Pakistan inked a deal with China in 2022 to purchase 679 VT-4 main combat tanks, according to the most recent data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, SIPRI. Under license, these tanks will be assembled and manufactured in Pakistan.
It is well known that the Pakistani military uses a variety of Chinese military hardware. Pakistan has received a substantial amount of military equipment from China, and the two nations have also worked together to create a number of defense systems.
Main battle tanks like the Al-Khalid (the Pakistani version of Type 90-II, Type 85-IIAP), armored personnel carriers, self-propelled howitzers, anti-tank guided missiles, air defense systems, small arms, and unmanned aerial vehicles are just a few examples of the Chinese military hardware used by the Pakistani Army.
China and Pakistan have had close military ties for a very long time. Their alliance—often referred to as “all-weather friends”—has been founded on shared regional concerns, common foes, and shared strategic goals.
Pakistan has received a significant amount of military hardware from China, including airplanes, tanks, armored vehicles, and missile systems. China has recently surpassed the United States to become Pakistan’s top arms supplier.
China and Pakistan have worked together on a number of defense initiatives. The JF-17 Thunder, a lightweight, multi-role combat aircraft jointly created by the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and Chengdu Aircraft Company in China, is the most noteworthy example (CAC). The Pakistani Air Force operates the aircraft, which was made there.
Regarding recent military cooperation initiatives, China is bolstering its industrial presence with the VT4 tank, which is being designed and constructed in Pakistan under license.
A Chinese third-generation main battle tank (MBT) made by NORINCO, the VT4 is also referred to as the MBT-3000 (China North Industries Corporation). The VT4 is a cutting-edge and adaptable tank that was created for export. It has a number of contemporary features and technologies that help it compete in the world’s arms market.
With the driver in the front of the hull, a turret in the middle, and the engine at the back, the VT4’s design is comparable to that of the family of Chinese-made MBTs. There are three people working on it: the driver, the commander, and the gunner. The VT4’s interior layout was created with greater crew comfort and ergonomics in mind. This may lessen fatigue and boost operating effectiveness.
Compared to its predecessors, the VT4 MBT marks a considerable advancement in Chinese tank technology. While the VT4 has certain parallels to earlier Chinese tanks like the Type 96 and Type 99, it also makes a number of technological upgrades that increase its tactical performance. It has an advanced fire control system (FCS) with a laser rangefinder, a digital ballistic computer, and thermal imaging. Compared to prior Chinese tanks, these improvements enable greater target acquisition and engagement even in dimly lit or bad weather.
In comparison to the 105mm rifled armament featured on Type 85 and Type 90 tanks, the VT4 is outfitted with a contemporary 125mm smoothbore gun. The VT4 also has an autoloader, which permits a higher firing rate and a decrease in crew size. To better defend against threats from anti-tank weapons, it is equipped with modular composite armor and explosive reactive armor (ERA). When compared to older Chinese tanks like the Type 59’s steel armor, this represents a major improvement.
The water-cooled, turbocharged diesel engine that powers the VT4 has more horsepower and can propel the tank to a top speed of about 70 km/h. In comparison to earlier Chinese tanks like the Type 85, which had a top speed of about 60 km/h, this is quicker.
These developments show how far China’s defense sector has come in creating cutting-edge, effective main battle tanks. The VT4 showcases China’s expanding prowess in tank design and production as well as its dedication to exporting cutting-edge military hardware.