Chinese Type 96A MBT in Action during the Biathlon World Championship 2014
Photo source: Chinese Internet
A total of 12 nations participated the annual World Tank Biathlon that ended last Saturday in the Moscow region (NATO members did not participate). All competitors used a T-72B tank provided by the organizer, apart from China who are prefer to use their Type 96A (ZTZ-96A).
The championship requires countries to use tanks to emulate an athletic biathlon. Each tank had to finish a 20-kilometer course in the fastest possible time while shooting targets and navigating ridges and water-filled ditches.
It was said that in the beginning, the Indian team was not satisfied that competition wasn't fair because China used their own tanks.
According to various Russian & Chinese reports, the Type 96A shows strengths and obvious weaknesses during the competition. In the single-tank live-fire shooting event, 96A tank fired 19 shells, not only it had the fastest rate of fire, none of the target was missed. It was the only the tank in the competition that hit all targets.
However, the tank underwent a series of problems during the competition. The engine has stopped running a few times due to overheating. Fire-control system malfunctioned after the tank underwent a series of rough terrain (Chinese engineer cannot fix it... needed to replace it with another Type 96A). And lastly, the tracks were broken once while turning during a terrain race, Chinese later discovered that the metal of the track was of poor quality.
This is the first time that we see Chinese tanks in an international competition, guess that China will learn a lot from this and correct these problems in their tanks, participating with their own tank shows that China wants to know the effectiveness their own weapon in a competitively environment. Honestly the result is not impressive, Type 96A is a newer tank compared to the T-72. Simply speaking, it should not have so many problems, mal-functioning of the engine, track, fire control are simply not acceptable in the event of wars.
Wondering is the result if China uses their hidden card... the far superior Type 99?