A Chinese-Macau citizen who is now studying in a certain city somewhere on the shore of Taiwan Strait, 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 8 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》(Naming Regulations for Military Equipment) since 1987 and the later 《中国人民解放军装备命名规定》(PLA's Regulations on Equipment Naming) from 2012, 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.
|1st Letter||2nd Letter||3rd Letter||Number||Example|
|Z-Zhuangjia 装甲 Armored||B-Bubing 步兵 Infantry||D-lüDai 履带 Tracked
L-Lunshi 轮式 Wheeled
|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-Shusong 输送 Transport||D-lüDai 履带 Tracked
L-Lunshi 轮式 Wheeled
|T-Tanke/*Tuji 坦克/突击 Tank/Assault||D-lüDai 履带 Tracked
L-Lunshi 轮式 Wheeled
Q-Qingxing 轻型 Light
Z-Zhuzhan 主战 Main Battle
S-Shusong 输送 Transport
|Z-Zhihui 指挥 Command||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 "password processor"
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 ZTZ99 Series
ZTZ99, being one of the most iconic PLAGF equipment 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 https://www.bilibili.com/video/BV1SM4y1g7mC, the naming for ZTZ99 series become more clear as follows:
Italic- Not introduced in game
Bold- Introduced in game
|In-game name||Unified name||WZ Number||PLAGF naming||Commonly know as||Major appearance differences||Certificated date||First publicly shown||Chief designer||Note|
Main Battle Tank
|WZ123||ZTZ99式 一类定型状态||99一期||No ERA blocks and applique armor; V-shaped breakwater; bulged at the middle of the turret.||1999||1999/10/1||Zhu Yusheng
|Erroneously known as Type 98 or by its project number "9910"; the model used in Battlefield™ 2|
|ZTZ99-II ZTZ99（二类）||ZTZ99式 二类定型状态||99一期改||ERA blocks on UFP and applique armor on the front and sides of turret based on former.||c. 2003||N/A||Erroneously known as Type 99G; the model used in Battlefield™ 4.|
|ZTZ99-III ZTZ99（三类）||WZ123B||ZTZ99式 三类定型状态||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||Erroneously known as Type 99A1.|
|ZTZ99A||ZTZ(20)10 Main Battle Tank||WZ1001||ZTZ99A式||99A||Completely redesigned tank with a shorter chassis, increased UFP area and new turret; bulged rear chassis for new engine pack.||2010||2015/9/3||Mao Ming
|Erroneously known as Type 99A2; has NO RELATIONSHIP with previous ZTZ99s other than the name.|