|This page is about the Chinese MBT ZTZ99-II. For the other version, see ZTZ99-III.|
The ZTZ99 Stage II is a rank VII Chinese medium tank with a battle rating of 10.7 (AB/RB/SB). It was introduced in Update "Hot Tracks".
Also known as the Type 99, the ZTZ99 is perhaps the most famous Chinese main battle tank. It looks similar to the ZTZ96A at a quick glance, with similar "arrowhead" ERA arrays on the front turret, but the dimensions are larger and the hull layout is more similar to the Soviet T-72. The ZTZ99 boasts great firepower, good protection, excellent thermal sights, and improved engine power in addition to nifty features like a laser warning system and thermal sights for the commander. Notable weaknesses include substandard mobility, slow reload, numerous weak spots.
Survivability and armour
Like the T-80U, the ZTZ99 uses both composite armour and advanced ERA with kinetic protection. Composite armour is present on the turret cheeks and on the upper glacis; it is unremarkable by itself, but the areas with full coverage of both composite armour and FY-4 ERA are even capable of resisting the Leopard 2A6's DM53 APFSDS. Unfortunately, these areas are limited to the turret cheeks and lower portion of the upper glacis. Interestingly, the ERA is resistant to tandem charge warheads, which allows it to withstand ATGMs that other ERA equipped vehicles can't.
There are plenty of weak spots on the hull. First, the lower glacis has no composite armour or ERA whatsoever and can be penetrated by practically anything, and it also is proportionally larger than on Soviet MBTs. Penetrating shots there have a large chance of detonating the ammo in the autoloader and destroying the tank. The upper glacis composite armour is modeled with a large cutout for the driver's optics, as on the Soviet T-64/72 series, and even the FY-4 ERA there is not enough to save it from powerful APFSDS. Some small portions of the upper glacis are not covered by ERA either.
The turret has its fair share of weak spots as well. The gun mantlet area has no composite armour and penetrating shots will usually take out the gun breech and possibly a crew member. There is a cutout in the ERA array on the left cheek to allow the driver to enter and exit the tank that reduces the protection there. Lastly, this vehicle is an early production ZTZ99 that features a round, cast steel "forehead" on top of the turret, merging into the gunner and commander cupolas. This forehead has inadequate protection against APFSDS rounds and penetrating shots might take out the gunner or commander. Since no ammunition is stored in the turret, frontal turret penetrations will likely only take out one crew member at a time.
The ZTZ99 does not have any ERA on the hull sides and the base hull side armour of 50 mm is thinner than Soviet MBTs, so be careful of IFVs with autocannons. Successful hits to the side will usually total the tank, either detonating the ammo racks or knocking out the turret crew.
The ZTZ99's armour protection has enough gaps that it can be considered "trolly" as opposed to "well-protected", but the areas that are well-protected are very strong. It's best to stay at long range and utilize the ZTZ99's low profile in conjunction with cover to make it difficult for enemies to hit the weak spots. Putting some bushes near the driver's hatch or gun mantlet might help. Remember that ERA is destroyed upon absorbing fire and the composite armour alone does not have sufficient protection for a top-tier vehicle.
As a last note, an active protection system is physically modeled on the left side of the turret roof, but it is currently not implemented in War Thunder. The ZTZ99 does not have the capability to spoof ATGMs like the T-90A.
|Game Mode||Max Speed (km/h)||Weight (tons)||Engine power (horsepower)||Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
The ZTZ99's mobility is below average for a top tier vehicle. It has a sizeable 1200 horsepower diesel engine, which is comparable to the T-80U's 1250 gas turbine engine. However the ZTZ99 also weighs more than 50 tons, which approaches the weight of the Leopard 2A4 and M1 Abrams. Among contemporaries, the power-to-weight ratio is better than the Challenger 2 and comparable to the Ariete PSO or T-72B3. Though it is quite fast in a straight line, it does need a considerable long time to pick up speed especially when stock or across rough terrain. It also does not have neutral steering, and the reverse speed of 5 km/h is truly abysmal. The ZTZ99 can get into battle reasonably quickly but does not excel at flanking and will struggle to retreat from sticky situations.
Modifications and economy
The ZPT98 cannon is a 125 mm smoothbore cannon with an autoloader, much like the 2A46 cannon used by the T-72 or the Type 88C cannon used by the ZTZ96, but it is 50 calibres long instead of 48. The reload speed of 7.1 seconds is the slowest of any top-rank vehicle, so destroying or crippling enemies in one shot is important. The gun handling is the same as the ZTZ96 series, being slightly better than most Soviet MBTs barring the T-72B3 but still lower than most Western MBTs.
|125 mm ZPT98||Turret rotation speed (°/s)||Reloading rate (seconds)|
|Ammunition|| Type of
|Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)|
|10 m||100 m||500 m||1,000 m||1,500 m||2,000 m|
|Ammunition|| Type of
| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive Mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
Reload time aside, the ZTZ99's firepower is good. Most of its ammunition selections are identical to the ZTZ96 series.
The stock DTP-125 HEAT-FS round has the typical penetration of 480 mm shared by Western MBTs with 120 mm guns, but this is not enough to deal with tanks with composite armour, which are the norm at the ZTZ99's battle rating. The post-penetration damage is also disappointing. Only use it as an interim shell before APFSDS is unlocked. With 2.19 kg of explosive mass, it is sometimes capable of knocking out light targets like SPAAs and light tanks with overpressure damage, so keep an eye out for those.
The stock DTB-125 HE shell is once again the strongest of any top-tier MBT. It can actually cause more damage to MBTs than the HEAT-FS round if fired at turret rings, hull roofs, and turret cupolas, especially after the introduction of pressure damage. Well placed impacts have a good chance of transmitting the shockwave into the crew compartment and knocking the target out instantly, even against the toughest MBTs like the Leopard 2A6. It helps to keep a few HE rounds around even after APFSDS is unlocked as they excel at causing pressure damage to light targets.
The 125-I APFSDS round is a Tier 1 modification. Though it first appeared on the ZTZ96, it is still a decent option for the ZTZ99 and eases the stock grind considerably. It has very similar flat penetration and superior angled penetration to the 3BM42 "Mango" round used by Soviet tanks and can penetrate most contemporary opponents through at least the lower front plate and gun breech.
Waiting at Tier 4 is the DTW-125 APFSDS round. It is lethal and very similar in performance to the Leclerc's OFL 120 F1, having high flat and angled penetration along with a quick muzzle velocity. The performance is not sufficient to break through the turret cheeks of heavily armoured MBTs like the M1A2 Abrams, Leopard 2A5/2A6, and Challenger 2, but other MBTs may be vulnerable. It will comfortably penetrate any tank's hull armour and the higher mass compared to the 125-I round produces somewhat more spalling.
| 37 (+2)
| 34 (+5)
| 31 (+8)
| 27 (+12)
| 23 (+16)
| 1 (+38)
- The 7th projectiles and propellants rack is the First-stage ammo stowage: it is a mechanized ammo rack with a fixed reload rate.
- The mechanized ammo rack depletes clock-wise: the arrow in the image shows where the ammo depletion starts.
- It is recommended to bring 23 rounds in the tank as to limit the chances of the tank being knocked out by ammo rack explosion.
|12.7 mm QJC88A|
|Mount||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal|
|7.62 mm Type 86|
|Mount||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal|
Usage in battles
The ZTZ99's main weaknesses are poor mobility characteristics and inconsistent protection, so to mitigate these, it is best used as a sniper or midfielder. Carefully move up to positions that offer cover and a good view. Once in position, the ZTZ99's strengths can be put to good use. The laser warning system and high-quality thermal sights for the commander give the ZTZ99 a large degree of situational awareness, allowing enemies to be spotted and engaged quickly. Try to attack enemies from a distance and while they are in the open; in this situation they will have difficulty targeting the weak points of the ZTZ99 while the ZTZ99 typically only needs to shoot their hull when using the top DTW-125 APFSDS. Be aware of the slow reload, which is up to 50% slower than other top MBTs. If a target is still capable of returning fire after being hit (e.g. gunner, gun breech, turret drive are intact), it might be better to move to cover and wait for teammates to distract or attack them. Move up when the coast is clear but do not overextend, it is difficult to back out from a bad position due to the bad reverse speed and in the meantime enemies can fire plenty of shots at the ZTZ99.
Unlike top Soviet MBTs, the ZTZ99 does not have access to gun-launched ATGMs, making it more difficult to swat helicopters or low-flying aircraft from the sky. Stay within the coverage of friendly SPAA vehicles (ZPRK 2S6 Tunguska, PGZ04A, ADATS, etc.) if possible, and if no support is available, use the smoke grenades and engine smoke system to hide.
Pros and cons
- Powerful firepower:
- Has access to high-penetrating DTW-125 APFSDS with great velocity and damage
- HE shell is currently the most powerful available to any high-rank MBT, can cripple or outright destroy enemies with a good shot
- High resolution thermal sights for both commander and gunner give it some advantage in poor visibility conditions
- Autoloader reloads the cannon even when putting out fires or replacing crew members
- Roof-mounted heavy machine gun is useful against low-flying aircraft and light targets
- Good armour:
- Nice frontal protection: sturdy turret cheeks and upper front plate, can resist common shells
- ERA is immune to tandem-charged warheads
- Low profile
- Has a laser warning receiver
- Improved mobility over preceding ZTZ96A with faster acceleration and higher top speed
- Large weak spots:
- Has a huge driver's weak spot that can be penetrated by pretty much any gun
- Weak gun mantlet, very easy to disable gun breech
- Right side of the gun mantlet (when facing the ZTZ99) only has thin armour sheet rather than ERA, lowering its thickness significantly
- Lower plate is very weak, with penetrating shells killing crew or exploding ammo
- Poor mobility:
- Ineffectual reverse speed of only -5 km/h, makes it difficult to reverse and repair or escape dangerous situations
- Due to the long hull, hull traverse speed is slow especially when stock or on loose surfaces
- Turret ERA offers low KE protection
- Only 3 crew members
- Poor gun depression of -5° limits its capacity in hilly environments
- No ATGM capability, unlike similar Soviet tanks
- Relatively slow reload of 7.1 seconds compared to other MBTs
In the late 1970s, Mainland China has already found out that the PLAGF was lagging behind the mainstream of MBTs of the era. They made a few attempts to design new MBTs, but these were in vain.
Soon after the Cultural Revolution, in April 1978, the Commission for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (COSTIND 国防科学技术工业委员会) and 5th Ministry of Machine Building (第五机械工业部, currently NORINCO and CSGC) received the requirements from PLA for a modern MBT, known as project 784. It was to weigh around 43 tons and be armed with a 120 mm gun, as well as sporting a 1000 hp engine, in view of competing with the latest West German Leopard 2 MBTs with excellent firepower and mobility. This prototype tank, coded WZ1224 underwent intensive tests. Later in 1984, Chinese exchanged a T-72 Ural from Romania, naming it as Type 64 and was used for evaluation. Although it was a fantasy for Mainland China during the 1980s to build a top-notch MBT, WZ1224, along with its later prototypes, have become the basis of a new MBT of what would become the WZ123.
In mid-1980s, COSTIND decided that WZ123 should have a low profile like a T-72 and Zhu Yusheng (祝榆生 Nov 1918 - 23 Oct 2014) of Institute 201 (201所，北方车辆研究所) would be the chief designer of WZ123. During the decade between 1980s and 1990s, the new MBT went through an extensive tests, including choosing a suitable engine for the tank; importing MTU's diesel engine, domestic X150 and 150HB engines were among the choices for the powerplant of the new tank. The 150HB diesel engine design by Zhang Baozhong (张保中) was chosen as the powerplant for WZ123. Later in 1996, Factory 617 (NORINCO Inner-Mongolia First Machinery Group Corporation) has handed in the new 3rd generation tank to PLAGF for tests. While all the tests showed that WZ123 had passed the requirements from PLAGF, it was very unlikely made the way into commission before the 50th Anniversary of the Establishment of PRC under the name of "Project 9910"; efforts were made so that Factory 617 could product 18 of these tanks to be paraded in the anniversary as the C001 to C018 tanks of C-vehicle phalanx, it was then known as Type 98 by USDOD. The prototypes built for Project 9910, aka ZTZ99-I then served in 38th Army Corps and based on this design, in early 2000s, Factory 617 built 2 variants of them for theorizing the applique and ERA placement of WZ123; finally one of them passed state certification at around 2003 and became ZTZ99-II (or ZTZ99 Mod. 2003, 99一期改, ZTZ99 "二类定型状态" in game; erroneously known as 99G ).
This design was then revised and finally in the 60th Anniversary of the Establishment of PRC, a new version named ZTZ99-III (or ZTZ99 Mod. 2004, 99二期改, ZTZ99 "三类定型状态" in game; erroneously known as 99A1 ) was first publicly shown with a revised turret and placement of FY-4 ERAs at UFP. Eventually in the 70th Anniversary of Victory over Japanese Day, a brand-new designed ZTZ99A (erroneously known as 99A2), designed by Mao Ming (毛明, Sept 1962-) was first shown to the public, vastly enhancing its capabilities against any modern and future MBTs it might face and served as the spearhead of elite armoured brigades in northern China.
Development of the ZTZ99 began in the mid 1980s, with Chinese engineers starting work on a new advanced main battle tank to replace the existing vehicles in service at the time. After examining possible design proposals, the engineers decided to proceed with a design similar to that of the Soviet T-72 tank.
By 1991, the first prototype of the vehicle was constructed and demonstrated to high-ranking officials, followed by the construction of additional prototypes in the following year. In the early to mid 1990s, the prototypes underwent testing and were continuously improved over time. In the late 1990's, further pre-production prototypes were built and transferred to the army for final testing.
The ZTZ99 was first shown off to the public as part of the military parade commemorating the 50th anniversary of the People's Republic of China in October 1999. Soon after, the ZTZ99 was officially adopted for service with the PLA in late 2000.
Several years after its first introduction to service, the ZTZ99 received an upgrade package, allowing the vehicle to be fitted with additional FY-4 ERA, thus bolstering its protection significantly. Although initially intended to become China's primary MBT, the high cost hindered large-scale production, resulting in only about 500 vehicles being manufactured. However, due to the tank's advanced design and relatively small numbers, ZTZ99s are exclusively employed by China's elite armoured units.
The ZTZ99 remained in production until the early 2010s, before production capacities were allocated to the more advanced ZTZ99A - a highly modernized variant of the ZTZ99.
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;
- links to approximate analogues of other nations and research trees.
|Light tanks||Type 62* · Type 63-I* · ZBD86|
|Medium tanks||Type 59* · ZTZ59D1 · Type 69* · T-69 II G**|
|Main battle tanks||ZTZ96 · ZTZ96A · ZTZ99-II · ZTZ99-III|
|SPAAG||ZSD63* · WZ305* · PGZ09 · PGZ04A|
|Tank destroyers||PTL02 · WMA301** · PTZ89|
|*Previously Fifth Ministry of Machine Building vehicles|
|China medium tanks|
|Type 59 · ZTZ59D1 · Type 69 · T-69 II G · ZTZ96 · ZTZ96A · ZTZ99-II · ZTZ99-III|
|American||␗M4A4 · M4A4 (1st PTG) · ␗M4A1 (75) W · ␗M48A1 · ␗M60A3 TTS · CM11|
|Soviet||␗T-34 (1943) · ␗Т-34-85 (S-53) · Т-34-85 Gai · T-34-85 No.215 · Т-62 №545|
|Japanese||␗Chi-Ha · ␗Chi-Ha Kai|