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Pakistan may negotiate with Ukraine for 100 Oplot-M main battle tanks
July 27, 2017
KMDB T-84 Oplot M main battle tank (MBT).

Pakistan may negotiate with Ukraine for 100 Oplot-M main battle tanks

In an interview on April 20 with the Ukrainian newspaper Delovaya Stolitsa, Pakistan’s ambassador to Ukraine Athar Abbas revealed that Pakistan could buy more than 100 Oplot-M main battle tanks (MBT) from the Malyshev Factory. As per Abbas, negotiations will start once final tests are complete.

Responding to a question about Pakistan’s willingness to pursue defence ties with Ukraine, Abbas outlined that Pakistan was seeking Ukraine’s cooperation in modernizing the Pakistan Army’s armour.

Abbas noted the U.S. $600 million memorandum-of-understanding (MoU) overhaul and modernization deal signed in November during IDEAS 2016 in Karachi. He also brought up the MoU signed during IDEX 2017 in Abu Dhabi on the co-production of tank engines.

As per Ukrainian News Agency Interfax, the first set of contracts under these MoUs have also been issued – in March, Ukraine received an order to supply 88 tank sights for Pakistan’s T-80UD MBTs.

Notes & Comments:

The Oplot-M was one of the tanks competing for the Pakistan Army’s Haider MBT requirement, which was envisaged to help propel the Army’s armour modernization goals and support the al-Khalid MBT. Athar Abbas’ comments to Delovaya Stolitsa may indicate that the Haider program is still alive, though this has yet to be confirmed by Pakistan Army officials.

Since Kharkiv Morozov Machine Building’s (KMDB) 1,200 hp 6TD-2 engine powers Pakistan’s al-Khalid MBT (and the 1,500 hp 6TD-3 is likely the leading option for the al-Khalid 2), buying the Oplot-M would require less in terms of added maintenance, logistics and training investment compared to another platform.

The Oplot-M is a variant of the T-84, which itself is an upgrade of the T-80UD in use by Pakistan. Weighing 48 tons, the Oplot-M is powered by a KMDB 1,200 hp 6TD-2 diesel engine. It is armed with a 125 mm KBA3 smoothbore gun, which can fire anti-tank guided missiles, armour-piercing discarding sabot fin-stabilized (APDSFS) shells and high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) shells.

One of the Oplot-M’s differentiating features (compared to the T-80UD and T-84) is its new welded turret, which accompanies KMDB’s latest in explosive reactive armour (ERA).

Currently, Thailand is the Oplot-M’s sole export buyer. The Royal Thai Army ordered 49 Oplot-Ms in March 2011, though Ukraine’s strife with Russia resulted in several major delays, causing Bangkok to supplement its Oplot-M order with a purchase of VT-4 MBTs from China. However, the purchase was not cancelled and Thailand is in the process of receiving the Oplot-Ms from Ukraine.

  • Aamir

    If this deal goes through, this will be a great boost to pak armored crops.

  • ali amanat

    Pakistan should empasize local production of tank engine and fire control systems.

    • bill

      First step has been taken in this regard by signing MOU with Ukraine for joint production of MBT engines.

    • ahmria

      The necessary expertise has to be developed firstly in cooperation with Ukraine before Pakistan can develop and field their own tank engines. Ukraine would be loath to part with such an important source of currency like TOT without adequate compensation.

  • U

    What is or will be the key difference between Oplot M and Al Khalid 2 that makes one superior to the other and provides a boost in capability? Which one is a “next generation” tank?

    Please​ if some one can explane?

    • As some noted above, the Oplot-M is probably being sought as an upgrade for the Army’s existing T-80UDs. Granted, this would amount to remanufacturing the tanks (a lot like T-59 to al-Zarrar), but an avenue nonetheless. AK2 and Haider would be sibling next-gen tanks, basically.

      • U

        Can you please briefly explain what exactly will make the new tanks “next generation” when compared to Al Khalid and Oplot M?

        • Keyser

          Larger power packs (Engines) Heavier more effective armour. Better electronics including self defence systems. Safer ammo storage. More crew comfort.

  • Aaif khan

    This is too much interesting. I wonder if it is possible to upgrade 300+ existing T-80UD tank to Oplot-M standard and bring the number to 600 or maybe 900.

    And if alkhalid2 will be powered by 1500hp than I wonder will alkhakid1 be brought to alkhalid2 level?
    If yes, than this could give a space to another new platform for haider program

    There could be chance for another platform because alkhalid will share commanality with oplot-M in Armour and engine so maintenance won’t be a big hurdle.

    I really like the design of Oplot-M. and you know it was developed by keeping in mind against the Russians T-90s.

    This is total scary. The Indo-pak war is a reality and no matter what the result will be. In the end Kashmir will be free. Quwa team should thanks me.😎😸

    • Mahendra Baberwal

      Your already know the result so not bothering.now instead of Kashmir you ask modiji for Pakistan free.

      • Aaif khan

        I see You guys are full of hatred.
        What i know is that When The Justice and Injustice collides, than Injustice Perishes, for Injustice by its very Nature, is bound to perish.
        So rise Up against this Menace called Nationalism and stand with Justice irrespective of your faith and origin.

    • ahmria

      Most upgrades and modernisation are possible the only deciding factors affecting these possibilities would be cash for the upgrades and familiarity with the systems involved. The Oplot M has a completely different turret to the T80 amongst other improvements. Some of the T80UDs supplied to Pakistan are fitted with the Oplot M turrets but don’t have the other features from the Oplot.
      If the Al Khalid is fitted with the same engines as the Oplot then that commonality will help in terms of maintenance and spare parts. Its also possible that other features and hardware might trickle down into Al Khalid 2 from Ukraine but also China.
      Its possible that a variant of the Oplot if it performs well in trials and tests could possibly become the base for Haider but I think the future tank force might comprise of Al Khalid1/2 and Oplot M with the older Zarrer and T80s being kept in reserves.

    • Aamir

      The T 90 was developed by the Russians to tap in the success of the T 80UD. The Oplot-M is an upgraded & improved T80UD.

  • bill

    It is evident that the assembling of these MBTs shall be done in Pakistan with necessary changes as per PA requirements, off course main parts shall be supplied by Ukraine yet hopefully Pak shall not face problems like Thailand. Moreover apart from in time delivery issues the platform itself has many advanced features which make it good choice to directly compete with modern Russian tanks at affordable price.

  • Zill e Hussnain

    well AL-Haider program was supposed to be the Heavy Tank but how come it is going to have a same engine as the old Al Khalids?

    • Aaif khan

      That’s what I am wondering. I guess beside Oplot-M and alkhalid 2 PA will induct another platform and that will be heavier.

      • ahmria

        The problem with fielding a heavy tank is also the environment that it will operate in. The Arjun is a beast at over 60 tons yet the mainstay of the indian and Russian army are the T90 tanks that weigh about 48 tons. The majority of tanks weather Russian or Chinese tend to be around 40 to 50 ton mark. The only real heavy tanks are either Western tanks or tanks based off of western technology and Im not sure how they would fare outside of Europe. Protection is important but so is mobility and fire power.

  • Steve

    Great buy and collaborative effort. Simplifying the supply chain and maintenance facilities as we already have large numbers of T-80UD. Congratulations to Pakistan army if the sale goes through. Will these form the core of new independent armoured brigades or are we looking to stand up another armoured division at some stage. Possibly just replacing obsolete stuff. It is however a good conventional counter to CSD. One comment…at 48 tons it’s in the same weight category as al-Khalid. Were PA not looking for a heavier tank in 65 ton class like Altay.

  • Sami Shahid

    Pakistan better buy before it gets too late. PA can deploy Oplot-M on the East and should relocate Al-Khalid or Al-Zarrar to the West.

    • umar rana

      but whyyyyyyyy?is al-khalid obsolete. then why we put so much money on al-khalid?????????

  • Stan

    Aaif Khan is Indian born and raised in Calcutta

    • Headstrong

      We have only his word for that

  • John Rue

    Pakistan must invest in air defence. I always hear argument that there is no reliable anti missile system out there. true but you also want to defend yourself from IAF. Without proper air defence if you are buying tanks in hundreds , you are just providing a bigger line of ducks to shoot.
    India will own S-400 pretty soon , that will limit PAF’s ability to defend its forward ground assets.

    • Stan

      S-400 would cover the farthest corners of Pakistan but you must be talking about air assets

  • mh1975

    This deal seems bit Fishy, what would 100 oplot m tanks do for the pakistan armed forces other than provide bureaucrats and army officials with an opportunity for bribes and kick backs

    • Alternatively, it could be the amount Pakistan can afford with current cash. If the Oplot-M has been chosen, it could be bought incrementally in batches over a longer period of time. It may also a partial figure – e.g. the Army may be interested in remanufacturing the T-80UDs into Oplot-Ms, so the 100 are required to bring cumulative force numbers up (to 400 if the T-80UDs are included).

  • Zill e Hussnain

    would you be kind enough to inform us that what Pakistani tanks got do with “friction between YOUR primary organs”? please understand that it is not a political forum so kindly avoid making such comments as we want to maintain complete neutrality here by our speech, critical analysis is always welcome but plain rhetoric is unacceptable, please remember that we have a much bigger presence on every single Indian forum but due to biased behavior of administrator, who choose to stay silent and observe

    • Headstrong

      Please redirect to the person who began this.

  • Aamir

    Since the Oplot-M is an upgraded version of the T80UD, we should be able to upgrade the T80 pretty close to the Oplot capabilities. But I think the real issue with the Pak Army armor is the T85lll, how will they be replaced? Will the new tanks replace some of the T85lll’s?

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