The Al Khalid derived from Norinco Type 90IIM MBT. It was in the early 90s, when India started to test their Arjun MBT. Pakistanis looked for a MBT design that could be produced by herself.
Norinco provided their own Type 90IIM prototype, this is an MBT design which comprised many Western components, such as engine and transmission.
There were 4 prototypes for Al-Khalid development, namely P1, P2, P3 and P4.
P1 has a Chinese tank diesel engine with ZF LSG3000 transmission.
P2 has a British Perkins CV12 Condor diesel engine with French SESM ESM500 transmission.
P3 has a Ukrainian KMDB 6TD-2 2-cycle boxer engine with its own twin planetary gearbox.
P4 has a German MB871 engine with ZF LSG3000 transmission, similar to South Korean K1 MBT.
Norinco and Pakistanis planned to adopt one of the Western powerpack at first, but due to CoCom (Coordinating Committee for Export to Communist Countries) restrictions, China is under embargo, which means China would not import weapons form Western countries. Obviously P3 powerplant would be the only choice. All those descriptions on the internet about ESM500 in Al-Khalid is fatally wrong.
The Al-Khalid pre-production batch and production version all equipped with Ukrainian KMDB 6TD-2 powerpack.
It is an extremely compact design, the engine laid transversely in engine room, twin planetary gearboxes connect to both left and right end. The 6TD-2 has two crankshafts: the front one drives the mechanical supercharger, while the rear one drives the gearboxes. The cooling system covering the whole engine room, the engine itself has no mechanical connection to the cooling system, and the cooling system doesn't need mechanical drive. The cooling system based on a unique principle: exhaust gas driven ejector. The exhaust gas from the engine is injected through the outlet ducting, produce a low pressure in the outlet side, that will suck in cold air from the inlet side. This principle is also used in the T-64, T-80UD and T-84, but as far as I know, Swedish Ikv 91 is the only western tank that have similar cooling principle.
As a result, the total length of powerpack is significantly shortened, much more shorter than the European powerpack mentioned above. This leads to a spare storage room between the fighting compartment and the engine compartment. This storage is for extra ammunition and fuel, when turret points 3 or 9 o'clock, the top cover of the storage could be opened from outside, containing 10 rounds for main gun, with projectiles on the outsides, semi-combustible charges on the inside.
The data table from HIT also describe the ammunition capacity as 39+10, means that 22 ready rounds in the T-72 type carousel autoloader, 17 backup rounds scatter around the fighting compartment, and extra 10 rounds could be carried in the storage room.
The driver of Al-Khalid control the vehicle via steering wheel and an automatic gear control box. The steering wheel and gear control box send electrical signals to the computer, then computer control the hydraulic servo actuator to perform engage and disengage of brakes and clutches, making steering and gear changes, as well as adjusting the speed and torque of the engine.
Mechanically the gearboxes are nearly the same as T-64s and T-72s, but have different side reducer unit. The KMDB side reducer unit is designed as a secondary gearbox, acting like a forward-reverse selector. When both reducers were put into reverse, the vehicle can reverse using the normal forward ranges. From 1st gear to 4th gear, all could be used as high speed reverse, and that's why KMDB said this is a 7F4R gearbox system. And if only one reducer was put into reverse, the track will be driving in opposites direction, causing the vehicle turns within its tracks, a.k.a. pivot steer or center steer. T-84 also applied this driving and steering system.
The advantages of Al-Khalid's powerpack is the versatility: all 3 types of MBT in the Pakistanis arsenal, T-80UD, T-84, Al-Khalid, share the same engine and gearbox.
I know we already have a topic on the Arjun, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't have another thread about how DRDO can't make anything.
I mean, the Arjun program started in 1974 (according to Wikipedia) and the thing got produced 30 years later, in 2004. Should we take a look at the list of tanks that got developed at around the same time period?
...and many more
A keen I will have noticed that these are both second and third generation tanks, which is right, because the development of the Arjun took place during two generations of tanks. Of note is that the Israelis managed to make three Merkava variants in the time DRDO took to develop the Arjun. And if that wasn't enough, he Challenger 1 was developed, build, accepted for service, and taken out of service by the Brits in less time than it took DRDO to deliver the first batch of Arjuns. What the fuck.
Alright alright I'll stop the bashing! So lets take a look at the armour of the Arjun:
Okay now that we've taken a look at the armour of the Arjun, we can take a look at something of which the Indians pretend is armour.
First, the turret 'armour':
The first good thing to note about the turret armour is that the left front is decent. The second good thing about the turret armour is that it's so bad I can spend a whole post on burning it down.
The mantlet looks thick in this model, but it looks like it's not modeled right since it seems to be fused with the frontal armour itself. This is what the actual armour in the gun mantlet looks like:
It's fairly thin, like in the Leclerc, but even worse is that it does not cover the whole gap in the turret. Seriously DRDO, what the fuck? Of course there are pictures of a fully assembled model, but it seems that the completed mantlet is no more than a sheet metal box around the structure shown in the above photo. I mean, look at this:
You can see the weld lines and shit on top of the 'mantlet', there is no reason to believe this is a solid steel block.
These pictures bring me nicely to the next two points:
1. The turret side basically lacks any and all side armour
2. The gunner sight barely has any armour
The green blocks on the turret side in the first picture are actually storage boxes, not armour. The majority of the side is only a few cm thick steel plate. Lets just compare this to the Leopard 2A4 for a second:
(Thanks to @Militarysta for making this picture)
You can see that the turret side protection extends way, way further back on the Leopard 2A4 than it does on the Arjun. The Arjun only has to rotate the turret slightly to be completely vulnerable to even low caliber autocannons. And as you can imagine, that's not good.
You can also see that the armour block behind the gunner sight is around 660 mm LOS, the same spot in the Arjun is estimated to be around 300 mm thick. Don't worry about the lower part of the gun sight, that has no armour at all. The sight itself looks like this:
So the turret has negligible side protection, horrible frontal protection, and a shit mantlet.
But wait, there's more!
The turret roof is really thin. If you take a look at this picture you'd say that it has a decently thick roof:
See? That looks to be like a solid few cm thick. So why say the roof is really thin? Well, take a look at this as well:
That hatch/cupola is raised. So what looks to be a roof that's a few cm thick is just a raised cupola. Which means that the turret roof itself is horribly thin. And since the front third is sloped forward that means APFSDS can easily yaw into the crew compartment, and lets not speak about attacks from above because that'll end in tears for the Arjun.
Is there anything not shit about the Arjun turret?
A sharp-eyed reader will already have noticed that the turret ammorack has absolutely no protection at all:
The inside of the turret itself is a horrible fucking mess, just look at it:
That's right, those cables are hanging from fucking string.
Since the gun is also in the turret, surely that must be a good part of the turret, right? Right!? I mean, they had until 2004 to select or make a good gun!
Aahahahahahahha, no. It's a rifled 120 mm. In 2004. Helloooooo India, welcome to Britain, 19-fucking-80s.
...well maybe they have very good ammunition!
No. That's about the same as DM23. Which was introduced in 1983. 1984 saw a medium-high L/D (20+ L/D) penetrator for the US, 1987 for Germany and 1986 for the Soviet Union. We got high L/D (30+ L/D) penetrators in the early 90s. India's still rocking that good-ol' 17 L/D trash.
Sooooo will the hull be any better?
No. Access hatch in the upper glacis.
On TS I was talking to @Collimatrix about how the driver's position most likely makes the upper glacis in front of him thinner, but that turned out not to be true, since...
...his position doesn't reach the fucking glacis in the first place.
Not only that, look at how fucking horsewank thin that glacis is. With how thin it is, it's most likely just solid steel instead of NERA, even though the Indians claim it uses NERA, and they have this to say about their NERA:
Literally fucking what
I could probably go on and on and on about the retardation that's called Arjun, but I won't. I have subjected myself to too much stupidity already since I had to go to fucking places like defenceforumindia which was completely fucking malarious. And if you don't know what that word means, it's a combination of malaria and hilarious since reading defenceforumindia is equal parts sickening and hilarious.
If you're interested in speculation on high-level, Machiavellian international maneuvering, I highly recommend the China Matters blog. The post linked is one concerning Narendra Modi, the new Indian head of state.
The long and short of it is that Narendra Modi is either a Hindu nationalist, or at least a fellow traveler. In my completely objective and unbiased assessment, Hindu nationalists are a bunch of creepy fascist assholes.
The China Matters author isn't the only author with this opinion; see for example this piece from The Economist pre-election, which states that remaining with the checkered, corrupt, but decidedly not-fascist establishment is the safer choice for India, and this post-election analysis of one of his speeches made in the US. Times of India gets in on the action too, continuing the theme of "dog-whistle politics" in Modi's speeches.
Naturally, the leadership of the United States is pleased as pie to be hanging out with this guy who is, if quite some distance from being literally Hitler, definitely a very shifty character.
(Meanwhile, Mr. Obama is excoriating the ugliness of racial prejudice vis a vis the Ferguson riots. This is proof that politicians are not actually people and cannot self-reflect.)
Why on earth would the liberal US countenance such a man, much less trumpet his legitimacy?
Because China. The US needs India, even India under dubious leadership, in its hastily-assembled counter-China Pacific Alliance. Whether this will work, and how the US will reconcile this with its existing alliance with Pakistan, remains to be seen.