MBT 2000 (Al-Khalid)


The existence of the NORINCO Type 90 MBT was first revealed in late 1991 and compared to earlier Chinese MBTs it has significant improvements in the three key areas of MBT design: armour, mobility and firepower. Under a contract signed in May 1990, the Type 90-II is also to be manufactured under licence in Pakistan and further development has resulted in the Khalid MBT which is tailored to meet the specific operational requirements of the Pakistani Armoured Corps. Additional details of the Khalid, the first prototype of which was completed in June 1991 and which is also referred to as the MBT-2000 or P-90, are given under Pakistan. In many respects the NORINCO Type 90-II is similar to the Type 85-IIM although the former is heavier with improved protection and is powered by 1,200 hp diesel engine. Early in 1997, additional information on the Type 90-II MBT was released by NORINCO and at the same time it was revealed that it was now being offered fitted with explosive reactive armour to its hull and turret for improved battlefield survivability. By mid-1997, volume production of the Type 9-II MBT had yet to commence. It is understood that this vehicle is for the export market and not for the People's Liberation Army.


The overall layout of the Type 90-II MBT is conventional with the driver's compartment at the front, fighting compartment in the centre and power pack at the rear. The hull is of welded steel construction with an additional layer of composite armour at the front. Explosive reactive armour has been added to the glacis plate and nose of the vehicle. The driver is seated in the centre and has a single-piece hatch cover that lifts and swings to the right and in front of this are three periscopes, the centre one of which can be replaced by a passive periscope for driving at night. The turret is in the centre and is of all welded steel armour construction to which a layer of composite armour has been added over the frontal arc. In addition, to the turret front, sides and forward roof has been added packs of explosive reactive armour. The commander is seated on the right and the gunner is seated on the left with both provided with single-piece roof hatches and vision devices. Main armament consists of a 125 mm smoothbore gun fitted with a thermal sleeve and fume extractor which is fed by an automatic loader which holds a total of 22 projectiles and charges which can be loaded at the rate of six to eight per minute. After the gun has fired it returns to an angle of 4 15 ' for loading and then returns to the firing position.

Types of separate loading ammunition that can be fired by the 125 mm smoothbore gun include APFSDS (muzzle velocity 1760 m/s), HEAT (muzzle velocity 850 m/s) and HE-FRAG (muzzle velocity 950 m/s). According to NORINCO, the APFSDS-T projectile will penetrate 460 mm of steel armour at a range of 2,000 m. Barrel life is quoted as 500 rounds. A total of 39 projectiles are carried in the normal ratio of four APFSDS-T, three HEAT and three HE-FRAG. Mounted coaxial to the right of the main armament is a 7.62 mm machine gun while mounted on the commander's cupola is a 12.7 mm machine gun for engaging ground and aerial targets. The 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun has a cyclic rate of fire of 700 to 800 rds/min with a practical rate of fire of 250 rds/min. Effective range is quoted as 1,000 m. The 12.7 mm machine gun has a cyclic rate of fire of 650 to 700 rds/min with a practical rate of fire of 80 to 100 rds/min. Traverse is 360 with elevation from -4.5 to +70. Effective range is quoted as 1,600 m.

The commander is provided with a two-axis stabilised panoramic sight while the gunner has a two-axis stabilised fixed roof-mounted sight. The image stabilised fire-control system (ISFCS) includes a laser rangefinder integrated into the gunner's sight, control panel, ballistic computer and a sensor for crosswind, tilt and angular velocity. This, together with the stabilised 125 mm gun and roof-mounted stabilised sights, enables the Type 90-II to engage stationary and moving targets while it is stationary or moving. If required, the tank commander can take over and lay and fire the main armament. According to NORINCO, Type 90-II has a 71 per cent hit probability on a moving target while the vehicle itself is moving. Target engagement time, stationary to stationary target is quoted as seven seconds, while on the move 10 seconds. Mounted either side of the turret is a bank of six electrically operated smoke grenade launchers which fire forwards and to the rear of this is a large stowage basket. When not required, the snorkel is normally carried in this stowage basket. The power pack consists of the engine, transmission and cooling system and can be removed as a complete unit in 30 minutes. The engine is a British Perkins (Engines) Shrewsbury CV12-1200 TCA diesel developing 1,200 hp coupled to a French SESM ESM 500 automatic transmission.

Suspension is of the torsion bar type and consists of six large dual rubber-tyred roadwheels with the drive sprocket at the front, idler at the rear and track return rollers. The upper part of the suspension is covered by a rubber skirt with the forward part on either side being covered by explosive reactive armour. Standard equipment includes an anti-neutron liner for the crew compartments, collective NBC system, explosion/fire detection and suppression system and infrared reflecting paint. It can also lay a smoke screen by injecting diesel fuel into the exhaust outlets at the rear of the hull.

Six prototypes of Al-khalid were built and tested for Pakistan Army's needs and future export market.

Prototype I: It was based on using Chinese systems only. It includes Chinese 125 mm gun and a autoloader augmented by a Chinese Fire Control System. Power terrain was a Chinese license build German MTU-396 diesel engine with as LSG-3000 automatic transmission.

Prototype II: it used the same Chinese 125 mm smoothbore gun and autoloader coupled with a western Fire Control System, powered by a Perkins 1200hp Condor diesel engine mated to a French SESM-500 automatic transmission. This configuration was dropped since Perkins engine did not perform well in the southern Pakistan's hot climate during the summer where most of the expected tank battle is supposed to take place.

Prototype III: Same as Prototype II but, powered with a Ukrainian 6TDF diesel engine.

Prototype IV: It was designed with western 120 mm gun and Fire Control System. It was also fitted with a 1200hp German MTU-871/TCM AVDS-1790 diesel engine coupled with an LSG-3000 transmission. This model was intended only for export customers who trust western systems.


A military vehicle is designed for strength, its armour affording protection to the crew and giving them the confidence to perform in battle. But the possibility remains that penetration of its fuel tanks or fuel and hydraulic lines can lead to a devastating fireball, causing severe burning and toxic gas poisoning within milliseconds. This threat inevitably affects crew morale and it is therefore important to give the crew a means of surviving in the battlefield environment. The crew bay system is able to sense the incipient hazard and recognise it as an explosive fire within 2-3ms and to effect complete suppression in approx 100ms. It uses fast response sensors and rapid acting high-rate discharge suppressors. Because suppression has taken place in a few tens of milliseconds, the radiation from the fireball is harmless, the temperature rise is minimal, the pressure increase is survivable and, most importantly, the amount of toxic gas generated is limited to safe levels. The vehicle and crew have survived to fight another day. Crew bay systems are fitted to a range of vehicles including Leopard 2, CRARRV, Tariq, Khalid, Marconi Marksman, T90, Leclerc, M1A1, M1A2, LAV25, C1 Ariete MBT and Chunma amongst others.


The engine compartment fire protection system has been designed to detect and extinguish engine fires caused by fuel leaks or overheating of the engine. Several seconds are typically available to suppress the fire and, generally, temperature detection is sufficiently rapid. A typical engine compartment system consists of a control unit, fire sensors (either continuous linear thermal or infrared optical fire/explosion) and an extinguisher distribution system. Engine compartments can be protected by installing linear thermal sensors, optical infrared sensors or an optical/thermal hybrid system to suit the specific application requirements. The control unit provides a warning signal if the fire is detected within the engine compartment. Extinguishing is achieved using an electrically or mechanically actuated high rate discharge system. AS90, CRARRV, Challenger, Leopard, T90, Khalid, C1 Ariete MBT and Chunma are just some of the vehicles which have been fitted with Kidde engine bay protection.


Crew: 3

Combat weight: 48,000 kg
Power-to-weight ratio: 25 hp/t

(main armament forwards): 10.067 m
(main armament rear): 9.687 m

(without skirts): 3.40 m
(with skirts): 3.50 m
Height (turret roof): 2.37 m
Firing height: n/avail
Ground clearance: 0.45 to 0.51 m
Track: 2.79 m
Track width: n/avail
Length of track on ground: 4.78 m
Maximum speed:
(1st gear, low): 9 km/h
(1st gear): 15 km/h
(2nd gear): 22 km/h
(3rd gear): 39 km/h
(4th gear): 62.3 km/h
Acceleration (0 to 32 km/h): 10 s
Maximum range: 450 km
(without preparation): 1.40 m
(with preparation): 5 m
Gradient: 60%
Side slope: 40%
Vertical obstacle: 0.85 m
Trench: 2.7 m

Engine: Type: 6TD2 (1,200 HP)

Transmission: ESM 500 hydromechanic with infinitely variable
hydraulic steering
Brakes: n/avail
Suspension: torsion bar
Electrical system: n/avail
Batteries: n/avail

(main): 1 x 125 mm gun 125mm Smooth Bore, Chrome Plated, Auto fret aged
Circular Carousel Type: (Cassette Type) 22 Rounds / Minute 6-8

FCS/GCS : Type: Image Stabilized (3rd generation director type stabilization), Optics: LASER protected (coaxial): 1 x 7.62 mm MG
(anti-aircraft): 1 x 12.7 mm MG
Smoke grenade dischargers: 2 x 6, can also lay smoke screen by injecting diesel into the exhaust outlets at the rear

GUNNER SIGHT : Type Integrated, Bi-axis Stabilized Day/Night, Tl, LRF
Magnification Dual, 3x & 1 Ox
Field of View 20 & 6

Type Panoramic,
Bi-Axis stabilized,
LRF, 2nd Generation IIT
Hunter-Killer Capability
Magnification 7.5x
Field of View 7 . 5
Range200 ~ 5000m
AUTO TRACKER: Tracking Error < 0.1 mils Interfaced with Gunner Day Sight & Tl

PROTECTION: Armor Composite (Frontal Arc) ERA, Yes Optional

(main): 39
(coaxial): 3,000
(anti-aircraft): 500
Grenades: 16 (12 Smoke, 4 HE)
Gun control equipment
Turret power control: powered/manual
(by commander): yes
(by gunner): yes
Turret traverse: 360
Gun elevation/depression: n/avail
Gun stabiliser: 2-axis
NBC: yes
Night vision equipment: yes

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