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Feb 21, 2021
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“War of engines” between China and India: Tank Type 99A forced the T-72 and T-90 to retreat

In the photo: the tank of the Land Forces of the People's Liberation Army of China

In the photo: the tank of the ground forces of the People’s Liberation Army of China (Photo: Sergey Bobylev / TASS)

Beijing youth portal Passion News. k618. cn was the first to report the transfer of the most powerful Chinese Type 99A tank to the PLA border camp on the Karakorum ridge. In addition, the Xinjiang military command received and commissioned a batch of recently developed Type 15 light tanks, which, according to analysts, will organically complement the heavy Type 99A.

“In high altitude areas, the work of heavy tanks may be limited due to lack of oxygen and difficult terrain,” said a Chinese military expert on condition of anonymity, who also noted that the light Type 15, being the fastest compared to enemy tanks in the event of a clash will be able to cover the back of the Type 99A.

This information was published on February 4, 2021, and on February 10, the Beijing tabloid Global Times reported the long-awaited news: “The separation of the armies of China and India is a breakthrough in the return to peace.” Combat units stationed on the southern and northern shores of high-mountain lake Pangong Tso began a simultaneous planned disengagement in accordance with the consensus reached during the ninth round of difficult negotiations at the level of the corps commanders.

Noteworthy is the fact that progress began only at the end of the negotiation process, when the atmosphere at the meetings suddenly became constructive. “This event will ease border tensions and play an important role in the early restoration of peace and stability in the region,” explained director of research at the Institute of National Strategy, Tsinghua University. Tian Feng

Recall that in the summer of 2020, politicians and experts around the world waited in horror for a local atomic apocalypse after a dangerous incident on the northern bank of Pangong Tso, when the Indians attempted to oust the Chinese from the territory that New Delhi considers theirs. In fact, it was an attempt of the most real revenge for the war lost in 1962, when the lake and the lands around it were divided into three parts: Indian, Chinese and the disputed one controlled by the PRC. Now, according to Qian Feng, “the future looks promising.”

It is difficult to judge whether there is a direct connection between the appearance of Type 99A in the Karakorum mountain range near the country’s southwestern borders with India and the agreement reached. It is unlikely that we will ever learn about the real reasons for the sudden Indian compliance. But the fact remains: a successful experiment using the latest heavy Chinese tanks in the highlands preceded the negotiation breakthrough in favor of Beijing.

As the authoritative American magazine Military Watch writes: “The deployment of the Type 99A guarantees a significant advantage over the Indian T-72 and T-90 battle tanks where other Chinese tanks may have struggled to match the power of the new Indian T-90MS.”

It seems that after a sudden high-altitude experiment with the Type 99A, the Indian generals calculated the course of a possible tank battle and shed tears. In any case, experts in New Delhi started talking about the need for urgent purchases of T-14 Armata tanks, which, in combination with the modernization of T-72 and T-90, according to MW, represent a potentially serious problem for China in the event the beginning of open hostilities in the area.

But will the Armata handle the Type 99A? Back in 2015, the largest Chinese developer and manufacturer of ground weapons China North Industries Group Corporation (CNIGC), which actively promotes its products on the global arms market, began an expert discussion on this topic. As the saying goes, “nothing personal, just business.” Moreover, the T-14 really disgraced itself in 2015 during a rehearsal before the parade.

At that time, serious and long-term reputational damage to Russia was inflicted. On Norinco’s WeChat application, with over a billion active users, the story of the dead Armata was discussed by nearly 500 million members. The main question was: “Is the new wunderwaffe Putin has broken?”.

If we put slander aside, indeed, the question arises about the flaws already inherent in the T-14 transmission, while in the export Chinese VT4 tank (the same Type 99A with minor deviations), according to CNIGC engineers, these problems are absent by definition. Of course, any armored vehicle breaks down, but not the new military one, according to the PRC.

Okay, the story with the stalled “Armata” has already been played and, I think, “children’s sores” have been cured. However, the question remained with the cost. Experts all over the world are racking their brains over the T-14’s price tag, which is not inferior to the American M1A2 Abrams. If we convert it to the purchasing power parity rate, then our tank will be even more expensive. Then why shouldn’t buyers consider Chinese tanks, which are actually not inferior to Russian ones, but more attractive in terms of cost?

For the sake of fairness, adequate experts call for a refusal to be hazy from any side. In particular, with similar characteristics, any speculative comparison between leading Chinese, Russian, German and American main battle tanks is in many ways meaningless. Only a real war can dot the “i”, but for now it is on the marketing field, where the Americans are in the lead. This is understandable why: the United States is using its political competitive advantage as the leader of the most solvent military alliance – NATO.

Another thing is much more interesting: the very appearance of the Type 99 series tanks in the PLA is a serious breakthrough for Chinese tank construction, while the Indians cannot boast of anything of the kind.

In broad terms, it is also a question of why the Country of Elephants is not as successful as the Celestial Empire, although 70 years ago, when the PRC was formed, the states were not much different from each other. Moreover, China in the defense industry will undoubtedly continue to move forward, while India is actually marking time.

Here are some of the latest news from the PRC. A Chinese arms firm recently completed construction of a third-generation medium-thrust aircraft engine line. And analysts unanimously stated that China can now mass-produce military aircraft without relying on Russian RD-93 engines, as it still does.

And China is also conducting successful interim tests of its air defense to intercept ICBMs outside the atmosphere. The biggest difficulty lies in the high trajectory of the rocket, today only the Russian Federation and the United States have such technologies.

The third Chinese aircraft carrier, which is expected to be very different from the previous two with a much larger displacement and equipped with electromagnetic catapults, will be launched as early as 2021.

And what are their opponents? According to Indian analysts themselves, their defense industry is trying to repeat what was created by Russian engineers back in the USSR. Moreover, the main reason for the lag lies, first of all, in different political systems.

In particular, the analyst Saunders Balakrishnan (Bangalore, Karnataka State, India) states: “There is a communist system in China, while in India a multi-party system means disunity in everything. In India, even the decision of the Supreme Court to ban the triple talaka (Muslim form of divorce) was not implemented due to the actual anarchy. “

The expert echoes him Srinivas Holly (Hyderabad, Telangana, India) with a long-term career in the private sector. He writes: “Lack of planning goals throws us into a stormy market sea, while in China people work in a calm harbor. The Chinese open firms with the support of government funding, we are fighting for survival one-on-one with greedy bankers. You don’t have to be very smart to figure out who is better. In China, due to strict laws, there are much fewer machinations and loopholes, but there are much more death sentences for corrupt officials. “

Therefore, it is not surprising that New Delhi actually yielded to Beijing on the disputed Pangong Tso area, having seen the powerful Type 99A, covered with brand new Type 15 lightweight. After all, the army is also a concentrated expression of the economy. Here it is difficult not to agree with the conclusions of Military Watch: the T-72 and T-90s that the Indians have are outdated and in need of modernization. Better yet, they really buy a few hundred “Armata”. After all, there are none of our own.

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