Monday, 5 September 2011

Al Zarrar: Main Battle Tank To Reckon With

Al Zarrar: Main Battle Tank To Reckon With
Tanks were first introduced by the British during World War I as a means to break the deadlock of trench warfare. They were first deployed at the Battle of Somme in limited numbers. During construction, to conceal their true identity as weapons, they were designated as water carriers for the Mesopotamian campaign and referred to as “tanks” (as in “water tank”). Over a period of time it all changed. Pakistan assembly line of T-59 tanks needed to be replaced. Al Zarrar MBT was born;

Al Zarrar is the modern Main Battle Tank of Pakistan Army. Its in defence production at the moment at Heavy Industries Taxila. The Al-Zarrar development programme started in 1990 and the first batch of 80 upgraded tanks were delivered to the Pakistan Army on 26 February 2004.


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Al-Zarrar’s primary armament is a 125 mm smoothbore tank gun with an autofrettaged, chrome-plated gun barrel. It is capable of firing APFSDS, HEAT-FS and HE-FS rounds as well as anti-tank guided missiles and a Pakistani DU (depleted uranium) round, the 125 mm Naiza. Naiza is capable of penetrating 550 mm of RHA armour at a distance of 2 km. Reloaded by a semi-automatic autoloader, the gun has a dual-axis stabilisation system and thermal imaging sights for the commander and gunner. integrated into the fire-control system. The image stabilised fire-control system includes a laser range-finder for accurate range information and ballistics computer to improve accuracy. An improved gun control system is also fitted.

The secondary armament consists of an external 12.7 mm anti-aircraft machine gun mounted on the roof of the turret, which can be aimed and fired from inside the tank, and a 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun.

The Al-Zarrar is powered by a liquid-cooled 12 cylinder diesel engine, giving a power output of 730 hp and torque output of 305 kg.m at 1300-1400rpm. A combat weight of 40 tonnes gives Al-Zarrar a power to weight ratio of 18.3 hp/tonne and a top speed of 65 km/h. Crew comfort is improved over the Type 59 by a modified torsion bar suspension system.


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Al-Zarrar uses modular composite armour and explosive reactive armour to give improved protection from anti-tank missiles, mines and other weapons. The Pakistani ATCOP LTS-1 laser threat warning system is fitted to inform the tank crew if the tank is targeted by a laser range-finder or laser designator. Smoke grenade launchers are fitted to the sides of the turret. An automatic fire-extinguishing and explosion suppression system is installed to improve crew survivability.

On 21 October 2008, the chief of the Bangladesh Army met his Pakistani counterpart to discuss a programme to modernise the Bangladesh Army’s fleet of Type 59 tanks. The Bangladesh Army may soon become the first export customer of the Al-Zarrar as it intends to upgrade 300 of its Type 59 tanks to Al-Zarrar standard at the 902 Heavy Workshop in Banglades
h.

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