The Type 99 MBT or ZTZ-99 is a Chinese third generation main battle tank (MBT). The vehicle was a replacement for the aging Type 88 introduced in the late 1980s. The Type 99 MBT was China's first mass-produced third generation main battle tank. Combining modular composite armour and tandem-charge defeating ERA, 125 mm smoothbore gun with ATGM-capability, high mobility, digital systems and optics, the Type 99 represents a shift towards rapid modernisation by the PLA. The tank entered People's Liberation Army (PLA) service in 2001. The People's Liberation Army Ground Force (PLAGF) is the sole operator of the Type 99. Three main versions of the Type 99 have been deployed, the Type 98 prototype, Type 99 and the Type 99A.The Type 99's deployment has been lessened due to its high cost, with the Type 96 tank seeing service as the primary main battle tank of the PLA.