Since the past decade, a widespread disinformation campaign has been mounted—both officially and unofficially—to over-hype and over-estimate the manoeuvre warfare capabilities of China’s People’s Liberation Army. The reality, however, belies all such claims. Today, the battle tank inventory of the PLA comprises of three types, with the most prolific being the Type 96A medium battle tank (about 1,500 built to date) that is deployed throughout central and western China, followed by the Type 96B medium battle tank (about 800) that is deployed throughout southern China, and finally the Type 99A heavy main battle tank (about 700 are in service) that is deployed throughout northern China (facing North Korea and Mongolia). The bulk of the PLA’s battle tank inventory is still made up of Type 59II, Type 80 and Type 85IIA medium tanks. The Type 96A’s export designation is VT-2, while that of the Type 96B is VT-4. The Type 99A has yet to be approved for export.
Type 96A/VT-2/MBT-2000 Medium Battle Tank
Type 96B/VT-4/MBT-3000 Medium Battle Tank
Type 99A Main Battle Tank