HIT has started production of Al-Khalid 2 tanks, Senate body told

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—Committee recommends budget to come directly to ministry of defence production instead of routing through defence ministry

—Facility producing 18 tanks despite capacity of 50 tanks per year due to budget constraints

ISLAMABAD: Senate Standing Committee on Defence Production on Thursday was informed that to overcome the challenges of modern times, the Heavy Industry Taxila (HIT) has commenced the preparation of the second generation of state of the art Al-Khalid 2 tanks.

The meeting of Senate committee was held at Parliament House, with Senator Lt Gen (retd) Abdul Qayyum in the chair, in which HIT Acting Chairman Brigadier Tahir Islam and Brigadier Nauman gave a detailed briefing on the performance, functioning and projects of the institution.

The meeting was told that HIT has the capacity to build 50 tanks, 50 Armed Personnel Vehicles (APC), and overhauling of 100 tanks per year. “HIT prepares tank with the cost of $30 million, whereas the price of Korean tank is $12 million. But the technical performance of Al-Khalid Tank is far better than the Korean one,” the committee was told.

The committee was also informed that performance wise, Al-Khalid 2 would not be less than any of its contemporaries.

The committee was further told that renovation project of 108 tanks was started by HIT in 2015, whereas the second phase of the project would be kicked off in 2018. HIT has also announced to supply bulletproof jackets to all the members of the standing committee.

The committee appreciated the achievements and projects by HIT and recommended that the budget disbursement process to HIT may be made smoother and quicker to achieve greater viability and fast pace of work.

The committee was also told that the HIT has a capacity of 50 tanks per year but they are making 18 tanks on average due to budget constraints.

Committee chairman, while terming Al-Khalid Tank pride of the nation, praised the proposal of bringing an upgraded and progressive model Al-Khalid-2 in the industry to compete with constantly developing weaponry all around the world.

The committee strongly recommended that the allocation of budget to defence production industries should come directly to ministry of defence production from the finance division instead of routing through the ministry of defence, and bureaucratic delays should be removed. Committee chairman observed that the committee will push for this proposal by itself but HIT also needs to take the matter up regularly.

The committee was further told that HIT is not entitled to commercial activity on its own. It can only carry out commercial activities from the surplus capacity after fulfilling all kinds of defence needs of armed forces.