By the middle of this decade, Indonesia’s military and political leadership has come to the conclusion that a new, modern tank middle class mass. However, the country could not independently develop such a machine. This problem was solved through an agreement with foreign developers of armored vehicles. In 2015, a contract was signed, according to which Indonesia and Turkey were to develop a project and establish production of a new armored car.
The experienced Kaplan MT tank is the first prototype of the future Harimau. Photo FNSS / fnss.com.tr
Under the terms of the agreement, the Indonesian side in the project was represented by the state company PT Pindad. Participant from Turkey has become the company FNSS. Subsequently, certain companies from different countries who were offered the role of subcontractors could be involved in the work. As it turned out later, the functions of the Turkish and Indonesian enterprises in the project were divided in a very interesting way. Most of the design work was done by FNSS. The Indonesian side, in turn, took over the financing of the project, and was also responsible for assembling some prototypes and their subsequent tests.
Since that time, the promising tank has managed to change several names. Indonesia originally called it the Modern Medium Weight Tank - "The Modern Medium Mass Tank." The Turkish side proposed to the customer to use the groundwork for one of the existing projects, which resulted in the working title Kaplan MT (“Medium tank on the Kaplan platform). Recently, the Indonesian side uses a new project name - Harimau (“Tiger”). The name Harimau Hitam (“Black Tiger”) is also found in the foreign press, but is not available in official materials.
The development of a promising medium tank was carried out in the shortest possible time, aided by the original approach. In fact, the creators of the project refused to use completely new components and “assembled” an armored vehicle from already known components. The base for the tank was a redesigned chassis from the FNSS Kaplan 30 perspective platform of Turkish design. It was planned to install a ready-made tower from the Belgian company CMI Defense Cockerill. Thus, a significant part of the design work was carried out by foreign experts, and Indonesia’s participation at this stage was minimal.
Last year, several “premiere shows” of new armored vehicles took place. In May, at the IDEF-2017 exhibition in Turkey, FNSS demonstrated for the first time a prototype model of the future medium tank. The modified Kaplan chassis was equipped with a model of a turret with gun and machine gun weapons. The sample was named Kaplan MT. Speaking about the new car, the representatives of the development company pointed to the achievement of high performance and great success in international cooperation.
In September, 2017, the company FNSS completed the assembly of another tank chassis, but did not mount the tower and some of the other units on it. The unfinished car was delivered to Indonesia to the PT Pindad plant. There, local specialists completed the assembly of an experienced tank, installing a staff combat department with weapons on it. Soon after the assembly was completed, the tank was shown to the public. October 5 in Chilegon held a festive parade on the occasion of the Day of the armed forces of Indonesia. Together with other modern and promising Indonesian armored vehicles, an experienced MMWT tank passed in front of the public.
According to the announced plans, in the very near future another tank hull was to appear. He was supposed to have all the defensive means at his disposal, but he was not planned to equip them with different units and aggregates. This corps was designed for resistance tests involving shelling from various weapons and undermining min.
Probably even before the demonstration of the MMWT tank at the parade, the first mock-up Kaplan MT was delivered to Indonesia for testing at local test sites. Last fall, the second prototype was supposed to join him. A prototype model without a full-fledged turret and a medium tank fully equipped in 2017 and 2018 passed all the necessary tests, which allowed to establish their real characteristics and capabilities.
From 7 to 10 in November, the next military-technical exhibition Indo Defense was held in Jakarta, which is the main platform for demonstrating the achievements of the Indonesian defense industry and the army. Together with other modern models, the exhibition showed both existing prototypes of a promising medium tank. One car was placed in the exhibition pavilion at the stand of PT Pindad. The second tank was in an open area and left it to participate in a dynamic display.
Chassis for the second prototype during transportation, autumn 2017. Photo Defense-studies.blogspot.s
It is curious that shortly before the next exhibition the project again changed its name. Now it is called Harinau - "Tiger". In some publications, a “color” epithet is added to this title, but this version of the designation is absent in official reports. It can be assumed that such a name will be preserved in the future and it is under it that tanks will begin service.
At a recent exhibition, Indo Defense 2018, the current plans of the Indonesian Ministry of Defense for advanced equipment were announced. By the end of this year, it is planned to sign the first contract for Tigers. It will provide for the shipment of up to 25 machines for the installation batch. Then the total number of vehicles will be brought to 44 units. In the near future, it is planned to build and transfer to the army hundreds of promising tanks. For the medium and long-term prospects, the purchase of 400 machines is planned.
According to the terms of cooperation, the Indonesian company PT Pindad will have to master the production of hulls and towers for advanced tanks. A significant number of the main components of the machine, from the engine to the armament, will be supplied by foreign manufacturers. Indonesian experts also have to complete the final assembly of equipment. It should be borne in mind that the company PT Pindad has so far managed to collect only one experienced Harinau tank, moreover, from ready-made components. It consists of a Turkish-made chassis and a Belgian tower. Thus, Indonesia has yet to establish its own production of new units.
In the future, after the launch of mass production, contracts for the supply of armored vehicles to third countries may appear. So, at a recent exhibition in Jakarta, a delegation of the Ministry of Defense of Malaysia was present. According to press reports, the head of the military department and his colleagues arrived in Indonesia specifically to study the new medium tank. In the future, this may lead to the purchase of equipment. There is also evidence of interest in the "Tigre" from the Philippines.
The new medium tank joint Turkish-Indonesian development is based on the modified multi-purpose chassis FNSS Kaplan. The characteristic distinction of the Harinau tank is the reduced combat mass. To obtain it, the project authors sacrificed some other characteristics, first of all, protection. However, the finished tank meets the requirements of the customer and has sufficient characteristics.
The tank is built on the basis of the chassis with an armored hull. Details of the latter provide a circular protection 4 level standard STANAG 4569 (armor-piercing bullet 14,5 mm). At last year’s parade and at a recent exhibition, the experienced Tiger was equipped with hinged panels that increase protection to the 5 level. Due to this, the frontal projection protects against 30-mm projectiles, all other body parts - from weapons of caliber 25 mm. The project used a V-shaped bottom and other measures aimed at improving resistance to explosions. Mine protection brought to 3b and 4a levels. Crew protection provided for undermining 10 kg of TNT under a track or bottom.
The hull of the tank has a frontal protection formed by a pair of inclined sheets. In this case, the top is located at a large angle to the vertical. On the horizontal roof there is a Belgian development tower CMI-3105HP. This product has a main dome, covered with hinged armor, and is also equipped with a developed feed niche to accommodate ammunition. The tank has a classic layout with a front driver, central combat compartment and aft engine compartment.
The mobility of the machine is provided by a Caterpillar C13 diesel engine with an 711 horsepower, coupled with an Alisson / Caterpillar X300 automatic transmission. Torque is issued on the aft drive wheels. To save fuel and engine life provides for the use of an auxiliary power unit with a generator. The machine has a chassis with six road wheels on board using an individual torsion bar suspension. The side projection of the crawler propulsion unit is partially overlapped by the side screens.
One of the experienced "Tigers" in the pavilion of the exhibition Indo Defense 2018. Photo Mediaindonesia.com
Tank Harimau is equipped with a CMI Cockerill 3105 combat compartment, built on the basis of a tower with a large aft niche. Inside the tower is all the weapons and fire control devices that meet modern requirements. The Tiger's main weapon is the Cockerill 105-mm high-pressure tank gun. The gun is equipped with a muzzle brake and ejection device. Guidance tools allow you to fire in any direction with vertical guidance from -10 ° to + 42 °. In the stern niche of the tower is the automatic loading drum with 12 unitary shots. Another 30 shells are transported in hull layouts.
A machine gun of the 7,62 caliber is paired with a gun. The samples shown did not have a machine gun or combat module on the roof of the tower. On the cheekbones of the hull is a pair of installations with four smoke grenade launchers each.
The standard fire control system of the tower "3105" incorporates all the necessary devices. At the same time, it is connected to a new information and control system that collects and processes various data and ensures efficient operation of equipment. On the tower are fixed and panoramic sights for the gunner and the commander. These devices have a stabilizer, day and night channel, as well as their own rangefinders. Data from sights processed by existing computing systems. The commander and gunner use workstations with the necessary controls. Increased situational awareness is also provided by a set of video cameras that provide all-round visibility.
The length of the MMWT / Harimau tank on the hull does not exceed 7 m, taking into account the guns - more than 9,1 m. Width - 3,35м, height - 2,5 m. Combat weight has not yet been officially named. According to various estimates, this parameter should be within 32-35 t, which gives a specific power of at least 20 hp. per ton. During the tests, experimental tanks showed the maximum speed in 76 km / h. Power reserve - 450 km. The armored vehicle is able to cross a trench 2 m wide and climb a 90-cm wall. Water barriers to depths up to 1,2 m intersect at a ford without special training.
In recent years, a curious trend has emerged in the field of armored vehicles. Modern main battle tanks with high performance have a corresponding price. They find themselves outside the capabilities of poor countries, which, nevertheless, need new combat vehicles. The way out of this situation are new tanks with less high performance. In different countries, medium-sized armored vehicles are being developed, differing in their characteristic appearance. They are inferior to the MBT in protection and armament, but at the same time they have significant advantages over the outdated armored vehicles, usually in service with a potential enemy. This "medium tank" shows limited characteristics, but at the same time has an acceptable cost. The new Turkish-Indonesian tank Harimau belongs to this category.
Indonesia is not able to independently create modern tanks, and besides, it cannot purchase such equipment abroad. The way out of this situation was the joint development of a new sample according to its own requirements. From the point of view of technology, the new project looks interesting and promising. Such medium tanks have good potential in the context of re-equipping low-income countries without developed industry, and may well find their place not only in Indonesia, but also in other countries of Southeast Asia.
However, there are causes for concern. As follows from the available data, the Turkish side was mainly engaged in the design, while the Indonesian took only financing and supervision. Now Indonesia has to master a number of "alien" technologies and set up production of equipment for its own army, as well as, possibly, for some foreign countries. After signing the contract for the supply of equipment, the future of the project depends entirely on the capabilities and production potential of PT Pindad. If she can master the release of new units - the army will receive the desired equipment.
According to the latest news, the contract for the first batch of Harimau medium tanks should appear before the end of the year. This means that in 2019 we should expect the first news about the successes or failures of mass production. Based on this information, it will be possible to make more accurate predictions about the development of armored troops in Indonesia. So far, only one thing is clear: Indonesia and Turkey have jointly managed to develop a project for a promising armored vehicle of the current class.
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