Armor: October 11, 1999

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China has been building a new tank, called the Type 98. It appears to be a Russian T-72 with a new turret and a lot of new features. The fire control system uses a laser for range finding and, most likely, a computer to calculate where to point the gun. There is probably also a laser warning system (to tell the crew when someone has used their laser range finder on the tank). The Type 98 also appears to have a laser defensive system mounted on the turret that looks like the tripod mounted ZM-87 China has been selling (but without the tripod, of course). This device is a powerful laser used to blind enemy fire control systems and/or their operators. Such devices, that blind enemy soldiers, has been outlawed for American forces, the feeling being that, while it is OK (but regrettable) to kill enemy soldiers, blinding them is cruel and unusual punishment and not the sort of thing American soldiers should be doing. Attempts to make it illegal for enemy troops to use such devices on U.S. troops have been unsuccessful. 

 


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