Sources told ET that there have also been delays in the supply of field artillery guns from China’s NORINCO (North Industries Corporation) and main battle tank production has been temporarily halted as investigations are underway to determine the reason for the defects.
In an attempt to increase its artillery firepower, the Pakistan Army received at least eight of NORINCO’s 203mm heavy towed guns which were tested at its firing ranges earlier this month. Sources said the guns encountered several problems while firing at Sonmiani (Pakistan), including flaws in the rammer assembly and the breech lock.
Following the tests, the Chinese manufacturer was instructed to investigate the cause and identify the reasons for the failure. In the past, Pakistan relied on the United States to supply it with 203mm heavy artillery weapons, but it has gradually shifted to cheaper Chinese options. While eight guns were initially provided, the Pak Army would consider larger numbers in the future if satisfied with their performance.
Similarly, according to sources, problems were also found in the VT 4 main battle tanks imported from China. The Pakistan Army has ordered 44 tanks and deficiencies have been observed during post-delivery tests and field test firings. It is believed that the shortcomings and possible reasons were passed on to the Chinese manufacturer.
In fact, sources added that the delivery of a second batch of 44 tanks has been delayed as rectification of defects is ongoing. The second batch was due to be delivered in December last year but has now been postponed until at least October. “Production has been suspended for the time being until defects are properly identified and corrective measures are put in place,” sources said.
There were also delays in the delivery of the SH 15 self-propelled artillery guns purchased from NORINCO in 2019. The Pakistani army had placed an order for 236 guns, but at present the delivery schedule would have at least seven months behind the contractual deadline. , with the first batch of 54 arriving in January. Sources said the quality of these weapons will also be put to the test in test firings and training activities in the coming weeks. China has become Pakistan’s biggest arms supplier in recent years, with Turkey being another close partner. Major arms contracts signed include frigates, submarines, fighter jets and tanks. This increased reliance on China has reduced the influence of the United States, which in the past has provided billions of dollars worth of equipment, including F-16 fighter jets under the umbrella of the War on Terror.