Al-Khalid tank

Al-Khalid tank

Infobox Weapon
name=Al-Khalid/MBT 2000

caption= Al-Khalid MBT during a Defence Promotion Exibition
origin= People's Republic of China, Pakistan
type=Main battle tank
weight=48 tonnes
length=10.07 m
width=3.50 m
height=2.40 m
design_date= 1990 - 1991
production_date= 2001
armour=650 mm RHAe (modular composite and explosive reactive armour) [ [] ]
primary_armament=125 mm smoothbore gun
secondary_armament=12.7 mm antiaircraft machine gun, 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun
engine=12-cylinder diesel model 6TD-2
engine_power= 1,200 hp (895 kW)
pw_ratio=26 hp/tonne
vehicle_range=500 km []
speed=72 km/h []
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 descendant 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.

Development history

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. Lt. Gen Hamid Javaid as Director General Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT) and Brigadier (now Major General) Mohammad Asaad supervised the project. 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" after the prominent companion and general of the Prophet Muhammad named Khalid ibn al-Walid.


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. [ [ Pakistan's, $150 Million Contract Signed With Ukraine] ] 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. [ [ Al Khalid MBT-2000 / Type 2000 Main Battle Tank] ] 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. [ Jane's [ Saudi Arabia to trial Al Khalid MBT] ] . In 2008, instead of Al-Khalid, Saudi Arabia bought 150 T-90 for $500 million from Russia. [ [ Saudis Spend Billions On Russian Weapons] ]


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). 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. [ Heavy Industries Taxila] ]

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. [ [ 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 48 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 72 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. [Pakistan Defence [ Al-Khalid MBT] ]


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.


The Al-Khalid tank is in service with the following countries:

*Pakistan—350 or more in service with the Pakistan Army, with plans for an additional 250

ee also

*Type 96G
*Pakistan Army
*People's Liberation Army
*Al Zarrar


External links

* [ World Market for Tanks Remains Split]
* [ Al Khalid MBT-2000 / Type 2000 Main Battle Tank] , at Global Security
* [ MBT-2000 / Type 2000 Main Battle Tank] , at
* [ Al-Khalid MBT (MBT 2000)] , Pakistan Military Consortium
* [ Development of MBT-2000 (Al-Khalid) ] , at Defence Journal
* [ Towards Self-reliance in Armaments] , Patron Lt Gen (Retd) Sardar F S LODI looks at the induction of Al-Khalid main battle tank in the Pakistan Army, at Defence Journal
* [ A video of Al-Khalid at youTube (in Urdu)]
* [ A user created video of Al-Khalid at youTube]

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