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Jaguar MBT

A bizarre product of the Cold War and international relationships, the Jaguar was a joint US-Chinese product to produce a modernized Type 59. From a political standpoint, such an undertaking would have been virtually unimaginable, if not for the “Detente” policy established in the 1970s. The objective of this policy was to better-stabilize the global balance of power, by enhancing China’s status into a sort of a “buffer state” between the US and the USSR. Among other things, this involved the transfer of US military technology to China; the Jaguar was part of this legacy.  

Though its development had been a complete success (despite the political turmoil that rocked it) no orders for Jaguars were ever placed. The glutted market of used tanks after the Cold War, frequently seeing fully-operational tanks sold at scrap value, effectively doomed the project.

Development

Development of the Jaguar began at some time in the mid-1980s, and was formally announced in late 1988. The two main contributors were Cadillac Gage in USA, and the China National Machinery & Equipment Import & Export Corporation in China. Cadillac Gage was provided with two Type 59 MBTs (below) by China to reduce both development time and cost. Though the Jaguar was already fully planned-out by mid-1989, the political fallout of Tienanmen Square forced the US and Chinese teams to part company, and China apparently lost interest in the project. Undaunted, Cadillac Gage continued development of the Jaguar alone, finally combining the hull and turret in October 1989.

Description

In its assembly, the Jaguar was every bit as perplexing as the project that spawned it, being a Chinese tank upgraded with US technology, based on a tank designed in the Soviet Union, and armed with a main gun originally developed in Britain. The layout of the Jaguar is conventional with the driver’s compartment at the front, fighting compartment and turret in the center and engine and transmission at the rear. An additional layer of armor protection has been applied to the chassis and turret. The driver is seated at the front left and is provided with a single-piece hatch cover and day periscopes, one of which can be replaced by a passive night vision periscope. The main gun possess a fume extractor and thermal sleeve. A M2 Browning MG is mounted on the roof for AA defense. The prototype Jaguar is based on a modified Type 59 chassis with five road wheels, idler at the front and drive sprocket at the rear and two track-return rollers. The upper part of the running gear is covered with a rubber skirt. The prototype Jaguar has upgraded torsion bars which give increased vertical wheel travel.

Weaponry

The main armament is an M68 rifled 105mm gun that fires standard NATO ammunition and is fitted with an HR Textron Incorporated hydroelectrical gun control and stabilization system. The main armament is fully stabilized and enables the Jaguar to engage stationary or moving targets when it is stationary or moving with a high first round hit probability. Stabilization error is less than 0.75 mil depending on the terrain being traversed at the time.

A coaxial 7.62mm MG is mounted coaxially to the right of the main gun and a M2 Browning MG is fitted to the roof. Each side of the turret has a bank of four smoke dischargers

Armor

The exact qualities of the Jaguar’s armor are classified, though it is easily much better-protected than most T-55 variants. Other noteworthy protection features include an automatic carbon dioxide fire suppression system, spall liners, an armored ammunition compartment, provisions for ERA, and several optional NBC systems (including overpressure systems).

Specs

  • Crew - 4
  • Armament - 1x 105-mm gun, 1x 7.62-mm MG, 1 x 12.7-mm MG, 2x 4 smoke dischargers
  • Length - ~6 m
  • Width - 3.1 m
  • Height - 2.6 m
  • Engine - Detroit Diesel 8V-92TA diesel developing 720 hp
  • Speed - 55 km/h
  • Range - 540 km
  • Armor - classified; steel/composite

Type 80 MBT

The Type 80 is a Chinese second-generation main battle tank developed in the early 1980s. It was the result of Russia’s increasing superiority in tank technology, with the debut of the T-64 and T-72, as well as contemporary Western designs. The Type 80 would enter service in 1980, despite not being designed until 1981, and would serve with the PLA until its retirement in 2005. Currently the PLA has around 1000 Type 80s in service around the Beijing Military Region.

Development

Whilst the earlier Type 69 was a development of the Type 59, the Type 80 was a brand new design. Responding to increasingly superior foreign tank designs, the Type 80 must be capable of matching or come near to matching, foreign tank capabilities. Development began in earnest in 1981, resulting in the WZ-122 (above) prototype. The WZ-122 would be refined into the Type 80, as well as the Type 85 and Type 90 prototypes.

Description

The Type 80 possess a well-sloped glacis with a splash-board running horizontally across mid-way up. Unlike the Type 59 & 69, there is no exhaust outlet on the left side of the hull. The hull has been redesigned hull, and  is longer comparing with the Type 69. Long range fuel drums and unditching equipment is often carried on hull rear. The circular turret is similar to the export version of the Type 69 and has curved sides with the loader’s cupola on the right with a 12.7mm AA MG. A cage-type stowage basket runs around the rear of the turret. Four smoke dischargers are on either side. The main gun has a thermal sleeve and fume extractor. Suspension has six road wheels with a gap between the 1st/2nd and 2nd/3rd road wheels. The upper part of the suspension is covered with a skirt.

Weaponry

The main gun is a copy of the standard NATO L7/M68 105-mm rifled gun and fires standard NATO ammunition produced under license in China. The gun can be elevated from -4 degrees to +18 under full power control. There is no provision for an auto-loader, so the gun must be manually reloaded. A coaxial 7.62mm MG is mounted next to the main gun and a 12.7mm AA MG is located on the loader’s cupola. A computerized fire-control system is fitted and features a laser rangefinder for the gunner.

Armor

The Type 80′s armor is of an unknown thickness, but is primarily steel for both the hull and turret. In the improved Type 88 version of the Type 80, there are provisions though for mounting composite armor on the glacis plate and standoff armor around the turret for increased survivability (below).

Major Variants

  1. Type 80-II - New NBC system and fire controls
  2. Type 85-II -  Equipped with new locally produced 105mm gun and intended for export. The engine power upgraded from 730 hp to 800. Also known as Storm-2.
  3. Type 85-IIAP - Prototype with Type 80-II chassis and the Type 85-II turret.  Armed with 125mm gun with autoloader reducing the crew size. Pakistan ordered several hundred
  4. Type 88 - Based on Type 80 design. Front storage racks on turret removed to fit ERA 
  5. Type 88C - Also known as Type 96. 125mm smoothbore gun capable of firing ATGMs. JSFCS-212 fire control system with laser rangefinder, ballistics computer, stabilized gunner’s sight and dual-axis gun stabilization. 

Specs

  • Crew - 4
  • Armament - 1x 105-mm gun, 1x 7.62-mm MG, 1 x 12.7-mm MG, 2x 4 smoke dischargers
  • Length - 6.2 m
  • Width - 3.3 m
  • Height - 2.2 m
  • Engine - V-12 Model VR36 diesel, developing 730hp at 2000 rpm
  • Speed - 65km/h
  • Range - 430 km
  • Armor - classified; steel/composite

Sauce

  1. Foss, Christopher F. “Jane’s Tank Recognition Guide” (1st ed), 2006