


Steps over the land, advancing with hopes of our ethnics


We are the new, powerful army forces


With the entrust of the party


We strived for the call of duty and be responsible;


Building the steel walls of modernization,


Our flags fluttered with indelible glories;


Building the steel walls of modernization,


Our flags fluttered with indelible glories.

(2nd Stanza)


Let's advance, our ground forces


Let's advance, our ground forces


Uniting our Bravery, with our soaring determination


We are the great Chinese power


With the entrust of the party


We strived for the call of duty and be responsible;


We are determined for victory on defending our soil


Our dreams of army-strengthening surges in rains


We are determined for victory on defending our soil


Our dreams of army-strengthening surges in rains

中国人民解放军海军——人民海军向前进 PLAN- The People's Navy Advances


Our red flag flutter in the winds,


How loud of our singings


The People's Navy advances


We are dedicated to defend our oceans


Cherish our vessels like how we cherish our eyes


Military-civil defense hybrid can helped national defense


We have the leading of the Communist Party


Whoever invades, who will be eliminated!

中国人民解放军空军——中国空军进行曲 PLAAF- March of Chinese Air Force


Arise! Arise!


Arise with the winds,


The Chinese Air Force was born in the rage of war.


The glorious fleet of aircrafts sore in the skies,


and there are cautious anti-air defense all over our soil.


The glimmer of the red stars,


reflected our experienced battles over the skies


The fluttering flag,


calls us to devote for national defense


For the rejuvenate of Chinese ethnics


For the prosperity of our ethnics


We forging the heavenly arrow


Of the Great Wall over the skies


Defend our skies


Against the invaders


Towards the twilight of the new Century (note, of 2000)


We arise! Arise! Arise!

中国人民解放军火箭军——火箭军进行曲 PLARF- March of Rocket Force


The might of eastern wind and pound of thunders


We are the glorious Rocket Force


The sword of our republic could deter the skies


We are the iron-forged Great Wall


Listen to the order of our Party, our bloods marked our loyalty


Forging our strategic fist, to defend our peace and order


The flames (of missiles) shakes the earth, we could be victorious with honor


Advance! Advance! The heroic Rocket Forces

中国人民解放军战略支援部队——我们是刀尖,我们是铁拳 PLASSF- We are the Edge of Knives, We are the Iron Fist


We use our iron fist when we do use it


When we showing our swords, we would be the edge of swords


We are the trump card of our Army


When we flutter our flags- it ends conflicts


When we flutter our flags- it ends conflicts

逐梦苍穹 无形战线

Seeking our dreams over the invisible skies

战略支援 使命如山

Our orders of strategic support were sky-high

我们是刀尖 我们是铁拳

We are the edge of knives, we are the Iron Fist

决胜高边疆 抢占制高点

We strive for high-altitude borders for the vintage point

我们是刀尖 我们是铁拳

We are the edge of knives, we are the Iron Fist


There are heroes throughout army self-strengthening


We strive for victory!


We strive for victory!