July Flashback: Pakistan Has Unveiled The Al-khalid Tank
- The future Al-Khalid tanks were supposed to be manufactured in 1999. In 2001, the first batch of 15 was tested in an operational unit.
- The Al-Khalid tanks are not only a great example of Pakistan's self-sufficiency, but they also demonstrate the strength of Pakistan-China relations.
The Al-Khalid tanks are the Pakistan Army’s front-line main battle tanks. The Al-design Khalid’s is comprised of three major components: protection, mobility, and firepower.
The Al- Khalid project began in January 1990, when China and Pakistan signed a joint development agreement. This agreement called for Chinese tank prototypes to be tested in Pakistan before being exported to the Middle East.
One reason China was interested in this transaction was the development of high-performance cooling and air filtering systems that could not be properly tested in mainland China. Tank testing began in 1991, and Pakistan completed its first tank production plant, known as the Heavy Industries Taxila, in late 1992. (HIT).
On July 17, 1991, then-Pakistani Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Pakistani Chief of Army Staff Mirza Aslam Beg revealed Al-Khalid. Many prototypes were developed and tested over the next nine years by the joint development with China, which was overseen by Lt. Gen. Hamid Javaid and Major General Muhammad Asad.
The future Al-Khalid tanks were supposed to be manufactured in 1999. In 2001, the first batch of 15 was tested in an operational unit. A second batch was delivered in 2004, and production was scaled up for the planned delivery of 600 tanks over the next fifteen years or so. Many countries tested it, and some bought it under the export name, MBT-2000.
The basic hull of the Al-Khalid is made of high hardened steel plates for protection. The sides are made up of composite armour modules, but the majority of them are found on the turret. In addition, a collective NBC system with overpressure, an internal fire extinguisher, and an explosion-suppression system protect the crew. Smoke dischargers, Chaff, and antipersonnel grenades are examples of external protection.
On a 360° traverse mast-mounted sensor, the tank has a laser warning system. Laser detection is used not only to generate warnings, but also to automatically activate countermeasures based on distance. The early Laser Threat Sensor completed it and could distinguish laser signals within a 10 km radius.
The Al Khalid is powered by a 6TD-2 liquid-cooled diesel engine designed by Ukraine’s Kharkiv Morozov Design Bureau (KMDB).The engine produces 1,200 horsepower (hp), resulting in a top speed of 70 km/h for approximately 430 kilometres. It has a power-to-weight ratio of 26.66 hp/tonne and can accelerate from 0 to 32 km/h in 10 seconds. Carbon friction brakes, a secondary speed-retarding system, and a manual backup system are all available.
The Al-main Khalid’s armament is a 125 mm Smoothbore gun that can fire a variety of ammunition, including armor-piercing rounds, high explosive rounds, and even guided missiles at high speeds.
The Pakistan Army officially inducted its first batch of Al-Khalid-I MBTs into service in July 2020. The upgrade is extensive when compared to the first units that entered service, and appears to be aimed at making the design competitive with the Indian Army’s fleet of T-90S MBTs. These tanks are comparable to NATO standard tanks in terms of mobility, speed, bi-axis gun stabilisation of the control system, and use of the smoke screen to mask movement.
Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa stated at the handover ceremony of Al Khalid-1 to Armoured Corps Regiment in July 2020 that “our defence preparation and operational readiness is to ensure peace within and peace without.” The Al-Khalid tanks are not only a great example of Pakistan’s self-sufficiency, but they also demonstrate the strength of Pakistan-China relations.