Pakistan has handed over an improved version of its indigenously developed main battle tank to Pakistan Army Army. An upgraded Pakistani Al-Khalid tank, named as Al-Khalid-1 was rolled out on Tuesday. Islamabad’s joint venture with China and Ukraine was given to the Armored Corps Regiment of Pakistan Army at a ceremony at Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT)-a state-run defence manufacturer. Pakistan Army Chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, top military officials attended the ceremony, according to the Pakistan Inter-Service Publications (ISPR) military media wing.
The Al-Khalid is a main battle tank jointly developed by Pakistan and China during the 1990s, based on the Chinese Type 90-IIM tank. The original prototype was developed by China North Industries Corporation (Norinco) under the name MBT-2000, and Norinco also offered the tank for export. Around 310 Al Khalid MBTs had been produced by 2014. The Bangladesh Army ordered 44 MBT-2000s from China in 2011. The Norinco-made MBT-2000 is also used by the Royal Moroccan Army. Operated by a crew of three and armed with a 125 mm smooth-bore tank gun that is reloaded automatically, the tank uses a fire-control system and night-fighting equipment. Al-Khalid is named after the 7th-century Muslim commander Khalid bin al-Walid.
The Al-Khalid-1 is an upgraded variant with Ammunition capacity increased to 49 125 mm rounds, 1,500 12.7 mm rounds and 7,100 7.62 mm rounds. Incorporates modifications made to the fire-control system which is now a more advanced multi process fire control computer with up to 7 km effective identification range. It is the most heavily weaponised tank by tonnage. It is fitted with a 1,200 hp Ukrainian engine. Al-Khalid II’s top speed is 72 km/h, and it weighs 47 tonnes. The current production variant of the Al-Khalid uses a diesel engine and transmission supplied by the KMDB design bureau of Ukraine. The country placed an order with Ukraine to further upgrade the tanks with a new engine.
The engagement range is also improved which is up to 3.5 km, digital driver panel, IBMS, side-skirts, track pads, digitally controlled FPGA based solid state auto-loader with bidirectional tray movement and ammo availability info on screen, info on empty and full trays and types of available rounds, bigger carousel for longer rounds (rate of fire increased to 9 rounds per minute), Ukrainian Varta electro-optical jammer (disrupts laser rangefinders, laser designators and anti-tank guided missile tracking systems), Sagem third-generation thermal imagers and improved air conditioning system.