At AirShow China 2022 unveiling of new VT4A1 Main Battle Tank with more protection and firepower

Chinese defense company NORINCO unveils at China AirShow 2022 its new VT4A1, a modernized version of the VT4 Main Battle Tank (MBT) that was unveiled for the first time to the public at the International Defense Exhibition Eurosatory in June 2012.
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The Chinese-made VT4A1 Main Battle Tank MBT was unveiled at AirShowChina 2022 in November 2022. (Picture source Weibo China Social Network)

The VT4 is the export name of the MBT-3000 a new generation of Main Battle Tank (MBT) fully designed and manufactured in China by the company NORINCO. The VT4 is now in service with China, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Thailand.

The VT4A1 was unveiled at AirShow China in November 2022, it is a new modernized version of the VT4 featuring new improvements in terms of protection and firepower. Citing information published by the Chinese defense industry, the VT4A1 is now fitted with an Active Protection System (APS) and is now able to launch small attack drones.

The layout of the VT4A1 is similar to the original VT4 with the driver position at the front of the hull, the turret in the middle, and the powerpack at the rear. The turret design has been slightly modified, indeed, the bank of smoke grenade dischargers has been removed and replaced by the radar detection system of the APS mounted on each side of the turret.

Each side of the roof turret is equipped with a launcher unit which is part of the APS and consists of two tube launches able to fire the countermeasure on 360° around the tank. Each launcher is able to launch HE (High Explosive)-fragmentation grenades used to intercept different types of threats including ATGMs (Anti-Tank Guided Missile), RPGs (Rocket Propelled Grenades) and HEAT rounds fired from tank guns.

The VT4A1 seems to be fitted with a new armor package, in fact, the design of the front and sides of the turret are different from the original VT4. The sides of the hull are also fitted with new armor plates which protect the entire upper part of the suspension. The VT4A1 maintains the original suspension consisting of six large dual rubber-tired road wheels with the drive sprocket at the front, idler at the rear, and track return rollers.

The roof of the turret is also fitted with a new ERA (Explosive Reactive Armor) to increase the protection of the tank against aerial or drone attacks. The tank seems also to be fitted with a new panoramic sight.

China unveils its new VT4A1 Main Battle tank with more protection and firepower 925 002
Close view of the two main components of the Active Protection System mounted on the VT4A1. (Picture Weibo China Social Network)

China unveils its new VT4A1 Main Battle tank with more protection and firepower 925 003
A tube launcher is located at the top rear part of the turret used to launch a drone.