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VT-2 Tank (44396585660).jpg
Pakistani VT-4 during Pakistan Day parade
TypeMain battle tank
Place of originChina
Service history
In service2017-present
Used bySee Operators
WarsBoko Haram insurgency[1]
Production history
Unit cost$4.9 million
Heavy Infantry Fighting Vehicle
Mass52 tonnes
Length10.10 m
Width3.40 m
Height2.30 m
Crew3 (commander, driver, gunner)

ArmorExplosive reactive armour (ERA) and composite armour
125 mm (4.9 in) smoothbore, 38 rounds (of which, 22 in the autoloader)
1 x RWS 12.7 mm (0.50 in) AA MG
1 × 7.62 mm (0.300 in) coaxial MG
EngineTurbocharged diesel engine
1,300 hp (969 kW)
Power/weight25 hp/tonne
SuspensionTorsion bar
500 km (310 mi)
Maximum speed 70 km/h (43 mph)

The VT-4 (Chinese: VT-4主战坦克; pinyin: VT-4 zhǔzhàn tǎnkè), also known as the MBT-3000,[2] is a Chinese third generation main battle tank built by Norinco for overseas export.[3]


During the development of Type 90-II/Al-Khalid (also known as MBT-2000) in the 1980s, the gearbox and engine was originally imported from Germany but due to China's political turmoil with the West this was shelved. The powertrain instead was sourced from Ukraine due to limited conditions at the time. However the strive to develop domestic powertrain continued on resulting in Type 90-III tank project which eventually proved to be unsuccessful, said to have high failure rate on the transmission system resulting in breakdowns during tank driving tests which ultimately led to the project cancellation.

Eventually a successful breakthrough in the development of domestic powertrain was achieved. This quickly led to the creation of the MBT-3000 (industrial name) tank project which to feature the new powertrain and to be successor of Type-90II export tank.[4] The MBT-3000 project later named as VT-4 began development in 2009 as a co-operation with First Inner Mongolia Machinery Factory and other companies.[4]

The MBT-3000 concept debuted at the 2012 Eurosatory.[5] The tank was subsequently shown at the 2014 Norinco Armor Day[6] and the tenth China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition as the VT-4.


The VT-4 shares many subsystems technology and features from other latest Chinese MBT's such as Type 96B and Type 99A. Key examples are automatic transmission system, 125mm smoothbore cannon, muzzle reference system, FY-4 ERA, carousel style autoloader and overall geometry.[3]


The VT-4 has a 125mm smoothbore cannon capable of firing APFSDS, HESH, HEAT and HE rounds and guided missiles. There is also a remote weapon station on the turret armed with a 12.7 mm heavy machine gun. The fire control system has hunter-killer capabilities, laser rangefinder, panoramic sight and a third generation thermal imaging system.[3] According to the chief designer, the APFSDS used by VT-4 can reach 700mm penetration which is enough to penetrate any armoured target,[3] although the distance in which 700mm of penetration was achieved was not disclosed.


The tank is protected by dual-layer protection consisting of composite armor and FY-4 explosive reactive armour.[7] According to the chief designer Feng Yibai, the frontal protection force is equivalent to 500mm homogeneous steel armor, and the explosive reaction armor is around 700mm.[3] Although not the best protection on the market it's been said that this level of protection is sufficient for the needs of developing nations. The front turret has wedge-shaped armor similar to other contemporary Chinese MBT's and the hull sides have conventional metal sideskirts. The tank can be equipped with a ′hardkill′ active protection system designated GL5, defensive grenade launchers and a laser warning device.[3] The vehicle also has an IFF system, NBC protection, explosion-suppression system, fire-extinguishing system and air conditioning.[citation needed]


According to Norinco, the VT-4 uses a locally produced 1,300 hp diesel engine with torsion bar suspension and an integrated hydraulic transmission system.[3][8][9][10] Steering and acceleration is handled by a steering wheel and automatic gear transmission.[3] VT-4 is also capable of neutral steering.

Command and control[edit]

The tank is also integrated with digital communications systems for tank-tank communication and communication between commanders.[3]


  • MBT-3000: Prototype.
  • VT-4: Production model.





  • The Royal Thai Army has 38 VT-4 in service, with the first 28 delivered in October 2017.[14][15] The deal, thought to be valued at about US$150 million,[16][17] included an option to buy a further 153 vehicles.[18] In April 2017, the Royal Thai Army ordered an additional 10 VT-4 main battle tanks from China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO) worth US$58 million that was delivered as of early 2019.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lionel, Ekene (10 January 2021). "Nigeria: Final battle begins".
  2. ^ a b "Pakistan - VT-4 MBT / MBT-3000". www.globalsecurity.org.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i "VT4坦克总设计师:我国坦克炮可击穿1米厚钢装甲". www.guancha.cn. Norinco. 2015. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Vt4坦克总设计师:我国坦克炮可击穿1米厚钢装甲".
  5. ^ "Pakistan Eyes new Chinese Tank, VT-4 - Asia Despatch". www.asiadespatch.org. Archived from the original on 15 June 2015. Retrieved 13 March 2015.
  6. ^ "Norinco Corporate Social Responsibility Report 2014" (PDF). Norinco. Archived (PDF) from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
  7. ^ "Chinese VT4 tank fitted with FY-IV ERA Explosive Reactive Armour against Tandem Warhead ammunition". Army recognition.
  8. ^ Pike, John. "VT-4 MBT / MBT-3000". globalsecurity.org. Archived from the original on 13 February 2016. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  9. ^ "China Displays Air Defense Missile and Tank Under Development". defensetech.org. 14 June 2012. Archived from the original on 12 November 2015. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  10. ^ "Tank maker seeks to increase exports on land armaments". www.chinadaily.com.cn. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
  11. ^ de Cherisey, Erwan (16 April 2020). "Nigerian Army receives Chinese weapon systems". Jane's. Archived from the original on 19 April 2020. Retrieved 29 August 2020.
  12. ^ "Pakistan Army shows off new Chinese tank for 'offensive role'". The Week.
  13. ^ "Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited Field Firing Ranges near Jhelum today to witness demonstration of state of the art, Chinese origin third generation Main Battle Tank VT-4". www.ispr.gov.pk. Inter Services Public Relations Directorate. 22 September 2020. Retrieved 23 September 2020.
  14. ^ Nanuam, Wassana (11 October 2017). "First batch of 28 China-made tanks rolls in". Bangkok Post. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  15. ^ Liu, Zhen (5 September 2018). "Chinese shipbuilder starts work on US$411 million submarine for Thai navy". South China Morning Post. Archived from the original on 5 September 2018. Retrieved 5 September 2018. Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a former army general, ordered 49 VT-4 tanks from China to replace its US-made M41s that have been in service since the second world war. The first 28 of the new vehicles were delivered in 2017 and the rest are expected to be handed over later this year.
  16. ^ "Janes | Latest defence and security news". Archived from the original on 17 May 2016. Retrieved 17 May 2016.
  17. ^ Administrator. "ทบ.สั่งซื้อ VT-4 อีก 11 คัน/RTA Buy Another 11 VT-4s (UPDATE II)". thaiarmedforce.com. Archived from the original on 16 May 2016. Retrieved 14 May 2016.
  18. ^ Corben, Ron. "Thailand, China Step Up Military Cooperation". voanews.com. Archived from the original on 27 May 2016. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
  19. ^ Yeo, Mike (4 April 2017). "Thailand to buy more Chinese tanks, reportedly for $58M". Defense News. Melbourne, Australia. Archived from the original on 7 April 2017. Retrieved 7 April 2017.

External links[edit]