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Type 97
Type 97
Type Main battle tank
Place of origin Flag of Jeuna Jeuna
Service history
Used by Jeunese Army
Production history
Manufacturer Hsaio Motor Corp.
Unit cost 7.2 million ($10.25 million USD)
Produced 1997–present
Number built >1250
Specifications
Weight 61.8 tonnes (68 short tons)
Length 7.74 m (25.4 ft); 10.3 m (33.8 ft) gun forward
Width 3.8 m (12.5 ft)
Height 2.44 m (8.0 ft)
Crew 3 (commander, gunner, driver)

Primary
armament
120mm WQ96 120 mm L/55 smoothbore
Secondary
armament
WQ99 7.62 mm coaxial minigun
remote M2 12.7 mm machine gun
Engine Turbocharged 1500 hp (1119 kW) HM DX 1245 Yo-11 4-stroke V-12
2 kW AB-1-P30 auxiliary power unit
Power/weight 24.3 hp/tonne
Transmission Epicyclic automatic 6-gear transmission
Suspension Active hydraulic
Ground clearance variable; 52 cm (20.5 in) standard
Fuel capacity 1,000 L (264 gal) in main fuel tank; 1,760 L (465 gal) with auxiliary 380 L drums
Operational
range
440 km (275 mi) on main tank
770 km (480 mi) with auxiliary drums
Speed Road: 67 km/h (42 mph)
Cross-country: 50 km/h (31 mph)

The Type 97 (Chinese: 97式主戰坦克) is the latest Jeunese main battle tank design. Developed from the Type 89, the Type 97 entered service in the Jeunese Army in 1998. It is manufactured by Hsaio Motor Corporation (originally a joint project between General Dynamics and Hsaio).

Production historyEdit

The Type 97 design was derived from the earlier Type 89, which in turn had been based on the American M1A1. The prototype, developed by the Hsaio Motor Corporation, identified several weaknesses of the Type 89, and suggested solutions to fix these vulnerabilities.

The government of Jeuna approved the project in 1995, and in 1995–1996, the tank, then named the XT-95, underwent testing. The tank went into production in 1997, and entered service in the Jeunese Army in 1998. Since then, approximately 206 such tanks have been manufactured, all operated by the Jeunese Army, although it is available for export to other nations.

Design featuresEdit

ArmorEdit

The armor of the Type 97 (codenamed 手牌; pinyin: shǒupái) is composed of a layer of Shujex-reinforced titanium carbide with tungsten and depleted uranium rod inserts, backed by boronated polyethylene to provide protection from radiological weapons and sandwiched between two blended metal plates with bricklike ceramic inserts. The back of the armor system is supported by angled titanium honeycombing and surrounded entirely by angled steel plates. An anti-spalling layer of Shujex is included as a final backing. The driver controls the tank in a supine position, allowing for a frontal glacis plate slope of 70%.

The front, side and top armor is protected by appliqué Jiechu-3 ERA, a third-generation Jeunese explosive reactive armor. This was upgraded to heavy ERA (Jiechu-4) in 2001. The turret and glacis plate, taking a cue from the Abrams, has been reinforced with depleted uranium. The Type 97 is also commonly equipped with slat (or cage) armor on the rear. The armor equivalences are listed below, in millimeters of RHAe.

  • Turret
    • Mantle: 1,000mm RHAe vs. CE (w/ ERA), 625mm RHAe vs. KE (w/ ERA)
    • Front: 905mm RHAe vs. CE (w/ ERA), 565mm RHAe vs. KE (w/ ERA)
    • Side: 760mm RHAe vs. CE (w/ ERA), 475mm RHAe vs. KE (w/ ERA)
    • Rear: 315mm RHAe vs. CE (w/ ERA), 195mm RHAe vs. KE (w/ ERA)
    • Top: 190mm RHAe vs. CE (w/ ERA), 120mm RHAe vs. KE (w/ ERA)
  • Hull
    • Glacis: 520mm RHAe vs. CE (w/ ERA), 325mm RHAe vs. KE (w/ ERA)
    • Side: 420mm RHAe vs. CE (w/ ERA), 260mm RHAe vs. KE (w/ ERA)
    • Rear: 225mm RHAe vs. CE (w/ ERA), 140mm RHAe vs. KE (w/ ERA)
    • Top: 160mm RHAe vs. CE (w/ ERA), 100mm RHAe vs. KE (w/ ERA)
    • Undercarriage: 100mm RHAe vs. CE (w/ ERA), 65mm RHAe vs. KE (w/ ERA)

ArmamentEdit

Main armamentEdit

The main gun of the Type 97 is a conventional WQ96 120 mm smoothbore tank gun, produced by Cui Armaments. The WQ96 is coupled with a bustle-style autoloader, which holds 18 rounds. 22 rounds are stored in the rear of the crew compartment, in front of the engine compartment, in a separate compartment lined with Shujex and equipped with a simple latching door and blow-off panels to vent the force of an explosion away from the crew. The autoloader enables the Type 97 to fire at a rate of up to 10 rounds per minute, or one round every six seconds. The WQ96 is able to fire several types of ammunition, including HEAT, tungsten APFSDS, MPAT (Multi-Purpose Anti-Tank), canister and FAE-T. The WQ98 is used with a metal thermal shroud. The tank commander, as in other tanks, has the ability to override the main gun and take control from the gunner.

The Jeunese Army is looking into making its own version of the ROK-made KSTAM or American STAFF[1] munitions for future tanks.

Secondary armamentEdit

The Type 97 is equipped with two machine guns:

  • WQ99 gas-powered coaxial 7.62 mm minigun (slaved to gunner)
  • M2 12.7 mm machine gun (slaved to commander)

The turret is further equipped with two sets of six smoke grenade launchers in front of the side-mounted cargo boxes, in addition to the ability to generate smoke through the engine. The launchers can also be loaded with grenades releasing chaff. The provision for three BZ-98 rifles is included in the tank body.

CountermeasuresEdit

The Type 97, as it was originally conceived, did not incorporate defensive measures. However, during the modernization project for the tank, it became apparent to Hsaio Defense that to ensure the tank's survival in a modern combat scenario, it would have to be fitted with several hard-kill and soft-kill defense mechanisms. The first addition was the inclusion of the Hou Yi grenade-launching active protection system, in 2001.

Aiming and other sightsEdit

The Type 97 is equipped with a ballistic-trajectory fire-control computer, utilising data computed from the gunner's infra-red/night-vision (2.5 km range for NV mode; field of vision: 8° 10× 60° 3×) sight. It can be configured to display range, lead angle and the type of ammunition loaded. These three components are determined using a laser rangefinder (6,000 m range; accuracy to within 10 m and target discrimination of 20 m), crosswind sensor, a pendulum static cant sensor, boresight alignment and barrel temperature data, air temperature, barometric pressure, ammunition type data (retrieved from electronic tags on the rounds), ammunition temperature and target speed. In addition to the gunner's sight, the Commander's Panoramic Sight can be used to spot targets and pass them along to the gunner.

The driver is equipped with two day-time periscopes and one night-vision intensifying periscope, providing a field of view of 120°.

As a redundant measure, the Type 97 comes equipped with an auxiliary manual sight for the gunner, boresighted to the main gun. Turret traversing can be handled via manual hydraulic controls in the event of a fire-control system malfunction.

MobilityEdit

The Type 97 is powered by a 1,500-horsepower (1,119-kilowatt) HM DX 1245 Yo-11 12-cylinder 4-stroke 45L diesel engine, and a six-speed (four forward, two reverse) epicyclic/planetary automatic transmission, utilizing a torque converter, giving it a governed top speed of 67 km/h (42 mph). With the governor deleted, the tank can reach speeds up to 100 km/h, although such high speeds will damage the transmission and tracks. The tank's exhaust, which exits the hull via three rear-mounted grilles, is cooled, to reduce the tank's thermal signature. The fuel tanks are placed above the actual hull, so that they must be jettisoned before entering combat, because they limit turret traversing.

The Type 97 is also equipped with a 2 kW AB-1-P30 diesel auxiliary power unit, for use when the tank is idling and for re-charging the tank's batteries.

SuspensionEdit

The Type 97 relies on an upgraded suspension system, incorporating several positions by manipulating its front, center and rear bogies. To accomplish this, the Type 97 is equipped with independent hydraulic suspension manipulators, installed on every bogie on the tracks. This system gives the tank the ability not only to raise or lower itself, but to "lean" to one side or another. The hydraulic nature of the system makes it somewhat heavier than electrical systems, but is more durable, cheaper and simpler to manufacture. This active suspension is used in conjunction with a dual (fore and rear) torsion-bar assembly. The Type 97 has two pairs of seven roadwheels, with a gap between the first and second on each track; the drive sprocket is located at the rear and an idler compensator at the fore. There are three return rollers on the top of the track assembly. The tracks themselves are composed of vulcanized rubber blocks or, alternatively, removable rubber pads, both designed to provide superior traction in wet or snowy climates.

Variants and upgradesEdit

  • Type 97 (baseline): Production started in 1997, includes addition of ERA and GPS and improved armour system.
  • Type 97UP (Upgrade Package): Production started in 2001, includes addition of Hou Yi APS, replacement of L/44 with L/55, replacement of ERA with heavy ERA and replacement of 7.62 mm machine gun with WQ23 mingun.
  • Type 97-D (Digital): 2005; includes addition of new Battle Management System with centralised data recovery from remote UAVs linked to the tactical net, and enhanced processing power.
  • Type 97E (ZGC-06): Engineering variant; turret replaced with 165mm demolition gun and heavy-lift boom crane. Includes addition of 375A arc-welder.
  • QFZ-06: Turret deleted and replaced with launchable bridge.
  • HJS-03: Turret deleted and replaced with 218 mm-rocket 8-cell launcher. Can be fitted with all current Jeunese tactical rockets, including FAE, armour-defeating munitions (ADM) and the LEISA mine-scattering rocket. The HJS-03 can also utilise inert training rockets, and is designed to be able to fire the Type 91 missile (a variant of the MGM-140 designed by Lockheed).

CamouflageEdit

The Type 97 comes in several types of camouflage, as is customary for Jeunese military vehicles. In addition to the standard NATO black-green-brown, there is also the Hsaio-specific desert, jungle, tropical, grassland/prairie, Arctic, woodland (variants 1 and 2, in order of increasing darkness) and urban schemes. Not all are in use by the Jeunese, but Hsaio provides the options for foreign militaries that may operate in those terrains. In addition to the painted camouflage, there is also a camouflage net contained in the bustle rack.

Miscellaneous notesEdit

The Type 97 is equipped with an automatic halon fire extinguisher, a self-dig-in blade, deep fording equipment, mine clearing equipment, electronic countermeasures system and an IFF/SIF[2] system. The Type 97 comes with a "TankMate" armored coffeemaker, made by the Smiling Chef Company.

  • Track: 7.5 m x 48 cm; 103 links per track
  • Ground pressure: 0.86 kg/cm²
  • Mileage: 2.26 L per km (road) / 4.8 L per km (offroad) / 12.28 L per km (idle)
  • Main gun elevation: -9/+20°
  • Elevation rate: 30° per second
  • Traverse rate: 22° per second
  • Rate of fire: 10 rounds/min
  • Sustained: 120 rounds/hour
  • Barrel life: 54 rounds
  • Fording depth: 1.2 m unprepared/5 m with snorkel
  • Trench width: 2.75 m
  • Vertical obstacle: 0.95 m
  • Maximum gradient: 35° (60%)
  • Maximum tilt: 35°

OperatorsEdit

  • Flag of Jeuna Jeuna: The Jeunese Army operates 206 Type 97s, along with 14 ARVs. An expansion program is intended to expand the Army's stock of tanks to ~800, which will incorporate as-yet-unreleased new features.
  • Flag of Akimonad Akimonad: 2,500
  • Flag of Epsilon Halo Epsilon Halo: 2
  • Flag of Shiloba Shiloba: 200

References and notesEdit

  1. STAFF at Globalsecurity.org
  2. About.com, Department of Defense

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