China Tank Makes Mark at Army Games
(Source: China Daily; issued Aug 25, 2020)
A Chinese ZTZ-96B tank bettered contestants from Belarus, Serbia and Azerbaijan to win the tank biathlon at the ARMY 2020 forum in Russia. (Chinese MoD photo)
A People's Liberation Army delegation beat its rivals in the opening round of the tank biathlon competition on the first day of the International Army Games 2020 in Russia on Sunday.

This year's event marks the seventh time that the Russian Defense Ministry is organizing the games, which are being held in Patriot Park in Kubinka, a town about 63 kilometers west of Moscow.

The Army Games are being held alongside the Army-2020 International Military Technical Forum, also in Kubinka.

The PLA has sent six teams and over 260 soldiers this year to participate in six contests: safe environment, open water, masters of armored vehicles, airborne platoon, tank biathlon and army scout masters.

The Chinese delegation trained intensively before the competition, as well as studied the contest rules, said Zhao Pengzhang, a major-general and the delegation leader.

Zhao, who is also the deputy commander of the PLA 79th Group Army, said that the delegation also did anti-epidemic training and took pandemic prevention measures.

China sent its second-generation main battle tank ZTZ-96B for Sunday's tank biathlon competition, which featured teams from Belarus, Azerbaijan and Serbia.

All the tanks covered a 4.3 km muddy and bumpy racetrack, avoiding 11 obstacles, and had to shoot targets using different weapons.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, China's ZTZ-96B tank ranked first with a time of 19 minutes and 44 seconds.

Zhao said that the contestants had checked their equipment carefully and were fully prepared for the competition. "The soldiers excelled in the contest and maintained their composure. I hope the contestants will continue to harness their technology and strategies to achieve the expected results."

In the contest, the high speed, ZTZ-96B tank hit all 20 targets with its cannon smoothbore gun and coaxial machine guns.

The perfect hit rate drew applause from the audience.

Russian military expert Fyodor Boldyrev said China's ZTZ-96B tank is a respected competitor, and in some ways seems better than the Russian T-72B3 tank, which is also taking part in the contest.

The tank biathlon is considered one of the most spectacular events of the Army Games, and it will continue on Tuesday as host Russia takes on Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

This year's Army Games has attracted over 5,000 contestants from more than 30 countries and regions, and will have 31 military skill competitions over seven days.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that the Army-2020 International Military Technical Forum is the world's largest arms exhibition, aimed at displaying Russia's military modernization and weapons industry development.

Shoigu said that participants from over 92 countries and regions were taking part in the forum, including 18 national delegations led by defense ministers or their deputies.

Over 1,500 Russian and foreign companies are showcasing over 28,000 pieces of military hardware and weaponry at the forum, Shoigu said.

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