HIT progressing with al Khalid-I main battle tank production
November 29, 2023
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.