China's Third-Gen MBT-3000 Tanks to transform Colombian Military Capabilities


As the editorial team of Army Recognition speculated in their article dated December 6, 2023, the China North Industries Corporation (Norinco), a giant in the Chinese defense industry, has recently made a bold proposal to Colombia by offering its main battle tank, the MBT-3000 (VT-4). This move marks a significant milestone in military relations between China and Colombia and could significantly transform the dynamics of military power in the region.
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China Norinco MBT-3000 tank, also known as VT4. (Picture source: Army Recognition)


During the first week of this month, Norinco presented in Colombia a wide range of military vehicles, including MBT tanks, light tanks, infantry combat vehicles, self-propelled artillery, and mine-protected vehicles. This initiative demonstrates China's ambition to strengthen its presence in the international arms market.

On its part, the Colombian army has long shown interest in upgrading its armored capabilities, particularly to create an armored brigade in La Guajira, a strategically arid region in the north of the country. There is also an urgent need to replace the aging fleet of Brazilian armored vehicles and to modernize the firepower of the ASV-M-1117, especially as the older Cascavels are gradually phased out of service.

The VT4 tank could represent a substantial improvement for the Colombian military. Indeed, the MBT-3000, a third-generation tank, was the highlight of this presentation. Norinco emphasized the exceptional capabilities of this tank, especially in terms of firepower and armor. With the possibility of forming a first armored unit of up to 44 tanks, Colombia could see its terrestrial military capacity significantly increase.

This advanced combat tank is equipped with the GL5 active system, which includes four radars mounted on the turret, capable of detecting targets at a distance of 100 meters. This technology offers increased protection against anti-tank missiles and rocket-propelled grenades. Additionally, the MBT-3000 is equipped with smoke grenade launchers and anti-personnel grenade launchers, thus enhancing its countermeasure capabilities.

Emphasis was also placed on the mobility and cutting-edge technology of the MBT-3000. Weighing 53 tons, it is powered by a 1,300 horsepower turbo engine with electronic control. It can reach a maximum speed of 70 km/h (and 40 km/h on unpaved terrain), with a range of over 500 kilometers.

The MBT-3000 is armed with a 125x50 millimeter smoothbore automatic cannon, capable of firing a variety of ammunition types, including kinetic and explosive types, as well as anti-tank missiles. With a firing rate of eight shots per minute and an effective range of up to 5,000 meters, this tank promises formidable firepower on the battlefield.

Norinco's proposal to Colombia reflects China's growing power in the global defense sector. It also reflects the evolution of military needs and alliances in Latin America. If this acquisition materializes, it will mark a significant turning point in the modernization of the Colombian armed forces, giving them a greatly enhanced deterrent and combat capability.