IDEX 2017

Battlefield survivability [IDEX17D2]

19 February 2017

China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO) has brought its latest export VT4 main battle tank (MBT), which is already in production for an undisclosed export customer believed to be Thailand.

The VT4 MBT is armed with a 125mm smoothbore gun that in addition to firing conventional natures of ammunition, can fire a laser-guided projectile with a maximum range of 5,000m. As a 125mm automatic loader is fitted, the crew has been reduced to three consisting of commander, gunner and driver, which has led to a more compact design.

An all-electric gun control system is installed, and the commander and gunner are each provided with stabilised sights with day/thermal channels and integrated laser rangefinder.

This sighting system allows for hunter/killer target engagements to take place, in which the target is first detected by the commander and when confirmed as hostile, is handed over to the gunner, who carries out the target engagement.

A 7.62mm machine gun (MG) is mounted co-axial with the main armament, and on the roof is a remote-controlled 12.7mm MG operated by the tank commander.

The VT4 is powered by a turbocharged diesel developing 1,200hp coupled to an automatic transmission, which gives it a maximum road speed of 70km/h. With a combat weight of 52 tonnes, the VT4 has a power-to-weight ratio of more than 23hp/tonne.

According to NORINCO, its latest VT4, previously called the MBT-3000, is fully digitised. Other features include an inertial navigation system coupled to a global positioning system, an air-conditioning system, an NBC system and a fire/ explosion detection and suppression system.

The hull and turret are made from welded steel armour with an additional layer of composite armour over the frontal arc. Explosive reactive armour can be added to the composite side skirts.

Battlefield survivability is further enhanced by the installation of laser detectors coupled to banks of grenade launchers. A total of 12 grenade launchers are fitted, of which eight are for smoke/screening grenades and the remaining four for shrapnel to provide a close-in selfdefence capability.

(333 words)