The VT4 (formerly MBT-3000) main battle tank (MBT) is a third-generation MBT designed and developed by China North Industries Corporation (Norinco).
Intended primarily for export markets, the VT4 tank integrates advanced armour and fire control capabilities and offers increased firepower and protection to combat forces in the battlefield.
A scale model of the MBT-3000 was displayed at the Eurosatory 2012 defence exhibition in Paris, France, while an advanced version of the VT4 was unveiled at China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition 2014 in Zhuhai, China.
VT4 MBT orders and deliveries
Thailand plans to purchase a total of 49 VT4 MBTs from Norinco in three batches for use by the Royal Thai Army. The order for the first batch of 28 tanks was finalised in 2016. The vehicles were delivered in October 2017 and tested by the Royal Thai Army in January.
A total of 26 vehicles are inducted into service with the 3rd Cavalry Division in Khon Kaen Province, while the remaining two are operational with the Royal Thai Army Cavalry Centre at Adisorn Military camp in Saraburi and the Army Armory Hall.
The Government of Thailand approved the purchase of a second batch of ten VT4 tanks in April 2017. The vehicle deliveries are scheduled for this year.
Thailand approves purchase of 10 more Chinese tanks worth $58 million
The Thai cabinet on Tuesday approved the purchase of 10 Chinese tanks worth $58 million to replace an old U.S. model, a government spokesman said, the second of three planned purchases of 49 tanks from China.
Thailand ordered 28 tanks from China last year.
“These tanks will replace the M41 tanks, which are small and old,” Sansern Kaewkamnerd told reporters.
Thailand has used the U.S. M41 light tanks since World War II, said Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwan.
Relations have been strengthening between China and the United States’ oldest ally in Southeast Asia, particularly since ties with the United States cooled after a 2014 coup.
In January, the cabinet also approved 13.5 billion baht ($380 million) to buy a submarine from China and is consider Elsewhere in Southeast Asia, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has boasted of his new friendship with China as he has talked down the relationship with the United States, despite a longstanding territorial dispute with Beijing.
A U.S. Navy aid unit has also been told to leave Cambodia, the U.S. embassy said, in a new sign of the country loosening links with Washington as it strengthens ties with Beijing.
(Reporting by Pracha Hariraksapitak; Writing by Patpicha Tanakasempipat; Editing by Nick Macfie). Source reuters.com
Royal Thai Army to order more Chinese tanks: Here
The Royal Thai Army will buy 34 armoured vehicles worth about two billion baht and another 11 VT-4 battle tanks from China, says army commander Chalermchai Sitthisat.
The army’s arms deal plan with China follows the controversial submarine procurement project by the Royal Thai Navy which last Friday finalised the contract for the first S26T Yuan-class submarine worth 13.5 billion baht.
According to Gen Chalermchai, the army has proposed the procurement of VN-1 armoured vehicles to the Defence Ministry for further submission to the cabinet for approval.
Store rack ERA
*Thailand should negotiate for ERA on turret store rack similar to ZTZ-99 to be included without extra charge for the next order. Considering the current cost are almost $6 million per unit (I suppose the cost would also include ammunition). However, the T-90MS turret is more heavily armored and would cost less at $5 million.
VT4 main battle tank design details
Based on tracked chassis, the hull of the VT4 MBT is of all-welded steel armour construction. The gross vehicle weight of the tank is approximately 52,000kg.
Chinese source indicate that the ERA is FY-4 which is considered to have the same protection level as the Russian 4S22 (Kontakt-5).
Closeup of ERA – Army Calvary Center YouTubeCloseup of ERA on turret– BATTLEFIELD DEFENSEDriver hatch – BATTLEFIELD DEFENSECommanders hatch and panoramic sight – BATTLEFIELD DEFENSEGunners hatch and panoramic sight – BATTLEFIELD DEFENSEBATTLEFIELD DEFENSE
The tank is manned by three crew members including commander, driver and gunner. The driver’s seat is located in the centre of the forward hull with a single hatch. The commander is seated to the right of the turret, while the gunner is seated in the left side. A hull escape hatch is provided on each side.
The tank features an air-conditioning system, a fire extinguisher and an explosion suppression system.
The VT4 main battle tank is armed with a 125mm smoothbore cannon to engage armoured personnel carriers, main battle tanks, infantry forces, military installations, light vehicles, and low-flying helicopters.
125mm smoothbore cannon
Army Calvary Center YouTubeAuto loader – Army Calvary Center YouTubeAuto loader – Army Calvary Center YouTubeAuto loader – Army Calvary Center YouTubeAuto loader – Army Calvary Center YouTube
The 125mm gun can fire armour-piercing fin-stabilised discarding-sabot (APFSDS) rounds, high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warhead, artillery and guided missiles. The maximum firing range of the anti-tank missiles is 5km.
Russian 9K119 Refleks (AT-11 Sniper) missiles
These are Russian 9K119 Refleks (AT-11 Sniper) missiles, produced in China under license. Missiles are launched in the same manner as ordinary munitions. Missiles have a maximum range of 5 000 m. Typically four missiles are carried. This anti-tank guided missile capability is not common in Western designs. A total of 38 rounds are carried for the main gun. 22 of them are loaded into the autoloader and are ready to use. Other rounds are stored inside the hull. Source military-today.com
|Calibre of 9M119F missile, mm||125|
|Flight time of 9M119F missile at the range of 5000 m, s||16|
|Control system||semi-automatic, jamming invulnerable, by a beam of the optical quantum generator|
|Temperature range for the combat use of 3UBK14F round, С°||±50*|
|Mass of 3UBK14F round, kg
9X949 throwing device
|Length of 3UBK14F round, mm
9X949 throwing device
* Note. Combat use of 3UBK14F rounds is admissible after short-term (6 h) exposure to the ambient temperature from −60° to +60 С° and their subsequent keeping within the operating temperature range of ±50 С° during not less than 8 h as well as at temperature differences of the ambient air and the round charge of up to 70 С°.
A remotely operated 12.7mm anti-aircraft machine gun and a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun comprise the secondary armament.
12.7mm anti-aircraft machine gun
QJZ85 / W85 / QJC88 12.7 mm heavy machine gun?
The QJZ85 or Type 85 heavy machine gun was developed by China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO) to succeed the previous Type 77. It is tripod mounted and the vehicle mounted version is known as the QJC88 or Type 88.
The belt-fed and fully automatic QJZ85 / QJC88 uses the 12.7×108 cartridge of Russian origin. A variant exists using the 12.7×99 NATO cartridge for export only.
The gas-operated QJZ85 / QJC88 comes with an iron sight, but can also be fitted with an optical sight. Muzzle velocity is 850 m/s and the maximum rate of fire 600 rounds per minute.
The QJZ85 / QJC88 heavy machine gun weighs 18.5 kg and is being succeeded by the Type 89 or QJZ89. Source defenseupdates.blogspot.com
7.62mm coaxial machine gun
Type-80 General Purpose Machine Gun
The Type 80 (Chinese: 80式通用机枪) is a general-purpose machine gun manufactured by Norinco in China, based on the Soviet PKM. The machine gun was certified for design finalisation in 1980 and entered the PLA service in the mid-1980s, specifically in 1983. The Type 80 was intended as a successor to the Chinese independently developed Type 67, doing well in tests conducted in the Chengdu Military Region before it was dropped and instead, opted to keep the Type 67 GPMG in use. Only a few Type 80s were used in the People’s Liberation Army Marine Corps and airborne units, and a modified Type 80, named as Type 86, was then accepted by PLA armor units.
VT4 self-protection features
The main battle tank is equipped with GL5 active protection system (APS), which integrates four fire control radars with a detection range of approximately 100m.
The roof-mounted APS offers a high level of protection against main battle tanks, armoured vehicles, anti-tank guided missiles, and anti-tank weapons.
New active protection system designated the GL5
Red Shield 2 active protection system for main battle tanks and armoured vehicles is a fully automatic, intelligent active protection system. It is comprised of detection devices, missile-interception equipment and launcher. It is intended to realize active protection for main battle tanks and armoured vehicles to effectively intercept anti-tank missiles, RPGs so as to improve greatly the field survivability. It is also adopted as the last phase protection means for high-value facilities such as communication station, missile launching well and command center, etc.
- Automatic working function: When the Red Shield 2 is switched on, it is able to perform the whole process of target detection, information processing, intercept projectile launch, target destruction automatically, without human interference
- Real-time target detection : Red Shield 2 is able to search target within a distance of 100m. When target is acquired, it starts to track it automatically and measures the speed, distance, angle of targets accurately
- Fire control and trajectory resolution: Red Shield 2 establishes target trajectory with real-time target data acquired, thus calculates target projectile encounter position and resolves the fire control parameters and generates ignition order to intercept projectile so that realize launch of projectile at right time to intercept the target
- Real-time interception: It is able to damage, destruct or detonate the incoming targets effectively at a distance of 10m±1.5m
- Operating mode: Automatic, intelligent, all-time and 3-dimensional protection
- Target type: Anti-tank missile, RPG
- Target detection range: >100m
- Target intercept range: 10m
- Protection area: 360°, 3-dimensional
- Length of whole system: <400 mm
- Number of tubes: 12
MBT-3000/VT-4 GL-5 active protection system successfully intercepted 120mm rocket
The tank is also fitted with smoke grenade launchers and nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) protection system to protect the occupants.
76 mm smoke grenade launchers
The MBT3000 countermeasures include eight 76 mm smoke grenade launchers and four 76 mm shrapnel grenade launchers. Source army-guide.com
The gunner and commander of the VT4 tank are provided with stabilised thermal imaging sights for identification and recognition of targets. The driver has three observation periscopes.
Gunner station – Army Calvary CenterGunner station – Army Calvary CenterCommanders station – Army Calvary CenterCommanders station – Army Calvary CenterDriver station – Army Calvary CenterDriver station
The vehicle’s fire control unit also comprises roof-mounted panoramic sights, a laser warning device, and a digital gun control system designed to support day and night operation.
A digital communications system is also installed in the vehicle to provide the commander with communication and control functions.
Engine and mobility of VT4 main battle tank
Army Calvary Center
The VT4 main battle tank is powered by a rear-mounted 1,200hp turbocharged diesel engine coupled to a hydro-mechanical drive system.
The automatic transmission and torsion bar suspension systems provide increased mobility in off-road conditions.
Army Calvary Center
The tank can attain a maximum speed of 70km/h on highways and a speed of 50km/h in cross country conditions, while the maximum range is 500km.
It can climb gradients of 30% and vertical obstacles of 1.2m.
VT/E1 Diesel engine
|Rated speed (r.p.m.)||
|Engine power output (h.p.)||
Chinese internet images
|Main weapon caliber (mm)||
|Auxiliary gun calibre (mm)||
|AA gun caliber (mm)||
|Ammunition of the main gun||
|Ammunition in the autoloader||
|Fording depth (mm)||
|Engine power output (h.p.)||
|Max. road speed (km/h)||
|Max. road range (km)||
|Vertical obstacle (mm)||
|Side slope (%)||
|Ground pressure (kg/sm2)||
|Operating temperature, max (degree, C)||
|Operating temperature, min (degree, C)||
|Length of track on ground (mm)||
|Max. road range (km)||
|Rate of fire (rds/min)||
|Ammunition of the auxiliary gun||
|Ammunition of AA gun||
|Number of smoke grenade launchers||
|Number of forward gears||
|Number of reverse gears||
|Fuel capacity (l)||
Main material source army-technology.com
Main image thaipost.net
Revised Aug 15, 2018