The Chinese MBT-3000 Main Battle Tank is the latest and most advanced export tank from Chinese Defense Company NORINCO.
Offered for export under the designation VT4, Pakistan who are a prolific licensed manufacturer of Chinese tanks, was apparently trying to arrange trials for the tank in late 2014.
First unveiled at the 2012 Eurosatory Defence exhibition in Paris, an improved version was relaunched in 2014 with some minor modifications and since then NORICO (Manufacturer) has been making public statements that the tank is superior to the new Russian Armata T-14 Main Battle Tank causing great online debates.
UPGRADED MBT-3000 (2014) MAIN BATTLE TANK
MBT-3000 Turret Upgrades 2014
On the 2014 version the following changes were made – 1. Remote Weapons Station added, 2. Smoke grenade Launchers moved back, 3. Covers on forward section of storage rack ((maybe hiding elements of the hard kill system) 4. An extra covered block appeared between the commanders and gunners sights, which maybe part of the Active Protection System.
MBT-3000 Upgraded Rear 2014
On the rear the upgraded version will see that 1. a new box has appeared 2. The exhaust is now square, not round 3. and 4. The lights panels now have protective grills.
The vehicle has a full digitalised fire control system with a hunter killer capability making it a 3rd Generation Tank. The main gun is a ZPT98 series 125mm smoothbore capable of firing APFSDS, HEAT, HE shells and gun-launched missiles, with a maximum missile range of 5000m’s. The vehicle has a battlefield management system.
As of 2014 it has a roof mounted Remote Weapon Station fitted with a 12.7mm MG, replacing the revious 12.7mm MG mounted on the commanders cupola. The vehicle alos has a 7.62mm coaxial MG.
MBT-3000 Frontal Armour pre-upgrade
The frontal turret armour appears to match (wedge shape, inspection hatch on the top of each) that of the module armour used on the upgraded Type 96 and Type 99.
It contains a modern composite armour (as used on the hull front) with Explosive reactive Armour built into it. ERA bricks are also mounted across the front of the hull.
It also has an internal fire suppression system and electrical gun stabilization system, so as to reduce the number of parts that can “cook off” if the armour is defeated.
MBT-3000 Turret Armour 2014
Under the improved version of the vehicle, NORICO (manufacturer) has said the side skirts are now made of a composite armor (they probably mean it’s a ceramic or hardened steel) and ERA can be added to this.
This would bring the vehicle up to a 4th generation standard, but has not been photographed with this added side ERA.
It also has an active protection system that links laser threat warning sensors in to the smoke grenade launchers designated the GL5. The crew have full NBC protection.
Analysis of MBT-3000 vs OPLOT protection level: Here
The Chinese MBT-3000 Main Battle Tank
The vehicle has a 1300hp turbo charged diesel, automatic gearbox and torsion bar suspension. The driver even has a rear camera and monitor fitted for whilst driving in reverse. It has a combat weight of 48 tonnes (VT-4 42 tonnes) and is fully air-conditioned.
• Height: 2.4m
• Width: 3.5m
• Length (Hull): 7m
• Length (Gun Forward): 10.1m
• Gun Elevation: -5.4 to +18 degrees
The MBT-3000 is a recent Chinese main battle tank, developed specially for export. It is also referred as VT-4. It is being marketed by NORINCO. It is an improved version of VT1A. The MBT-3000 is similar to the Type 99G which is currently in service with the PLA, but has downgraded capabilities such as sights, propulsion and gun. A model of this MBT was publicly presented in 2012. First pictures of this new tank appeared in 2013. It seems that the MBT-300 was proposed for Pakistan as an Al Khalid Mk.2.
This tank is not an entirely new design. It owns its existence to the Soviet T-72 of the Cold War era which has been around for over 30 years. The T-72 proved to be reliable but not too effective in combat. In the 1980s China obtained this tank from Romania and cloned it. The MBT-3000 is the culmination of decades of fine-tuning many tank systems that have been of Soviet origin. Also this tank shows some Western influence in its design. A number of improvements over the previous Chinese designs is substantial, however none of them greatly improved tank’s performance.
The MBT-3000 is armed with a fully-stabilized 125-mm smoothbore gun. The gun is fed by an automatic carousel-type loader. The autoloader reduces the tank crew to three and allow to reduce dimensions of the vehicle. Both the gun and autoloader were copied from the Soviet T-72. Loading speed is 8 rounds per minute. This tank fires APFSDS, HEAT and HE/HEF rounds. It is also compatible with gun-launched anti-tank guided 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.
This machine is also fitted with passive countermeasures system. It links laser threat warning reviver with smoke grenade launching. It reduces the chance of being hit by enemy anti-tank guided weapons.
The MBT-3000 has a crew of three, including commander, gunner and driver.
It is claimed that this main battle tank is fitted with an indigenous turbocharged diesel engine, developing 1 300 hp. However it might actually be of Ukrainian origin. It is worth mentioning that the Chinese Army Type 99G is powered by a more powerful engine, developing 1 500 hp and based on a German design. Some sources report that the MBT-3000 might be also fitted with a more powerful diesel, developing 1 500 hp. Engine is mated to an automatic gearbox. This MBT has a deep fording capability. Auxiliary fuel tanks can be fitted for extended range.
|Dimensions and weight|
|Length (gun forward)||10.1 m|
|Hull length||~ 7 m|
|Main gun||125-mm smoothbore|
|ATGW||9K119 Refleks (AT-11 Sniper)|
|Machine guns||1 x 12.7-mm, 1 x 7.62-mm|
|Traverse range||360 degrees|
|Main gun||38 rounds|
|Machine guns||500 x 12.7-mm, 3000 x 7.62-mm|
|Engine power||1 300 hp|
|Maximum road speed||67 km/h|
|Vertical step||1.2 m|
|Fording||~ 1.2 m|
|Fording (with preparation)||4 – 5 m|
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