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Al-Khalid tank (Type 90-IIM / MBT-2000) Information Pool

iLION12345_1

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I think AK2 could be the 'next AZ' -- i.e., a low-cost force builder. Ideally, the PA would want to apply the VT4's engine and electronics, but add to the armour/protection without cutting into mobility.
That is certainly another approach they can use. AK-2 can be the longer term replacement for AZ and other types, since the amount of VT-4s PA is getting is enough to replace Type 59/69.

if they don’t do a redesign, only add some tech from the VT4 on top of AK-1 and keep it a relatively lower-cost upgrade, it will still be superior to basically everything in the PA fleet except the VT-4. (I doubt they will replace FCS, GCS and thermals, AK-1 already has pretty good local ones, and if they add a CITV it will likely use a Catherine or Matis TI from shibli as is used for the gunner)

Considering they’ve shown interest in replacing it’s engine with the VT4s engine, understandably so, that will be a massive increase in mobility. To put it into perspective. The 6TD-2E engine makes around 2800 NM of peak torque, the HB150 engine in the Pakistani VT4 and Chinese ZTZ-99A apparently makes closer to 5500 NM of peak torque (The Perkins condor engine, one of the engines that was also being originally considered for the AK made around 4000NM of peak torque). The 6TD engines are notoriously underpowered, and I suspect that has led to at least some constraints in the amount of stuff that can be put on AK especially, in terms of ERA/protection.
Maybe they have also considered the option to put the HB150-1200 engine (1200HP but would have a torque increase over 6TD-2E) in the AK-2, the one that is present in the normal VT-4s, it would still be a large power boost while keeping down fuel consumption and cost. The AK is a few tons lighter than VT4 after all.

They need to do something with all that added power, even if they don’t redesign the tank, it is likely they might put FY-4 ERA on the hull and turret (which without a turret redesign would not be a lot of ERA, but it’ll be better than the current one). They have also shown interest in polish ERAWA in 2017, and Ukrainian Nozh/Duplet during the oplot trials as well as during COAS’ recent visit. I still feel like it should at least get a turret redesign
Other than that the technologies from the VT-4 that can be adopted are the Auto-boresight, newer Data-link and more stuff on the electronics and software side, especially in regards to the BMS and C4I.


If PA ever does want to make a local next gen tank, which is really not needed anymore after VT-4P, it would be best to start from a new design.
 
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Bilal Khan (Quwa)

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That is certainly another approach they can use. AK-2 can be the longer term replacement for AZ and other types, since the amount of VT-4s PA is getting is enough to replace Type 59/69.

if they don’t do a redesign, only add some tech from the VT4 on top of AK-1 and keep it a relatively lower-cost upgrade, it will still be superior to basically everything in the PA fleet except the VT-4. (I doubt they will replace FCS, GCS and thermals, AK-1 already has pretty good local ones, and if they add a CITV it will likely use a Catherine or Matis TI from shibli as is used for the gunner)

Considering they’ve shown interest in replacing it’s engine with the VT4s engine, understandably so, that will be a massive increase in mobility. To put it into perspective. The 6TD-2E engine makes around 2800 NM of peak torque, the HB150 engine in the Pakistani VT4 and Chinese ZTZ-99A makes closer to 5500 NM of peak torque. The 6TD engines are notoriously underpowered, and I suspect that has led to at least some constraints in the amount of stuff that can be put on AK especially, in terms of ERA/protection.
Maybe they have also considered the option to put the HB150-1200 engine (1200HP but would have a torque increase over 6TD-2E) in the AK-2, the one that is present in the normal VT-4s, it would still be a large power boost while keeping down fuel consumption and cost. The AK is a few tons lighter than VT4 after all.

They need to do something with all that added power, even if they don’t redesign the tank, it is likely they might put FY-4 ERA on the hull and turret (which without a turret redesign would not be a lot of ERA, but it’ll be better than the current one). They have also shown interest in polish ERAWA in 2017, and Ukrainian Nozh/Duplet during the oplot trials as well as during COAS’ recent visit. I still feel like it should at least get a turret redesign
Other than that the technologies from the VT-4 that can be adopted are the Auto-boresight, newer Data-link and more stuff on the electronics and software side, especially in regards to the BMS and C4I.


If PA ever does want to make a local next gen tank, which is really not needed anymore after VT-4P, it would be best to start from a new design.
Yeah, this could be interesting. Even with the VT4P in the picture, they should still be interested in finding a way to replace the 'newer older types' down the line. I agree; if the PA is seeking new high-torque engines for the AK2, there's a chance they want to improve the platform from a mobility and protection standpoint.

The alternative is going clean sheet by wrapping up AK with AK-I.

I wonder if there's an option to bring VT4 manufacturing to Pakistan through a Norinco Group subsidiary. Basically, let Norinco Group buy up a part of HIT in return for locally producing VT4Ps.

The only other alternative is, as you said, design a new tank from the ground-up. It'll be weird asking China if they're not going to budge on the VT4. I guess another approach is collaborating with Turkey to design a lighter version of the Altay (52-55 tons)? Or contracting the Poles?
 

iLION12345_1

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Yeah, this could be interesting. Even with the VT4P in the picture, they should still be interested in finding a way to replace the 'newer older types' down the line. I agree; if the PA is seeking new high-torque engines for the AK2, there's a chance they want to improve the platform from a mobility and protection standpoint.

The alternative is going clean sheet by wrapping up AK with AK-I.

I wonder if there's an option to bring VT4 manufacturing to Pakistan through a Norinco Group subsidiary. Basically, let Norinco Group buy up a part of HIT in return for locally producing VT4Ps.

The only other alternative is, as you said, design a new tank from the ground-up. It'll be weird asking China if they're not going to budge on the VT4. I guess another approach is collaborating with Turkey to design a lighter version of the Altay (52-55 tons)? Or contracting the Poles?
I don’t see another tank design being needed soon after the VT-4 purchase, so the The way I see the current AK project playing out is The aformentioned “moderate” upgrade that includes engine and tech from the VT-4 along with some emphasis on protection (or at most a turret redesign if we’re pushing it) since the chairman of HIT did mention that a new version of the AK would be produced with VT-4s tech. This would bring the platform closer to the VT-4 but for a much lower cost and hence could be the high volume platform PA needs for the future to not have to buy too many VT-4s for replacing older types.

Now depending on how many the plan on making of this new AK, it may just be to raise a few more regiments like the AK-1s are doing or they could be kept in production longer to replace the Al-Zarrar and hence cut into how many VT-4s the PA would need.
it also depends on how good the army thinks the AZs still are. India has put out an RFI to replace its T72s, but those replacements won’t be arriving until late 2020s, so the AZs will still be at least relevant till then.

What happens to the AK project after that is Surely up for debate. If the PA does not need a better local option than the VT-4P (and they likely don’t), then they will keep buying VT-4 and making the current and next AK until the requirement is fulfilled. Wether that is just to replace Type 59s and 69s or to also use it both replace the AZ remains to be seen, because we don’t know just how big of a fleet PA wants (I assume larger than the 2800 they have now since they keep making new regiments).

I think it is likely that this above mentioned iteration will be the end of the Al-Khalid project, unless there is a massive redesign and it starts taking over the roles of tanks like the T80UD someday (which is basically the same as making a new tank). By the time that comes maybe there will be other approaches PA can take for tank design, collaboration with Turkey, Ukraine, Poland, China or even Russia may be a possibility. If things improve enough maybe even a local design utilizing some foreign tech. All that is too far into the future to speculate.

So basically For the near future I just expect VT-4P and AK-1 (+ the upcoming AK version) deliveries to keep coming side by side and What each of these will do/replace and How many of which PA gets will depend on whatever PA has envisioned and the availability of funds.
 

TurDef

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Same engine for Fırtına Howitzer?
We spoke to a Ukrainian company for the Altay Main Battle Tank engine. They said they are talking with Turkey for two engines. The one that Al-Khalid has 6TD-2 for Fırtına and apparently a new one 6TD-4 for Altay. What is Pakistan's approach for the engine I wonder? Are you happy with the engine or is it a problematic one? For those who want to read the news... https://www.turdef.com/Article/return-of-6td-engines-for-altay-and-firtina/644
 

iLION12345_1

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Same engine for Fırtına Howitzer?
We spoke to a Ukrainian company for the Altay Main Battle Tank engine. They said they are talking with Turkey for two engines. The one that Al-Khalid has 6TD-2 for Fırtına and apparently a new one 6TD-4 for Altay. What is Pakistan's approach for the engine I wonder? Are you happy with the engine or is it a problematic one? For those who want to read the news... https://www.turdef.com/Article/return-of-6td-engines-for-altay-and-firtina/644
6TD-2 is an okay engine, PA didn’t originally plan to put it in Al-Khalids, it kind of had to due to sanctions.

It’s reliability is good if it’s maintained well, its also good in hot and dusty climates. PA has not had many reliability issues with it, however other nations with similar styled engines (older TD models or just generally two stroke engines in tanks) have had many reliability problems with their engines, but that may be due to poorer maintenance standards, PA is known to be rather strict with them so despite its high usage and harsh climates They have been reliable.
However in a howitzer Where it will be under less load it should do even better.

Its other upsides is it’s very compact size, which is actually even better suited in a Howitzer than a tank, As the Howitzers Are smaller.
Al-Khalid has a lot of space left over due to the small engine, which is used as external Ammo-storage. It’s good with fuel economy As well (Important for range).

It’s downsides are that it makes poor torque for its equivalent horsepower figure. 2700-2800NM at most. Russian 1000HP engines used in their earlier T90s had equal or greater actual torque output than it even though on paper they have less horsepower. Similarly western and Chinese 1200 HP engines have produced torque figures even closer to 4000NM.

While this is somewhat of an issue in tanks; The al-Khalid has good mobility as it’s light, however compared to a tank such as a VT-4, which is only a few tons heavier but much more mobile, it can be seen as a downside, that’s why PA is planning to replace this engine with either the same series as in VT-4 or the Ukrainian 6TD-3. (6TD-4 I have not looked much into, but 6TD-3 is a decent engine, quite an upgrade over 6TD-2, so I’m assuming 6TD-4 is just a bigger version of that, it should be a good fit for the Atlay, it is a very big tank but 6TD-4 is meant to be a very big engine.
I would still say Chinese, Russian and western equivalent engines have surpassed the Ukrainian ones due to a lack of money and innovation in Ukraine’s industry, but they’re definitely still good, especially because they’d likely be cheaper too)

For a howitzer However 6TD-2E would be a perfect engine due to the lighter weight Of the vehicle, the small size would be an upside and the torque will be more than enough.
 

iLION12345_1

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I didn’t see a comprehensive list of the upgrades Al-Khalid-1 has over the base Al-Khalid, so I decided to make one.


Firstly; AK had a rather long production run from 2001-2014, it saw some changes itself during that time.
Early model AKs had 2nd Generation Catherine FC thermals for gunner. Later models have 3rd Gen SAGEM MATIS thermals. Later model AKs also had INTERMAT Thermal coatings as well as new radios and comms equipment (but they have been adding the last two to older AKs as well).


AK to AK-1 specifically was a rather large jump, while externally the tank looks the same, it has plenty of upgrades:

1
. An entirely new FCS (AK had a 16 Bit FCS, a Pakistani upgrade of the Chinese ISFCS-212 which they used in Type 85 and Type 96. Pakistan called it ISFCS-212B, it added features like auto-tracking and the commanders Panoramic sight to it to allow Hunter-Killer modes)

AK-1 has a new 32-bit FCS built around an STM processor. It has a Multi-process ballistic computer and is more digitized. Making it more accurate and much faster than the original.

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.

The new one cuts both these engagement times to nearly half.

2. 3rd Generation SAGEM MATIS thermals and INTERMAT coatings that were already present in later model AKs were retained.

3. The Roof armor was increased in AK-1. There are some reports of new composite modules on turret for AK-1 but these aren’t confirmed, externally they look the same.

4. A new auto-loader, it’s the same style as the AKs (T72/T90 style carousel) but it is solid state (no relays, much more reliable), reprogrammable, has its own digital Control panel and digital info panel (gives number of each type of ammo in carousel along with empty trays and error codes), it is also faster and can accommodate bigger ammo (hence the AK-1 can fire BTA-4 but the basic AK cannot). It is unclear Wether there is any sort of protection increase to the auto-loader though.

5. New engine. 6TD-2E instead of 6TD-2, Comes with a torque converter now.
Same power output, but increased reliability, fuel Efficiency (increased range), ease of maintenance and longevity.

6. Upgraded Muzzle reference system, similar to the one in VT-4.

7. New sights for commander, the details of these are unknown at the moment, but it is still a dual magnification Panoramic sight with IIT, Probably with 3rd Gen Night vision over the second Gen in the basic AK.

8. New digital MFD panels for all 3 crew members that also provide a lot of useful info. Previously AK only had one for commander that doubled as an IBMS. Now each crew member has their separate one, while commander has 2 (MFD and IBMS). Obviously the FCS and display upgrades means there’s been upgrades to the software. There are also several smaller displays added to the tank, for example for the Auto-loader (as mentioned above), for the Explosion and fire suppression systems, for the FCS etc.

9. New Explosion and fire suppression system. AK already had one present, with a fire and explosion suppression module for each crew member, the engine compartment, the Auto-loader and then 3 more for each ammo storage Bin. The new one has a faster response time to a fire or possible explosion.

10. Improved radiation detectors and Upgraded NBC system.

11. Improved Environmental Control System (ECS). Means better heat management, better AC. Potentially Less heat signature combined with the Thermal-coatings.

12. Improved stabilization, I don’t think it got entirely new stabilizers as AK already used 3rd generation stabilization systems, Likely other smaller improvements, as well as added Head-mirror stabilization.

13. Improved C4I and communication equipment as well as Data link, especially in Command tanks (related to the improved IBMS). Obviously with it being a new tank there are other, smaller electrical and reliability upgrades too to rectify any issues that haven’t been fixed over the production run of the AK. This means AK-1 will generally be a more reliable machine.

14. Not necessarily an upgrade, but a change worth pointing out, original AK used the older style of mounting ERA, where there would be no attaching points directly on the hull. Instead ERA wouldn’t be mounted on to a large steel plate which would then be directly bolted on to the hull of the tank. This is also used in Chinese tanks like type 85 and 96. However in AK-1 the ERA mounting points are directly on the hull and turret as with newer tanks.

So while externally it may not seem so, the AK-1 is a massive upgrade that puts its considerably ahead of basically any tank in the region apart from the VT-4P.
If I missed anything or made a mistake, please do tell, thank you.


Upgrades we can expect to see in the Al-Khalid-2:
1. A Remote weapons system (RWS).
2. A commanders independent thermal Viewer (CITV).
3. Possibly a new 1500HP engine and a new transmission (Ideally 150HB engine as in VT-4P, however that would require modifications to the hull, it’s smaller 1300HP brother would be a good upgrade too, similarly Ukrainian 6TD-3 remains an option, however i hope they do not go for that…).
4. If a new engine is present, then new ERA. Likely Chinese ERA.
5. Unlikely, but a new turret design may still be on the cards.
6. Auto-bore sight system, a better Data-link and 360 degree cameras for increased awareness.

There maybe more (or less, depends on how much money PA wants to spend to get AK close to VT-4), but we will only know for sure once they start entering service a few years down the line.
 

Dreamer.

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I didn’t see a comprehensive list of the upgrades Al-Khalid-1 has over the base Al-Khalid, so I decided to make one.


Firstly; AK had a rather long production run from 2001-2014, it saw some changes itself during that time.
Early model AKs had 2nd Generation Catherine FC thermals for gunner. Later models have 3rd Gen SAGEM MATIS thermals. Later model AKs also had INTERMAT Thermal coatings as well as new radios and comms equipment (but they have been adding the last two to older AKs as well).


AK to AK-1 specifically was a rather large jump, while externally the tank looks the same, it has plenty of upgrades:

1
. An entirely new FCS (AK had a 16 Bit FCS, a Pakistani upgrade of the Chinese ISFCS-212 which they used in Type 85 and Type 96. Pakistan called it ISFCS-212B, it added features like auto-tracking and the commanders Panoramic sight to it to allow Hunter-Killer modes)

AK-1 has a new 32-bit FCS built around an STM processor. It has a Multi-process ballistic computer and is more digitized. Making it more accurate and much faster than the original.

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.

The new one cuts both these engagement times to nearly half.

2. 3rd Generation SAGEM MATIS thermals and INTERMAT coatings that were already present in later model AKs were retained.

3. The Roof armor was increased in AK-1. There are some reports of new composite modules on turret for AK-1 but these aren’t confirmed, externally they look the same.

4. A new auto-loader, it’s the same style as the AKs (T72/T90 style carousel) but it is solid state (no relays, much more reliable), reprogrammable, has its own digital Control panel and digital info panel (gives number of each type of ammo in carousel along with empty trays and error codes), it is also faster and can accommodate bigger ammo (hence the AK-1 can fire BTA-4 but the basic AK cannot). It is unclear Wether there is any sort of protection increase to the auto-loader though.

5. New engine. 6TD-2E instead of 6TD-2, Comes with a torque converter now.
Same power output, but increased reliability, fuel Efficiency (increased range), ease of maintenance and longevity.

6. Upgraded Muzzle reference system, similar to the one in VT-4.

7. New sights for commander, the details of these are unknown at the moment, but it is still a dual magnification Panoramic sight with IIT, Probably with 3rd Gen Night vision over the second Gen in the basic AK.

8. New digital MFD panels for all 3 crew members that also provide a lot of useful info. Previously AK only had one for commander that doubled as an IBMS. Now each crew member has their separate one, while commander has 2 (MFD and IBMS). Obviously the FCS and display upgrades means there’s been upgrades to the software. There are also several smaller displays added to the tank, for example for the Auto-loader (as mentioned above), for the Explosion and fire suppression systems, for the FCS etc.

9. New Explosion and fire suppression system. AK already had one present, with a fire and explosion suppression module for each crew member, the engine compartment, the Auto-loader and then 3 more for each ammo storage Bin. The new one has a faster response time to a fire or possible explosion.

10. Improved radiation detectors and Upgraded NBC system.

11. Improved Environmental Control System (ECS). Means better heat management, better AC. Potentially Less heat signature combined with the Thermal-coatings.

12. Improved stabilization, I don’t think it got entirely new stabilizers as AK already used 3rd generation stabilization systems, Likely other smaller improvements, as well as added Head-mirror stabilization.

13. Improved C4I and communication equipment as well as Data link, especially in Command tanks (related to the improved IBMS). Obviously with it being a new tank there are other, smaller electrical and reliability upgrades too to rectify any issues that haven’t been fixed over the production run of the AK. This means AK-1 will generally be a more reliable machine.

14. Not necessarily an upgrade, but a change worth pointing out, original AK used the older style of mounting ERA, where there would be no attaching points directly on the hull. Instead ERA wouldn’t be mounted on to a large steel plate which would then be directly bolted on to the hull of the tank. This is also used in Chinese tanks like type 85 and 96. However in AK-1 the ERA mounting points are directly on the hull and turret as with newer tanks.

So while externally it may not seem so, the AK-1 is a massive upgrade that puts its considerably ahead of basically any tank in the region apart from the VT-4P.
If I missed anything or made a mistake, please do tell, thank you.


Upgrades we can expect to see in the Al-Khalid-2:
1. A Remote weapons system (RWS).
2. A commanders independent thermal Viewer (CITV).
3. Possibly a new 1500HP engine and a new transmission (Ideally 150HB engine as in VT-4P, however that would require modifications to the hull, it’s smaller 1300HP brother would be a good upgrade too, similarly Ukrainian 6TD-3 remains an option, however i hope they do not go for that…).
4. If a new engine is present, then new ERA. Likely Chinese ERA.
5. Unlikely, but a new turret design may still be on the cards.
6. Auto-bore sight system, a better Data-link and 360 degree cameras for increased awareness.

There maybe more (or less, depends on how much money PA wants to spend to get AK close to VT-4), but we will only know for sure once they start entering service a few years down the line.
That better frontal arc design thing.....Why can't PA do that for Alkhalid-2? How hard can it really be? (one may ask the same for Alkhalid-1)
 

iLION12345_1

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That better frontal arc design thing.....Why can't PA do that for Alkhalid-2? How hard can it really be? (one may ask the same for Alkhalid-1)
To increase it would mean an entirely new turret and hull design. That’s not a cheap thing to do, redesigning the entire tank and then everything around it. It’s not that HIT cannot do it, it’s that they’ve considered it unnecessary so far given the threats. That plus the fact that there was barely enough money to produce Tanks after 2013 let alone redesign them also adds to the issue.
 

iLION12345_1

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So it turns out, contrary to what I and others believed earlier. The Type 85, the Al-Khalid and the T80UD can fire the BTA-4 APFSDS without any modifications. This means All 125MM types in the PA apart from the Al-Zarrar are cleared for using the BTA-4 APFSDS (currently it’s only used in the VT-4 however).
This means that it could very likely be the future mainstay APFSDS of PA, especially if the start local production. However as it stands the Naiza DU is already far superior to any Ammo in Indian service, so there’s no rush here.

I also wonder if anything ever became of the APFSDS/TI ammo that was presented years ago. It was basically the APFSDS-T/125-1 penetrator but given a new BM42 style casing resulting in increased muzzle velocity and penetration. It would somewhat modernize the APFSDS/T ammo PA had as standard back then (The basic APFSDS/T is still in use on PA tanks except VT-4 alongside Naiza), but I don’t know if it was ever adopted.
D7234EFD-0E01-471B-96F0-9ED8AF6F3E74.jpeg
934532C8-C9A3-4846-B202-694E94151E4A.png

Depending on its adoption, PA uses 3 or 4 125MM APFSDS rounds
1. Basic APFSDS/T (Locally produced Chinese 125-I ammo)
2. Improved APFSDS/T (125-1 penetrator with BM-42 style casing)?
3. Naiza DU (Same dimensions and shape as 125-1 but with a DU penetrator).
4. BTA-4
 

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