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Type 98 Main Battle Tank
ZTZ-98 / WZ-123
The Type 98 was first introduced to the public during the parade on October 1, 1999, marking the 50th Anniverary of the founding of the People's
Republic China. While initially confused as the Type 96, further study revealed that the 18 tanks on display during the parade were in fact a member
of the Type 80 family of Chinese Main Battle Tanks.
The Type 98, also known as the WZ-123 MBT, is based on the Russian T-72 and even features a hull design similar to the Russian tank.
The Type 98 program is believed to have begun sometime in the early 1990s as the Chinese explored design changes to the Type 90-II.
Armed with a 125mm smoothbore main gun fed by a carousel autoloader the Type 98 weighs roughly fifty tons and is powered by a new 1200-hp diesel
While the hull of the Type 98 resembles the T-72, the turret does not, instead it is "box-like". The turret front is slightly sloped and angled,
with the turret sides being nearly vertical, and the turret roof has a slightly domed appearance. The Type 98's turret is larger than those of
previous Chinese tanks, and extends forward, creating a gap between the lower edge of the turret and the hull deck.
The main gun's fire control system is fitted with a stablized independent sight for the commander.
The Type 98 also includes some type of previously unknown active self-defense system. The two components of this active self defense system are
mounted on the turret roof. The LWR (Laser Warning Receiver) is mounted behind commander's hatch, and a high-powered laser weapon mounted behind
gunner's hatch which is employed against the source of the enemy's laser illumination.
There is speculation that the Type 98's armor is either based on, or is influenced by Russia's T-80U MBT. This is based on similarities found in the
two tanks, including cavities in the turret's frontal armor which are covered by plates, placed flush and bolted to the turret's roof.