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Though Slow, Pakistan’s Armour and Artillery Modernization is Moving
November 21, 2019

Though Slow, Pakistan’s Armour and Artillery Modernization is Moving

In its disclosure of production and procurement activities for 2017-2018, the Pakistan Ministry of Defence Production (MoDP) outlined that the Pakistan Army’s projects, while slow moving, were progressing. But it appears that the priority at this stage is overhauling older tanks and procuring surplus/used howitzers.

Main Battle Tanks

Al-Khalid

According to the MoDP, Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT) manufactured 20 al-Khalid-I main battle tanks (MBT) for the Army, a slight increase over the 16 it rolled-out in 2016-2017.[1]

The main difference between the al-Khalid-I (short for Improved) and the preceding version is that the al-Khalid-I has a new digital fire control system.[2] In addition, it is also equipped with a laser warning system for detecting incoming anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM)[3] as well as head mirror stabilized gunner-sight.

According to IHS Jane’s in 2016, the Pakistan Army operated about 400 al-Khalid MBTs.[4] With these two batches, it should have at least 436, potentially more since the latest MoDP report only covers activities for 2017-2018. In other words, the information is 12-18 months behind, so the Army may have more.

During the 2016 International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS), HIT signed for 200 6TD-2 1,200 hp diesel engines, which indicates that the Army intends to procure up to 200 al-Khalid-Is. However, the new disclosures also show that HIT is still producing well below its capacity of 50-60 al-Khalid MBTs per year.

Al-Khalid 2

In terms of the al-Khalid 2 — the next-generation variant of the al-Khalid — the MoDP report states that it is in the “final stages” of development. HIT will work on prototype with a “powerful power pack and latest/ modern fire control system / gun control system … in near future.”

The al-Khalid 2 is expected to feature a 1,500 hp diesel engine, new electronics, and possibly, new armour technology. On the latter front, the Turkish OEM Roketsan is offering Pakistan the composite and ballistic armour it developed for the Altay MBT.[5] HIT could receive offers from China and Ukraine as well.

Likewise, Aselsan is offering its support on electronics. However, it appears that HIT’s Advanced Research, Development & Information Centre (ARDIC) is responsible for the al-Khalid 2’s electronics, at least in terms of integration and testing, if not development. The Army did not disclose how it intends to configure the al-Khalid 2 in terms of electronics and countermeasure systems.

T-80UD

HIT disclosed that it successfully repaired 45 T-80UD MBTs. Furthermore, it will also overhaul five T-80UDs as part of a pilot project, potentially as part of a joint-project with UkrOboronProm. HIT stated that upon the successful completion of the pilot, it will overhaul the Army’s remaining 315 T-80UDs…

End of Excerpt (439/1,546 words)

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[1] Year Book (sic) 2017-2018. Ministry of Defence Production. Government of Pakistan. 05 September 2019. URL: http://www.modp.gov.pk/frmDetails.aspx

[2] “Al Khalid I makes public debut at IDEAS.” Asian Military Review. 29 November 2018

[3] Ibid.

[4] Farhan Bokhari. “Defending the Borders.” Pakistan Briefing. IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly. 2 November 2016.

[5] “A Roketsan Product for Every Need.” MSI Turkish Defence Review. January 2017.

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