Saudi Arabia to trial Al Khalid MBT
|13 March 2006|
By Farhan Bokhari JDW Correspondent
The Saudi armed forces are due in April to begin trialling the MBT 2000 Al Khalid main battle tank (MBT), manufactured by Pakistan's Heavy Industries Taxila. Islamabad is hoping that this will lead to the conclusion of the country's first large MBT export deal, Pakistani defence sources told JDW.
Pakistani defence officials said that if the tests are successful, Saudi Arabia could buy up to 150 Al Khalids in a deal worth up to USD600 million. This would be the largest single export contract of its kind ever for Pakistan's emerging defence industry.
The Al Khalid is of conventional layout, with the driver's compartment at the front, turret in the centre and the power pack at the rear. In many respects it appears to be almost identical to the Chinese Norinco Type 90-II MBT. The turret and hull are of all-welded steel armour construction and an additional layer of composite armour has been added over the frontal arc, to which explosive reactive armour can be added if required. Turret thickness at the front is estimated to be 600 mm with the glacis/nose estimated to be 450 to 470 mm.
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