The Type 85-II Main Battle Tank (MBT) of the Chinese Army is a further evolution of its Type 80 MBT line. Key changes to the new product include an all-new turret design and improved hull armor protection. The tank is outfitted with 1 x 125mm main gun in the true Soviet-style and supports secondary armament of a co-axial 7.62mm machine gun and a turret roof-mounted 12.7mm Anti-Aircraft (AA) Heavy Machine Gun. Unlike the Type 80 - which relies on a full crew complement of four - the Type 85-II takes on an autoloader which reduces the crew commitment to just three - driver, commander and gunner. The drive is seated at front-left with the remaining crew housed in the powered turret. A command tank version - outfitted with navigational aids and increased communications equipment - is the "Type 85-IIA" variant.
The Type 85-II showcases a conventional arrangement as combat tanks go with a centralized turret over the hull, a near-horizontal glacis plate, and a rear-mounted engine. The sides of the running gear and hull are partially protected over in saw-tooth-style steel "skirt" armor. An auxiliary fuel tank can be mounted externally over the rear of the hull for increased operational ranges. The entire vehicle, in typical Soviet design fashion, is of a low-profile approach - making it a harder target to hit at range. Smoke grenade dischargers are found along the frontal sides of the turret provide the vehicle with a self-screening capability as needed. A NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) protection kit is standard equipment as is night vision support. The vehicle can house 40 x 125mm projectiles along with 500 x 12.7mm ammunition, 2,000 x 7.62mm ammunition, and 12 x Smoke grenades.
Power to the vehicle is served through a single V12 supercharged diesel-fueled engine developing 730 horsepower. Coupled with the torsion bar suspension system, the tank can reach speeds of 36 miles-per-hour on roads with ranges up to 310 miles in-theater. Overall weight reaches 45 tons with an overall length of 33.7 feet, a height of 7.5 feet and a width of 11.3 feet.
The Type 85-IIM is a modernized form while the Type 85-IIA/Type 85-IIAP are used to designate a Pakistani Army variant. The Type 85-III is features a more powerful 1,000 horsepower diesel engine and support for Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA) blocks. It is also given a thermal night sighting device and improved Fire Control System (FCS) for firing on-the-move.
Known operators include Pakistan, Sudan, and Uganda.