Type 69-II

Type 69-II – Manufacturer: Takom – Scale: 1/35

Operation Desert Storm 1991 – Iraqi Army

Model by Clayton Ockerby

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A brief history...

type_69-ii_iraq

After the Soviet Union withdrew all assistance from China’s arms industry, (after the Sino-Soviet split of the 60’s), the powers that be in China, instructed Chinese industry to fast-track their own designs for a tank and initially instructed the improvement of the T-54A. This tank would be know as the Type 59 MBT. Unfortunately, this tank proved to be very unpopular and never entered serial production.

Later, in 1969, during a border conflict, the PLA were able to capture a Soviet T-62. Many elements of this tank were reverse engineered and were copied for use on the newly developing Type 69 design.

The Type 69, and type 79, would go on to be the first independently developed Chinese tank. The initial Type 69 was only produced in small numbers as the PLA were underwhelmed with it’s performance. That said, the Type 69 still went on to be one of China’s most successful armoured exports, selling over 2000 vehicles Worldwide.

As political tensions eased between the West and China throughout the 80’s, so too did China’s access to Western technologies. This meant the Type 69 was able to see many upgrades to Western based weapons systems.   This upgraded version received the title of Type 79.

As previously mentioned, the Type 69, was a highly successful export due to the low cost, survivability and simplicity of its’ design. China sold hundreds of these tanks to both sides during the Iran-Iraq War. Many of these vehicles would go on to be used by Saddam Hussein during the Gulf War.

Interestingly by 1991 it was thought that Iraq had upgraded some Type 69s with a 105 mm gun, a 160 mm mortar, and a 125 mm gun with an auto-loader. They had also been reinforced with frontal armour welded on the glacis plate. These upgraded Type 69’s became known as Type 69-QMs.

In 1982, the main production version of the tank would go into production. The Type 69-II. Upgrades included a 100mm rifled Main Gun, and new gun stabilization system. A Type 70 gunner sight, a laser rangefinder and a ballistic computer. Rubber track skirts and double pin track links were included. A key element with the Type 69-II is the BAR armour running around the turret that doubled as storage racks. Two rows of smoke grenade launchers are also added to the turret sides. The steering and clutch system were modified, and an automatic fire detector / extinguisher system was installed.

The Type 69-II also saw a number of vehicles upgraded to a commend version of the tank. This vehicle was fitted with a number of powerful radio sets and an axillary power unit to run them. The command version of the tank can be most easily identified by the long radio aerial and two storage boxes fitting to the rear deck.

There were around 3200 of the Type 69-II produced. The vehicle carried a crew of 4 and had a top speed of 50km/h on the flat. It weighed around 37 tonne and had a range of 420km.

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