Pakistan purchases 679 Chinese VT4 tanks that will be assembled locally
March 20, 2023
According to the latest report of the SIPRI Arms Trade Database 2022, Pakistan signed a contract with China for the purchase of 679 VT4 MBTs (Main Battle Tanks) that will be assembled and produced under license in Pakistan under the brand name of Haider.
The Pakistani armed forces have been known to operate various Chinese military equipment. China has been a significant supplier of military hardware to Pakistan, and both countries have also cooperated on the development of several defense systems.
Some of the Chinese military equipment in service with the Pakistani Army includes main battle tanks such as the Al-Khalid (Pakistani version of Type 90-II, Type 85-IIAP as well as armored personnel carriers, self-propelled howitzers, anti-tank guided missiles, air defense systems, small arms and unmanned aerial vehicles.
Pakistan and China have long enjoyed a close military relationship and cooperation. Their partnership, often described as "all-weather friends," has been based on mutual strategic interests, shared regional concerns, and common adversaries.
China has been a major supplier of military hardware to Pakistan, providing equipment such as aircraft, tanks, armored vehicles, and missile systems. In recent years, China has emerged as the top arms supplier to Pakistan, surpassing the United States.
China and Pakistan have collaborated on several defense projects. The most notable example is the JF-17 Thunder, a lightweight, multi-role combat aircraft jointly developed by the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and China's Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC). The aircraft is produced in Pakistan and is in service with the Pakistan Air Force.
As for recent military collaboration programs, China is further strengthening its industrial presence with the VT4 tank, which is being assembled and built under license in Pakistan.
The VT4, also known as the MBT-3000, is a Chinese third-generation main battle tank (MBT) designed and manufactured by NORINCO (China North Industries Corporation). The VT4 is an advanced and versatile tank that has been developed for export, with several modern features and technologies that make it competitive in the global arms market.
The VT4 design is similar to the family of Chinese-made MBTs with the driver at the front of the hull, a turret in the middle, and the engine at the rear. It has a crew of three including a driver, commander, and gunner. The VT4's interior layout is designed with better ergonomics and improved crew comfort in mind. This can help reduce fatigue and improve operational efficiency.
The VT4 MBT represents a significant evolution in Chinese tank technology compared to its predecessors. While it shares some similarities with earlier Chinese tanks, such as the Type 96 and Type 99, the VT4 incorporates various technological advancements and improvements that enhance its capabilities on the battlefield. It features an advanced fire control system (FCS) that includes a digital ballistic computer, thermal imaging, and a laser rangefinder. These enhancements allow for better target acquisition and engagement, even in low light or poor weather conditions, compared to earlier Chinese tanks.
The VT4 is equipped with a modern 125mm smoothbore gun, which is an improvement over the 105mm rifled gun found on Type 85 and Type 90 tanks. Additionally, the VT4 features an autoloader that allows for a higher rate of fire and a reduced crew requirement. It is fitted with modular composite armor and explosive reactive armor (ERA) to provide better protection against anti-tank threats. This is a significant advancement compared to the steel armor used in earlier Chinese tanks like the Type 59.
The VT4 is powered by a water-cooled, turbocharged diesel engine that provides greater horsepower, allowing the tank to reach a top speed of around 70 km/h. This is faster than previous Chinese tanks like the Type 85, which had a top speed of around 60 km/h.
These advancements demonstrate the progress made by China's defense industry in developing modern and competitive main battle tanks. The VT4 reflects China's growing expertise in tank design and manufacturing, as well as the country's commitment to providing advanced military equipment for export.