Combat vehicles / Fire support vehicles / PTZ89


General Facts

  • TYPE
    Tank destroyer


    Type 89

    Mid 1980's

    447 Factory

    1988 - mid 1990's


    Just over 100 (estimate)


    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
    Average maneuverability


The PTZ89 is a tank destroyer of Chinese origin. It was developed in the mid 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 is the sole user of the PTZ89 tank destroyer. Estimates indicate that over 100 vehicles have been produced before production ceased. The mixed performance and the improved relations with Russia made that the


No variants




Type 83

Self-propelled howitzer based on the same tracked chassis.


12.7mm QJC88 heavy machine gun used on the turret roof.