MoND line drawing of the Type 97 (baseline version, 1998)
|Type||Main battle tank|
|Manufacturer||Hsiao Motor Corporation|
|Operators|| Jeunese Army|
Akimonadi Imperial Army
Royal Shansekian Army
|Number in service||>9500|
|Unit cost||$8.25 million USD (36,400Ỵ)|
|Length|| 7.34 m (hull)|
10.26 m (gun forward)
|Crew||3 (commander, gunner, driver)|
|Armour|| Shoupai system|
Shujex anti-spall liner
provision for Jiechu-3 ERA
|120mm WQ101 L/55 smoothbore|
| WQ99 7.62 mm coaxial minigun|
remote M2 12.7 mm machine gun (pintle mount)
|Engine|| Turbocharged 1500 hp (1119 kW) Hsiao DX 1245-10 V-12 engine|
2 kW AB-1-P30 auxiliary power unit
|Transmission||Epicyclic automatic 6-gear transmission|
|Suspension||Active hydraulic suspension|
|Fuel Capacity||1,000 L (264 gal) in main fuel tank; 1,760 L (465 gal) with auxiliary 380 L drums|
| 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)
|Ground clearance||variable; 52 cm standard|
|Power-to-Weight Ratio||24.3 hp/tonne|
The Type 97 (97式主戰坦克; pinyin: 97 shì Zhǔ Zhàn Tǎnkè), also known as the ZTZ-97 (for 戰坦克，主, or literally "Battle tank, Main") is the latest Jeunese main battle tank design. Developed from the Type 82, the Type 97 entered service in the Jeunese Army in 1997. It is manufactured by the Hsiao Motor Corporation.
The government of Jeuna approved funds for the ZTS-88 project in 1988, and in 1993, prototypes of the tank were delivered by Hsiao Defence, who based it on their earlier Type 82 tank, and Ban Motors, armed with licence-built versions of the 120 mm WQ82 gun. The Hsiao Defence design was accepted by the Ministry of National Defence, and the tank went into production in 1996. It entered service in the Jeunese Army in 1997, receiving its designation of Type 97/ZTZ-97. Approximately 2,500 Type 97s were produced from 1996–2000.
About 7,000 Type 97UP were produced from 2001–2004, and included the addition of the Hou Yi APS, replacement of L/44 WQ82 with the WQ101 L/55 and replacement of the Type 77 7 mm machine gun with a WQ99 mingun. Further upgrades came with the Type 97D, produced from 2005–2008, which included a new Battle Management System with centralised data recovery from remote UAVs linked to the tactical net, and enhanced processing power for the computers. All Jeunese Type 97s are of the Type 97D standard.
The armour of the Type 97 (codenamed 手牌; pinyin: Shǒupái) is composed of a layer of Shujex-reinforced boron carbide<sup.1</sup> with tungsten rod inserts (in the turret mantle and glacis), backed by boronated polyethylene to provide protection from radiological weapons and sandwiched between two blended metal2 plates with bricked titanium nitride-cored tantalum carbide inserts. The back of the armour system is supported by angled (33°) titanium strut-supported honeycombing and surrounded entirely by 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%. While tanks do not normally have so much titanium in their construction, Jeuna's mineral resources allow an economical use—however, replacement abroad may prove to be a problem with the Akimonadi tanks.
The front, side and top armour can be protected by appliqué Jiechu-3 ERA, a third-generation Jeunese explosive reactive armour. The add-on mantle pieces which form extra composite armour can be removed as needed, though standard practice in Jeuna is to leave them attached. The Type 97 is also commonly equipped with slat (or cage) armour on the rear, to guard against RPGs and other anti-tank weapons. Although the Type 97 already possesses formidable passive protection in its armour scheme, it is worth noting that its low profile, at only 2.2 metres tall, gives it an edge over other, larger tanks, while being able to compete on-par with their lethality.
The main gun of the Type 97 is a conventional WQ101 smoothbore tank gun, produced under license by Cui Armaments. While previously armed with the WQ82, a forty-four-calibre 120mm tank gun, newer versions since the Type 97UP variant up-armed the Type 97 to deal with newer, more powerful penetrators and tank guns used worldwide. The electro-thermal chemical WQ89 was natively developed by Cui Armaments to address the same problem, but the performance of the WQ101 was deemed acceptable in increased penetration ability and adopted instead, with the WQ89 thought to be too expensive and exotic to be worthwhile, with the gun severely overweight. However, the Jeunese Army, with the maturation of ETC and capacitor technology, is currently reconsidering the WQ89 project, with tentative plans to order a test batch of the Type 97 tanks with the WQ89 mounted, but sustainability concerns have largely dominated Jeunese tank doctrine, focusing instead on inventive propellants and penetrator constructions rather than adopting ETC technology. Unfortunately, many of these propellant schemes have such a large energy density that they decrease the number of firable rounds dramatically.
The WQ101 is coupled with a bustle-style autoloader, which holds 18 rounds. 22 rounds are stored in a separate area in the rear of the crew compartment, in front of the engine. The armoured box is lined with Shujex and equipped with a simple latching door and blow-off panels to vent the force of an ammunition cook-off up and 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 WQ101 is able to fire several types of ammunition, including HEAT, tungsten APFSDS, squash-head high-explosive, canister and FAE-T, using electronic tags to identify each shell. The WQ101 is fitted with a cylindrical thermal shroud and bulged bore evacuator of glass-reinforced plastic, which sacrifices a higher mass extinction coefficient and smaller front-aspect radar cross-section for a lighter weight and more efficient heat and propellant exhaust dispersal. The tank commander 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 munitions for future tanks.
The Type 97 is equipped with two machine guns, a WQ99 gas-powered coaxial 7.62 mm minigun, slaved to the gunner and an M2 12.7 mm anti-aircraft and infantry-suppression machine gun in a remote weapons station, slaved to the tank commander. The WQ99's gas power scheme gives it more agility than other electrically-powered guns of the same type, but requires a tank of petrol where there would be a battery.
The turret is further equipped with two sets of six electrically-operated 64 mm 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, for an electronic counter-measure, although Jeunese smoke grenades also incorporate anti-radar countermeasures into their smoke dispersal systems. The provision for three Type 92 rifles and survival supplies is included inside the tank body, should the crew need to disembark in hostile territory.
The Type 97, as it was originally conceived, did not incorporate active defensive measures. However, during the modernization project for the tank, it became apparent to Hsiao Defence 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 defence mechanisms. The first addition was the inclusion of the Hou Yi grenade-launching active protection system, in 2001.
Aiming and other sights
The Type 97 is equipped with a ballistic-trajectory fire-control computer, utilising data computed from the gunner's infra-red/night-vision sight, configurable for optical zoom anywhere between 2× and 10× (2.5 kilometre range for night-vision mode, yielding a field of vision of 8° at 10×, and 70° at 2×). The computer can track up to 12 targets at one time, though can engage only one at a time. The sight 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; target discrimination of 20 m at maximum range), crosswind sensor, a gimbal static cant sensor (calculating gun trunnion cant), boresight alignment, and sensors computing barrel temperature data, firing angle, air temperature and speed, barometric pressure, ammunition type data (retrieved from electronic tags on the rounds) and temperature, target speed and angular motion, and other relevant variables. 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.
The Type 97 is powered by a 1,500-horsepower (1,119-kilowatt) Hsiao DX 1245-10 12-cylinder 4-stroke 45L diesel engine, developed from the Hsiao DX 1240, using a rear mid-engine, rear-wheel drive layout. It has 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.
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; the drive sprocket is located at the rear and an idle 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, designed to provide superior traction in wet or snowy climates.
Variants and upgrades
- Type 97 (baseline): Production started in 1997, includes addition of 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 and replacement of 7.62 mm machine gun with WQ99 mingun.
- Type 97D (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.
- HJS-99: 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).
- ZTG-97: Armoured recovery vehicle
- ZTJ-97 Heixiong Engineering Vehicle: Engineering vehicle specifically designed for breaching defences.
- Dongbao II: Remote-controlled mine-clearing vehicle, with turret removed and fitted with a mine-roller.
- QFZ-97: Tank-launched bridge.
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 Hsiao-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 Hsiao 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.
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 system. The Type 97 comes with a "TankMate" armoured tea kettle, made by the Smiling Chef Company.
- Acceleration: 0–200 m in 18 s
- 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: 10° per second
- Traverse rate: 22° per second
- Rate of fire: 10 rounds/min
- Sustained: 120 rounds/hour
- Barrel life: 54 rounds at min., 260 with normal propellants
- Fording depth: 1.2 m unprepared/5 m with snorkel
- Trench width: 2.75 m
- Vertical obstacle: 0.85 m
- Maximum gradient: 35° (60%)
- Maximum tilt: 22° (40%)
- Jeuna: The Jeunese Army has 7,000 Type 97Ds in stock, in addition to an aggregate total of n ZTG-97 ARVs, ZTJ-97 Heixiong Engineering Vehicles, Dongbao II mine-clearing vehicles and QFZ-97 Youhuan tank-launched bridges in the Pioneer Corps.
- Template:AKI: 2,500 (currently in reserve)
- Template:SHA: 54
References and notes
- Using a ratio of ~6.2 B4:1 C to increase ductility beyond tradtional 4:1 ratios and provide better protection.
- Sintered tungsten/titanium carbide base, which also provides some radiological protection, bonded with fibrous zinc.
|Main Battle Tanks: | ARAY | Caprelli | Carrion | AY1-1A Arctos | AY2-1B Panthera Uncia | AY2-1E Panthera Tigris | AY2-1L Panthera Leo | ChallengerTCN 2 | Chuck Norris | Cougar | Crusader | Dreyden | Galm | Geraldric | Guardian | Kodiak | Luxorhynchus | Ma-54 | Mekhev | Merina | Ocnus | Phalanx | Punisher | Red Cloud | Sabre | Salamander | Saracen | Indigenschen | Scorpion (Phoenix Militia) | Scorpion (Noders) | Smilodon | Stadtholder | T-10 | T-12 | T-140 | Talon | TK-17 | Type 42 | Type 97 | Viper | Warrior | Warspider | W-IV | Z-34|
|Light Tanks: | Ashurbanipal | Borhyena | Colonial (Light) | Grozynj | Otter | Predator | T-8 Sprite|
|Heavy Tanks: | AAV-10 | Colonial (Heavy) | Lion/Puma | Megalania | Merkava VK | Samson | Scorpion | T-2 Savage | T-11 | Type 40|
|Super-Heavy Tanks: | Morrigan|
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