The Pakistan Army (PA) officially inducted into service its first batch of Al-Khalid-I main battle tanks (MBTs) in a ceremony held on 28 July at the facilities of state-owned defense manufacturer Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT) in the Rawalpindi District of the Pakistan’s Punjab Province.
During the ceremony, which was also attended by Pakistan’s chief of army staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the platform displayed some of its capabilities, including “mobility, speed, bi-axis gun stabilisation of the control system, and use of smoke screen to mask movement”, said ISPR, adding that the new tanks will be handed over to formations that have a “critical and decisive role during war”.
The Al-Khalid-I is part of a joint venture between Pakistan, China, and Ukraine, and is believed to be intended to replace approximately 300 Type 85 and 320 T-80UD MBTs. Compared with the Al-Khalid, the first units of which entered service in 2001, the upgrade is comprehensive and appears to be angled at making the design competitive with the Indian Army’s fleet of T-90S MBTs.
In a statement issued that same day, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of the Pakistani military, said that several units of the tank, which is an improved variant of the in-service Al-Khalid MBT, were handed over to the PA’s Armored Corps. The video shows at least 20 Al-Khalid-Is lined up at the ceremony.
Pakistan, which has significant disputes with India at the borderline and sometimes enters the shooting duel, continues to taking delivery of tanks.
Pakistan Army took delivery of new Al Khalid-I main battle tanks. The tank, which has a new fire control system that is more advanced than its predecessor, has reached 7 kilometers identification range. The platforms, which engagement distance was increased to 3.5 kilometers, were equipped with components such as a new generation digital driver panel, information and combat management system. In addition to the more reliable digital-based automatic loading system and ammunition information equipment, Varta electro-optic jammer was also integrated into the Al-Khalid-Is with increased survivability. The rate of fire of the main battle tank, which equipped with Sagem production third-generation thermal imagers and more advanced air conditioning system increased to nine rounds per minute.
The Al-Khalid family tanks, which have an auto-fretaged and chrome plated; modern round capable 125 mm main gun.
The turret and hull of the Al Khalid-I are of all-welded steel armor construction and an additional layer of composite armor has been added over the frontal arc, to which explosive reactive armor can be added if required.
The Al Khalid-I is motorized with by a 6TD-2 liquid-cooled diesel engine coupled to a French-designed hydro-mechanical automatic transmission with 5 forward and 2 reverse speeds. The tank is able to reach a maximum road speed of 70 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 450 km.
Al Khalid tank background
The Al Khalid main battle tank (MBT), named after the 7th-century Muslim commander Khalid bin al-Walid, is the mainstay of Pakistan Army. Al Khalid, also known as MBT-2000, was jointly developed by Pakistan and China in 1990. It first entered service with the Pakistani Army in 2001. There are an estimated 600 vehicles in service.
– Al Khalid is operated by a three-man crew: driver, gunner, and commander.
– It is fitted with NBC (nuclear, biological and chemical) protection equipment.
– Al Khalid is armed with a 125mm smoothbore main gun and the 9M119M Refleks (AT-11 Sniper) laser-guided anti-tank missiles, a tandem warhead missile with a range of 5kms.
– Fully equipped for night warfare.
Lightweight and faster
The Al Khalid is moderately lightweight weighing 46 tons as compared to Germany’s Leopard 2 and American M1 Abrams – both weighing about 60 tons. Pakistan’s first indigenously manufactured tank is powered by a Ukrainian 6TD-2 liquid-cooled diesel engine capable of 1,200 horsepower with a maximum speed of 70 kilometers per hour.
Upgrade also includes improved transmission and electronic turret control for the Al Khalid Tanks. Tank also offers improved protection for the NBC (Nuclear, Biological & chemical) warfare.
Pakistani Al Khalid Tanks are equipped with Integrated Battle Management System (IBMS) and new active threat-protection system. Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT) has also increased Al Khalid’s weapon carrying capability and now it will be able to carry 49 125mm HEAT & APFSDS (Armor Piercing Fin Stabilized Discarding Sabot) and Naiza 125 mm DU rounds, 1,500 12.7mm and 7,100 7.62mm rounds.