Pakistan Army may purchase VT-4 MBT in large quantities

Pakistan Army may purchase VT-4 MBT in large quantities

The Pakistan Army may procure large number of these tanks as the domestic Al Khalid-II project has suffered from much delays due to funding problems as well as the turmoil in Ukraine. Turkey may not help them as Pakistan faced problems purchasing the T-129 attack helicopter and is possibly opting for Chinese alternatives.

They ordered 176 tanks initially but will subsequently increase the order to 300 units. Ultimately the Pakistan Army may add up to 600 to 1,000 VT-4 tanks as a response to the Indian Army’s mass acquisition of T-90 tanks from Russia.

The VT-4 procurement may actually kill off the Al Khalid-II project entirely because the country clearly does not have the required funds to pursue both import and indigenous production programmes and more importantly it should not.

The MBT-3000/VT-4 is a capable platform based on the Type 99A.

The VT-4 has a 125mm smoothbore cannon capable of firing APFSDS, HESH, HEAT and HE rounds and guided missiles. There is also a remote weapon station on the turret armed with a 12.7 mm heavy machine gun. The fire control system has hunter-killer capabilities, laser rangefinder, panoramic sight, and a third generation thermal imaging system.

The tank appears to have composite and explosive reactive armour. The turret front has wedge shaped armour and the hull sides have armoured sideskirts. The tank is equipped with an active protection system designated GL5, defensive grenade launchers, and a laser warning device. The vehicle also has an IFF system, NBC protection, explosion suppression system, fire extinguishing system, and air conditioning.

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According to NORINCO, the VT-4 uses a locally produced 1,300 hp diesel engine with torsion bar suspension and an integrated hydraulic transmission system. Steering and acceleration is handled by a steering wheel and automatic gear transmission.

The tank is also integrated with digital communications systems for tank-tank communication and communication between commanders.

Unit cost of the tanks vary however the base price is $3 million per tank, rising to $5.8 million depending on particular arrangements with client armies.

The Pakistan Army purchased 176 VT-4s for $859 million. At least two examples have reportedly been delivered to Pakistan already earlier in April.

The inclusion of these tanks were formally disclosed to the public on 22 September 2020 during an exercise near Jhelum.

Meanwhile the Royal Thai Army as well as the Nigerian Army procured the VT-4 main battle tanks in smaller numbers.

The VT-4 may also be procured by the Bangladesh Army. The Bangladesh Army already purchased the VT-5 light tank from NORINCO last year.


The Bangladesh Defence Analyst - © 2024