Armor: October 23, 2001


China has been building it's own tanks for many years and, fortunately, not very good ones. After receiving some Russian T-55s in the 1950s, China began turning out copies, and later variants of that Soviet era design. The fist copy of the T-55 was the T-59, and this was built into the 1990s. China still has over 5,000 of them and thousands more are in use in nations that can't afford anything better. In the early 1980s, an improved (in many small details) T-59 was introduced. The T-69 is still in production, but mostly for export. China only has about 500 of them. Later in the 1980s, the T-80 was introduced. This was a new design, that used a NATO standard 105mm gun and better fire control. Few were built, and China has only 400. A further development of this tank, the T-85, had a Russian type 125mm gun and an auto-loader. Roughly comparable to the 1960s US M-60 and Russian T-72, the T-85 is still in low level production. China has a few hundred of them. Another new T-72 clone, the T-90 was shown in 1999. This is thought to be in limited production.


Article Archive

Armor: Current 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close