India will master the production of 3VBM17 "Mango" tank rounds

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India will master the production of 3VBM17 "Mango" tank rounds
Cutaway mock-up of a 3BVM17 "Mango" shot. Photo Vitalykuzmin.net


Russia and India have long been cooperating in the production and supply of armored vehicles and weapons. Since the beginning of the 2000s, the Indian army has purchased Russian Tanks T-90S. At first these were Russian-made tanks, and then assembled in India.



Cooperation between countries continues to develop. Now, through joint efforts, the production of 125-mm 3VBM17 “Mango” rounds has been launched, which are intended for the tanks in the fleet.

New line


New success in cooperation between Russia and India in the military-technical sphere was announced on July 4. The press services of the Rostec state corporation and its member JSC Rosoboronexport reported this.

The special export company helped the Indian industry establish its own production of 3VBM17 “Mango” rounds for 125 mm tank guns created in Russia.

Previously, India purchased ready-made ammunition for T-72 and T-90 tanks from Russia. One of these agreements was signed in 2014 for the supply of 66 thousand Mango products. This was supposed to significantly increase the firepower of tank units in India.

However, the Indian side has long been interested in localizing the production of shells and shots. In the recent past, an agreement was reached on joint preparations for the production of Russian-made tank ammunition. This project received the support of the leadership of the customer country and was included in the “Made in India” and “Self-sufficient India” programs.

In the new joint project, Russia was represented by the Rosoboronexport company, and an unnamed defense-industrial holding company participated on the Indian side.

The Russian special exporter provided Indian colleagues with the necessary documentation and helped with the organization of a new production line. Now India will be able to master the transferred technologies and launch the production of its own Mango products.


Indian T-72 tanks. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

It is known from official sources that at the first stage, the production of 3VBM17 in India will depend on Russian supplies. Indian shots will be equipped with Russian gunpowder. In the future, it is planned to organize our own gunpowder production.

Other aspects of the project, such as organizational, financial and others, are not disclosed. It is also unknown which company will be engaged in the production of tank rounds and when it will be able to begin supplying finished products to the Indian army. It is likely that the launch of production will not take much time, and in the coming months the arsenals of tank units will be replenished with 3VBM17 tank rounds fired on site.

A joint project aimed at developing ammunition production in India is receiving positive reviews. Sergei Chemezov, CEO of Rostec, emphasized that cooperation with friendly countries in the field of technology transfer is the company’s competitive advantage. A potential foreign partner is attracted by the opportunity to independently produce the products he needs.

Needs and production


The Tank Corps of the Indian Army has several types of armored fighting vehicles. About 2400 T-72 tanks remain in service, which are operated under the local designation "Adjeya". Since the beginning of the 1s, the troops have received more than 200 more modern T-90S Bhishma tanks, assembled both in Russia and India. At least 120–130 Indian-designed Arjun main battle tanks were also built.

T-72 and T-90 of all modifications are equipped with 125-mm 2A46 smoothbore guns of various versions. For such guns, a corresponding family of separate-case-loading shots is designed. A special place among them is occupied by shots with armor-piercing feathered sub-caliber projectiles. One of the latest developments of this kind, approved for export, was the 3VBM17 or “Mango” shot with a 3BM42 projectile.


T-90S "Bhishma" on parade. Photo: Indian Ministry of Defense

Considering the size of India's tank fleet, one can imagine how much ammunition is needed to create ammunition and stockpiles.

The Indian Army buys tank shells in the tens of thousands. It needs different types of ammunition and will likely place new orders.

Since India does not have its own production, it is forced to purchase tank ammunition abroad, including from Russian industry. However, this approach has a number of disadvantages.

Therefore, India turned to Russia with a request to help launch the production of Mango ammunition. This will allow Indian industry to obtain new technologies and earn money on orders from its army. And the armed forces will receive modern ammunition and reduce dependence on imports in a strategically important area.

This is also beneficial for Russia. We will be able to strengthen military-technical cooperation with India, which will lead to the emergence of new projects. Although the Indian Army will no longer order ready-made rounds from our enterprises, Russian industry will retain its role in production and will benefit.

Obviously, the launch of new production was not free for the Indian side. However, both countries benefit from this cooperation. This is how any cooperation is built, including in the military-technical sphere. The transfer of technology for the production of tank ammunition indicates a high level of trust, development of cooperation and interaction between Russia and India.


Indian tanks at the Indra 2018 joint exercise. Photo by the Russian Ministry of Defense

Subject of the agreement


The goal of the joint project is to launch the production of 3VBM17 “Mango” rounds at an Indian enterprise. This round was developed in the first half of the 1980s to increase the firepower of Soviet tanks with 125 mm smoothbore guns.

In 1986, the shot was put into service, after which deliveries of serial ammunition to the troops began. The main customers of Mango-type ammunition were the Soviet and Russian armies. In the 1990s, this shot was introduced to the international market. It was offered to foreign armies already using or planning to use Soviet-style tanks. With the help of 3VBM17 products, they could make maximum use of the potential of 2A46 tank guns of all modifications.

In 2019, the Rostec state corporation introduced an updated version of the ammunition called Mango-M, which has increased penetration. This shot was export oriented. However, precise information about orders and deliveries of Mango-M is not yet available.

The 3VBM17 product was developed taking into account the requirements of the 2A46 gun. This is a separate-case-loading ammunition, which consists of two parts. The first part, indexed 3BM44, is a combustion cylinder in which the 3BM42 BOPS in the master device and part of the powder charge are located. The second part is the main charge 4Zh63 in a partially burning cartridge case with a metal tray. The shot components are fully compatible with automatic loaders of domestic tanks. The total mass of the shot is 20,4 kg.

The active part of the projectile is an elongated product with a tail unit. Under the pointed head fairing there is an armor-piercing cap and damper. Behind them, two hard tungsten alloy cores are located in series. All parts are connected using a tubular casing made of light metal. The total length of the 3BM42 product is 574 mm, and the weight is 4,85 kg.


The T-90S is considered one of the pillars of India's national security. Photo: Indian Ministry of Defense

When fired, the projectile is released from the driving device and accelerates to a speed of approximately 1750–1800 m/s. At a distance of 2000 meters, if hit at a right angle, the projectile can penetrate armor up to 500 mm thick. However, at a meeting angle of 60 degrees, the thickness of the penetrated armor is reduced to 230–450 mm.

It is stated that, compared to the basic projectile, Mango-M is capable of increasing penetration by 20%.

To date, extensive experience has been accumulated in the combat use of 3VBM17 rounds equipped with 3BM42 shells. These projectiles have proven to be highly effective. They were used to destroy various types and modifications of tanks, mainly Soviet-made, including those that were modernized according to foreign projects. In addition, 3BM42 shells are also successfully used against other armored vehicles, and in some cases even demonstrate excessive effectiveness.

Cooperation continues


For several decades, India has equipped its tank forces with Soviet and Russian equipment, as well as ammunition.

When the opportunity arose, India began to assemble tanks on its territory and gradually increase the level of localization of production. Now it has mastered the production of the necessary ammunition.

News about the Mango shells can be viewed with optimism. It says that India intends to develop military-technical cooperation with Russia and is not going to abandon Soviet and Russian-made tanks. This will further expand cooperation and achieve mutual benefits.
9 comments
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  1. 0
    10 July 2024 05: 58
    Well, “Mango” is not “Lead”, of course, but it’s better to have your own “Mango” and a lot of it than someone else’s “Lead” and a little.
  2. +1
    10 July 2024 07: 51
    Interesting information.
    Especially against the background of analysts’ reports that India is gradually curtailing military-technical cooperation with Russia in favor of working with the United States.
    1. -2
      10 July 2024 10: 27
      Modi's recent visit (this is his first international visit after his election; the first thing VVP flew to China, for example) to Moscow suggests the opposite. The Indians will try to compete with China here.
    2. 0
      10 July 2024 10: 47
      Quote: U-58
      Especially against the background of analysts’ reports that India is gradually curtailing military-technical cooperation with Russia in favor of working with the United States.

      Pfft... this is India. There is always complete pluralism in equipping the armed forces and there are seven Fridays a week. It looks like there are secret Maoists entrenched in their Moscow Region: "Let a hundred flowers bloom, let a hundred schools compete". smile
      Indians have been purchasing weapons all over the world for a long time. On the one hand, this leads to a wild zoo of systems in the Armed Forces, but on the other hand, to the absence of critical dependence on any countries and blocs.
    3. 0
      11 July 2024 22: 15
      India is not the only one who wants to sit on two chairs. But as practice shows, sooner or later you will have to push one chair away. Which? Time will show.
  3. 0
    10 July 2024 12: 37
    Author: "However, at a meeting angle of 260 degrees, the thickness of the penetrated armor is reduced to 230–450 mm"
    If it’s 60 degrees, then the lower limit of the thickness of pierced armor is 230 mm, somehow it’s too small...
  4. 0
    10 July 2024 14: 44
    It’s time for the Indians to master the T-90M(SM), especially since they have an impressive fleet of T72s, which, according to our option, can be converted into a T-90M during a major overhaul. And then the T-90V.
    1. 0
      11 July 2024 22: 28
      Perhaps the Indians are drawing conclusions from how modern combined arms combat is changing, the role of the tank. After all, the T-90, even the SM, does not offer anything fundamentally new, but is vulnerable to weapons, in particular new ones, such as UAVs, just like the T-72. They’ll wait and see how the tank evolves and maybe even revolutionizes, and then they’ll decide. For now, they will make do with little, localizing the old and useful Mango, for a sustainable supply of existing tanks.
  5. 0
    11 July 2024 22: 20
    I will assume that this is a step towards maximum import substitution in tank building and weapons. Try to reduce the cost of operating the existing T-72\90, and in the future still produce something useful in the form of Arjuna 2 or 3. And full-fledged projectile production with the prospect of producing their own ammunition is needed while they “practice on cats.” And Mango was chosen as the most optimal option, old, but not useless, taking into account the regional tasks of India.