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Al-Khalid MBT being demonstrated during a military equipment exhibition in Pakistan
Type Main battle tank
Place of origin Flag of Pakistan.svg Pakistan
Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg People's Republic of China
Service history
In service 2001—Present
Used by Flag of Pakistan.svg Pakistan
Production history
Designer Norinco, Factory 617
Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT)
Designed 1990—99
Manufacturer Norinco (MBT-2000)
Heavy Industries Taxila (Al-Khalid)
Produced 2001—Present
Variants MBT-2000
Al-Khalid I
Al-Khalid II (under development)
Specifications (Al-Khalid I)
Weight 47 t (52 short tons)[1]
Length 10.07 m (33.0 ft)
Width 3.50 m (11.5 ft)
Height 2.40 m (7.9 ft)
Crew 3

Armour Composite armour, RHA, ERA[2]
125 mm smoothbore gun, 39 rds
7.62 mm coaxial MG, 3000 rds
12.7 mm external AA MG, 500 rds[3]
Engine KMDB 6TD-2 6-cylinder diesel
1,200 hp (890 kW)
Power/weight 26.7 hp/tonne[3]
Transmission SESM ESM500 5-speed automatic
Suspension Torsion bars, hydraulic dampers
450 km (combat range)[4]
Speed 72 km/h[1][4]

The designations Al-Khalid and MBT-2000 refer to the Pakistani and Chinese variants of a modern main battle tank developed during the 1990s by China and Pakistan. The Al-Khalid has been in service with the Pakistan Army since 2001, while the MBT-2000 is built and marketed internationally by China and was recently trialed by the Peruvian Army for possible acquisition.

Operated by a crew of three and armed with a 125 mm smooth-bore tank gun that is reloaded automatically, the tank uses a modern fire-control system integrated with night-fighting equipment and is capable of firing many types of anti-tank rounds as well as guided anti-tank missiles. Al-Khalid is named after the legendary Muslim general Khalid bin al-Walid.

An evolution of Chinese and Soviet tanks, the design is considerably smaller and lighter than most Western main battle tanks. It is based on the Chinese Type 90-II, which combined technologies from several Soviet/western tanks. The Al-Khalid is unusual in that it is was designed to be adaptable for manufacture, so that it can be easily integrated with a variety of foreign engines and transmissions. The current production variant of Al-Khalid utilises a diesel engine supplied by the KMDB design bureau of Ukraine. The first production models entered service with the Pakistan Army in 2001 and there are plans to induct approximately 600 in total.

Peru leased five VT-1A from China for trials in 2009. The Peruvian government has expressed interest in purchasing 80-120 units to complement the fleet of Soviet T-55 tanks in service with the Peruvian Army.[5]

The tank design resulting from a decade of co-operative development was designated Type 90-IIM. Chinese company Norinco showed the new Type 90-IIM during the March 2001 Abu Dhabi Defense Expo, under the export name MBT 2000. The version powered by the Ukrainian engine, intended for domestic production in Pakistan, was named Al-Khalid.Edit

During the development period, Heavy Industries Taxila gained experience building the Chinese Type 85-IIAP and prepared to begin production of the Al-Khalid tank in 1999. A pilot batch of fifteen tanks was inducted into the 31st Cavalry Regiment of Pakistan’s Armoured Corps on 20 July 2001. Pakistan signed a contract with Ukraine's Malyshev Factory in May 2002 for the delivery of 315 KMDB 6TD-2 diesel engines over three years.[6] An additional batch of Al-Khalid tanks was delivered on 23 September 2004. Pakistan plans to build a total of 600 Al-Khalid MBTs for its armed forces.[7]

In 2006 a U.S.-based market/special research organisation reported findings showing that the Al-Khalid, along with two other MBTs, would account for nearly 45% of all new MBTs built until 2015.[8]

In April 2002 it was reported that Malaysia was considering purchasing the Al-Khalid after evaluation by Malaysian military personnel.[9] The Saudi Arabian Army began conducting trials of the Al-Khalid's desert performance in April 2006, after expressing interest in purchasing a batch of the tank 2 years earlier. No order for the tank was placed.[10][11]

During the first week of May 2008, Lt-Gen Fonseka of the Sri Lanka Army held talks with his Pakistan Army counterparts regarding the sale of military equipment, weapons and ammunition. The sale of 22 Al-Khalid MBTs to the Sri Lanka Army was finalised during these talks in a deal worth over US$100 million.[citation needed] However the current status of this purchase is unclear as Sri Lanka has subsequently cancelled some orders for military equipment.[12]


The production model Al-Khalid is powered by a 6TD-2 liquid-cooled diesel engine, designed by the Kharkiv Morozov Design Bureau (KMDB) of Ukraine. The 6TD-2 is a supercharged 6-cylinder engine delivering 1,200 horsepower. The 2-stroke design, with the pistons arranged horizontally in an opposed piston configuration, makes the engine very compact and therefore more suitable for being fitted into relatively small vehicles such as the Al-Khalid MBT.[13]

The 6TD-2 engine drives a French-designed hydro-mechanical automatic transmission, the SESM ESM500, also fitted to the Leclerc MBT. Capable of manual and fully automatic power-shifting, the transmission has 5 forward and 2 reverse speeds along with a braking system that incorporates carbon friction brakes and a secondary speed-retarding system. Gear shifts are controlled by a torque converter which is made more efficient by addition of an automatic lock-up clutch. There is also a mechanical back-up system for use in emergencies, able to shift 2 gears forward and reverse.

The suspension consists of torsion bars, hydraulic dampers and buffers, who's role is to provide a stable firing platform while the tank is moving at speed over rough terrain and as smooth a ride as possible to reduce crew fatigue. The tracks are mounted on six dual wheels with rubber tyres, a drive sprocket at the rear and an idler at the front. They are protected by side skirts, the forward sections of which can be fitted with explosive reactive armour, and track wear is reduced by replaceable rubber track pads.[3]

The Al-Khalid is fairly lightweight by Western standards, weighing 46 tonnes compared to the 60 tonne M1 Abrams and Leopard 2.[14] A power-to-weight ratio of 26.66 hp/tonne gives acceleration from 0 to 32 km/h (0 to 20 mph) in 10 seconds and a maximum speed of 70 km/h, the speed and agility also helping to improve survivability.[3][14]

A snorkel allows the tank to cross water obstacles up to 5 meters deep, after some preparation by the crew. Navigation is assisted by an inertial navigation system (INS) and a GPS satellite navigation system.


Al-Khalid has modular composite armour and explosive reactive armour, nuclear-biological-chemical defences, an effective thermal smoke generator, internal fire extinguisher and explosion-suppression system. The infra-red signature of the tank is reduced by infra-red reflective paint.[3]

An advanced laser detection system from Al Technique Corporation (ATCOP) is present, the ATCOP LTS 1 laser threat warning system developed by Institute of Industrial Control Systems.[15] LTS 1 consists of a mast-mounted sensor and operator's control box, which includes a display showing threats 360 degrees around the tank. It can detect laser rangefinders and laser target designators as well as respond automatically by triggering acoustic alarms, smoke generators and other countermeasure systems. LTS 1 can detect laser devices operating in the 0.8 to 1.06 µm waveband, has a 360° field of view in azimuth (resolution of 15°) and a field of view in elevation of -15° to +90°. Operating voltage is 12 V or 24 V DC nominal with power consumption being 8 W nominal. The sensor head is 165 mm in diameter and 35 mm high while the control box is 80 x 130 x 55 mm in size.



  • Type 90-II – Introduced in 1992.[16]
  • P1 – Prototype incorporating a Chinese 125 mm gun, autoloader and fire-control system, German MTU-396 diesel engine and Renk LSG-3000 automatic transmission.
  • P2 – Prototype incorporating a Chinese 125 mm gun and autoloader, Western fire-control system, Perkins 1200 hp Condor diesel engine and French SESM ESM500 automatic transmission.
  • P3 – Prototype fitted with Chinese 125 mm gun and autoloader, Western fire-control system, Ukrainian KMDB 6TD-2 1200 hp diesel engine and French SESM ESM500 automatic transmission.
  • P4 – Prototype export variant incorporating German NATO standard 120 mm gun, Western fire-control system, German MTU-871/TCM AVDS-1790 diesel engine and Renk LSG-3000 automatic transmission.

Production variantsEdit

  • Type 90-IIM, MBT-2000 – Type 90-IIM introduced in 2000 with Ukraine's KMDB 1,200 hp 6TD-2 diesel engine. Export version MBT-2000 introduced in 2001 at a defence exhibition in Abu Dhabi.[16] MBT-2000 selected by Peruvian Army in late 2009.[17]
  • Al-Khalid – Based on P3 prototype, operational as of 2001. Has an ammunition capacity of 39 125 mm rounds, 500 12.7 mm rounds and 3,000 7.62 mm rounds.
    • Al-Khalid I – Upgraded variant in testing as of April 2009. Ammunition capacity increased to 49 125 mm rounds, 1,500 12.7 mm rounds and 7,100 7.62 mm rounds.[1] Incorporates modifications made to the fire-control system, sensors, IBMS, side-skirts, track pads, auto-loader (rate of fire increased to 9 rounds per minute), Ukrainian Varta electro-optical jammer (disrupts laser rangefinders, laser designators and anti-tank guided missile tracking systems), Sagem third-generation thermal imagers and improved air conditioning system.[3][18]
    • Al-Khalid II – In early stages of development and believed to incorporate re-designed turret, upgraded modular armour package and sensors, improved ammunition and new powerpack developing 1,500 hp.[18]

Cancelled projectsEdit

  • Type 90-IIA – Development project by 201 Institute and 617 Factory to improve reliability and performance of the Type 90-II by installing an advanced foreign power-pack. The 1,500 hp V-series diesel engine from France was considered initially. Cancelled after France joined the international arms embargo on Pakistan after that country's 1998 nuclear tests.[16]


Flag of Pakistan.svg Pakistan

See alsoEdit

Related developments
Comparable vehicles
Related lists


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Saadia Qamar (2009-09-06). "High demand of 'Al-Khalid' tank in modern warfare". The Nation. 
  2. Farhan Bokhari (2006-03-13). "Saudi Arabia to trial Al Khalid MBT". Jane's Information Group. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Usman Ansari. "The Al-Khalid". 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Type 90-II (MBT-2000) Main Battle Tank". 
  5. "Peru army plans arms purchase, tests Chinese tanks". Associated Press. 2009-12-09. 
  6. "Pakistan's, $150 Million Contract Signed With Ukraine". 2002-04. 
  7. "Al Khalid MBT-2000 / Type 2000 Main Battle Tank". 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 "Main Battle Tank Rolls On as a Dominan Battlefield and Market Force". Forecast International. 2006-03-01. 
  10. "Saudi Arabia to trial Al Khalid MBT". Jane's Information Group. 2006-03-10. 
  11. "Pakistani tank for Saudi Arabia". 
  12. "Sri Lanka cancelled weapon purchases after war". ColomboPage. 2009-07-15. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 Sardar F.S. Lodi (2001-08). "Towards Self-reliance in Armaments". 
  15. Institute of Industrial Control Systems
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2
  18. 18.0 18.1 Usman Ansari, "Pakistan Pushes Armor Upgrades", Defense News, date published: 20 April 2009, URL:, Retrieved: 29 August 2009

External linksEdit

Manufacturer websites

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