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Pakistan Army commissions first 42 VT-4 tanks to secure the Indian border

Pakistan's forward striking corps, the Mangla Corps has inducted state-of-the-art VT-4 tanks - a new headache for India.

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Pakistan commissions the VT-4 battle tanks of Chinese origin. Pakistan Army is set to armory capacity. Chinese state-owned armored vehicle manufacturer, Norinco, produced and delivered these tanks in April last year. After Thailand and Nigeria, Pakistan is the third country to have procured these tanks.

Pakistan received regiment of 42 VT-4 tanks, around 86 units of the 3rd Generation MBT, out of a total 176 units ordered and a total of 300 units planned.

The commander of the Mangla Corps Lieutenant General Shaheen Mehmood, visited the armored division on Wednesday and inspected the first batch of VT-4 tanks, said Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

Under the inspection, the mobility and maneuverability of the tanks were tested. Major General Rashid Mahmood briefed the commander about ongoing post-shipment inspections of the first batch of tanks, the statement said.

Pakistan army has confirmed that the VT-4 tanks would be employed in an offensive role by strike formations after induction. “The VT-4 is compatible with any modern tank in the world integrating advanced armor protection, maneuverability, firepower capabilities and state-of-the-art technology,” army officials remarked.

VT-4

Pakistan aims to bolster its security alongside the Indian border. Chinese defense weapons and artillery make up the largest part of Pakistan’s defense equipment.

Read more: Is Pakistan receiving 100 Chinese main battle tanks? 

Specs of VT-4

The VT-4 shares many subsystems technology and features from other latest Chinese MBT’s such as Type 96B and Type 99A. It comes with an automatic transmission system, 125mm smoothbore cannon, muzzle reference system, FY-4 ERA, carousel-style autoloader, and overall geometry.

The VT-4 has a 125mm smoothbore cannon capable of firing APFSDS, HESH, HEAT and HE rounds and guided missiles.

The tank is protected by dual-layer protection consisting of composite armor and FY-4 explosive reactive armor.

The VT-4 uses a locally produced 1,200 hp diesel engine with torsion bar suspension and an integrated hydraulic transmission system.

VT-4

Al-Khalid Tank

The VT-1A, alternatively known as the Al-Khalid or MBT-2000 is one of the most capable tanks in the region. This was also a joint project between Pakistan and China and its design was a practically clean slate. Production tanks have thermal gunner’s sights, a panoramic commander’s sight, and a 125mm gun.

The VT-1A is very much capable of combating the T-72Ms that form the bulk of the Indian tank forces. But advanced T-90S tanks may pose issues to the VT-1A. So, Pakistan considered acquiring the VT-4 last year.

Read more: The graveyard of Indian tanks: the battles in the Sialkot sector in the 1965 war

In 2018, Pakistan was learned to have around 17 units of Chinese origin T-59 and T69 tanks, which comprise 30 percent of its total tank strength, people familiar with the matter said. It also has 12 regiments of Al-Zarar tanks, which make 20 percent of the tank fleet while Ukrain origin T-80-UD and T-85 UD, as well as an upgraded version of T-59 tanks, comprise the rest of the 50 percent tank fleet.