China reveals upgrade T96B tanks with improved engines and electronics

China North Industries Corporation (Norinco), has developed a new variant of its Type 96 (ZTZ-96) main battle tank (MBT) in time to participate in the 30 July to 16 August International Army Games organized by the Russian Ministry of Defense.

At least five T-96Bs arrived in Russia on 7 July to take part in the Masters of Automobile and Tank Hardware competition, according to Russian media reports. The ‘Tank Biathlon’ portion of this competition received wide coverage in Chinese state media last year when Norinco’s 50-tonne T-96A MBT was allowed to participate.

Except for an improved ventilation system, the T-96B appears to show no visible changes to the turret, optical sensors or main 125 mm gun armament.

Unconfirmed Chinese reports indicate that computer and digital communication systems have been improved, allowing tank commanders to benefit from common integrated intelligence of the battlefield processed at higher levels of command.

The reports also point to improvements reportedly made to the T-96B’s engine, exhaust system, suspension, and running wheels.

The engine and new rear-mounted exhaust system appear to have benefited from those developed for Norinco’s VT-4 export MBT. If this is the case, the T-96B may have a 1,200 hp liquid-cooled diesel engine.

Images have emerged of a new variant of Norinco’s Type 96 (ZTZ-96) main battle tank. Source: CJDBY website