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Main Battle Tank (MBT)

The NORINCO Type 80 became the first Chinese 2nd Generation tank system.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Edited: 7/7/2017
National Flag Graphic


Year: 1985
Manufacturer(s): China NORth INdustries COmpany (NORINCO) - China
Production: 3,000
Capabilities: Tank vs Tank; Main Battle Tank (MBT); Frontline;
Crew: 4
Length: 30.58 ft (9.32 m)
Width: 11.06 ft (3.37 m)
Height: 7.51 ft (2.29 m)
Weight: 42 tons (38,000 kg); 83,776 lb
Power: 1 x V-12 Model VR36 diesel engine developing 730 horsepower at 2,000 rpm.
Speed: 40 mph (65 kph)
Range: 267 miles (430 km)
Operators: China; Myanmar
The Chinese Army Type 80 Main Battle Tank (MBT) is a further development of its Type 69 MBT of 1982, itself an outgrowth of the Soviet-era T-54A model series. Changes to the Type 80 over the Type 69 include an all-new, lengthened hull design with composite armor support as well as the turret system of the Type 79 MBT series with its 105mm L7-based rifled main gun. The Fire Control System (FCS) (with laser rangefinder) is taken from the Type 69-II model while Side steel skirts protect the important upper components of the running gear which were left open on the Type 69. The crew remains four - driver, commander, gunner and loader - while secondary armament consists of a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun in the turret and 12.7mm Anti-Aircraft machine gun on the turret roof. Smoke grenade dischargers are fitted in two banks along the frontal turret sides.

The Type 80 became the first "Second Generation" quality Chinese Army tank. Its manufacture was handled by China NORth INdustries COrporation (NORINCO).

The Type 80 showcases an operating weight of 38 tons and overall length of 9.3 meters with a width of 3.4 meters and height of 2.3 meters. Power is served through a single 12150L-7BW diesel-fueled engine located at the back of the hull. Road speeds can reach 60 kmh with an operating range out to 430 kilometers. The vehicle seats the driver front-left with the remaining three crew in the powered turret. Forty-four 105mm projectiles are carried. The running gear includes six double tired road wheels to a track side with a rear-mounted drive sprocket and front-mounted track idler. Amphibious travel is possible by way of a snorkel and an external fuel tank improves operation ranges. Cross-country travel is aided by the torsion bar suspension system common to all modern Soviet/Chinese tanks.

The Type 80 has been evolved in few recognized variants including the Type 80-II with its improved FCS, NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) suite and internal storage space. The Type 80-III has also been mentioned as a possible variant. The ZTZ-88B is a Type 80-III-based variant with a longer-ranged 105mm main gun system. The Type 85-II is an all-new design based on the Type 80-II, given an improved turret with modular armor support. Its command tank variant is the Type 85-IIA featuring additional navigational aids and communications equipment.

Myanmar is listed as the only foreign operator of the Type 80 line. Our production total of 3,000 is estimated.


1 x 105mm rifled main gun
1 x 12.7mm anti-aircraft machine gun
1 x 7.62mm coaxial machine gun
2 x 4 smoke dischargers

44 x 105mm projectiles
500 x 12.7mm ammunition
2,250 x 7.62mm ammmunition
8 x smoke grenades

Variants / Models

• Type 80 - Base production model
• Type 80-II - Improved Type 80 base with laser range-finder; Improved NBC protection; Increased storage.
• Type 80-III
• ZTZ-88B - Type 80-III base model with longer-ranged 105mm main gun.
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