The MBT2000,known as the Al-Khalid in Pakistan, is an export MBT solution by NORINCO as a result of the Sino-Pakistan Type 90-II program in 2001. The menacing T-72S fleet in India was becoming a major threat to Pakistan, thus they sought for the help of Mainland China which was developing new MBTs as well. The new MBT would follow the requirements from Pakistan, while NORINCO would design and manufacture the tank accordingly. Thanks to improving relations with western powers, NORINCO acquired German engines and transmissions for their prototypes; the new BK1871 prototype was approved by Pakistan and was set as the foundation of the new MBT. The agreement was signed in 1990 and thus earned the name of Type 90 (-II was added to avoid confusion with the JGSDF's Type 90). Although there were plans to use NATO powerplants and transmissions, after political complications in both China and Pakistan, the Type 90-II would source the power pack from Ukraine (6TD from T-80UD which was also imported by Pakistan). The 3rd Type 90-II prototype was approved as the Type 90-IIM; with domestic FY-series ERA and AC unit for crew comfort installed. The new MBT, now under the name of MBT2000, was finalized in 2000 and first shown in Abu Dhabi IDEX 2001 as a new export product of NORINCO. The MBT2000 is still listed on the catalogue with revised designs and equipment for future battlefields.
Introduced in Update "Sons of Attila", the MBT2000 breaks the trend of tanks using Warsaw-Pact powerplants and transmissions in the Chinese ground tree: not only does it have the forward speed of a T-80UD, it also has an unprecedented reverse speed and neutral steering capabilities compared to most Eastern Bloc MBTs. The tank features identical firepower to its T-72 equivalents, while having more advanced FCS and a chassis with design influence from western tanks. While the protection is relatively inferior to its Chinese cousins (namely the ZTZ96A with FY-4 ERA), the great mobility and sufficient firepower can lead the tank to victory.
Survivability and armour
The overall design philosophy of the MBT2000 departs from the conventional Eastern-Bloc/Chinese design in terms of the chassis - instead of having a well-sloped hull at around 68°, it has a design similar to the Leopard 2 which has extended UFP for better protection. However, the MBT2000 also retains a relatively low profile like Eastern-Bloc tanks while having a welded turret. Aside from the standard protections on the tank, the MBT2000 also has FY-2 ERA installed on the hull and turret which provides both KE and CE protection. Although the extended UFP might be more familiar to NATO players, MBT2000 doesn't have the best capability defending itself at higher tiers due to the low KE protection from the FY-2 ERA, this intensifies as the LFP is also relatively large and makes it vulnerable to oncoming shots. Another note is that the problem of the cast gun mantlet still haunts the MBT2000 and future Chinese tanks, any penetrated shots would very likely disable the gun system to certain extent, sometimes even detonation of ammunition stored behind the crew.
The internal layout is more or less the continuation of Chinese design philosophy, the crew of 3 with a driver on the centerline of tank and side fuel tanks next to the driver, as well as the AZ-172 inspired autoloader makes MBT2000 feel like a oversized ZTZ96 to some extent; in most cases, due to the internal layout and aforementioned protection, penetrating shots will very likely take out the driver right away, while fuel explosions, crew knock-out, and ammunition detonation can be relatively common experiences.
|Armour||Front (Slope angle)||Sides||Rear||Roof|
|Hull||___ mm|| ___ mm Top
___ mm Bottom
|___ mm||___ - ___ mm|
|Turret|| ___ - ___ mm Turret front
___ mm Gun mantlet
|___ - ___ mm||___ - ___ mm||___ - ___ mm|
|Cupola||___ mm||___ mm||___ mm||___ mm|
The most uncommon feature of MBT2000 is the powerpack. There are stereotypes that Eastern Bloc-made transmissions could only go forward but not in reverse (due to the need to rescue friendly tanks or itself), but thanks to the addition of a side-transmission designed by Ukrainian designers, the Kharkov 6TD-2 powerpack can not only push the tank at up to 69 km/h, it can also reverse at -31 km/h and has neutral steering like NATO tanks, vastly improving its flexibility on the battlefield.
|Game Mode||Max Speed (km/h)||Weight (tons)||Engine power (horsepower)||Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
Modifications and economy
As the MBT2000 was finalized in the late 1990s and needed better firepower, it uses the Chinese equivalent of the 125 mm smoothbore cannon with an AZ-172 style autoloader. The overall handling of the gun is identical to post-ZTZ96/99 MBTs before the domestic electric drive gun layer entered service. While the horizontal traverse is sufficient, be extra careful when crossing terrain as the vertical traverse is rather slow.
|125 mm ZPT98||Turret rotation speed (°/s)||Reloading rate (seconds)|
|Ammunition|| Type of
|Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)|
|10 m||100 m||500 m||1,000 m||1,500 m||2,000 m|
|Ammunition|| Type of
| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (kg)
|Proximity-fused shell details|
|Ammunition|| Type of
| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (kg)
DTP-125, HEAT-FS, Stock - DTP-125 has been a long-time friend to the Chinese 125 mm gun and is one of the stock shells for the MBT2000; like many HEATFS of its tier, due to ERA and composite armour being commonplace at its tier, hitting enemies from the front would very likely be fruitless. So if opting for HEATFS to take out enemies, make sure to aim for non-ERA/composite covered parts or by flanking enemies if possible; remembering where their ammunition is located can earn players a quick kill against enemies. It is still a versatile shell to have against all types of ground target.
DTB-125, HE-FS, Stock - DTB-125 is also available as the other stock shell; HEFS can serve as a makeshift anti-tank shell by hitting enemy optics or top plates with low protection and possibly triggering overpressure, dooming the crew and internal compartments of enemy vehicles. This also enables the tank to do "top-down" attacks against tanks behind cover, notably NATO tanks with higher profile and CITV. Thanks to the high explosive content, it is also a better option to knock-out light vehicles right away than the HEATFS.
125-I, APFSDS, Tier I - 125-I (aka 一期弹 or officially, the 一步弹; Phrase/Stage I ammunition) has already been a familiar APFSDS for Chinese MBTs with 125 mm gun, players from ZTZ96 series can soon get on hand with the APFSDS with its good ballistic performance and penetration (the highest for 125 mm APFSDS <500 mm penetration), helping players to go through the stock stages; aim for different weak spots accordingly if facing higher-tier NATO/Warsaw-Pact tanks.
DTC10-125, APFSDS, Tier IV - as the main APFSDS of PLAGF and one of the highest-penetration (non-DU) export APFSDS for 125 mm guns, DTC10-125 (aka 三期弹 or officially, the 三步弹; Phrase/Stage III ammunition; DTC10E when export) can make sure it can also utilize its very high velocity to defeat most enemies it face without problem, this also enables MBT2000 to defeat more advanced MBTs at higher-tier even at long range.
DTB12-125, HE-FS (VT), Tier IV - Unlike Soviet/Russian HE-FS with timed fuse, DTB12 is currently the only HE-VT for its calibre; not only can it still be used as "anti-tank" shells like its stock counterpart albeit with lesser explosive content, enemy aircraft will have to face a 125 mm makeshift AA gun with 7 m trigger radius - it is never a good idea getting hit by such a huge shell.
|49||48 (+1)||45 (+4)||42 (+7)||38 (+11)||35 (+14)||32 (+17)||29 (+20)||25 (+24)||24 (+25)||23 (+26)||1 (+48)||No|
Unlike PLAGF or Warsaw-Pact tanks, due to the demand from first-party (Pakistan) and their need to defeat the steel current from intended enemies, MBT2000 can carry up to 49 shells and its propellent charges, the highest among any MBTs in-game; but for most cases, 23 shells (including the preloaded shell in breech) is more than enough to defeat enemies with provisions of missed/non-lethal shots.
|12.7 mm QJC88A|
|Mount||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal|
|7.62 mm Type 86|
|Mount||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal|
Usage in battles
To put MBT2000 among its Chinese cousins or Eastern Bloc competitors, if these tanks are literary tractors, MBT2000 can be said as a Bugatti among these tanks in terms of mobility. It offers a very different approach from earlier Chinese design and now has equivalent mobility to some NATO MBTs albeit having lesser engine power, not only it has the top speed of a T-80U, it also has neutral steering and unprecedented reverse speed on any Warsaw-Pact/PLAGF tanks at its era (-31 km/h, equivalent to Leopard 2A4); this enables MBT2000 as a flanker to enemy defense lines, but players still have to take extra caution on its protection and not being hit as much as possible.
Players usually compare MBT2000 with its fellow Chinese domestic MBT, ZTZ96A; they do indeed have some similarities in terms of overall firepower and FCS, which could be said is pretty identical. When it comes to the protection though, the duo take different approach in terms of the hull design - MBT2000 extended the LFP while having a similar layout UFP like Type 90 covered with FY-2 ERA; while ZTZ96A still opted for traditional, well-sloped armour layout with FY-4 ERA. In most cases, lower tier shells will have problem penetrating the UFP, especially HEATFS due to the high CE protection of FY-2; kinetic shells will be another story though as most shells with >410 mm penetration is enough to penetrate some areas on the UFP at 500 m, let alone the larger UFP, it can still protect itself from autocannons though unlike ZTZ96A. The turret itself is another story - it has over 600 mm RHA even without FY-2, tanks even at higher tier will have hard time penetrating the turret; still, the long-lasting flaw on mantlet still haunts the MBT2000, it might still be enough to stop 105 mm shells, anything beyond this caliber have no major problem penetrating it up front especially at close range, which is extremely fatal for the tank as this will very likely disable the gun and knock-out one of the turret crew at once, so be cautious on close quarters. Internally, it looks very similar to tanks with Russian-style carousel autoloader but thanks to the small yet powerful powerpack, MBT2000 now has 49 shells at disposal (PLAGF tanks usually has around 40 rounds); for players who has the need for some reserve ammo in case on multiple misses or non-lethal hits, this is a good news; but this will not be a good news for the crew though as the crew is now literary surrounded by ammunitions even to their back by the turret - any penetrated shots that lands on ammunition equals to the death sentence of the tank, and would very likely cause a jack-in-the-box effect and the turret turns into a rocket-for-two, flying tens or even hundreds of meters away from where the hull once existed.
With these in mind, MBT2000 can still be used aggressively as a flanker instead of spearhead of team, the 6TD-2 enginepack and its 25 hp/t ratio can make sure it accelerates way faster than most of their tracked counterparts, faster the tank goes to top speed, the better to gain advantage positions and start to pound on enemy team. Although lacking better APFSDS or ATGMs, the 125-I has been known as the best 125 mm APFSDS at its tier thanks to its penetration and velocity, hitting enemy vehicles even from afar will not be a problem; the 3x-10x optics with 1st generation TVD also gives it the flexibility to spot enemies with large FoV, as long as players pay extra caution and make assumptions on where the enemy would appear, they can extend the service life of MBT2000 vastly, but beware when crossing complicated terrains as the gun has insufficient vertical traverse to react in time. It can still take some shots from enemy if they didn't aim carefully, always utilize the excellent mobility of MBT2000 to move around for opportunities and thanks to the reverse speed, as long as the powerplant and driver is operable, it can retreat to cover as fast as possible, making it more forgiving than its domestic or Eastern Bloc counterparts.
Pros and cons
- Excellent mobility
- 6TD-2 powerpack with high engine output
- Additional side-transmissions enables "neutral steering" albeit being single-flow transmission
- -31 km/h reverse speed to get away from danger
- Devastating firepower with varieties of ammunition
- Optics with variable magnification and large FoV for different engagement ranges
- TVD sights for faster target acquisition
- Commander override and CITV for last-ditch retaliation
- Thick turret protection
- Inconsistent protection
- The cast gun mantlet still haunts the turret protection
- Overall lesser hull protection than ZTZ96A due to ERA selection and large LFP
- Slow gun vertical traverse
- Rear arc of fire is restricted by the elevated engine deck
- Inferior TVD than Chinese domestic MBTs with only Gen 1 TVD available
- Rather cramped compartment and crew layout
- Infamous autoloader with relatively slow fixed reload rate and high chance of detonation once hit
Date back to the previous Project 122 medium tanks by early 1970s, there were at least 5 different designs from different designers with different features; although Chinese engineers were very ambitious on their designs with some uncertified technologies, when the decade between 1978 to 1988 where Mainland China has improved relationship with western powers, the engineers saw one of the most advanced MBT at the time: Leopard 2 with unimaginable mobility for the engineers at the time. Although failed attempts to introduce either Leopard 2 or its powerplant, thanks to the Project 784 (WZ123; the future ZTZ99) and the debates of powerplant for the tank, Datong Diesel Engine Plant introduced MTU 8V331TC-41 and its production line from West Germany, the engineers put together a prototype: WZ1224 with the aforementioned engine. Another prototype with a hydraulic transmission known as WZ1226 was also built as part of the restarted Project 122 MBT; these were the beginnings of the future MBT2000.
Soon in 1985, the introduction of Renk LSG3000 transmission enabled the engineers to built yet another prototype known as BK1850, later BK1851 with ZTZ80 (WZ122) chassis and new welded turret. Eventually, the real ancestor of MBT2000 - BK1871 with provisions of foreign equipment for export purpose including additional imports of powerplants from France and Great Britain. This was also the real beginning of steering wheel for drivers instead of brake handles as BK1871 successfully persuaded opposing engineers why western tanks and their potential customers opted for this design for "driving experiences"; after a demonstration of its mock-up in 1990 to Pakistan Armed Force officers who seek for comparable MBT against the future Indian T-72S fleet, the Sino-Pakistani MBT2000 (Type 90-II) started its struggle to completion. But before the completion of MBT2000, Type 85-IIAP was also selected as the placeholder tank to be produced in Pakistan by Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT), which would become the ancestor of ZTZ96 series.
NORINCO revised their design of turret and FCS with the latest possible technologies from Mainland China including carrousel autoloader for the 125 mm smoothbore cannon, ISFCS-212B image-stabilized FCS and provision for CITV; the Type 90-II P1 tank with domestic powerplant and German transmission arrived at Pakistan in May 1991 and been demonstrated until 1994 when Germany banned the sale of LSG3000 as the result of 1993 arms embargo to Mainland China (proposed by US after 1989 national-wide riots and suppressions) almost put an end to the project. A country then comes into the eyes of the two countries: Ukraine. To fill the gap of MBTs, Chinese and Serbian (ex-Yugoslavian) engineers proposed the Type 85-III with a Yugoslavian V-46-TK 1000 hp engine and domestic transmission, while Ukrainian brought up the most elite MBT of ex-Soviet Union: T-80UD with Kharkov 6TD engine pack; due to the unreliable performance of the joint-developed powerplant, Pakistan opted for 320 T-80UD against the future T-90S fleet in India. While the Type 85-III bit the dust, the duo of China and Pakistan found the 6TD engine pack rather reliable while maintaining high enough engine output (at 1000 hp) at such a small size (almost half of CV12), Ukraine also proposed for future upgrades on these T-80UDs to the latest T-84 standards with the new 6TD-2 power pack at 1200 hp output; while the engineers expressed that this would be a good alternative to western equivalents while maintaining a less complicated logistic, Chinese engineers delivered the P2 prototype with Perkins CV12 engine (also proposed for Wärtsilä V8X SACM) and Renk ESM500 transmission, as well as P4 with NATO 120 mm gun and German power pack, but the 1998 nuclear test eliminated any possibilities to import NATO equipment to Pakistan (another arms embargo for Pakistan). Thus the P3 with 6TD-2 power pack became the approved design as the Type 90-IIM; after redesigning the engine bay, additions of AC units and FY-2 ERA, the MBT2000 debuted in Abu Dhabi IDEX 2001 as the new export product produced by NORINCO, while the version manufactured from CKD or SKD kits would be called Al-Khalid. While having successful commission in Pakistan with more than 750 tanks in service by 2021, they were also exported to Myanmar, Morocco and Bangladesh; making it one of the most successful NORINCO defense product at present.
Future MBT2000 manufactured in Mainland China will use completely domestic equipment from NORINCO subsidies including 12V150HB deviated engine and CH series transmission, as well as upgraded FCS; while the hull design will also be inherited to the future VT4 MBT.
Excellent additions to the article would be video guides, screenshots from the game, and photos.
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- reference to the series of the vehicles;
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|China North Industries Corporation (中国兵器工业集团有限公司)|
|Type 62||▂Type 62 · Type 62|
|Type 63||Type 63 · ZTS63|
|Main Battle Tanks|
|WZ120||Type 59 · ZTZ59A · ZTZ59D1|
|WZ121||Type 69 · Type 69-IIa** · T-69 II G**|
|WZ122||ZTZ88B · ZTZ88A · ZTZ96 · ZTZ96A · ZTZ96A (P)|
|WZ123||ZTZ99-II · ZTZ99-III|
|WZ1001||WZ1001(E) LCT · ZTZ99A|
|Tank Destroyers||AFT09 · PTL02 · WMA301** · PTZ89 · ZLT11|
|SPAA||ZSD63/PG87* · WZ305** · PGZ09 · PGZ04A|
|China medium tanks|
|Type 59 · ZTZ59A · ZTZ59D1|
|Type 69 · Type 69-IIa · T-69 II G|
|ZTZ88A · ZTZ88B|
|ZTZ96 · ZTZ96A · ZTZ96A (P)|
|ZTZ99-II · ZTZ99-III|
|ZTZ99A · WZ1001(E) LCT|
|Other||Т-34-85 Gai · Object 122MT "MC"|
|Japan||␗Chi-Ha · ␗Chi-Ha Kai|
|USA||␗M4A4 · ␗M4A4 (1st PTG) · ␗M4A1 (75) W · ␗M48A1 · ␗M60A3 TTS|
|USSR||␗T-34 (1943) · ␗Т-34-85 (S-53) · T-34-85 No.215 · Т-62 №545|
- "The Chinese Export Tank that Frustrates Russian: Development History of MBT2000/VT1 Al-Khalid"by Topper-螺蛳粉斯基; a video on Bilibili that introduced the development of MBT2000