By the mid 80’s the relationship between the West and China was improving and a joint venture between Britain and China resulted in the upgraded Type 69-III, aka Type 79. The Type 79 was used purely by the Peoples Liberation Army (Chinese Army).
The Chinese Type 79 Tank Description
The new relationship allowed China to import/purchase superior technology, such as the Marconi fire-control system which was installed on the Type 69-III. The vehicle also had an image-enhancement night vision, which was replaced with a thermal imager on later manufactured vehicles. It had an improved Type 83 modified 105mm rifled cannon based on the British L7 105mm rifled main gun, with a replaceable thermal sleeve and capable of firing APFSDS, HEAT and HEAT-FRAG. T
he visual difference between a Type 69-III AKA Type 79 and earlier Type 69’s/T-55 is the fume extractors on the main gun. The 100mm cannons have them at the end of the muzzle, where as the 105mm of the Type 69-III is located in the middle of the main gun. It also had a new 730hp diesel engine.