ZTZ88A

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Rank VI USSR | Premium | Golden Eagles
Su-25K Pack
ZTZ88A
cn_ztz_88a.png
GarageImage ZTZ88A.jpg
ZTZ88A
AB RB SB
8.7 8.7 8.7
Class:
Research:180 000 Specs-Card-Exp.png
Purchase:500 000 Specs-Card-Lion.png
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Description

The ZTZ88A (88A式主战坦克, coded WZ122G) is a rank VI Chinese medium tank with a battle rating of 8.7 (AB/RB/SB). It was introduced in Update "Wind of Change".

An attempt of the PLAGF to modernize from the previous masses of ZTZ59 medium tanks, the ZTZ88A offers a superior engine, slightly better hull protection thanks to a new hull, and better firepower with a long barrel 105 mm gun, making it a more mobile alternative to previous tanks while retaining decent armour and a powerful cannon. It can be considered a stepping stone between the T-69 II G and the more modern ZTZ96, having a cast turret and armament resembling the former and a chassis similar to the latter.

General info

Survivability and armour

Composite armour
Balanced protection against all types of ammunition
Smoke grenades
Creation of a smoke screen in front of the vehicle
ESS
Creation of a smoke screen in the direction of movement of the vehicle
Armourfront / side / back
Hull100 / 60 / 45
Turret220 / 155 / 65
Crew4 people
Visibility75 %

At first glance, the ZTZ88A still resembles a T-54 or its Chinese domestic counterpart, ZTZ59, but with a closer look at its hull, players will find that it is a new design. The UFP is more angled than the T-54's (67° vs 60°), so the base protection is slightly better than that of the T-54/T-62. Furthermore, thanks to the advancement in composite armour in China, it is also the first Chinese vehicle to be equipped with composite armour as an applique on UFP. Compared to similar hull armour seen on the Soviet T-55AM-1 and T-62M-1, the ZTZ88A has less chemical protection (around 380-420 mm) and 105 mm HEATFS may sometimes be able to damage the driver and fuel tanks towards the lower portion of the UFP. Angling the hull slightly can help mitigate this. Surprisingly, it has better kinetic protection than its Soviet contemporaries: the UFP can resist APFSDS rounds with less than around 180 mm of 60° penetration, so some US and Soviet offerings like 100 mm 3BM25, 105 mm M735, and even 125 mm 3BM15 are blocked. Unfortunately the ubiquitous 105 mm DM23/M111 round used by the Leopard A1A1 for example will penetrate with few issues, but still, the ZTZ88A has one of the most protected hulls at its tier.

The side armour was reduced to 60 mm, so do be aware of any vehicles with autocannons - at the tier, most autocannons have APDS or APFSDS at their disposal. The side skirts can help somewhat at angles.

The turret, on the other hand, is poorly protected comparing to the hull. It is very similar to previous Soviet/Chinese dome-shaped turret designs with only slightly greater thickness. Unlike the ZTZ59D1 and T-69 II G, the ZTZ88A's turret does not have any ERA coverage, leaving it extremely vulnerable to stock HEATFS rounds as well as ATGMs, which are all commonly found at this tier. Thus the uncovered steel armour cannot provide much protection, if any, against ammunitions like APFSDS or HEATFS. Tanks that mainly use chemical rounds are especially more threatening, such as M551 and BMP-1.

Like the previous Soviet/Chinese designs, the crew of 4 tankers is packed in a slightly bigger but still confined space. Although the ammo rack is protected by fuel tanks, the abundance of APFSDS or HEAT at the tier isn't really concerned about these improvements. Be very careful when moving on the battlefield, a penetrating shot will very likely result in a knockout of the crew or ammunition detonation.

Armour type:

  • Rolled homogeneous armour (Hull)
  • Cast homogeneous armour (Turret)
Armour Front (Slope angle) Sides Rear Roof
Hull 100 + 20 mm (67°) Upper
80 mm (52°) Lower
60 mm Top
50 mm Bottom
45 mm (3°) 30 mm (89°)
Turret 200-300 mm Turret front (Volumetric)
70-400 mm Gun mantlet (Volumetric)
165-250 mm (Volumetric) 60-100 mm (Volumetric) 30 mm (87°)
Cupola 80 mm (cylindrical) 30 mm
Composite armour Frontal effective protection Sides
Hull Upper glacis:
280 mm Kinetic / 380 mm Chemical
N/A

Notes:

  • Tracks and suspension wheels are 20 mm thick

Mobility

Speedforward / back
AB64 / 10 km/h
RB and SB58 / 9 km/h
Number of gears5 forward
1 back
Weight38.5 t
Engine power
AB1 393 hp
RB and SB730 hp
Power-to-weight ratio
AB36.2 hp/t
RB and SB19.0 hp/t

Thanks to improvements during the early 1980s, the ZTZ88A is equipped with a NORINCO 12150ZL engine with 730 hp, the same as the succeeding ZTZ96, and the chassis has a new suspension offering a smoother ride. The 10% increase in weight compared to the ZTZ59D1 is more than compensated by the 40% increase in engine power. This gives the ZTZ88A a vast improvement in power-weight ratio to about 19.0 hp/ton and thus better a top speed at 57 km/h compared to its predecessors. Although it is not quite as fast as NATO counterparts at similar tier, it is certainly a very welcome improvement. For comparison, the Leopard A1A1 has about 19.6 hp/ton, the T-62M-1 has about 16.4 hp/ton, and the M60A1 RISE (P) only has 14.1 hp/ton. Thanks to the improved horsepower, the ZTZ88A has a considerably faster hull traverse comparing to older tanks like the ZTZ59D1, which is helpful to angle the hull quickly or to wiggle through tight spaces.

The reverse speed however is slightly better at a -9 km/h, it might sound nowhere fast enough like its more agile foes (e.g. Leopard 1, AMX-30, etc.), but it's at least some improvement over the T-54 family. This can be quite risky, meaning that the player must think carefully before peeking out of a cover/hill.

Game Mode Max Speed (km/h) Weight (tons) Engine power (horsepower) Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)
Forward Reverse Stock Upgraded Stock Upgraded
Arcade 64 10 38.5 1131 1,393 29.38 36.18
Realistic 58 9 646 730 16.78 18.96

Modifications and economy

Repair costBasic → Reference
AB4 680 → 7 389 Sl icon.png
RB5 210 → 8 226 Sl icon.png
SB5 710 → 9 016 Sl icon.png
Total cost of modifications152 000 Rp icon.png
254 400 Sl icon.png
Talisman cost2 400 Ge icon.png
Crew training140 000 Sl icon.png
Experts500 000 Sl icon.png
Aces2 000 Ge icon.png
Research Aces890 000 Rp icon.png
Reward for battleAB / RB / SB
120 / 180 / 210 % Sl icon.png
214 / 214 / 214 % Rp icon.png
Modifications
Mobility Protection Firepower
Mods new tank traks.png
Tracks
Research:
8 100 Rp icon.png
Cost:
13 000 Sl icon.png
370 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank suspension.png
Suspension
Research:
5 200 Rp icon.png
Cost:
8 200 Sl icon.png
240 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank break.png
Brake System
Research:
5 200 Rp icon.png
Cost:
8 200 Sl icon.png
240 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank filter.png
Filters
Research:
8 100 Rp icon.png
Cost:
13 000 Sl icon.png
370 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank transmission.png
Transmission
Research:
13 000 Rp icon.png
Cost:
20 000 Sl icon.png
600 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank engine.png
Engine
Research:
13 000 Rp icon.png
Cost:
20 000 Sl icon.png
600 Ge icon.png
Mods tank tool kit.png
Parts
Research:
2 400 Rp icon.png
Cost:
13 000 Sl icon.png
370 Ge icon.png
Mods extinguisher.png
FPE
Research:
1 600 Rp icon.png
Cost:
8 200 Sl icon.png
240 Ge icon.png
Mods night vision device.png
NVD
Research:
5 200 Rp icon.png
Cost:
8 200 Sl icon.png
240 Ge icon.png
Mods tank reinforcement cn.png
Crew Replenishment
Research:
8 100 Rp icon.png
Cost:
13 000 Sl icon.png
370 Ge icon.png
Mods smoke screen.png
Smoke grenade
Research:
8 100 Rp icon.png
Cost:
13 000 Sl icon.png
370 Ge icon.png
Mods engine smoke screen system.png
ESS
Research:
13 000 Rp icon.png
Cost:
20 000 Sl icon.png
600 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank horizontal aiming.png
Horizontal Drive
Research:
8 100 Rp icon.png
Cost:
13 000 Sl icon.png
370 Ge icon.png
Mods tank ammo.png
105mm_TYPE83_HESH_ammo_pack
Research:
8 100 Rp icon.png
Cost:
13 000 Sl icon.png
370 Ge icon.png
Mods tank cannon.png
Adjustment of Fire
Research:
5 200 Rp icon.png
Cost:
8 200 Sl icon.png
240 Ge icon.png
Mods tank ammo.png
105mm_china_HE_VT_ammo_pack
Research:
5 200 Rp icon.png
Cost:
8 200 Sl icon.png
240 Ge icon.png
Mods tank laser rangefinder.png
Laser rangefinder
Research:
5 200 Rp icon.png
Cost:
8 200 Sl icon.png
240 Ge icon.png
Mods new tank vertical aiming.png
Elevation Mechanism
Research:
8 100 Rp icon.png
Cost:
13 000 Sl icon.png
370 Ge icon.png
Mods tank ammo.png
105mm_china_APDS_FS_ammo_pack
Research:
8 100 Rp icon.png
Cost:
13 000 Sl icon.png
370 Ge icon.png
Mods art support.png
Artillery Support
Research:
13 000 Rp icon.png
Cost:
20 000 Sl icon.png
600 Ge icon.png

Armaments

Laser rangefinder
Reduces the error and increases the maximum measurable distance of the rangefinder
Night vision device
Improves visibility by enhancing natural light or active illumination.

Main armament

Two-plane stabilizer
Reduces the swing of the gun in two planes while moving
Ammunition45 rounds
First-order23 rounds
Reloadbasic crew → aces
9.7 → 7.5 s
Vertical guidance-4° / 18°
Main article: ZPL94 (105 mm)

The introduction of the Royal Ordnance 105 mm L7 cannon marked the transformation of PLAGF from Warsaw Pact armaments to Western ones. The ZPL94 mounted on the ZTZ88A has one of the longest barrels in the L7 family, giving it a higher muzzle velocity over its Western counterparts. In addition, the ZPL94 reloads more quickly than the ZTZ59D1's Type 83 cannon by about 1 second. While it still doesn't reload quite as quickly as NATO tanks, the gap is significantly smaller.

105 mm ZPL94 Turret rotation speed (°/s) Reloading rate (seconds)
Mode Capacity Vertical Horizontal Stabilizer Stock Upgraded Full Expert Aced Stock Full Expert Aced
Arcade 45 -4°/+18° ±180° Two-plane 19.0 26.4 32.0 35.4 37.6 9.75 8.63 7.95 7.50
Realistic 11.9 14.0 17.0 18.8 20.0

Ammunition

Penetration statistics
Ammunition Type of
warhead
Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)
10 m 100 m 500 m 1,000 m 1,500 m 2,000 m
Type-83 HEAT HEATFS 400 400 400 400 400 400
DTB-1 HE-VT* 21 21 21 21 21 21
Type-83 HESH HESH 127 127 127 127 127 127
Type-83 APDS APFSDS 351 349 343 336 328 321
Shell details
Ammunition Type of
warhead
Velocity
(m/s)
Projectile
mass (kg)
Fuse delay
(m)
Fuse sensitivity
(mm)
Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
Ricochet
0% 50% 100%
Type-83 HEAT HEATFS 1,200 11 0.05 0.1 1,270 65° 72° 77°
Type-83 HESH HESH 750 11.2 0.1 4 4,310 73° 77° 80°
Type-83 APDS APFSDS 1,500 4.2 N/A N/A N/A 78° 80° 81°
Proximity-fused shell details
Ammunition Type of
warhead
Velocity
(m/s)
Projectile
mass (kg)
Fuse delay
(m)
Fuse sensitivity
(mm)
Arming distance
(m)
Trigger radius
(m)
Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
Ricochet
0% 50% 100%
DTB-1 HE-VT* 825 16.2 0 0.1 500 15 1,660 79° 80° 81°

The ZTZ88A offers a range of shells at the player's disposal, and players who already own the T-69 II G will be very familiar with them as both tanks share the same shells.

The first option that comes stock is the Type 83 HEAT having identical performance to NATO's DM13 HEAT. At its tier, it is still sufficient to penetrate most tanks without ERA or composite armour and its explosive mass is enough to knock out lighter vehicles with overpressure on occasion. Some opponents to watch out for include the Sho't Kal Dalet, T-55AM-1/T-62M-1, and M60A1 RISE (P).

The DTB-1 is very different from most HE shells at its tier - it is a VT shell, meaning that the shell detonates when it is close to other vehicles, including aircraft; this is a trait that the ZTZ88A's NATO counterparts don't have. It has 1.66 kg of explosive mass, which can sometimes knock out lighter vehicles like SPAAs, but its real utility lies in its anti-air potential. It is suggested to use to target aircraft or helicopters which happen to be within your elevation angle - a hit from DTB-1 is very lethal to aircraft.

The Type 83 HESH is another story. It is a common HESH found on NATO vehicles - a solid hit on vehicles can trigger a lethal post-penetration effect, but the results of HESH is mixed. It generates a wide cone of shrapnel but the effects tend to be rather shallow or inconsistent. It is still possible to snipe stationary vehicles hiding behind cover with Type 83 HESH in some cases so bring some if desired - the laser rangefinder will certainly help with this.

The last round available is Type 83 APDS, which is actually an APFSDS round. Thanks to the longer barrel of the ZPL94, the overall penetration is slightly higher than M111/DM23 APFSDS at 351 mm point-blank; this is the go-to shell for the ZTZ88A. It might not have the highest penetration at its tier, especially compared to the PTL02 and PTZ89, but it can still hit enemies hard. There are a few opponents to watch out for in uptiers: the British Chieftain Mk 10 and Challenger Mk.2/Mk.3 have tough turrets, and the Soviet T-72A (when spaded), T-72AV (TURMS-T), T-64B, and T-72B have tough turret and UFP armour that the ZTZ88A cannot penetrate without aiming for weak spots.

Ammo racks

Full
ammo
1st
rack empty
2nd
rack empty
3rd
rack empty
Visual
discrepancy
45 40 (+5) 23 (+22) (+44) No

Although there are 23 shells in the ready rack, only 19 of them are protected by the fuel tanks, not the 4 shells on the left side; so it is suggested to bring only 20 shells into battle (19 in the rack + 1 preloaded in the breech).

Machine guns

Ammunition500 rounds
Belt capacity50 rounds
Reloadbasic crew → aces
10.4 → 8.0 s
Fire rate600 shots/min
Vertical guidance-5° / 60°
Ammunition2 500 rounds
Belt capacity250 rounds
Reloadbasic crew → aces
10.4 → 8.0 s
Fire rate600 shots/min

The ZTZ88A still uses the same machine guns from the obsolete T-54s despite its introduction date in the early 1990s. The DShK is still sufficient to gun down strafing aircraft/helicopters or lighter vehicles but suffers from a small 50 round belt capacity, while the SGMT is only good for harassing enemies or sometimes targeting exposed crews.

12.7 mm DShK
Mount Capacity (Belt) Fire rate Vertical Horizontal
Pintle 500 (50) 600 -5°/+60° ±180°
7.62 mm SGMT
Mount Capacity (Belt) Fire rate Vertical Horizontal
Coaxial 2,500 (250) 600 N/A N/A

Usage in battles

For Soviet or Chinese players, the ZTZ88A would feel like a faster T-55A or ZTZ59D1, which is indeed true thanks to its 730 hp engine, giving it higher mobility over them. It might not be the fastest tank at its tier, but the ZTZ88A can still follow the main forces with its speed. For those who are playing against the ZTZ88A, the tank looks very similar to T-55s but they may be surprised when they don't penetrate its UFP thanks to the applique armour. As discussed, it might not stop all contemporary APFSDS or HEATFS, but it certainly helps stop earlier shells and it can still surprise common tanks like the XM-1 (GM) that lack good angled penetration. The turret is another story however - although it is slightly thicker than the T-55s, it will not stop any well-placed shots at its tier. Overall, the ZTZ88A's additional hull armor reduces the likelihood of being destroyed in one shot, but it should not be considered a consistently well-protected tank for advancing straight into enemy fire or peeking out of a hull-down position.

The firepower of the ZTZ88A is certainly sufficient thanks to the longer barrel ZPL94 gun with a variety of shells, faster reload, and improved gun handling over previous PRC tanks; but like many Eastern Bloc/Chinese tanks, it doesn't quite have the reaction time of NATO counterparts and the gunsight is fixed at 8x magnification, so sniping with this gun may be a problem. It also lacks thermal sights from the gunner. Thus, good situational awareness is required.

The ZTZ88A is the earliest non-premium Chinese vehicle with access to the DTB-1 HE-VT round. Players who do not own the T-69 II G or WMA301 may find it a nifty surprise, but there are some limitations to be aware of. It has a considerable explosive content for an anti-air shell but the muzzle velocity of 825 m/s is rather slow by Rank VI standards and it takes 500 m of travel distance to arm. The ZTZ88A also does not have very good vertical elevation angles. With these factors in mind, DTB-1 is best used against helicopters, particularly those that are hovering or moving in straight lines and not paying attention. The laser rangefinder helps immensely for vertical aim adjustment but it is up to the user to provide the proper lead against moving targets.

Overall, the ZTZ88A provides a more mobile and higher firepower alternative for the PLAGF compared to NATO or Soviet counterparts but still has some flaws. It is best used in a more aggressive midfielding role where its significantly better speed compared to the ZTZ59D1, M60A3 TTS, and PTZ89 can be used to rush to objective points and overwatch positions, and its heavier armour and lower profile compared to the PTL02 or WMA301 allows it to survive attacks from IFVs, aircraft, and artillery more easily. DTB-1 gives it some ability to counter early-game helicopter rushes or ATGM helicopters later on. Assess the battlefield to determine if better sniping capabilities, bigger guns, or greater speed are needed on the next spawn. But as one of the most flexible options available in the Chinese lineup at this BR, there is rarely a poor time to bring out the ZTZ88A.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Satisfactory frontal arc protection for its tier, UFP can stop some APFSDS
  • Long barrel L7 with a variety of shells at its disposal
  • Improved reload and gun handling compared to the ZTZ59D1
  • HE-VT shell offers basic anti-air capabilities, especially against helicopters
  • Improved engine with a higher output than its predecessors, leading to better agility than ZTZ59D1 and T-69 II G

Cons:

  • Tightly packed crew and components
  • Poor gun depression and fixed zoom gunsight
  • Only has composite armour on the UFP, turret is completely unprotected
  • No thermal sights, disadvantaged against thermal-equipped tanks like Type 74G
  • No ERA, turret is especially vulnerable to missiles and HEAT shells
  • Slow reverse speed can be fatal in some scenarios

History

After the Damansky/Zhenbao Island (珍宝岛) incident where the PLAGF captured a T-62 from the Soviet border guards, they soon realized that the existing ZTZ59s and later WZ121 (ZTZ69) were nowhere near comparable with the masses of the latest Soviet MBTs. 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) accelerated their project coded "Project 2-4" (二四会战; established on 1970/2/4) for a new MBT which would be known as Project 122 (122工程). The project was dropped a few years later after revisions on the development route but this trained new batches of tank designers and engineers for future projects.

Meanwhile, one of the "fail-safe" versions of the designs in Project 122, WZ1225 with the newly-imported 105 mm gun and improved engine, designed by Fang Weixian (方慰先, designer of later ZTZ85, 88, and 96) passed state evaluation and inherited the industrial code WZ122. The later revised design of WZ1225 would become the basis of the later domestically designed ZTZ80 (80式主战坦克) tanks.

The ZTZ88 series was a hybrid of the ZTZ85 (85式主战坦克) which was aimed for export with a redesigned hull and the turret from ZTZ80, aka ZTZ80-I. The ZTZ88A was the improved version with a ZPL94 105 mm gun. What was achieved in ZTZ85 and ZTZ88A would later be used in the new 2nd generation MBT of PLAGF - the ZTZ96 (ZTZ88C). Although it wasn't seen among the tanks at the 1999 National Day parade like its predecessor ZTZ88B was, the ZTZ88A could be seen in pictures from PLA media and they were last seen in large scale during the ongoing Sino-Indo Border Conflicts where numbers of them were deployed near the LAC.

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See also

Links to the articles on the War Thunder Wiki that you think will be useful for the reader, for example:

  • reference to the series of the vehicles;
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China North Industries Corporation (中国兵器工业集团有限公司)
Light Tanks/IFV  ▂Type 62* · Type 62* · Type 63-I* · ZBD86
Main Battle Tanks 
WZ120  Type 59* · ZTZ59A* · ZTZ59D1
WZ121  Type 69* · Type 69-IIa* · T-69 II G**
WZ122  ZTZ88A · ZTZ96 · ZTZ96A · ZTZ96A (P)
WZ123  ZTZ99-II · ZTZ99-III
WZ1001  ZTZ99A
Tank Destroyers  AFT09 · PTL02 · WMA301** · PTZ89 · ZLT11
SPAA  ZSD63/PG87* · WZ305* · PGZ09 · PGZ04A
  *Previously Fifth Ministry of Machine Building vehicles
  **Export vehicles

China medium tanks
ZTZ59  Type 59 · ZTZ59A · ZTZ59D1
ZTZ69  Type 69 · Type 69-IIa · T-69 II G
ZTZ88/96  ZTZ88A · ZTZ96 · ZTZ96A · ZTZ96A (P)
ZTZ99  ZTZ99-II · ZTZ99-III
ZTZ99A  ZTZ99A
ROC  CM11
Other  Т-34-85 Gai · Object 122MT "MC"
Japan  ␗Chi-Ha · ␗Chi-Ha Kai
USA  ␗M4A4 · ␗M4A4 (1st PTG) · ␗M4A1 (75) W · ␗M48A1 · ␗M60A3 TTS
USSR  ␗T-34 (1943) · ␗Т-34-85 (S-53) · T-34-85 No.215 · Т-62 №545