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HIT progressing with al Khalid-I main battle tank production
October 16, 2017
Pakistan Army al Khalid main battle tanks. Photo source: Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR)

HIT progressing with al Khalid-I main battle tank production

Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT) revealed that it was progressing with the manufacturing of al Khalid-I main battle tanks (MBT) for the Pakistan Army. In footage from the Pakistani news broadcaster PAK News, which had televised a show on HIT in commemoration of Defence Day, the state-owned armour manufacturing company was building the 22nd al Khalid-I MBT.

Photo source: PAK News

HIT also confirmed that it is capable of rolling out 50-60 al Khalid-I MBTs per year and, in turn, save the public exchequer $2.5 to 3 million U.S. in cost in comparison to a comparable import. This was achieved by domestically sourcing a substantial portion of the al Khalid-series, such as – among others – its armour, electronics and 125 mm main gun. Potential subsystems for future tanks or other armoured vehicles, such as an electro-optical sensor, are undergoing tests at HIT’s Advanced Research, Development & Information Centre (ARDIC).

The al Khalid-I is an iterative upgrade of the al Khalid. According to HIT’s product catalogue, the al Khalid-I is equipped with a head mirror stabilized gunner-sight with a wide field-of-view (WFOV) of 10° and narrow FOV (NFOV) of 6° compared. It has a magnification capability of 6x to 10x.

The WFOV of the preceding gunner-sight/periscope was 20°. HIT did not outline if the al Khalid-I’s gunner-sight encompassed qualitative improvements, such as reduction in distortion. Moreover, HIT did not differentiate the FOV specifications of the sight’s thermal imaging and direct view (or CCD camera).

At IDEAS 2016, HIT ordered 200 6TD-2 1,200 hp diesel engines from Ukraine. In February, Ukroboronprom and Pakistan’s Ministry of Defence Production (MoDP) signed a memorandum-of-understanding (MoU) for tank collaboration. The MoU reportedly included co-production of tank engines. Ukrainian engines are an integral aspect to Pakistan’s armoured vehicles production efforts.

The al Khalid and al Zarrar (a remanufacturing and significant upgrade of the Chinese T-59) were envisaged to form the mainstay of the Pakistan Army’s Armour Corps. In 2015, HIT informed the Pakistani Senate’s Standing Committee on Defence Production that it had produced 310 al Khalid MBTs. It appears that HIT’s focus has returned to mass producing the al Khalid series, most notably with 200 al Khalid-I on order and continuing development of the significantly improved al Khalid-II.

  • Shakeel

    Pakistan has a long history in adopting Ukrainian hardware extensively, providing them with a much needed life line in tank production. The quality of Ukrainian tanks is very competitive by international standards.
    https://defence-ua.com/index.php/en/publications/defense-express-publications/2969-powerplant-systems-made-in-ukraine

    Pakistan must cement this relationship, by producing the 6TD-2 domestcally with full TOT. The 6TD-2 demand for local production is a MUST. The latter has now been superceded by 6TD-3 which should mean that Ukraine will be comfortable with the idea of transferring older engine technology to HIT. Anything short of this demand, i believe will leave Pakistan (HIT) seriously short changed.

    Also in the video of HIT, one of the notable features has been the Czech made Skoda CNC hull machine. A very promising feature indeed.
    if only we extended this approach for POF.s infrastructure using Czech technology..

    It would be interesting to find out if HIT modernisation plan is finalised by summer 2018? I hope it does. Sound decisions have been taken by HIT lately, which puts them on track towards self-reliance.

  • Steve

    Make the engine please. Also make sure you get the top of the line model or else our enemies will try to get the lastest model with a caveat to not sell to Pakistan as always.

  • SP

    With the exception of cutting edge technology, Pakistan should be able to produce much if its weapons in the country. There is a need to continously improve the arsenal. The involvement of the private sector and academic institutions is much needed. There needs to be internal competition for enhancement of the products.

  • TZK

    If I was defending I would spend the money on mobile or self propelled artillery and anti tank weapons but sometimes attack is the best form of defence and you need to give your generals as many options as possible to fight and win a war.

  • Shakeel

    Perhaps HIT can employ your cutting edge services, at least cost solutions. What do I know hey? when we got talented people like yourself who are willing to make the difference.

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