Al-Zarrar MBT (Pakistan)

Would you like to see the Al-Zarrar in-game?
  • Yes
  • No
0 voters
  • How should it get added?
  • As a researchable vehicle in the Chinese tree
  • As a premium/event vehicle in the Chinese tree
  • In an independent Pakistani tree, or a multi-nation tree including Pakistan (excluding China)
  • Other/Don’t know/Don’t mind
  • I don’t want it ingame
0 voters

This suggestion was originally approved in 2021 on the old forum



The Al-Zarrar is a modernized variant of the Type 59 in service with the Pakistan Army. Featuring ERA, an improved engine, thermals and a 125mm smoothbore gun, the Al-Zarrar gives a new twist to the old Type 59 formula.


The Type 59 (a Chinese T-54A produced under license) entered Pakistani Army service in 1965, at first with a batch of 80 tanks. This number increased through the 70s and 80s, with 1,300 being in service by 1990. By then, the tank was starting to show its age.

An upgrade program for the Type 59 fleet was started in 1990 by Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT). The Type 59 was rebuilt with over 50 modifications of the original design and including technology from the Al-Khalid and Type 85 programs (also developed/licensed by HIT). The prototypes underwent extensive testing with HIT and the Pakistan Army until a final modernization design was approved for production. The tank was named Al-Zarrar (in honor of Zarrar bin Al-Azwar, a historical warrior serving the Rashidun Caliphate) and entered mass production in 2003, with a first batch entering service in 2004. Currently, about 504 tanks are in service with the Pakistan Army.

Though HIT offers the upgrade package to other T-54/55/Type 59 operators, Pakistan remains the sole operator of the Al-Zarrar. Apart from a failed bid with Bangladesh in 2008 (who developed a similar upgrade in the Type 59G Durjoy), no other country has expressed interest in the upgrade program.

Armament and electronics

The Al-Zarrar upgrade package exchanges the original 100 mm cannon with a fully stabilized 125 mm smoothbore cannon, which it shares with Pakistan’s Type 85 MBTs. The cannon uses a semiautomatic loader, so the tank retains the fourth crew member. APFSDS, HEAT-FS and HE-FS rounds are used; compatible APFSDS rounds include:

  • 125-I APFSDS: Chinese round produced under license. Penetration of 434 mm at 2 km on the ingame ZTZ96.

  • Naiza APFSDS: Depleted uranium APFSDS with a reported penetration of 550 mm at 2 km

The FCS was modernized to include a domestically-designed fire control system with laser rangefinder. The tank uses a Thetis CT2G thermal imager (2nd gen), which provides thermals to both commander and gunner.

Secondary armament consists of a 12.7mm Type 54 HMG, a 7.62 coaxial machine gun, and 8 smoke grenade launchers.


The turret has been modified with an external steel shell, which acts as spaced armor and eases the installation of ERA. The tank can mount ERA on the glacis, side skirts, turret front and turret sides, though generally the side ERA is omitted. Mine protection on the hull floor has been installed. It can also mount side skirts.

Two prototypes with different turret designs and ERA placements are known.

An ATCOP LTS-1 laser warning receiver is fitted.

*Note: some sources claim that composite armor was added to the turret, but I’m skeptical since one picture of a damaged Al-Zarrar only shows empty space between the new plates and the old turret.


The old 520 hp engine has been replaced by a 730 hp, V-12 diesel engine (designated as 12150L-7BV, same as in the Type 85-IIAP). The exhausts have been moved to the right side. The transmission and suspension have also been updated. With a combat weight of 42.7 tons, this results in a top speed of 55 Km/h** and a PWR of 17.1 hp/ton. The Al-Zarrar’s cruising range is 400 Km, maximum gradient is 60%, maximum vertical obstacle is .8 m, and maximum fording depth is 1.4 m.

**As quoted from the HIT brochure. Some sources state a top speed of 65 Km/h.


Combat weight 42.7 tons
Length 6.04
Width 3.27
Height 2.59
Crew 4
Power-to-weight ratio 17.1 hp/ton
Engine horsepower 730 hp
Maximum torque / rpm 305 Kg/1300-1400 rpm
Maximum speed 55 Km/h
Cruising range 400 Km (with extra barrels)
Vertical obstacle 0.8 m
Fording 1.4 m
Gradient 60%
Main armament 125 mm smoothbore cannon
Secondary armament 12.7mm Type 54 HMG,
7.62 coaxial machine gun,
8x smoke grenade launchers
Thermals Gunner and commander, 2nd generation





Al-Zarrars without ERA, showing the shape of the turret


Al-Zarrar with full ERA coverage


Partial ERA. The exhausts are visible.


Damaged unit, showing the old turret under the steel shell



Left: Naiza APFSDS

Prototypes (I haven’t found much info on them):






Manufacturer brochure

HIT brochure:




Online sources (archived)

Al Zarrar Tank -

Al Zarrar MBT (1990)

Where and why should it be added? I believe the Chinese tree is the best place for this vehicle, considering its level of Chinese tech and the close diplomatic and military relations between Pakistan and the PRC. This vehicle could be part of a Pakistani subtree or an export tank line in the Chinese tree; falling that, it could be a premium/event/squadron vehicle.


+1.Looking forward to see this in game alongside Durjoy MBT

1 Like

Should go to China. The China tree should be reorganized a bit and have this vehicle placed before the MBT2000 and have an export/joint production research line. Move the WZ1001 back to after the ZTZ99A, that way the Durjoy, other variants of the Al-Khalid, VT-5BD light tank, export vehicles like the VT4A1, etc. can be added afterward. Pakistani T-80UD could be the squadron, etc.

Same can be said of the air side, adding the JF-17, and adding off of the Taiwan line, adding the PAK F-16C (before or after) a future F-16V.

Anyways I’m rambling, nice post +1


I have noticed a weird thing. Durjoy MBT weighs 2 tons less than Al Zarrar but at the same time Al Zarrar(55 Km/h) is faster than Durjoy(49 Km/h).Both tanks use a 730 hp engine. Maybe Al Zarrar has a better transmission.

It seems that Al Zarrar has 3 versions. Fitst is this early type, old type 59 turret with era.

Then the version we most seen, old turret with addintional composite armor(or spaced armor) and era, we can still see old turret’s ring on lower edge.
Finally, the new Al-Zarrar with fully new welded turret with composite armor. The pictures is from a Pakistan TV show about Pakistan tank industry this year.

China is the most likely option, being a part of a Pakistani sub-tree. That said, I’m working on another tech tree where this will be featured, so thank you for all the information! +1

You know what would be really weird/interesting? An India/Pakistan tree. Not advocating for it, just thinking about it since they were united under British India before Independence. Thinking on how there was a push for a United Korea Tree or ROC/PRC Tree, etc. made me wonder about it however, the history/instances between India and Pakistan are far different than the others mentioned above. Each is a unique situation. Just rambling lol. China is the safest bet for Pakistan currently until we see your idea or others

It is an interesting thought, since India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh were at one point all united territory. Perhaps a proposal for those three nations could be made? But then again, the backlash would probably be high, given the tensions. Though, as you said, PRC and ROC are together, so why not that?

1 Like

I think it wouldn’t be a Pakistan tree, more like an export tree, with many Pakistan tanks, but also others like Tanzanian Type-59G, Thailand vt-4,

Given the plothera of Chinese export-oriented vehicle, I think we might be able to get this tank along with other export vehicles, either as a 5th branch or something to fill the gap along the line of the existing tree.

Even 2 lines, export MBT and export light tanks including wheeled vehicles.

Yeah, though afaik Gaijin kinda put the limit on the maximum lines per tech tree at 5 due to coding restriction or smth like that.

These are VT-4s being manufactured in Pakistan

Which was during British colonial rule.So I think it’s not a good idea.

look at the turret’s roof, it still keeps type 59’s characteristic, a ridge and 2 hatch, even the ventilator.


Looks like you are right.But is this actually a new turret?It looks same as before.

Maybe more like Baoli’s type 59g-125, but 59g-125 also lacks information, some says that the 59g-125 uses heavy era to cover old turret instead of making a new welded turret. But the 59g-105 on left, is surely a new welded turret.
Anyway, Al-Zarrar’s welded turret version is still under production according to the news. Just wait and see.
Here are the video:
About 59g-125: Type 59G-125 - Suggestions / Ground - War Thunder — official forum

Welding process of it’s turret

Btw you can check out my suggestion on Durjoy mbt

Thanks! Wasn’t aware of the new turret project, might be worth its own suggestion if more info is found.

Is this the same as this turret? From IDEAS 2022 expo:

The video also shows the interior of the new turret.