PRIDE OF PAKISTAN ARMY
occupies an important geo-strategic location in South Asia. A strong
Pakistan brings stability to the region, but in the past relations with
its eastern neighbour have not remained cordial and the country has
experienced three wars and a number of border conflicts. The September
1965 war saw the greatest tank battle since Second World War when the
onslaught of numerically superior Indian armour was effectively stopped
by World War-II vintage Shermans and M-47/M-48 (Patton) tanks then held
by the Pakistan Army. The arms embargo imposed immediately after this
war left no choice for Pakistan but to look for alternate sources of
Soon thereafter, tanks T-59 manufactured by China were inducted. As
the fleet of these tanks grew, Heavy Rebuild Factory (HRF) was established
in Taxila in the late seventies to undertake rebuild and modernization
task was undertaken under a systematic plan and the experience acquired
in enhancing firepower, mobility and protection not only significantly
enhanced the capabilities of HRF but since then, has helped the organization
grow into a multi-factory environment, renamed Heavy Industries Taxila
now include the cost effective manufacture of armoured fighting vehicles,
armoured personnel carriers and tank guns. In addition, in-house manufacture
of a large array of components required has been undertaken and an infrastructure
built for interacting with the indigenous industry for development of
materials and components required.
Since the Pakistan Army did not visualise a change in the central role
of the tank on the future battlefield, and it was abundantly clear that
the existing inventory of tanks had a limited potential, the development
of Main Battle Tank Al-Khalid, was envisaged and specifications were
drawn to meet the operational requirements for the first three decades
of the next millennium.
an exhaustive evaluation, which included trials of foreign tanks, it
was decided to collaborate with China. HIT and Chinese tank manufacturer
entered into a progressive tank manufacturing programme in 1990 that
included the manufacture of T-691IMP/T-85IIAP tanks, W653 Armoured Recovery
Vehicles as well as the joint design, development and manufacture of
tank Al-Khalid. Since then, HIT has completed the manufacture of more
than almost 1000 armoured tracked vehicles (tanks, APCs, ARVs) and has
completed development of the Al-Khalid which has now entered pilot production.
Development of a main battle tank - the most complex ground weapon system,
is a complicated process that permits no lapses in development. R&D
was completed in an unprecedented period of nine years, which included
preparation of prototypes, regular trials and incorporation of improvements.
With the approval of the final prototype during the trials of which
reliability, maintainability, availability and other parameters of the
weapon system were validated, extended live firing tests for vulnerability,
survivability and lethality were also conducted.
order to meet these requirements countries with broad technological
bases take substantial time to develop a new tank. The development philosophy
for the Al-Khalid was cohesive and took a total approach to the design
and development, which refrained from trying to "reinvent the wheel"
Total commitment was a must and helped the Al-Khalid enter pilot production
within a period of nine years.
Al-Khalid is the result of the advanced technology available in the
world today. It represents the ideal integration of firepower, mobility
and protection. Al-Khalid has been designed with a 125mm (48 calibre)
smooth bore, autofrettaged and chrome plated gun which can fire APFSDS,
HEAT-FS and HE-FS conventional ammunition and missiles. It is equipped
with muzzle reference system, and bi-axis stabilisation. Elevation and
azimuth control is achieved by electro-hydraulic power drives. The tank
is also equipped with a 7.62 mm-coaxial MG, 12.7mm externally mounted
MG that can be fired with the hatch closed and grenade launchers.
The gunner is provided with a dual magnification day sight and the commander
with a panoramic Hunter Killer sight for all around independent surveillance.
Both sights are bi-axis image stabilised and have independent laser
commander has the ability of acquiring a target independently while
the gunner is engaging a previously selected one.
automatic ammunition handling system, with 24 round ready-to-fire magazine
further supplements the Hunter-Killer capability of the tank which can
load at a rate of 8 rounds a minute. The presence of automatic target
tracking system enables the tank to achieve a very high first round
hit probability even while firing on a moving target while moving itself.
Night vision for the gunner and commander is achieved through a dual
magnification thermal imaging sight. The powerful fire control system
computer processes all the firing information, which includes inputs
from its ten sensors and is integrated to both sights.
The ballistic computation time is less than one second. For accurate
fire control, third generation gating facility has been provided. The
result of such a modern fire control system is, routine first round
hits on standard (8 ft x 8 ft) targets at ranges in excess of 2000 metres.
The tank with its 125mm gun has a remarkably stable platform, which
is provided by a combination of soft recoil and an excellent suspension.
around the fire control system are the ergonomic crew positions and
controls. The tank commander, gunner and driver can virtually reach
all their controls with little movement.
A 1200 horsepower super charged, diesel engine and semi-automatic transmission,
provides mobility.An under armour auxiliary power supply unit provides
a significant reduction in fuel consumption during 'Silent Watch' and
maintenance operations, as auxiliary functions can be performed without
main engine power. The highly reliable suspension consists of torsion
bars, hydraulic dampers and buffers that afford a high level of comfort
for its crew.
Besides a low silhouette, it is considerably smaller as compared to
other modern tanks. Its maximum weight of 46 tons provides a double
advantage; it is strategically easily deployed and is more agile.Its
power to weight ratio, in excess of 26 HP/ton, gives the vehicle a maximum
speed of around 70 km/h, acceleration from 0~ 30 km/h in less than 10
low mean maximum pressure and the excellent ride given by its suspension
make Al-Khalid an ideal vehicle to fight in any theatre of operation.
Al-Khalid has been designed to provide maximum protection and efficiency
for its 3 men crew. Protection is afforded by use of modular composite
armour and explosive reactive armour. Al-Khalid also offers enhanced
protection through NBC, an effective Thermal Smoke Generation, Automatic
Fire Extinguishing and Explosion Suppression Systems.
The submerging system allows it to operate 5 metres under water. Navigation
is assisted by the use of Global Positioning and Inertial Navigation
Pakistan's economic conditions do not allow production of a tank at
Faced with challenging requirements that will meet severe desert conditions
and need high performance; a balance has been achieved between specific
requirements and cost. No other tank in the world with these characteristics
is being produced at the price any where close to that of the Al Khalid.
This has been accomplished through modern management, production and
material acquisition techniques.
The main battle tank Al-Khalid has been tailored to meet the necessities
and requirements of its users. Its superior qualities - firepower, mobility
and protection provide an ideal system in terms of cost effectiveness,
easy operation and maintenance in any type of terrain.
With inherent growth potential, which has been achieved through open
system architecture, modular replacements and software partitioning
to simplify use of modules, it is expected to remain formidable to meet
the future operational requirements and absorb emerging technologies.
Pakistan is a peace loving country and desires to improve its socio-economic
conditions. At the same time it is conscious that it must take appropriate
measures to safeguard its security and sovereignty. Weapon systems such
as tank Al Khalid are considered essential to ensure peace and stability
in the region.