In May 2021, Pakistan took delivery of both additional VT4 main battle tanks (MBT) and subassemblies or components for the al-Khalid Improved (al-Khalid I) from China’s Norinco Group. The information comes from publicly available import-export registries in Pakistan.
The Pakistan Army (PA) officially revealed the VT4 during a firing demonstration in October 2020. The PA had evaluated the VT4 as part of its Haider MBT program. The PA planned the Haider program as an off-the-shelf solution to accelerate its tank modernization efforts (alongside the al-Khalid-series).
Pakistan shortlisted the VT4 and the Kharkiv Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau (KMDB) Oplot-P, and ultimately, selected the VT4 in late 2018. According to sources, the PA has a $859 million U.S contract in place for 176 VT-4 tanks. Pakistan is considering additional batches.
In terms of the al-Khalid I, the PA currently has an order for 110 units in place with Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT). HIT delivered its most recent al-Khalid I batch to the PA in August 2020. Based on information from the Ministry of Defence Production (MoDP), HIT delivered 45 al-Khalid Is between 2015 and 2018.
Norinco Group has been delivering components for the al-Khalid I through 2020 and 2021. Based on these deliveries, it is possible that the PA will induct another batch of al-Khalid I MBTs in late 2021 or early 2022. Likewise, one can expect another VT4 induction announcement around that timeframe as well.
Neither HIT or the MoDP have offered new updates regarding the al-Khalid 2. The al-Khalid 2 is slated to be the most significant upgrade to the al-Khalid series to-date. Earlier reports had outlined that the new MBT could have a 1,500 hp engine (versus the 1,200 hp 6TD-2 of the al-Khalid I). In addition, Aselsan from Turkey offered its next-generation electronics package for the al-Khalid 2…
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