Indian Army moves to its own tanks
As it became known, the command of the ground forces of the Indian Army plans to place an order for 248 modernized tanks - Arjun Mark II. The decision on this issue has already been taken in the Ministry of Defense of the state. The new contract, which many people call revolutionary, will allow the Organization of Defense Development and Research in India not only to continue the development of the Arjun family, but also to begin developing new technologies for use in the “tank of the future”. Work on the design of the latter is delayed only by the fault of the ground forces of the state.
For many, it was a surprise that the ground forces of India changed their attitude to the domestic main battle tank Arjun. According to the latest information, the military has ordered upgraded versions of the combat vehicle from the Defense Development and Research Organization (DRDO) of India 248 from India. At the same time, the high command of the ground forces stated that if all the field trials of the Arjun Mark II, which began this summer, are considered successful, the military will increase their order for tanks. The MoD of India has already given its consent to the purchase of new Arjun Mark II and gave the necessary order to the State Military Industry Council (OFB) to begin the necessary preparations for the signing of an official contract.
It is expected that an agreement on the supply of upgraded tanks will be signed in the current year. Other parameters of the prospective contract are not yet known. According to unofficial data, the total cost of acquiring tanks will be 1,05 billion dollars, with the cost of one tank about 4 million dollars. These figures were not officially confirmed either by the ground forces of India, the Ministry of Defense, or DRDO. Currently, the cost of one Arjun Mk.I tank, the previous version, is 3,5 million dollars.
The decision taken by the ground forces command to conclude a contract for the supply of tanks of the Arjun family was an accident, given that the military had not been extremely pleased with this Indian constructive development. The creation of the Arjun Mk.I tank was started back in 1974, although the tank was fully ready only at the beginning of the 90 of the last century, but its adoption was often postponed. The fact is that in the process of virtually the entire round of testing, the military found in the car more and more new shortcomings - starting with the malfunctioning of the box and ending with a bad image issued by thermal imagers.
Initially, the Indian army planned to replace all outdated T-55s with the Arjun (currently 550 of such tanks are in service with the state) and T-72 (1925 units in service), but first 2000-s after the first failed field tests, the order was reduced to 2-x thousand units. A couple of years later, ground forces signed a contract with DRDO for the supply of only 124 Arjun tanks. The core focus was decided to be made on T-90 produced in Russia, the number of which is planned to be increased to 1657 units.
An Indian tank weighing 58,5 tons, speeds up to 72 km / h on the highway and to 40 km / h on rough terrain. Arjun tank is equipped with a complex of laser guidance and night vision devices. The main arjun armament is represented by a 120-mm rifled gun. In addition, the tank is armed with machine guns caliber 12,7 and 7,62 mm and anti-tank missiles.
The fate of the Arjun program was resolved in March of 2010, when the Indian Ministry of Defense conducted comparative tests of T-90 and Arjun Mk.I. The official information on the test results was not published for a long time, and various Indian media were full of joyful reports that the Indian Arjun had overshadowed the Russian T-90 in all respects.
Apparently, these tests actually served as a pass for Arjun to the future, because the Indian ground forces placed an order for another similar tank at 124 speed, and DRDO announced the start of research work on creating an improved version of it. However, there is another reason why the military decided to increase the purchase of state-owned tanks. The fact is that a significant part of the T-55 and T-72 parks are already quite outdated, and the licensed creation of the T-90 is delayed due to the difficulties encountered in the transfer of special production technologies to Russia.
As an additional measure necessary in these criteria, the Indian Ministry of Defense in May 2011 decided to upgrade all main battle tanks. Namely, the T-55 tanks will receive as weapons new 105-mm guns, running gear and fuel tanks. In turn, the T-72 will be equipped with new 1000 hp motors, enhanced armor and completely new fire control and communication systems. As a result of the program, the tanks will be integrated into an integral automatic combat control system. T-90 will receive new sighting and observation equipment, including night vision systems.
As a result, the Indian tank park will be able to “endure” until such time as all the T-90C and T-90М “Bhishma” ordered in Russia and a significant part of the acquired Arjun come into service. The supply of T-90, according to the plans of the Ministry of Defense, must end in 2020, and the first Arjun Mk.II will be put into service in 2014.
Currently, the base of the tank fleet of India is Russian-made fighting vehicles. Thus, 550 units are in service with the Indian Army. - T-55 (according to other estimates, about 900 pcs.), 1925 pcs. - T-72 and 620 pcs. - T-90. So far, the military has received Arjun Mk.I 169 tanks. At first, 2010, the experts of the auditing company KPMG and the Union of Industrialists of India (CII), submitted a report stating that almost half of all military equipment used by India is obsolete. With all this, 80% of tanks in service with the state are not equipped with night vision systems.
In the near future, the ground forces of India want to completely write off all the T-55 and T-72 and change them to the new Arjun Mk.II and the so-called "future tanks" FMBT (Futuristic Main Battle Tank). According to DRDO, after the delivery of an additional order on 248 Arjun Mk.II, these ambitious plans became a little closer to reality. Say, the newest order makes it possible to avoid the closure of the military plant Heavy Vehicles Factory in the town of Awadhi, get the funds needed to complete the modernization of the Arjun Mk.II, and start working on the FMBT plan.
At the end of 2010, the ground forces of India voiced their basic requirements for FMBT, in agreement with which DRDO hoped to start developing the tank from January 2011. Namely, ground forces need a combat vehicle weighing less than 40 tons with a 125 mm gun. The gun must be smooth-bore, it will allow using it to fire anti-tank missiles.
A promising main battle tank should be designed using the invisibility special technology and equipped with a laser-guided system, day and night tracking and reconnaissance equipment, mine detection systems and automated combat mission control. In addition, the tank will receive the box 3-th generation, fire control system, passive and active protection.
Tactical and technical data of the tank Arjun Mk.II:
crew - 4 person;
combat weight - 58,5 tons;
length including gun barrel - 10194 mm;
clearance - 450 mm;
width - 3847 mm;
height - 2320 mm;
weapons - 120-mm cannon, twin machine gun 7,62-mm, anti-aircraft gun 12,7-mm;
engine - MB 838 Ka-501, power 1400 hp at 2500 rpm;
highway speed - 72 km / h;
power reserve - 450 km;
wall height - 0,9 m;
pit width - 2,43 m;
Wade depth - 1 m.
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