Aircraft / Aviation Vehicles & Artillery Small Arms Warships & Submarines Military Ranks Military Pay Chart (2024)
Land Systems / Battlefield

Khalid (Sword)

Main Battle Tank [ 1981 ]

The Jordanian Khalid Main Battle Tank was born out of the aborted Iranian-British Shir 1 MBT project, itself based on a modified Chieftain MBT.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 08/01/2017 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The Khalid Main Battle Tank was born out of the aborted "Shir 1" initiative undertaken by the British to fulfill an Iranian Army requirement. The Shir 1 was developed as an interim design that would have preceded the all-new "Shir 2" MBT combat system (which became the Challenger 1 MBT). Development began in 1974 and was based on the Chieftain MBT, the standard main battle tank of the British Army at the time. The Iranians were already the largest foreign operator of the Chieftain with over 700 of the type in inventory. Three prototypes of the Shir 1 were made ready in 1977 and production began at Royal Ordnance Factory, Leeds thereafter. At least 125 Shir 1 models were on order and 1,225 Shir 2 tanks were slated for procurement by the government of Iran. However, the Islamic Revolution of 1979 in Iran effectively killed the Shir 1/Shir 2 endeavors.

All was not lost however as the Royal Jordanian Army (thank to last-minute negotiations put forth by British authorities) ordered a new main battle tank based on the qualities of the Shir 1 and these came to be known under the local designation of "Khalid" ("Sword"). Orders were placed in 1979 with deliveries agreed to begin in 1981. The Khalid MBT was finished with a Perkins Engines Condor V12 diesel engine as well as several requested internal changes to suit Jordanian Army needs. Beyond these changes, the Khalid remained more or less faithful to the original Chieftain design save for a raised engine compartment required of the new powerplant installation as well as an updated fire control system more akin to that as used on the Challenger 1. In fact, the Khalid was essentially a hybrid of the Chieftain and Challenger 1.©MilitaryFactory.com
Outwardly, there was very little to distinguish the Jordanian breed form the British model outright. The running gear consisted of six double-tired road wheels to a track side with the track idler at front and the drive sprocket at the rear. The hull sides and upper track sections were protected in thin armor skirts as in the basic Chieftain. The engine was conventionally set in a rear-fitted compartment. The turret sat at the center of the hull roof with a full 360-degree traverse possible. There was a standard operating crew of four personnel made up of the driver, commander, gunner and loader. The driver maintained a position under a hatch at the front center of the hull with vision blocks for exterior viewing. Headlamps are fitted at the extreme end of the hull front for low-light driving. The glacis plate was nearly horizontal in its design to promote a low profile and provide for basic ballistics protection. The turret front was well sloped as in the original Chieftain with noticeable turret overhang (bustle rack) at the rear. A commander's cupola could be clearly identified along the right side of the turret roof.

As in the Chieftain, primary armament of the Khalid was the powerful and accurate 120mm L11A5 rifled main gun and this was augmented by the fitting of a 7.62mm L8A2 coaxial machine gun for anti-infantry defense. A second 7.62mm L37A2 machine gun could be fitted at the commander's cupola for point defense against low-flying aircraft as well as oncoming infantry. There were 12 total electrically-actuated smoke grenade dischargers set in two banks of six each along the front turret sides and these could be used to cover the tank's movements from enemy gunners. A laser range finder and gun stabilization assisted in providing for accurized fire at range as well as firing on-the-move. The main gun was stabilized along both axis.

As mentioned, the Khalid was given a Perkins Engines Condor V12 12-cylinder, water-cooled diesel-fueled engine developing 1,200 horsepower and this was mated to an automatic transmission. The vehicle was suspended atop a bogie-type suspension system that was a modified form of the one as utilized on the original Chieftain. Altogether, this supplied the vehicle with a top speed of 56 km/h and an operational range of 400 kilometers, all suitable qualities for modern armored warfare.

Of note is that Jordan also received several Chieftain tanks from Iraq (as many as 90), these having been captured from Iran during the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s. The Royal Jordanian Army also became the recipient of ex-British Army Challenger 1 tanks and knew these as the "Al Hussein".©MilitaryFactory.com
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.


Service Year

United Kingdom national flag graphic
United Kingdom


Royal Ordnance Factories / Vickers Defense Systems - UK
(View other Vehicle-Related Manufacturers)
National flag of Jordan Jordan
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Main Battle Tank (MBT)
Primary armored ground combat unit of modern armies utilizing speed, protection, and / or firepower to spearhead armored assaults.
Frontline Asset
Frontline unit used to take direct part in forward operating actions against enemy positions / targets.
Engage armored vehicles of similar form and function.

21.0 ft
6.39 m
11.2 ft
3.42 m
8.0 ft
2.43 m
127,868 lb
58,000 kg
63.9 tons
(Showcased structural values pertain to the Khalid Mk 1 production variant. Length typically includes main gun in forward position if applicable to the design)
Powerplant: 1 x Perkins Engines (Shrewsbury) Condor V-12 12-cylinder, water-cooled diesel engine developing 1,200 horsepower at 2,300rpm.
29.8 mph
(48.0 kph)
154.7 mi
(249.0 km)
(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the Khalid Mk 1 production variant. Compare this entry against any other in our database)
1 x 120mm L11A5 rifled main gun
1 x 7.62mm L8A2 coaxial machine gun
1 x 7.62mm L37A2 anti-aircraft machine gun on turret roof.
12 x Smoke Grenade Dischargers

Supported Types

Graphical image of a tank cannon armament
Graphical image of a tank medium machine gun
Graphical image of tank /armored vehicle smoke grenade dischargers

(Not all weapon types may be represented in the showcase above)
64 x 120mm projectiles (APDS-T; APFSDS-T; HESH; Smoke; Training).
6,000 x 7.62mm ammunition
12 x Smoke Grenades

Khalid Mk 1 - Base Series Designation; based on a modified Chieftain MBT.

Military lapel ribbon for the American Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of the Bulge
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Kursk
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Ukranian-Russian War
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental military vehicles

Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns / operations.

Images Gallery

1 / 2
Image of the Khalid (Sword)
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
2 / 2
Image of the Khalid (Sword)
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.

Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies

2024 Military Pay Chart Military Ranks DoD Dictionary Conversion Calculators Military Alphabet Code Military Map Symbols

The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com. No A.I. was used in the generation of this content; site is 100% curated by humans.

Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, WDMMA.org (World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft), WDMMW.org (World Directory of Modern Military Warships), SR71blackbird.org, detailing the history of the world's most iconic spyplane, and MilitaryRibbons.info, cataloguing military medals and ribbons. Special Interest: RailRoad Junction, the locomotive encyclopedia.

©2023 www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-2023 (20yrs)