China Displays Air Defense Missile and Tank Under Development

PARIS – Sure, NORINCO, China’s lead military manufacturer didn’t have the real thing, but they did display a model of the Sky Dragon air defense system and Main Battle Tank 3000 in development.

The medium range surface-to-air missile system can detect up to 144 targets provided target guidance for 12 missiles simultaneously. The radar has a range of 130 km with a missile target engagement range from 30m to 20km in altitude.

The system is broken up into three elements: a fire distribution vehicle, an IBIS 130 3D target designation radar as well as up to six launching units each outfitted with four suface-to-air-missiles.

The missile is a single-stage solid propellant. It has a single-shot kill probability against a fighter aircraft of 80 percent, said Wang Cheng, the West Asia Department assistant general manager for NORINCO.

China’s North Industries Corporation (NORINCO) also displayed their Main Battle Tank 3000 the company hopes to deliver to the Chinese Army in two years, Cheng said. It’s one of the few, if not the only, company to be developing a main battle tank.

The tank can reach speeds up to 42 miles per hour with a cruising range of 500 km. It has a fording depth of four to five meters and a trench of 2.7 meters. The maximum gradient is 60 percent.

Engineers mounted a 125mm smoothbore gun onto the MBT 3000. The main gun can fire APFSDS, HEAT and HE shells and gun launched missiles with a maximum missile range reaching 5,000 meters.

MBT 3000 also features a 12.7 mm anti-aircraft machine gun and a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun. Tankers can also fire from 8 76mm smoke grenade launchers and 4 76mm shrapnel grenade launchers.

It carries 38 rounds of main ammunition with a loading speed of eight rounds per minute with 22 rounds on the loader. An un-cooled thermal imagery is installed for the driver while a second generation cooled thermal imager is provided for gunner and the tank commander.

The engine is a water-cooled turbocharged electronic-controlled diesel engine with 1300 horsepower.

The tank is fully digitized with inertial navigation and GPS. Engineers also built a new fire extinguishing and explosion suppression system.

— Mike Hoffman

About the Author

Michael Hoffman
Michael Hoffman is the executive editor at Tandem NSI and a contributor to Military.com. He can be reached at mhoffman@tandemnsi.com.
  • asdf

    pictures of the new mbt PLEASE

  • Technoweapon

    Not bad, China. I want to see more of the new MBT 3000. My hopes are that it beats the pants off the Abrams, but those are just hopes. China will likely opt for the mass production capable route.

    The air defense system is pretty snazzy. I wonder how well it’ll hold up against EW and long range weapons.

    I suppose it doesn’t matter much. China has no enemies capable of the kind of EW and weapons it’d take.

  • TMB

    Anyone else get a chuckle that the specs of this new tank are almost identical to the Abrams?

  • blight_

    This is all I got:
    http://worldwide-defence.blogspot.com/2012/05/vt2
    http://www.armyrecognition.com/dsa_2012_defense_e

    For the VT2 tank, but not any MBT 3000.

    The VT2’s specs are:

    Specifications

    Combat weight: 42.8 t (MBT 3000: ?)
    Crew: 3 (MBT 3000: ?)
    Power-to-weight ratio: 18.7 hp/t (MBT 3000: ?)
    Length (gun forward/backward): 10.49m / 9.34 m (MBT 3000: ?)
    With (with skirt/without skirt): 3.48 m / 3.40 m (MBT 3000: ?)
    Height (top of the turret): 2.34 m (MBT 3000: ?)
    Maximum road speed: 57 km/h (MBT 3000: 42 mph)
    Maximum cross-country speed: 30 to 40 km/h (MBT 3000: ?)
    Cruising range: 500 km (MBT 3000: 500 km)
    Maximum gradient: 60% (MBT 3000: 60%)
    Maximum slide slope: 40% (MBT 3000: ?)
    Trench: 2.70 m (MBT 3000: 2.7)
    Vertical obstacle: 0.8 m (MBT 3000: ?)
    Fording depth (without preparation): 1.4 m (MBT 3000: 4-5 m w/ prep)
    Engine: water-cooled, turbo charged, 800 hp (588 kW) (MBT 3000: 1300 hp?)

    Armament

    Main: 125mm smooth bore gun (MBT 3000: 125mm smoothbore)
    Anti-aircraft: 1x 12.7mm machine gun (MBT 3000: 12.7mm HMG)
    Coaxial: 1x 7.62mm machine gun (MBT 3000: same)
    Smoke grenade launchers: 2×6 laying equipment (MBT 3000: 8x76mm smoke grenade launchers, 7x76mm shrapnel grenade launchers)
    Ammunition for the main gun: 40 rds (MBT 3000: 38 rounds)

    Armour protection: composite armour with detachable ERA (MBT 3000: ?)

    Fire control system: image stabilized (MBT 3000: ?)
    Gun elevation/depression: +18.8° / -5.4° (MBT 3000: ?)
    NBC system: yes (MBT 3000: ?)
    Night vision equipment: yes (MBT 3000: ?)

  • Benjamin

    More logical reasons to develop the M1-A3 and insure that it is compatible with U.S. Marine Corps requirements (We are more likely to meet these tanks in a coastal area)

    • Juuso

      What coastal area?

    • Yes, the Marines will roll in with their 5 tanks to stop the Chinese onslaught on shore somewhere. Lets design another platform around the USMC requirements.

      • Mastro

        Worked with the F35!

        err…

    • majr0d

      What are the Marine corps tank “requirements”?

      You do know the Marines have a whoping three battalions right?

    • majr0d

      What are the Marine corps tank “requirements”?

      You do know the Marines have a whopping three tank battalions right?

      • Black Owl

        I thought about going Marine armor and talked to a friend of mine who is a Marine Captain. He told me that that no one in the Armor community can make it past Colonel in the Marines because the command level is so small. The Army has a bigger tank community with more opportunities.

      • orly?

        True, no need for extreme amounts of specialized heavy armor for USMC.

    • blight_

      If you really think that it’ll devolve to tank on tank, you could hedge your bets and buy some Israeli LAHAT rounds. 8 km range out of the main gun. Hard to resist.

  • Lance

    Like the Type 59 (T-55 copy) in PLA service was morphed into the Type 69 and Type 79 and the Type 85 tanks, which many serve today in the PLA. The Chinese copied the T-72 for the Type-98 tank bet its a improved Type 98 tank, closely based on the T-72 design.

    Overall due to terrain and there combat history I doubt China will match the US, Germany, and Russia in tank design. Overall in Asia tanks are infantry support. Overall disappointed the Chinese haven’t went tot the more powerful gas Turbine Engine like the M-1 and T-84 have making even the newest Chinese tank much slower than our tanks. But I do hope to see the pics and see now that Red China has seven main battle tank types in service now. Hate to be the parts quartermaster.

  • Matt

    That Chinese tank could be impressive if it does what it says on the tin… but thats a pretty big “if”

  • Jayson

    Nice. Any American 5 year old would have them mashed up by December 26th regardless of the printed specs. It’s just looks good on paper but once Santa drops them off, it’s anybodies game and I got my money on the kid.

  • skygod225

    Why 125mm main gun when damn near everyone else has 120mm main gun? Why a possible 3 man crew? Does this mean autoloader? I sure hope the chinese haven’t copeid the US/UK chobhams armor.

  • Daniel

    I’m curious how they’re using GPS. Isn’t that a US controlled system that they’re able to completely shutdown on a whim? Maybe they’re using GPS as more a general term, and they’ll be adopting a local system sometime. I mean China has a fully operational space industry; I can’t imagine them relying on GPS.

  • eric
  • Stratege

    “Why 125mm main gun when damn near everyone else has 120mm main gun? Why a possible 3 man crew? Does this mean autoloader?”

    125 mm tank gun with gun launched ATGM capability, autoloader, 3 crew members, low profile design with overall weight under 50 tonnes. MBT 3000 is not exclusive machine here. It’s simply copying the Soviet/Russian tank design philosophy. MBT 3000 is more likely just another successor of the Soviet “tank family”.

    ” I sure hope the chinese haven’t copeid the US/UK chobhams armor.”

    Modern Russians tanks have their own counter-part of chobham – strong composite armor based on the “combined barriers” principle + heavy ERA (“reactive” armor).

    Chinese copying old Soviet tech (T-72A / T-62). The quality of Chinese tank armor is debatable. But according to the Chinese promotional/public data, their latest ERA is nearly good as Russia’s current generation “Relikt” ERA (T-90M).

    • Chuck

      Still a crappy gun. Unless they have separated the ammo from the turret they will still havr thier turrets blon to hell. The missiles may be some what uselfull, but they aren’t carried in large numbers and probably slow firing operations compared to regular ammo. Also, the missiles would be pretty useless in a close in battle. I suspect out “Silver Bullet” would slice through most anything they put out. Even if it didn’t penetrate completely, I bet any tank hit by the “Silver Bullet” would be disabled after the hit. The optics and gun would be severly take out of alignment and the turret would likely by unable to move if hit in the turret area.

  • And this is why the F-16/F-18 is old and busted. We need the F-35 (even if the US has to cut the numbers). As for the MBT, our M-1’s should be able to keep it in check, as long as the PLA keeps it off the export market. Our allies (except Israel and Australia) are screwed it that thing gets out.

    • WRG01

      The West maintains LeClercs, Challengers, Leopards, Abrams, Merkavas, K1 and K2….there are a lot of excellent tanks in Western arsenals…so why would you think Israel and Australia are the only two not to be screwed by the export of the MBT 3000?

  • Celtic-devil

    You can be damn sure they aren’t gonna allow any counterfeit electronics to end up in their own weapons

  • Samoyed

    When has China EVER told the truth on ANY subject related to military equipment or specs? Unlike our manufacturers, they don’t have to go into a publicity frenzy to “get the contract” so there is no reason to release specs other than to impress their population and brag to other nations.

  • I always spent my half an hour to read this website’s articles everyday along with a mug of coffee.

  • Bellcross

    /yawn

  • Zip

    How many here think Lance has never kissed a girl?

  • Chimp

    This is a ztz96 for export (hint: Norinco). The main changes seen to be a new ERA system, new thermal imaging and a new (domestic) power pack.

  • Stratege

    Chuck wrote:

    “Still a crappy gun.”

    That so so dependent on the gun’s origin…

    125 mm is decent calibre. The latest Russian one 125 mm tank gun known as “2А82” have significant advantage in muzzle energy over the most widespread western 120mm tank gun (Rheinmetall L55). Compared to the Soviet 2A46M tank gun and especially its early modifications (M-0, M-1, M-2 variants – T-64’s, T-72’s and T-80’s regular guns), it has much better long range accuracy. Also 2А82 got the newly designed lenghthened shells with superior penetration capabilities (considering the record-breaking muzzle energy and initial velocity of the round with 2А82 gun) compared to the 120mm APFSDS ammunition (more likely better than even the М829Е4 shell).

    I can’t disscuss about Chinese gun. I bet it’s Soviet 2А46M variant (domestically produced in China), probably on par with the 2А46M-1’s (T-72B’s standard gun) capabilities.

    “Unless they have separated the ammo from the turret they will still havr thier turrets blon to hell. ”

    Extremely bad survivability of the T-72/T-90 tanks after being penetrated is largerly myth than actual problem coming from the fatal flaw design as many people tend to believe. Without extra ammunition in the crew compartment, T-90 is not “highly explosive” tank in the case of armor penetration. Automated ammunition cassete on the bottom of tank hull is too much difficult target to make a “lucky shot” with SABOT or HEAT round for getting reasonable high-probability to blow up tank. The armor is strong too. For example, “non-export” T-72B and T-90’s both have their composite armor covered with ERA. So actually the explosion of the ammo cassete(due the penetration) occurs in the very few(rare) cases.

    • majr0d

      You’ve always been a strong proponent for Russian armor but logic and facts don’t bend.

      Main gun velocity has always been important but in of itself doesn’t equal penetration. You assume that Russian and Chinese ammo will have superior penetration because the muzzle velocity is higher. Not true. Ammo design has a lot to do with it also. What do you have in the way of evidence that Russian/Chinese ammo is just as good as western stuff?

      Second as much as you’d like folks to believe T72 tanks have been very vulnerable. I’ve seen US rounds not just enter “export” T72s but exit them also. Also the magic is not just to place ammo low in the crew compartment but to separate it from the crew. The reason a tank turret looks like spaghetti.after a KE round enters isn’t because of a mythical vacuum. It’s because fragments of the round/turret and even paint ricochet around inside at high velocity/temperature. Exposed ammo even in a carousel is at risk. BMPs store their ammo in the bottom of the turret basket, I never saw one get hit and not suffer a catastrophic kill (as well as T55s/62s & 72s).

      BTW, ERA has no impact on kinetic energy rounds.

      • Thomas L. Nielsen

        “BTW, ERA has no impact on kinetic energy rounds”

        Modern ERA does decrease the effect of KE long-rod penetrators, due to the destabilizing effect of the ERA detonation. But the effect is much less pronounced than for shaped-charge attacks.

        Regards & all,

        Thomas L. Nielsen
        Luxembourg

        • majr0d

          Apologies, I should have been more specific. Google the M829A2 and A3 rounds.

  • Stratege

    Chuck wrote:

    “The missiles may be some what uselfull, but they aren’t carried in large numbers”

    Up to 42 AT missiles could be carried (22 missiles in the T-72 type autoloader’s cassete + 23 extra in the crew compartment for manual loading). The published data indicates that Chinese MBT 3000 got T-72’s autoloader (“AZ”).

    “and probably slow firing operations compared to regular ammo. Also, the missiles would be pretty useless in a close in battle.”

    The fire rate with gun launched AT missile is up to 3 shots per minute. That’s not impressive fire rate compared to the regular ammo, but adequate for long range AT missiles.

    The minimum range of fire is 100 meters. The max range is 5000 meters. These data coming from characteristics of Russian tanks, FCS and missiles.

    “I suspect out “Silver Bullet” would slice through most anything they put out. Even if it didn’t penetrate completely, I bet any tank hit by the “Silver Bullet” would be disabled after the hit.”

    Without doubt, tandem-charged gun-launched ATGM such as 9M119M1(NATO: “Sniper-C”) with a penetration of up to 900 mm RHA can do a lot damage to any modern day MBT.

  • Stratege

    ben wrote:

    “people looking to compare the abrams and this new chinese mbt should take note that this new tank is a 50t design compared to the 70t abrams.”

    Both tanks represents different philosophy of Main Battle Tank designs – Western and Soviet.

    “given the roughly similar weight of listed equipment, there is no way that the MBT 3000 can possibly have the level of armor protection carried by the abrams.”

    A bigger mass can’t guarantee a better protection. M1 Abrams (as the most other Western tanks) has a four-member crew. What does it mean? The design requirements were: large crew compartment, a bigger turret (since 3 tankers sitting inside the turret), massive hull and strong chassis to withstand a big mass of the turret. As result of tank design with large(and rather comfortable) crew compartment, it was required to add more armor(a bigger armor plates) for adequate crew protection (due the solid size of the manned turret). As result the M1 has a weight under 70 tonnes.

    Tanks built with Soviet concept, has a 3(not 4) crew members (they used automated loader instead of human loader). Those tanks has a much smaller combat(crew) compartment (less comfortable though), a lower height of their silhouette, significantly less size of turret/chassis and much lighter all up weight. The Soviet tank concept not require as many horsepowers and cheaper in production. And all of these were archived with the level of armor protection, comparable to Western tanks.

    “the chinese design is a medium tank with increased firepower to make it an MBT.”

    Actually, both tanks are MBTs.

    “Two completely different schools of tank design.”

    That’s right.

    • majr0d

      You’ve always been a strong proponent for Russian armor but logic and facts don’t bend.

      One can generalize that a tank with one less member can save weight but the reduction of one crew member doesn’t necessarily equal a 25% reduction in weight and an assumption of the same protection. A crewman weighs all of 200lbs. One still has to protect the left side of the turret. The ammo is virtually the same load/weight. Yes, one can save some weight with a smaller crew but you are taking this to an extreme.

      While also describing the Soviet tank design school of thought you fail to address that the same school of thought has always placed a lower priority on crew comfort & survivability while prioritizing numbers.

      You are stating protection is the same while assuming Chinese/Soviet composite armor is as good as western and with no evidence of the thickness of the armor. Operationally Soviet armor has not done exceptionally. Save me the export argument. You have to take the good with the bad.

  • ben

    autoloaders, limited gun depression. and cramped crew compartments do allow for a greater thickness of armor for a given weight.

    However my point still stands that the current generation of autoloading 50t tanks require additional ERA plates in order to withstand hits on their frontal arc by american KE penetrator rounds, while the M1A2 abrams’ frontal armor has defeated those same rounds in friendly fire incidents.

  • Stratege

    majr0d wrote:

    “Main gun velocity has always been important but in of itself doesn’t equal penetration. ”

    Well, i didn’t said that. But the increasing initial velocity of round is going to improve its penetration parameters.

    “You assume that Russian and Chinese ammo will have superior penetration because the muzzle velocity is higher. Not true. Ammo design has a lot to do with it also.”

    I just answered the Chuck’s statement about crappy 125mm tank gun .

    I am talked about the modern day Russian “top-tier” 125 mm tank gun with impressive anti-tank capabily (initial round velocity > 2 km/sec).

    My doubts about the Chinese gun’s capabilities. I think they are on roughly on par with Soviet 2А46M (80’s era smoothbore tank gun).

    “What do you have in the way of evidence that Russian/Chinese ammo is just as good as western stuff?”

    Why Russian ammo should not be as good ?

    For example, the Russian “3BM-46” APFSDS is roughly equal to the US made M829A2 in terms of armor piercing. Both rounds were designed in late 80’s.

    • Thomas L. Nielsen

      “I am talked about the modern day Russian “top-tier” 125 mm tank gun with impressive anti-tank capabily (initial round velocity > 2 km/sec).”

      Could you provide a source for that muzzle velocity figure? Jane’s Ammunition Handbook 2011-2012 quotes 1700m/s for the 3BM42 APFSDS and 1830m/s for the 3P31 APFSDS-TP round.

      Regards & all,

      Thomas L. Nielsen
      Luxembourg

    • Thomas L. Nielsen

      “But the increasing initial velocity of round is going to improve its penetration parameters”.

      Up to a limit. Increasing the impact velocity much above what a modern APFSDS produces actually decreases penetration, since the penetration dynamics start to change at higher impact velocities.

      Regards & all,

      Thomas L. Nielsen
      Luxembourg

  • Stratege

    majr0d wrote:

    “Second as much as you’d like folks to believe T72 tanks have been very vulnerable. I’ve seen US rounds not just enter “export” T72s but exit them also.”

    Iraqi export T-72A (of the Polish-made T-72M as its variant) without the multilayered armor and w/o ERA? In terms of armor protection they were not even comparable with “domestic” models such as T-72B and later modifications, or T-80 series. Notable fact is that T-72B has increased weight about three tonnes because of major armor improvement, compared to the early T-72’s “A” model.

    “Also the magic is not just to place ammo low in the crew compartments of separate it from the crew. ”

    There’s nothing to do with the magic. My claim is that ammo cassete in not as extremely vulnerable as many people tend to believe.

    “Exposed ammo even in a carousel is at risk.”

    The extra ammunition that laying out of ammo cassete and its powder charges is at high risk(Soviet tanks has two-piece ammunition), so it’s much more dangerous when the crew compartment penetrated. Statistacally, the detonation of the extra ammunition is the most widespread reason of the disastrous instant tank kill after being penetrated, but not the hit at autloader cassete and instant detonation (what is very unlikely to happen) .

    “I never saw one get hit and not suffer a catastrophic kill (as well as T55s/62s & 72s).”

    Are you sure that these poor tanks had not exploded later after the fire had covered the ammunition ? Statistically, in the most cases the reason of a”catastrophic kill ” is a further fire, not the instantaneous explosion.

    Penetration does not guarantee the exposion of ammo storage. The chance to hit the autoloader’s cassete for instant detonation is even more hardly probable.

    • majr0d

      Nope, I watched tanks get hit followed by half a second before the turret came off or the hatches were blown open. Quite different from heat buildup exploding additional ammo.

      You really should put all your posts in one spot. I can’t chase and address all your propaganda all over the place.

      When a DU round goes in one side of a T72 and comes out the other 3T’s of additional armor (all over the tank) isn’t going to fix your problem. Best case is the round won’t have enough energy to punch out of a whole second layer of armor (the other side). Still plenty of energy to penetrate and rattle around. Keep convincing yourself that Russian armor is better than it is. We’re counting on it ;)

  • Stratege

    “BTW, ERA has no impact on kinetic energy rounds.”

    Only the first generation of ERA (Kontakt-1) had minimal impact on KE.

    The second generation ERA(Kontank-5) neutralize ~20% of the KE penetration.

    The third generation ERA neutralize 40% and even more than 50% of the KE penetrator impact. The typicall 3rd gen ERA are Russian “Relikt”, “Kaktus”, Ukrainian “Nozh”and “Nozh-2” .

    “Tanks don’t carry full loads of any one type of round. Not a rationale basic load.”

    True. My argument was that tanks has no technical limitation to full load with gun-launched ATGMs.

    ATGM is the specialized long range AT ammution and can’t fully replace APFSDS rounds. Thats why a typical load is no more than 4 ATGMs.

    “A missile may be as effective as a main gun round but three vs. 30/min for a well trained crew”

    30/Min sounds like a too much… optimistic fire rate for human loader.

    “doesn’t mean the missile launcher lives very long. (Not to mention time of flight).”

    At long ranges (exceeding APFSDS range) the missile launhers lives long.

  • kski

    Sounds more like a knock off Soviet T-72 or T-80.

  • Caveqat

    The sino republic was reported in the late 00’s to have planned by 15 to have their own gps system up and running, just in case of conflict. And to have the ability to take out conventional or us based GPS.

  • Roland

    Probably that is a good idea for our (USA) air, land and sea defense.