ISLAMABAD: Going for serial production in 2000 Al-Khalid Main Battle Tank, with origional designation of Type 98 of China has emerged as one of the most selling heavy weapon following US built M1A1 Abram. Pakistan unlike India adopted a different route to develop its Main Battle Tank with armour from China and engine from Ukrain.
Rest of the parts are manufactured at Heavy Industries Taxila. This facility has attained Gunnery, auto-tracking of target, night vision combat capability, ‘Hunter Killer’s Eye, Tracks, Auto Ammunition Leading System and ERA plates which neutralize anti-tabk missiles several other parts.
The HIT attained Armour cutting and molding system through its Skoda facility. This facility also grinds and molds guns upto 150 mm. When the serial production with Lt. Gen. Hamid Javaid Chairman of HIT it was prioritized that the Al-Khalid weapon system should be cost effective.
The HIT is at present also manufacturing M113 APCs which sold to Pakistan Army and exported to the United Nations for Peace Keeping Forces and NATO forces.
According to annual analysis “The Market for Tanks,” the Forecast International Weapons Group projects that the international market will produce over 6,500 main battle tanks, worth in excess of $26.76 billion, through 2018. However, while increased modernization and retrofit remains transparent to FI’s analysis of new-production tanks, this factor remains a significant component of the international market. Dean Lockwood, weapons systems analyst at Forecast International, notes that “in 2008, U.S. Department of Defense contract awards for the maintenance, RESET, and upgrade of the existing M1 Abrams inventories carried a total value in excess of $1.46 billion.
That was equivalent to more than 46 percent of the total value of all new-production main battle tanks entering the international market in 2008 (nearly $3.17 billion).
Last year, the Chinese Type 98 program maintained its position as the single largest new-production program. Yet, with a total value of $395.79 million (for 116 new-production tanks), the Type 98 program was worth only about 27.11 percent what the U.S. DoD spent on the M1 Abrams in 2008.”
The expense associated with the modernization and retrofit of high-end main battle tanks pales in comparison with the prospect of new tank procurement.
Thus, FI expects new production of high-end tanks to remain relatively low, accounting for 14.9 percent of all production and 24.22 percent of the value of the market during the forecast period.
In terms of sheer numbers, Forecast International expects Pakistan’s Al Khalid, the Type 98 of the People’s Republic of China, and the Russian Federation’s T-90 (including India’s licensed T-90S production program) to continue to dominate the market, representing 60.57 percent of all new tanks rolling out worldwide, and accounting for 52.28 percent of the value of the market, through 2018.
In the international market for main battle tanks, the days of U.S. and European domination over new production are long gone. Nevertheless, the established U.S. and European players continue to make their presence felt.
The 120mm Rh 120 smoothbore ordnance, the state-of-the-art Leopard 2, and the combat-proven M1 Abrams continue to set the standard for main battle tank design worldwide.
Second only to the infantryman in terms of combat effectiveness, the “mailed fist” of heavy armor remains the arm of decision on the modern battlefield.
Further, as Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003-present) evolved from a war of movement into a security operation, the main battle tank has proven surprisingly adaptable. According to Lockwood, “In the congested streets of Iraqi cities, the Abrams serves as a significant force multiplier, fully up to meeting the challenges of an asymmetric warfare environment.”
Courtesy : Arab News