The advanced medium tank MMWT (Modern Medium Weight Tank) is a product of cooperation between the Indonesian defense industry and Turkey. Participant on the Ankara side is FNSS Group and from Jakarta is PT Pindad Group.
The Indonesian military is one of the two countries in Southeast Asia to own the most modern main battle tank in the world, the Leopard 2. It’s a bit confusing because Indo is an island nation but why such a strong tank is needed, but maybe they are simply money people.
The Indo military uses a variety of weapons from the West to Russia, they have both F-16, Su-27 and Su-30, they are also planning to buy both Su-35. Apart from shopping, the country also proactively produces domestic weapons. In the framework of Indo Defense 2018 expo, Indonesia impressed with many modern armored combat vehicles built by the country and displayed at this exhibition. Prominent among them was the Tiger medium tank, a co-production between Turkey’s FNSS and Indonesia’s PT Pindad at a reported cost of 30 million US dollars.
The tank prototype, also known as Kaplan MT in Turkey, and for Indonesia, the Kaplan was nicknamed Harimau or Tiger. It was first introduced at the IDEF 2017 expo. In May 2018, the general manager of FNSS told Turkey’s Anadolu Agency that the tank had passed months of required qualification tests for the Indonesian Army, and was ready for mass production. He stated that the first batch of 20 to 25 tanks could be ordered as early as late 2018, and that the full number of tanks to be produced would likely fall between 200 and 400.
Currently only two prototypes have been completed, temporarily the name MMWT is shared for both test prototypes of Turkish Kaplan MT and Indonesian Black Tiger. The layout of the Tank is similar to a standard Main Battle Tank with the driver seat at the front center of the hull, turret in the centre with commander and gunner and powerpack at the rear.
The hull is all-welded steel with an applique passive armour package. Basic specifications include 6.9m length, 3.3m width and 2.4m high. The MMWT has a weight from 32,000 to 35,000 kg depending on the armour configuration. According FNSS CEO, the MMWT provides ballistic and mine protection Level 4 firing of small arms 14.5 mm Armor-piercing caliber, 155mm shell splinter at 30m and mine explosion of 10 kg TNT under the track and the floor. It can be fitted with add-on armour to increase protection to Level 5 protection against 25mm Armor Piercing Discarding Sabot Tracer ammunition.
Interior of the vehicle is engineered carefully considering ergonomics of crew and different tactical and battlefield conditions including driving, firing and ammunition load and unload. Special type of driver seat enables operator to have adequate field of view with accessibility to all cabin equipment. Crew enter and exit the vehicle through single-piece hatch covers mounted on the roof of the hull. The gunner and commander are provided with sighting systems for observation during the day or night, while the commander’s position is installed with a panoramic sight. The tank is also equipped with a battlefield management system, a wireless crew intercom system, a navigation system and an automatic fire extinguishing system.
The Modern Medium Weight Tank is fitted with the latest generation CMI Defence Cockerill 3105 turret equipped with high-pressure 105 mm Cockerill gun, this is the most advanced and capable light 105 mm turret in its class. The gun can fire both Armour Piercing and High Explosive ammunitions.
The tank is fitted with the CT-CV weapon station designed and manufactured by the Belgian Company CMI Defence that incorporates an automatic loading system which contains 16 rounds in standard configuration and 12 rounds in air-deployable configuration. The 105mm gun has a maximum firing range of 4 km. Second armament includes one 7.62mm coaxial machine gun mounted to the left side of the main armament. the top of the turret can be fitted a 7.62mm or 12.7mm machine gun for self-protection of the vehicle or to be used against aerial targets. A bank of four smoke grenade dischargers is mounted on each side at the front of the turret.
The Tiger tank is equipped with Caterpillar C13 diesel engine manufactured by the US coupled with a fully automatic electronic controlled transmission. With a capacity of 711 horsepower, the vehicle can reach a maximum speed of 76 km/h. The torsion bar suspension consists on each side of six dual rubber-tyred road wheels with the drive sprocket at the front, the idler at the rear and track-return rollers. The tank can negotiate a gradient of 60% and side slopes of 30%. It can climb a vertical obstacle of 0.9 m and cross a trench of 2 m maximum. It can ford to a depth of 1.2 m without preparation.
According to defense analysts, this tank is considered to be a formidable opponent of Chinese VT-4 in the export market. VT-4 has the advantage of firepower because it is equipped with 125 mm cannon. However, during combat, stronger firepower is not a decisive factor in winning. Sensor quality, fire control system, response time to the target are the deciding factors. The successful cooperation of a powerful means of attack like Black Tiger shows that Indonesia’s defense science and technology potential is very impressive. If Indonesia sells MMWT tanks at a reasonable price with good after-sales policy, this vehicle will be a popular commodity in Southeast Asia.