Type 59 Durjoy (2015)

Bangladesh 2015-2023

The Type 59 Durjoy (“invincible” in Bengali) is essentially a highly modernized Chinese Type 59 for the Bangladesh Army similar to the Type 59G standard made at the 902 Central Workshop of the Bangladesh Machine Tools Factory, with Chinese assistance. The Durjoy is now the one and only specific MBT of the Bangladesh Army, shared by none. Most sources agrees the Army possesses a tital park of 174 nowadays. The upgrade program started in 2014, with the first in service in 2015 as a good complement to the VT-1 and MBT-2000. The Durjoy is also a good proposition to keep frontline aging Type 59s still in service around the world.

About the Type 59 in the Bangladesh Army

For memory, the Type 59 is the first domestic whine tank, mass-produced with the assistance of USSR before the split. About 9,500 had been produced and a large part exported. They had been over time modernized with the Type 59-II and III filling more active unit of the PLA in the early 1990s. But sensing there was a long term market for it on export, China started to develop a full-on modernization called the Type 59. The Type 62 and 59 answered well the needs of the Bangladesh Army, as an active delta country with hundreds of rivers and swamps, so looking for a relatively lightweight vehicle but good protection, firepower and speed.

In the late 1970s Bangladesh procured itself 30 T-54 from Egypt, second hand, and later 15 were upgraded with Chinese assistance, packaged developed for the Type 59 being fully adaptable. However it's the delivery of a first batch of 36 Type 59s in 1980-81. This was followed by more batches, and in 2004 the park was estimated by IISS worth 780 Type 59 and 69. Given the fact the latter was only delivered in rather limited numbers, we can estimate about 700 were Type 59s, quite a sizeable reserve for modernization. (50 Type 69-I and IIA purchased in 1991. 58 Type-69-II rebuilt to the Type 69-IIG version in 2010-2013).

In the early 2000s, this park was schedule to stay in service until 2015, alsthough given to secondary units as the MBT-2000 and VT-5 came about. The Bangladesh Army decided to upgrade all best-condition Type 59s based on cost, 1/3 compared to a new purchase. The hull, external drivetrain and basic turret were kept, but all the rest was upgraded, with a total of 174 ported to the new "Durjoy" standard from 2015 onwards.

Conversion Design

Type 59 of the Border Guards

General Design and mobility

The tank basic Type 59 hull was kept unchanged, and its original Chinese diesel Model 12150L V-12 liquid-cooled diesel which developed 520 hp (390 kW) was changed for a modernized model rated for 730 horsepower (540 kW), with a power to weight ratio of 17.4 hp per tonnes. At 40 tonnes (39 long tons; 44 short tons) or 42 tonnes (41 long tons; 46 short tons) at full load, it is noticeable heavier than the original, 36 tonnes (35 long tons; 40 short tons).

Top speed varies, but 49 kph is often cited, as well as a range of 450 kilometres (280 mi). The original was capable of 50 kph, but with a ratio of 14.44 hp/tonne, and 450 km, 600 with external tanks, so same as the Durjoy. However the latter was given rubber padded tracks for softer soils and swamps, and reduce vibrations on hard soil. The original configuration was kept: Five road wheels on each side, rear drive sprocket, front idler, no return rollers, torsion bar system suspension. The engine exhaust was kept on the left fender and the same emergency smoke could be done using an oil sprayer.

The crew of 4 stayed the same: Commander, driver, gunner and loader. However it was provided with air conditioning for better crew in these latitudes, as well as a full NBC protection. For active protection, they are fitted with two sets of four electrically-discharged smoke projectors with 81mm grenades, located mid-way on the turret, sandwhiched between the forward ERA panels and rear turret ones.

Pakistani Al Zarrar, an example of earlier upgrade of the Type 59.


Durjoy protection, from the warthunder forum, showing the Fy-2/3 and Fy-4 ERA blocks.

The primary, passive protection consisted on a thick steel modular composite armour. The 3rd generation ERA (Explosive Reactive Armor) of 3rd generation of Chinese design covers the front and rear of the turret, which is still the original one. The Chinese turret is hemispheric like the Soviet one, composed of a gradual thickness, thickest at the base and tapered down towards the top. The rear and sides of the cast turret are also of variable thickness, using the slope each side to best cope with penetration. A proven system in 1950, less so after 1980. To protect against RPGs, semi-flexible panels are fixed on both sides, and extra modular blocks installed above to protect the hull. The front glacis nose also received ERA boxes, three rows of boxes from the bottom of the nose to the driver's position. Both groups of forward mufflers blakout lights and now encased into the side's modular armor, like on Chinese Tanks.

Thus the new ERA installed on the front and sides is able to defeat APFSDS, HEAT and ATGM rounds. Like for Chinese Tanks, a cage (BAR) armour is installed at the back of the turret, doubling as a utilitarian storage space. The only gap between the front and rear is covered by two Smoke grenade launchers. The crew is also protected by a collective fire suppression system. There is also an automated extinguisher system in the ammunition room and engine compartment. As for active protection, the Durjoy is fitted with a laser warning receiver, when targeted by an enemy laser range-finder or laser designator.


The original Chinese 100mm Type 59 rifled gun was deleted. Instead the Durjoy receives a state-of-the art Chinese 125 mm smoothbore gun, with dual-axis gun stabilizer to fire on the move (but not at a distant moving target). It is capable of firing APFSDS, HEAT and HE rounds of that standard caliber shared by most Russian and Chinese MBTs, as well as anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) through the tube. The APFSDS is the best ammunition, providing a penetration power of 500mm RHA armor equivalent 2 km away. This is head and shoulders above the original Type 59 limited to 1000 m and far lower penetration values. No figures had been given for the shell capacity. The Type 59 carried 36 rounds, it's likely less on the Durjoy.

The secondary armament, still comprises a turret-ring mounted 12.7 mm W85 AA heavy machine gun (Chinese QJC-88, 3,000 rounds), and then the classic coaxial 7.62 mm Type 86 (550-600 rounds) a Chinese version of the PKM, used as GMPG. This combination is more modern than the two Type 59T 7.62 mm coaxial machine guns and Type 54 12.7 mm air-defence machine gun installed on the basic Type-59.


The Durjoy uses a modern fire-control system borrowed to 4th generation Chinese tanks completed with a ballistic computer, integrated thermal imaging system, laser designator. There is an independent commander's sight for huntr-killer use. There is also a modern night vision system and a Global Positioning System (GPS) for navigation. A combat data link is also installed complete with a screen display for better situational awareness. Communication uses the XDZ-1 SATCOM, VRC-2000L radio. To this must be added the laser warning receiver. A pretty solid combination worthy of a 3/4 gen MBT.

Upgrades: Durjoy Mk.II

All the figures above are for the Mark I. The Mk.II was introduced in 2016/17 to upgrade about 300 type 59s on the long run, still heavily resting on PLA's help and complemented by the end of 2019 by VT-5 light tanks being purchased and that 300 more type 59 tanks were granted free as bonus. Experts looks at the Mk.II as on par or even better than the T-72S or Arjun Mk.II used respectively by Myanmar or India. The Mk.II had a 2nd gen. russian ERA, Kontakt-5, also used on the T-90 and said proof against the M829A2 APFSDS at 1,500 m. It is protecting the same area, and reduces 20% of the shells total penetration and is backed by several layers of composite armor. Equivalent is circa extra 250 mm RHA armor vs APFSDS and 850 mm vs HEAT. The same rear cage armor is kept to defeat RPGs.

Firepower and electronics are further upgraded: The 2A46 125 mm main gun based on the 96A turret, with the APFSDS can defeat 570 mm ERA and is ATGM capable, provided with the 9M119 Refleks defeating 700–900 mm RHA. The same Type 86 7,62 mm and Type 85/W85 are kept but the new autoloader save one crew member, now reduced to three: Commander, driver, gunner. 28 shells are carried. The new gun is faster, with 4 rounds a minute. A more modern fire suppression system in installed, upgraded laser designator, fire control system, laser warning receiver, and combat data link. The thermal imaging and night vision systems are kept, as the communication and navigation systems.

Another critic of the Type 59 Durjoy Mark I was it was slow. The new powerplant capable of 730 horsepower, was featuring now 1400 rpm of torque, bringing the top speed of a far more impressive 60 km/h. Total weight was brought to 42 tonnes. Note that the Type 59G and Durjoy are not the same. The Type 59G in service with Tanzania and Bangladesh are given is an upgraded model built by Norinco and imported, not a semi-indigenous upgrade like the Durjoy. The Type 59G main features are the new turret of the Chinese Type 96G Main Battle Tank, new side protection panels with added modular blocks, but it is lacking some features like the Commanders independent Sight making is therefore a 2nd Generation Tank. Bangladesh would have received 300 Type 59G in 2010-15. The fact both are called "Type 59G" adds to confusion, but it should be noted that not all sources are pointing out to Bangladesh being provided the same model as Tanzania, so confusion is possible with the Durjoy. There is indeed ONLY photos of the Tanzanian tank available on the net. Like the Mark I, work is done at the 902 Central Workshop of the Bangladesh Machine Tools Factory. So far,

⚙ Mark I specifications

Combat Weight40 tonnes (39 long tons; 44 short tons)*
Dimensions6.04 x 3.27 x 2.59 m (19.8 x 10.7 ft x 8 ft 6 in)
Propulsion730 horsepower (540 kW) diesel, 17.4 hp p/t
Speed49 km/h (30 mph)
Range450 km
Armament125 mm main, 12.7 mm W85, 7.62mm Type 86 LMG
ProtectionSee notes: ERA, 2x4 smoke dischargers, Laser Warning
Crew4 (Cdr, Driver, Gunber, Loader)
*42 tonnes for the Mark II.


On militaryimages.net
On defseca.com
Another video on the Durjoy, upgrade story
Video footage Youtube
About the Type 59G
Comparison on quora.com



Bangladeshi Type 59 of the Border Guards active in the 2000s

Type 59 Durjoy Mark I.

Tanzanian Type 59G to compare (has been seen around on the internet, but not the Durjoy).

Bangladeshi Type 69-II for comparison


Mark I, Wikimedia, front

Mark I rear top view (cc)

Mark I(?) in manoeuvers

Mark I Armor specifics, so not Kontakt 5

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