UkrOboronProm announced that the Malyshev Plant delivered a batch of engine kits to Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT), Pakistan for installation on HIT’s al-Khalid I main battle tank (MBT).
According to its press release dated for January 12, 2018, UkrOboronProm states that the engine kits – which comprise of “the engine, transmission, engine maintenance systems, air purification system and armoured roof” – were the fifth batch delivered to Pakistan.
UkrOboronProm is a Ukrainian state-owned concern managing and promoting the country’s public-sector defence industry suppliers and manufacturers, among them being Malyshev Plant.
The engine program is a part of a $600 million U.S. memorandum-of-understanding (MoU) signed by HIT and Ukraine’s state-owned commercial dealing agency Ukrspecexport in November 2016.
As per Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence, the MoU was for providing “technical service … maintenance and modernization” for Pakistan’s tanks. It was reported that Pakistan also ordered 200 tank engines.
If the engines are being sought for the al-Khalid I, it is likely that they are the 1,200 hp 6TD-2 diesel engines.
In February 2017, Pakistan and Ukraine signed another MoU. Pakistan’s Minister of Defence Production was quoted by Pakistani media for stating that the MoU was for jointly producing tank engine and/or tank engine components. In March 2017, Pakistan issued a contract for 88 tank sights under a pilot overhaul and upgrade program for the Pakistan Army’s T-80UDs, which it had bought from Ukraine in the 1990s.
The Malyshev Plant is also interested in securing a Pakistan Army bid – potentially for 100 MBTs – for an off-the-shelf MBT to complement the al-Khalid-series. In August 2017, the Malyshev Plant announced that it was preparing an Oplot (reportedly ‘Oplot-P’) tank for trials in Pakistan. The Malyshev Plant is competing with China’s NORINCO and its VT4 for the off-the-shelf MBT bid.
Notes & Comments:
Currently, HIT’s al-Khalid I manufacturing output is below capacity, i.e. at 18 on average per year against an annual capacity for 50. In December 2017, HIT stated that its lower output was a result of “budgetary constraints.” In parallel, the Pakistan Army is evidently examining two off-the-shelf tank platforms in the Oplot-P and VT4. Based on HIT’s current output and the available figures regarding the off-the-shelf MBT bid, it appears that Pakistan’s tank procurement roadmap relatively modest in terms of quantity. This is tentative and could change, but this lower induction rate has been the case in recent years.