Pakistan orders 340 Russian T90 heavy tanks and 240 Chinese VT4s

The battle tank regained its colors in 2018, it once again became an essential tool for military power in 2019. Thus, Pakistan announced the order of no less than 600 modern battle tanks, including 360 Russian-made T-90s, and 240 VT-4, the latest in China's next-generation battle tanks.

These tanks will reinforce the 350 Al-Khalid (T-90), 500 Al Zarrar (T59) and 350 T80 of Ukrainian manufacture in stock. At the same time, Thailand announced the order of 10 additional VT-4s, to complete its force of around fifty Ukrainian T-84 Oplots, and 12 VT4s already acquired from China.

At the end of the year, it was Turkey which announced the order of the first of four batches of 250 Altay tanks, the new generation heavy tank of local manufacture, intended to replace the M48, M60 and subsequently Leopard 1 in operation in the Turkish army. As for Russia, if it continues to produce 150 new T90M, T72B3M and T-80 BVM each year to renew its fleet of tanks from the Soviet period, it has also ordered 132 T14 and T15 to be delivered by 2021. T14 will also begin its state tests, intended to evaluate its performance, but above all to define all of the needs and potential surrounding the implementation of the new tank. It would not be surprising, in this respect, to see T14s deployed in Syria in the coming months, as was the case with drones, the Terminator 2, and the T50 prototypes of the Su-57.

It seems that the death of the battle tank, widely debated in the West over the last 20 years, has once again been announced in a very hasty manner. If the tank showed real vulnerability when misused, as in the streets of Grosny or in Syria, it remained the essential tool of the land forces to create rupture and overrun, to eliminate a determined and entrenched adversary, and to engage and destroy enemy tanks. As such, the tank battles in Donbass, Syria and Yemen showed that heavy tanks remained essential in many areas.

However, today's tank no longer has much in common with the one that equipped the forces on both sides of the Iron Curtain, the arrival of anti-tank missiles having profoundly changed the paradigms. But since then, the shield has also made immense progress, notably with the arrival of soft-kill and hard-kill protection systems, intended to detect, jam and intercept missile attacks, significantly increasing the survivability of the armored vehicle. Thus equipped, a tank regains the mobility and mission which were its own, namely to expose itself to carry fire on the enemy lines, and thus create the rupture. 

It should be noted the commercial success of the Chinese-made VT4 tank since its official presentation in mid-2017, the armored vehicle having already been officially chosen by Thailand (38 units, options out of 150), and Pakistan (240 units). Priced at less than $6 million, this tank offers a performance-price ratio without comparison today, notably integrating a gyro-stabilized 125 mm cannon associated with a thermal guidance system, composite armor, and an active protection system. modern passive against missiles and shells, like the T99 used by the Chinese army from which it is derived. 

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