Towards Self-reliance in Armaments
Pakistan rebounding from volatile events. It evaluated its dangerous geo political situation as well as a belligerent international atmosphere. The sons and daughters of Pakistan pledged “Never again” and developed a comprehensive strategy to be self-sufficient in her defense needs. It created a Nuclear deterrent, indigenous Al Khalid Tanks and a missile program that is the envy of South Asia. Neither the mercenaries sent from the across the border, not the blackmail can now harm the fabric of the country.
Pakistan a US ally faced American sanctions and developed its own JF-17 Thunder fighter which will move towards the 4th generation fighters of the world and opens up an export potential worth billions of Dollars
Patron Lt Gen (Retd) Sardar F S LODI looks at the induction of Al-Khalid main battle tank in the Pakistan Army.
July 20th 2001 was an important and significant day in the history of Pakistan’s defence effort when the first batch of 15 Al-Khalid main battle tanks after lengthy factory and user trials were handed over to the Pakistan Army at a simple and dignified ceremony at Taxila. The tanks were issued to the 31st Cavalry Regiment of Pakistan’s Armoured Corps. President General Pervez Musharraf was the chief guest at this historic and proud moment. He addressed the assembled guests who included cabinet ministers, high-ranking civil and military officers and the diplomatic corps. The President said that although Pakistan is a peace-loving country and has always worked for stability in the region it cannot lower its guard and must posses a deterrent force required to thwart any misadventure by its adversaries.
The President went on to say that Pakistan’s efforts for peace and stability in the region would not be at the cost of security. The government he said would provide all possible resources to ensure a strong defence for a stable Pakistan. Being a developing country, the president said, it was important for Pakistan to find cost-effective solutions and to develop indigenous manufacturing capability to meet defence needs. The Armed Forces, he said, were committed to safeguarding the frontiers of the country and were constantly engaged in preparing themselves to meet all possible threats. But wars today were fought not just by the Armed Forces. The whole nation is required to engage in economic, scientific, political and social endeavours and to promote production in all conceivable fields.
President Musharraf felt that the achievements made in the field of defence production should be noted and utilized to improve the economy and meet the development needs of the nation. Over the years, he said, the nation had made sacrifices for setting up defence production facilities and it was time now to start getting dividends. “The defence industry must diversify itself and promote export of defence equipment,” the President said. He called it an auspicious day to witness the maturity of a project conceived 10 years ago.
An amount of $20 million was spent on the indigenous development of Al-Khalid main battle tank, spread over a period of eight years. This shows the low development costs of the tank. As a comparison it must be noted that our neighbour India has invested over $500 million on its Arjun tank which is still not in production. President Musharraf noted that the highest power to weight ratio had given Al-Khalid tank an agility, which can be matched only by the German Leopard tank. Al-Khalid carries a 125mm smooth bore gun, which can destroy enemy armour at long ranges. Composite materials and explosive reactive armour provide protection to the crew against a variety of anti-tank weapons. Its ability to automatically track targets is available only in the French Leclerc tank. With Hunter Killer day-night sight and a state-of-the-art fire control system, Al-Khalid is truly a world class tank, said the President of Pakistan.
Al-Khalid main battle tank is the result of a joint development project between HIT (Heavy Industries Taxila) of Pakistan and NORINCO (North Industries Corporation) of China. It has a combat weight of 46 tons and carries a crew of three. Fitted with a 1200 HP water-cooled diesel engine, which gives it a maximum speed of 65 to 70 km an hour with acceleration from 0-32km in 10 seconds. It has a 125mm smooth bore main gun equipped with a dynamic muzzle reference system and supported by a 7.62mm co-axial machine gun and a 12.7mm remote firing anti-aircraft gun. The power to weight ratio is 26 horsepower per ton, enhancing the tank’s agility. Al-Khalid’s combat range is 400 kilometres which expands its operational range with minimum logistic support. The thermal night vision devices enable the tank crew to fight at night as well.
Chairman of Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT) Lt. General Hamid Javed, himself a cavalry officer and familiar with the user requirements, said the factory has a capacity of producing 100 Al-Khalid tanks a year to meet the needs of national defence. At present, however, 50 tanks per year will be manufactured as required by the Pakistan Army. He said, if a friendly country placed an order for the tank the HIT would be able to meet the demand. General Javed pointed out that some Muslim countries had already shown keen interest in Al-Khalid tank. At present the country’s armament industries export weapons and military hardware worth $150-200 million every year. Now with indigenously produced high tech products at competitive prices, the export potential of the country should increase considerably.
Foreign military journals of repute have given Al-Khalid tank good reviews. Journal of Military Ordinance in its March 2001 issue writes. “One of the highlights of the show was the Al-Khalid main battle tank that is the result of co-operation between Pakistan and China. Fairly lightweight by Western standards at 46-tons, the Al-Khalid carries a 125mm smoothbore main gun of Chinese design. The fire control system for the main gun includes an image-stabilised dual magnification gunner’s sight, a panoramic commander’s sight, and a thermal imager. The fire control system also employs an autotracker. The vehicle carries 7.62mm co-axial and 12.7 anti-aircraft machine guns. Additionally, it is equipped with grenade launchers on each side of the turret that carry twelve smoke and four high explosive grenades.”
The journal goes on to say, “The Al-Khalid is powered by the 1,200 horsepower Ukrainian 6TDF diesel engine that generates 26-horsepower per ton. This allows the tank to reach a maximum speed of over sixty-five kilometers per hour and to accelerate from 0-32 kilometers per hour in less than ten seconds. The Al-Khalid has a maximum cruising range of 400 kilometers. Six prototypes of the Al-Khalid have been tested over the last ten years. From these six prototypes, four basic configurations have emerged.”
Jane’s Armour and Artillery journal edited by Christopher F. Foss describes the Al-Khalid tank as follows: “Layout of the tank is conventional, with the driver’s compartment in the front, turret in the centre and the power pack at the rear. The turret and hull are of all-welded steel armour construction and an additional layer of composite armour has been added over the frontal arc, to which explosive reactive armour can be added if required. Turret thickness at the front is estimated to be 600mm with the glacis/nose estimated to be 450 to 470mm. The armour is of modular design enabling the user to change the damaged modules or replace the existing models with new armour packages as the threat evolves or as new technology becomes available.”
Jane’s goes on to say. “Main armament is a 125mm smoothbore gun fitted with a thermal sleeve and a fume extractor. This can fire APFSDS (muzzle velocity 1,760 m/s), HEAT (muzzle velocity 850m/s) and HE-FRAG (muzzle velocity 950 m/s). It can also fire a laser guided projectile fitted with a HEAT warhead. The gun is fed by an automatic loader enabling the crew to be reduced to three – commander, gunner and driver.”
“The computerised fire-control system includes a bi-axis stabilised dual magnification gunners sight, bi-axis stabilised commanders sight with hunter killer capability, computer, commander’s control panel, laser range-finder, crosswind sensor, tilt sensor and angle velocity sensor. This allows the Al-Khalid tank to engage moving targets under day and night conditions. The complete power pack, which consists of the engine, transmission and cooling system, can be removed from the vehicle in 30 minutes to facilitate field replacement.”
The Hindustan Times newspaper of August 13 had this to say: “Let me begin with the Al-Khalid tank. Even a cursory look at its capabilities shows that it is an armoured corps commander’s dream. In its offensive capabilities and speed on level ground, it meets every requirement that the Indian army’s most up-to-date GSQR (General Staff Quality Requirement) for India’s MBT (Main Battle Tank) project more than a decade ago (16 years). More important, it has a fire control system that enables it to acquire and shoot at targets while moving at high speeds over rough terrain. This is something that India’s mainstay, the T-72 tanks cannot do (some are being upgraded to have this capability). The fact that all this capability has been packed in a tank with only a 1200 HP engine, means that it has an overall weight of 40 tonnes or thereabout against the Arjun’s 55 tons (Indian tank under development for the past 16 years). This will give it a lower profile than the typical MBT and make it harder to hit.”
Al-Khalid tank is an outcome of very tough efforts during the last eight years resulting in a very modern tank for the Pakistan Army, said the dynamic chairman of Heavy Industries Taxila, Lt. General Hamid Javaid. He said Al-Khalid is an ideal blend of mobility, firepower and protection and its high agility and obstacle crossing capability. The final product is the outcome of dedication and selfless devotion to duty displayed by the Chairman and his team of officers both in uniform and mufti. The nation is proud of their achievements and hold them in high esteem.
The Al-Khalid or MBT 2000 (Type 90-IIM) is a modern main battle tank co-developed by China and Pakistan. It is produced in Pakistan, and in service with the Pakistan Army. It is operated by a crew of three, and armed with 125mm smoothbore gun with mechanical autoloader, capable of firing anti-tank missiles, with modern fire-control and night-fighting equipment.
Based on its Chinese and Soviet design ancestry, the MBT2000/Al-Khalid is considerably smaller and lighter than most western main battle tanks. The design is based on the Chinese model Type 90 main battle tank project, which combines technologies from several Soviet and western tanks, and is ultimately a descendent of the widely-produced Soviet T-54A. The MBT 2000 is unusual in that it is adaptable for manufacture with any of a variety engines and transmissions of foreign origin.
The Al-Khalid is a version of this tank produced in Pakistan, with a compact diesel engine supplied by Ukraine’s KMDB design bureau. The first tanks were completed and entered Pakistan Army service in 2001, and Pakistan plans to induct 600 of these by 2007.
In the 1970s, the leadership of China’s People’s Liberation Army was concerned about the Soviet threat, and requested an improved main battle tank (MBT) to replace the Type 59. The existing Chinese tanks were direct descendants of the Soviet T-54A, and had become outmatched by more advanced Soviet models like the T-62 and T-64. Norinco and the Inner Mongolia First Machine Group Corporation were tasked to develop a series of new tanks.
After examining samples of T-72 tanks delivered by Iran in the late 1980s (captured from Iraq), the Chinese military realized that contemporary Chinese tanks were still vulnerable. Design features of the T-72 and some western tanks were used to develop a second generation of Chinese tanks, eventually incorporating a redesigned hull and suspension, a new welded turret, and 125-mm autoloaded tank gun. The Type 80 and Type 85 tanks led to the Type 90. The Type 90 was rejected for Chinese service, in favour of other designs, but it influenced further development which would lead to China’s third-generation Type 98 and Type 99 tanks.
The Type 90 is an evolutionary design: the Type 90-II version shares 10% of its components with the Type 59, 15% with Type 69, 20% with Type 85/88C, and is built with 55% new components. This model was put up for sale on the international market.
A development deal was signed with Pakistan in January 1990. Initial Chinese-built prototypes were tested in Pakistan in August 1991. Pakistan spent more than USD $20 million over the next ten years on the co-development of a model suitable for their needs, and on creating a capability to manufacture it locally, under the direction of Brigadier (now Major General) Mohammad Asaad. The design team modified the tank to accept a foreign-built power pack. A number of different prototypes were evaluated.
An early version was armed with the Chinese gun and fire-control system, but had German-designed MTU-396 diesel engine which was built under licence in China. Another version was equipped with a more advanced western digital fire-control system, and powered by a Perkins 1,200-hp Condor diesel engine (as in the British Challenger) and ESM-500 automatic transmission (as in the French Leclerc). This version was considered too expensive and under-performing in the extreme heat of southern Pakistan. Finally, a version was tested with the Ukrainian 6TD-2 1,200-hp diesel engine (Ukraine also supplied Pakistan with T-80UD tanks, powered by a similar compact diesel engine). This configuration was chosen for the production version of the tank and came to be known as Al-Khalid.
Yet another version-employing more western technology-had been envisaged as an export product for Pakistan. The prototype had a 1,200-hp German MTU-871/TCM AVDS-1790 diesel engine and an LSG-3000 transmission. But this concept was abandoned due to the arms embargo imposed on Pakistan after the 1998 Pakistani nuclear tests.
The final tank design resulting from a decade of co-operative development was designated Type 90-IIM. Chinese company Norinco showed the new Type 90-IIM during the March 2001 Abu Dhabi Defense Expo, under the export name MBT 2000.
The version powered by the Ukrainian power plant, intended for domestic production in Pakistan, was named Al-Khalid.
During the development period, Heavy Industries Taxila gained experience building the Chinese Type 85-IIAP, and prepared to begin production of the Al-Khalid tank in 1999. A pilot batch of fifteen tanks was inducted into the 31st Cavalry Regiment of Pakistan’s Armoured Corps on 20 July 2001. Pakistan signed a contract with Ukraine’s Malyshev Factory in May 2002, for the delivery of 315 6TD-2 engines over three years.
 An additional batch of Al-Khalid tanks was delivered on 23 September 2004.
Pakistan plans to build a total of 600 Al-Khalid tanks for its armed forces.
In March 2006, Jane’s Defence Weekly reported that Saudi Arabia was planning to evaluate the Al-Khalid in April 2006. Pakistani defense officials said the Saudi government may be interested in purchasing up to 150 Al-Khalid for $600 million USD.
Armament and fire control
Al-Khalid is designed with a 125mm (length: 48 calibers) smoothbore, auto-frettaged and chrome-plated gun barrel which can fire APFSDS, HEAT-FS and HE-FS conventional ammunition and Russian-made 9M119 Refleks ATGM (AT-11 Sniper, also produced in China under licence). Al-Khalid is also one of the few tanks in the world that use DU rounds. The DU round used by Al-Khalid is the indigenous Pakistani made Niaza 125mm DU round (armor penetration: 550 mm at 2 km). Al-Khalid is equipped with a muzzle reference system and dual-axis stabilization. Elevation and azimuth control is achieved by electro-hydraulic power drives. The automatic ammunition-handling system for the main gun has a 24-round ready-to-fire magazine and can load and fire at a rate of eight rounds per minute.
The tank is also equipped with a 7.62mm-coaxial machine gun, a 12.7mm externally-mounted air-defence machine gun that can be fired with the hatch closed, and smoke grenade launchers.
Prototypes have been demonstrated with various fire-control systems of Chinese and western origin.
The gunner is provided with a dual magnification day sight and the commander with a panoramic sight for all-around independent surveillance. Both sights are dual-axis image stabilized and have independent laser range-finders. The commander has the ability to acquire a target independently while the gunner is engaging another one. The automatic target-tracking system is designed to work when tank and target are both moving. Night vision for the gunner and commander is achieved through a dual-magnification thermal imaging sight. Both sights are integrated with the fire-control system.
 The production Al-Khalid tank has a fire-control system of western origin. In the MBT 2000, the Chinese Norinco fire-control system has inputs from ten sensors. The ballistic computation time is less than one second. The manufacturer claims routine first round hits on standard 8 ft (2.4 m) square targets at ranges over 2,000 meters.
Effective range: 200 m to 5,000 m
Sensor: laser ranging from 200 m to 9,990 m
Auto-tracking, firing four types of munitions, gunner’s thermal imaging sight, commander’s image intensification night vision sight, gyro-stabilized and UPS power supply system.
The Al-Khalid is equipped with the ATCOP LTS 1 laser threat warner developed by Institute of Industrial Control Systems.
The LTS 1 laser threat warner consists of two key elements, the mast-mounted sensor and the operator’s control box complete with 360° display. According to ATCOP, the LTS 1 laser threat warner can detect not only laser rangefinders but also laser target designators. It responds to all current laser sources in the field environment and if required can also be coupled with acoustic alarms as well as smoke generators and other countermeasure systems. The LTS 1 laser threat warner can detect laser devices operating in the 0.8 to 1.06 µm waveband and has a 360° field of view azimuth (resolution of 15°) with a field of view in elevation of -15 to +90°. Operating voltage is 12 V or 24 V DC nominal with power consumption being 8 W nominal. The sensor head is 165 mm in diameter and 35 mm high while the control box is 80 x 130 x 55 mm in size.
The production model Al-Khalid has a Ukrainian 6TD-2 1,200-horsepower supercharged diesel engine and semi-automatic transmission. An under-armour auxiliary power unit allows electrical systems to operate with the main engine switched off. The suspension consists of torsion bars, hydraulic dampers and buffers.
At 46 tonnes, Al-Khalid is easier to transport than a nearly 70-tonne M1 Abrams. Its high power-to-weight of 26 hp/tonne gives it a maximum speed of 70 km/h and acceleration from 0 to 30 km/h in under ten seconds.
The snorkel system allows it to cross prepared water obstacles up to 5 meters deep. Navigation is assisted by the use of Global Positioning and Inertial Navigation Systems.
Al-Khalid has modular composite armour and explosive reactive armour, nuclear-biological-chemical defences, an effective thermal smoke generator, internal fire extinguisher and explosion-suppression system. It also has advanced laser detection system developed by Al Technique Corporation.
List of customers with confirmed orders:
Pakistan Army – 350+ with plans for an additional 250
List of Potential customers
Saudi Arabian Army evaluating the 2 prototypes delivered to SAA and expected to confirm the order for 150
Type Main battle tank
Place of origin People’s Republic of China
Manufacturer Norinco, Heavy Industries Taxila
Weight 48 tonnes
Length 10.07 m
Width 3.50 m
Height 2.40 m
Armour 650 mm RHAe (modular composite and explosive reactive armour)
armament 125 mm L/48 smoothbore gun
armament 12.7 mm antiaircraft machine gun, 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun
Engine 12-cylinder diesel model 6TD-2
1,200 hp (895 kW)
Power/weight 26 hp/tonne
range 400 km
Speed 70 km/h
[hide]v • d • ePost-Cold War tanks
Al-Khalid · Ariete · Arjun · Challenger 2 · K1 88 · K2 Black Panther · Leclerc · Leopard 2 · M1 Abrams · M-2001 · M-95 Degman · Merkava · PT-91 Twardy · T-84 · T-90 · TR-85 · Type 90 · Type 96 · Type 99 · Zulfiqar
Al Khalid vs. M1 Abrams: Pakistans Al Khalid just as good as the M1 Abrams although it has a bigger gun than the M1 abrams the abrams gun is 120mm the al khalid gun 125mm another thing is that the Al khalid is not a gas guzzler like the M1 Abrams other than that both tanks have night and thermal vision equipment and auto targeting. the Alkhlid has a speed of 45 miles per hour. Six Al Khalids can be bought for the of one M1 Abrams can be bought so in some areas the Al-Khalid is better than the M1 Abrams.
Source: Wikipedia, Defence Journal etc.