With foreign sales of $7.4 billion over the past five years, China overtook France in 2013 to become the world’s fourth-largest arms exporter, according to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Besides Norinco, the country’s arms makers include Aviation Industry Corporation of China, Poly Technologies Inc. and China South Industries Group Corp. Norinco is the biggest of the bunch.
The five largest suppliers of major conventional weapons during the five-year period 2008–12 were the United States (30 per cent of global arms exports), Russia (26 per cent), Germany (7 per cent), France (6 per cent) and China (5 per cent). With 20% growth each year, China will likely pass Germany for the third spot in 2014.
“The Chinese [weapon] systems are simply cheaper, they are reliable, and they are tailored to the conditions of developing countries,” said Anthony Cordesman, a national security analyst at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.
As per capita incomes and economies catch up, the US remains military dominant but other countries become more problematic and not complete push overs for the US.
the MBT3000 has comparable gun, speed, and has reactive armor
Norinco’s sales grew an average of more than 20 percent annually over the past five years, faster than any publicly traded defense company with revenue of at least $5 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and IHS Jane’s.
In March, China said it would increase the PLA’s funding by 12.2 percent to 808 billion yuan ($132 billion), a sum exceeded only by the U.S.’s $572 billion defense budget.
The main armament of the MBT-3000 consists of smoothbore gun fitted with a thermal sleeve and fume extractor. It is fed by an automatic loader which holds a total of 22 projectiles and charges which can be loaded at the rate of eight per minute. The MBT-3000 can carry a total of thirty eight rounds of main ammunition. Types of separate loading ammunition that can be fired by the 125 mm smoothbore gun include kinetic energy penetrator, high explosive squash head and high explosive anti-tank warhead. The Mounted coaxial to the right of the main armament is a 7.62 mm machine gun, while mounted on the commander’s cupola is a remotely weapon station armed with a 12.7mm heavy machine gun, for engaging ground and aerial targets. Mounted either rear side of the turret is a bank of six electrically operated smoke grenade launchers which fire forwards. In addition, the tank is equipped with a set of guided weapons, allowing use of a guided missile with a range of up to 5 km.
MBT3000 Design and protection
The overall layout of the MBT-3000 is conventional with the driver’s compartment at the front, fighting compartment in the centre and power pack at the rear. The MBT-3000 has a crew of three, including commander, gunner and driver. The driver is seated in the centre and has a single-piece hatch cover that lifts and swings to the right and in front of this are three day periscopes, the centre one of which can be replaced by a passive periscope for driving at night. The commander is seated on the right and the gunner is seated on the left with both provided with single-piece roof hatches and vision devices. The turret is in the centre and is of all-welded steel armour construction to which a layer of composite armour has been added over the frontal arc. To increase the body side protection, the MBT-3000 can be fitted with with explosive reactive armour (ERA). Stowage baskets are mounted to the rear and each side of the turret.
The MBT-3000 is motorized with water-cooled turbocharged electronic-controlled diesel engine developing 1,300 hp. Suspension is of the torsion bar type with hydraulic shock absorbers and either side consists of six large dual rubber-tyred roadwheels with the drive sprocket at the front, idler at the rear and track return rollers. To extend the operational range of the MBT-3000, two additional diesel fuel drums can be mounted externally at the rear. The 52-tonnes MBT-300 can run a maximum road speed of 70 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 500 km. The MBT-3000 can ford a depth of 4 to 5 m with preparation and a trench of 2.7m. The tank can climb a gradient of 60% and a vertical obstacle of 1.2m maximum.
The MBT-3000 is equipped with a stabilised fire control including second-generation cooled thermal imager sights for the commander and gunner. The tank is also fitted with laser range finder. The tank commander position is fitted with a roof-mounted stabilized panoramic sight that allows a target to be acquired and then handed over to the gunner for engagement. Standard equipment of the MBT-3000 includes collective NBC protection system, IFF (Identification, friend or foe), GL5 active protection system, fire extinguisher feature, air-conditioning system and explosion suppression system. The active protection system is linked to laser threat warning with smoke shell launchers. The driver position is also equipped with a rear camera and monitor fitted for whilst driving in reverse.