|Manufacturer:||Heavy Industry Taxila (HIT)|
|Product type:||Armoured Vehicles|
|Name:||Main battle tank|
On 1 October 1988, it was announced that Pakistan would manufacture a new MBT (MBT 2000) with the assistance of the People's Republic of China and with the Heavy Rebuild Factories in Pakistan carrying out the programme.
The project was approved by the Defence Committee of the Cabinet on 16 January 1990 and the contract with China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO) was signed in May 1990.
Rather than build a new MBT from scratch, Pakistan elected a four-phased approach:
(1) Upgrade the existing Type 59 MBT. Some of these have been fitted with a 105 mm rifled tank gun and are then known as the T-59(M). Details of the Type 59 are given under China
(2) Assembly/manufacture of the Type 69-II MBT; this has 50 per cent of its components from the Type 59 and 50 per cent new components. Production ofType69-ll hulls commenced in Pakistan in 1993 with the turrets still coming from China. The Pakistan designation is the Type 69-IIMP with the engine developing 580 hp. Details of the Type 69 are given under China
(3) Co-production and manufacture of the Type 85 MBT; this has 20 per cent components from the Type 59, 30 per cent components from the Type 69-II MBT and 50 per cent new components. Co-production of the Type 85 has now commenced and a batch of these vehicles has already been supplied from China. In Pakistan service these are designated the Type 85-IIAP. Details of the Type 85 are given under China
(4) Production of the MBT 2000 with 45 per cent of its components taken from existing vehicles (10 per cent Type 59, 15 per cent Type 69-II and 20 per cent Type 85) and 55 per cent new components.
The Heavy Rebuild Factory (HRF) at Taxila, also known as P-711, has been established and running for some time. It was then decided to build additional facilities for specific components: P-882 All types of AFV hull P-883 All types of turret P-884 All types of engine from 520 to 1,500 hp P-885 Progressive manufacture of guns from
105 mm to 203 mm P-886 Flexible machining centre
The first prototype of MBT 2000, which is also referred to as the Al-Khalid or P-90, was completed on schedule in June 1991, with trials being carried out in 1992.
When production does eventually start, it is expected to be at a low level and eventually increase to around 200 vehicles a year.
It is expected that initially 65 to 70 per cent of the key components will be made in Pakistan, 20 to 25 per cent will be supplied by China and the remainder will come from other countries.
Early in 1994, it was disclosed that Perkins Engines Company of the UK had completed tests of a new integrated power pack for an MBT in the 50 tonne range and this was believed to be for the MBT 2000 project. Two power packs were supplied under contract to Pakistan.
This power pack consisted of a Perkins Engines Company CV-12 diesel developing 1,200 hp (as installed in the Challenger 1 and Challenger 2 MBTs) coupled to the French SESM ESM 500 automatic transmission (as installed in the Leclerc MBT used by the French Army). This power pack has also been installed in prototypes of the NORINCO Type 90-II MBT which is understood to be the Chinese designation for the MBT 2000 (Al-Khalid).
By early 1999 there was no firm date as to when the MBT 2000 would enter volume production. The decision to procure 320 T-80UD MBTs from the Ukraine (please see separate entry) is understood to have taken place because of the delays in the MBT 2000 programme.
Pakistan Ordnance Factories is now making 125 mm ammunition (projectile and charge) for the 125 mm smooth bore gun installed in the Chinese Type 85-IIAP and the Ukrainian T-80UD.
Late in 1998 the Ukrainian DINAU news agency in the Ukraine stated that the Malyshev Plant in Kiev had started work on the technical aspects of a joint Ukrainian/Pakistan/Chinese Main Battle Tank (MBT).
The feasibility of this project is said to have been discussed during a visit to the Malyshev Plant by a military delegation from Pakistan.
It is possible that 125 mm armed turrets supplied by NORINCO will be integrated in Pakistan with the chassis supplied by the Malyshev Plant.
The layout of the MBT 2000 is conventional, with the driver's compartment at the front, turret in the centre and the power pack at the rear. In many respects the MBT 2000 appears to be almost identical to the Chinese NORINCO Type 90-II MBT.
The turret and hull are of all-welded steel armour construction and an additional layer of composite armour has been added over the frontal arc, to which explosive reactive armour can be added if required. Turret thickness at the front is estimated to be 600 mm with the glacis/nose estimated to be 450 to 470 mm.
The armour is of modular design enabling the userto change the damaged modules or replace the existing models with new armour packages as the threat evolves or as new technology becomes available.
Main armament is a 125 mm smoothbore gun fitted with a thermal sleeve and a fume extractor. This can fire APFSDS (muzzle velocity 1,760 m/s), HEAT (muzzle velocity 850 m/s) and HE-FRAG (muzzle velocity 950 m/s). The gun is fed by an automatic loader enabling the crew to be reduced to three - commander, gunner and driver.
A 7.62 mm machine gun is mounted coaxially with the main armament and a 12.7 mm machine gun is mounted on the roof for anti-aircraft and local defence. Mounted either side of the turret, towards the rear, is a bank of four electrically operated forward-firing smoke grenade dischargers. A turret basket is provided at the rear.
The computerised fire-control system includes a stabilised range-finder sight, computer, commander's control panel, laser range-finder, crosswind sensor, tilt sensor and angle velocity sensor. This allows the MBT 2000 to engage moving targets under day and night conditions.
The complete power pack, which consists of the engine, transmission and cooling system, can be removed from the vehicle in 30 minutes to facilitate field replacement. Prototype diesel engines develop 1,200 hp but it is hoped to install 1,500 hp engines at a later date.
Suspension is of the torsion bar type with six large dual rubber-tyred roadwheels, idler at the front, drive sprocket at the rear and track-return rollers. The upper part of the suspension is covered by a track skirt with a wavy lower part.
There are no known variants of the MBT 2000.