QINGDAO, Aug. 11 (ChinaMil) -- The 24th Chinese naval escort taskforce set sail from Qingdao, a port city in east China's Shandong Province, for the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somali coast on Aug. 10, 2016.
The taskforce consists of the guided-missile destroyer Harbin (Hull No. 112), the guided-missile frigate Handan (Hull No. 579) and the comprehensive supply ship Dongpinghu (Hull No. 960).
The North China Sea Fleet of the Chinese PLA Navy held a seeing-off ceremony for the taskforce at a naval port in Qingdao.
China's military is likely to deploy the
Type-96B tank as the pillar of its tank fleet, replacing most of its
old models, observers said.
Gao Zhuo, a military observer in
Shanghai who has close contact with the People's Liberation Army, told
China Daily that the excellent capabilities of the Type-96B qualify it
to be the backbone of China's tank force.
"The Type-96B is the strongest variant
of the Type-96 family and is truly an advanced, third-generation main
battle tank," he said. "The PLA will use it to replace the old tanks
such as the Type-59 and Type-69 models."
His remarks came as the Type-96B
delivered impressive performances in the ongoing Masters of Automobile
and Tank Hardware competition, also known as the Tank Biathlon, at the
Alabino training range in Moscow.
The PLA sent several Type-96B tanks to
take part in the tank competition, the most watched part of the
Russia-hosted International Army Games.
The eight-day individual part of the
competition, which involved 54 teams from 17 countries, ended on Sunday,
with the Chinese delegation scoring the highest.
All of the PLA's three teams were to compete in the semifinal that started on Tuesday.
By the end of last year, the Chinese
military had more than 7,000 tanks in active service, including about
2,000 Type-96s and Type-96As, as well as about 600 Type-99s and
Type-99As, so the majority of the PLA armored force is still equipped
with tanks made several decades ago, according to foreign military
Huang Guozhi, senior editor at Modern
Weaponry magazine, said that despite the fact that Type-99 series tanks
are more advanced, their high price and limited production capacity mean
that it's unrealistic for the PLA to purchase and deploy them on a
"Therefore, the Type-96B, with a better
price and satisfactory capabilities, is very attractive to the Chinese
and foreign militaries. It is the best option for the PLA to modernize
its armored forces," he said.
According to an article posted by China
North Industries Group Corp on its WeChat social media account, the
Type-96B－compared with its predecessors in the Type-96 family－has a
high-performance 125 mm smoothbore gun, an improved, more powerful
engine, newly developed transmission gear and a state-of-the-art
Yu Shuo, a tank researcher in Beijing,
said the Type-96B is among the latest achievements by the nation's land
arms industry. He suggested that too much emphasis should not be placed
on the results of the Tank Biathlon, as the experience gained is more
important to the PLA.