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Combat vehicles / Fire support vehicles / PTZ89


General Facts

  • TYPE
    Tank destroyer


    Type 89

    1978 - 1982

    447 Factory

    1988 - 1995


    Over 100 built, possibly as much as 230 produced.


    Parts commonality with other PLA vehicles
    Powerful armament
    Good range and high rate of fire
    Limited armor protection
    Non-stabilized fire control
    Rudimentary fire control
    Limited maneuverability


The PTZ89 is a late Cold War era tank destroyer of Chinese origin. It was developed in the early 1980's to provide the Chinese military with a potent anti-tank weapon with a better performance than the cannon that were in service at the moment. Most of the tanks in Chinese service at that moment which were armed with a 100mm cannon. The 120mm smoothbore cannon used in the PTZ89 was to become the main armament of future tanks until a 125mm 2A46 derivative was chosen instead.


The PTZ89 is based on the Type 321 tracked chassis which is also used in several Chinese artillery vehicles including the Type 83 self-propelled howitzer. The driver is seated on the left with the engine and drivetrain to his right. The turret is located at the rear and houses the other three crewmembers. The main armament is not stabilized and usually only fired over the frontal arc. The ammunition is stowed in the rear of the turret and a semi-automatic loader reduces the effort of reloading.


The main armament is a 120mm 50-caliber smoothbore cannon which provides a much better penetration than any cannon in Chinese service at that moment. The gun is connected to a semi-automatic loader which gives a rate of fire of 10 rounds per minute. The effective range against tanks ik 2.5 km, but high explosive shells can be fired out to 9 km in an indirect trajectory. Even though a laser range finder is installed the fire control is considered of low quality. A 12.7mm QJC88 heavy machine gun is mounted on the turret roof for self-defense.


The steel armor is rather thin for a vehicle which must fight tanks within their engagement radius. The armor provides some degree of protection against medium caliber autocannon rounds and full protection against small arms fire and shell splinters. The stowage racks at the turret sides double as a form of slat armor against HEAT warheads. Two banks of four smoke grenade launchers are fitted and a NBC system and fire protection system are fitted as standard.


The tracked chassis provides the PTZ89 with a good off road capability, albeit at low speeds. A 520 hp diesel engine provides propulsion. The maximum speed is 55 km/h on roads and around 30 km/h in the field. The maximum range is 450 km. The chassis does not provide the level of maneuverability desired in a relatively thin skinned tank destroyer.


China was the sole user of the PTZ89 tank destroyer. Estimates indicate that at least over 100 vehicles have been produced before production ceased. Possibly as much as 230 have been built. The mixed performance and introduction of tanks armed with 125mm guns made the PTZ89 obsolete. It was removed from Chinese service in 2015.



The PTZ89 is a tank destroyer based on the Type 321 chassis, which is also used by the PLZ83 self-propelled howitzer. It can be easily identified by its chassis, rearward location of the turret, lack of muzzle brake, lower turret and stowage racks. No variants of the PTZ89 were ever produced, although several Chinese vehicles look rather similar due to the use of the same chassis.

TypeTank destroyer
Crew4 (commander, driver, gunner, loader)
Length6.4 m (hull)
Width3.24 m
Ground clearance0.45 m
Weight31.0 t combat load
Ground pressure0.70 kg/cm2
WheelbaseTracked chassis, 6 roadwheels, drive sprocket front, idler rear, 4.61 m length, 0.48 m width, 2.62 m track
Turn radius?
EngineDeutz Type 12150L diesel, 520 hp
Power ratio16.8 hp/t
Speed55 km/h on road
Fuel885 L
Range450 km
Wall0.7 m
Trench2.5 m
Gradient60% gradient, 40% slope
Fording1.3 m
NBC equipmentYes
Night visionYes
Smoke2x4 smoke grenade dischargers
Armament120mm cannon
12.7mm QJC88 heavy machine gun
Weapon1120mm smoothbore cannon in turret
30 rounds
-8 to +18° elevation, powered
360° traverse, powered
Weapon212.7mm QJC-88 heavy machine gun on turret roof
300 rounds, 50 ready to fire
manual traverse and elevation


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