Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Hope From The New DRDO Advertisement?

Has anyone seen the new DRDO print advertisement? It's in most of the defence glossies. It's a pretty unobtrusive advert with typically sarkari design values (like the unforgivably ill-conceived BrahMos ad in all the magazines!). But obviously this isn't a transgression on the creative preoccupations of the country's premier defence research and development agency. But why an advertisement at all? And why now? I can't recall (please correct me if I'm wrong) DRDO ever advertising at any time in the past in any real measure -- and I'm not counting recruitment flyers.

The thrust of this particular ad -- the text at the bottom of the page -- is an open invitation to foreign arms developers and agencies willing to collaborate and co-develop critical defence technologies with DRDO. The ad, a little broadly, lists DRDO's areas of expertise as aeronautics, materials, strategic systems and a few others. I would imagine, first off, that DRDO would have found it virtually indigestible to freely publicise its willingness to collaborate and build systems with foreign partners. I mean, isn't that anathema? Someone at the MoD I spoke to recently said the advertisement was produced at the directions of the MoD and DRD council, though this could be just a little South Block gossip. DRDO has of course in the past worked extensively with foreign entities, but keeping it in-house and Indian has quite correctly been its touchstone, the very plank on which it has legitimised its existence since 1958.

Until now, it seems.

A mere print advert doesn't accentuate structural reform -- especially if it was created and published under duress -- but it does disclose a possible change in outlook, the future of possible prudence.

Critics of the anti-DRDO lobby often lark on about how wasteful and delayed foreign arms development programmes have been in comparison to DRDO's own inventory of projects, but it has frequently occured to me how untenable (even unpatriotic, if that is one of the compelling factors) such a stand is. The fact is Indian arms development programmes do NOT have to be delayed and prolonged and wastefully expensive like the professed foreign programmes people draw comparisons with. Our programmes can be better than other countries' programmes. Our scientists, armed forces and government can still externalise decades of creditable progress and dubious wastage by ceasing all comparisons with foreign agencies. If all agencies involved set their minds to a time when the armed forces only have to look within for their warfighting needs, then comparisons -- every last one of them -- will be redundant. That may be an ideal state, but the untreaded path is full of possibilities. For starters, lets stop obsessing with being a young non-aligned nation which has suffered technology denial since its birth. This of course is true, but it has been allowed to become something of an unhealthily psychological and political shackle. Look forward -- the world will not wait unless you've got money to show for it.

Those who harp on about globalisation no doubt have a point, but the DRDO debate is one so full of extreme views (as one of our commenters has pointed out), that a dose of moderate logic might not be such a bad idea. It is easy to keep the tough questions unasked, just as it is easy to dismiss the future of reform as a pipe-dream destroyed by the fundamental thought-processes of the entities involved. If the Navy can extract some of the world's finest sonars from DRDO, so can the IAF pull-off a cutting-edge flight trainer or the Army, a towed gun. The achievements of the state-owned military industrial complex are not small -- but they cannot and must not be used as an escape route to justify slippages of other, indeed more critical, programmes essential not just to national security, but to a young country's economy.

I have personally been frequently clubbed with the anti-DRDO lobby. I accept of course that accusations are part of the profession (one of my personal favourites is "lifafa journalist"!). But I've said so before and I'll say it again -- India is infinitely better placed if it can look locally for all its defence and security needs instead of padding foreign bank balances and formulating massively complex and sometimes counterproductive defence procurement procedures tailored to suit a soverign nation bent on buying only from abroad. The DPP 06 is in some senses a cynical document. It does of course accomodate the "Make" procedure, but it expands at length on new and more groundedly real processes for buying from abroad. Cynical, but realistic. As Admiral Arun Prakash wrote recently on this blog, the DRDO-IAI-Rafael tripartite joint venture to create a long-range SAM (Barak-II) is ingenious -- DRDO agreed to the venture only after it accepted that the technology spin-offs on at least four critical areas would be undeniably large. This is, not even to get into the enormous potential in local private industry. If the Mahindras are building sea mines for the Navy, and Tatas will help build terminal guidance systems, then there are others who profess capabilities to build everything from night-vision devices and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) to bomb guidance kits and hull materials. The government and DRDO no longer have any excuse to deny the private sector the right to contribute. For starters, it might help if "private" is stopped being seen by those in DRDO and the government as somehow anti-national, or dubious, or money-grubbing, or all three. Of course they want to make money making weapons, but why ever not? Isn't that what business is about? Is being non-profitable a virtue or an honour? Of course not. If the Army can get world-class infantry combat vehicles from a Pimpri-Chinchwad factory, why should it need Moscow's help at all? If it can arm its anti-tank missiles with seekers developed by a feverishly busy bunch of private-sector incubation students in Kanpur, tata-bye-bye to Israel? Why not.

The DRDO advert should maybe seen in that light -- not as a grumbling admission that it needs foreign partners to keep the ball rolling (it would be silly to imagine it was that), but as a healthy realisation of what the future holds. A robust mix of prudent out-sourcing and a focus on core strengths. The Israelis don't offer friendly prices. Nor do Russia, the US or the UK or France, or any one of the others lining our corridors with officials hoping for the odd RFP every now and then. So any partnership (like BrahMos or the Barak-II) must be systematic in its implications of an exponential technology and know-how upgrade. The persecution complex has to end somewhere. Except for the odd kickback junkie, everyone indubitably wants a better DRDO. At DRDO press conferences, we'd like to ask "What's next", not "Whatever next".

It's not about one thing or the other. Points and counterpoints about DRDO serve only to escalate a predicament that is ultimately political and governmental. There has to be middleground, and it is imperative that it is found soon. Foolish idealists talk of how there must be no financial numbers game when you talk of national security. That's patent nonsense. We can't afford to have multiple programmes indefatigably adrift, while the country coughs up blood for vilaayati guns. Let the armed forces be more reasonable and less pig-headed about QRs. Let the government bestow DRDO with a semblance of development autonomy that allows it to prudently bring on board the private sector and foreign agencies for quicker co-development. And, not least, let DRDO take the time to effect a serious make-over of everything, from it's persecution complex and attitude towards anything non-DRDO, down to the way it keeps its scientists and draws up development plans. DRDO's new advertisement is hopefully a beginning of better things. Better, and more. That is the whole point.


Word just in from Pallu (near Suratgarh, Rajasthan). The 15 Arjun MBTs that participated in the Ashwamedha corps-level exercise (their debut wargame) didn't match up. According to immediately available reports and sources who attended the exercise from the Army, the tanks were below-par during speed runs (suspension and NOT torsion problems!!), the overheating problems persist and there were other mobility hassles. More details tomorrow.


Srirangan said...

Arjun failed the Ashwamedh tests?

I heard Type 13 really impressed even the Army top brass, and there were really no immediate complaints whatsoever with all of the 15 that were in action.

Shiv, are you sure you haven't been hearing from Russian defense sales lobbies instead of Army sources?


Anonymous said...

Mr Aroor, beware, there are people watching.

Srirangan said...


No offence but I'd like to hear your views about what is being said on Indian Defence Forum by a particular 'Denil' who claims to be an Israeli defense contractor active in India.


Anonymous said...

buddy Denil here... firstly whoever is informing you that there are 15 Arjuns out there is a nut case. there are exactly 12 and one spare = 13. I have my team sitting there and nothing has gone wrong till now. Only thing was that one of the tanks burst its filter... nothing else. JJ has got a personal reprt sent to him on each move... what the hell are you talking about? Based on that report the President is ready to congrat. the team officially too... where are you getting this crap from?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Aroor, Denil again. I would like to arrange for a personal meeting with you to track down this person who is giving you this information and discuss issues out. I am not aware of your credentials (neither are you of mine actually). So what do you say i invite you over (all paid trip) to AHQ and we can discuss matters? I am sure someone will help me get your contact address. I guess you are some well known reporter.

Anonymous said...

MR denil

do provide my shiv all the information required ,he seems to be out of words to answer your questions

Anonymous said...

Denil here:
can not understant what you are saying " MR denil
Do provide my shiv all the information required ,he seems to be out of words to answer your questions "

Can you just tell me where he works or where to contact this guy. e-mail me at

Srirangan said...

Dear Shiv,

Arjun MBT can't have faulty components that are a product of your imagination. Re-check the suspension system used in the MBT before terming a non-existing torsion as faulty.

My best,

Anonymous said...

When did Arjun start having torsion suspension??
As far I know it has hydro pnuematic suspension!

How did it change over night???

Anonymous said...

Does this pallu know the difference b/w T-90 and Arjun??? He sounds as if he talking about T-90.... torsion,over heating!!!

figher said...

Another dork in TOI published news that army doesn't know what role arjun should be used in? How stupid are they?? Its a MBT, use it like one or learn from US, germany or israel how to use a heavy MBT.

Zero said...

Here is something for you to go and cry in your empty lifafa.

IAF initiates process for inducting Akash and Trishul SAM’s

I hope i get my html code right.

Shiv Aroor said...

lifafa again! well, i don't know about any digs you talk about with SG, but phew! nice barrage after four lines on arjun. denil yes let's meet. accountability point -- there you go, back to the whole comparisons instead of defending a stated position. there was news in this morning's express -- jj will inspect the tanks at field trials in july. how many more field trials man? and no, the suspension and overheating problems are very much arjun's (Even if it shares these hassles with the T-90S).. and this piece was about the DRDO advertisement -- anon, i certainly don't need to cover up. i still think DRDO has execrable procedural standards. i'm willing of course to accede that so do the MoD, forces and government, but DRDO is an entity all unto itself.

Srirangan said...

Shiv, Do you really stand by your "broken torsion" claim?

- Sri

Joe said...

Aroor says,
how many more field trials man?

Ans : THOUSANDS OF MORE TRIALS! Go and figure out the number of Trials Arjun is going through!

Your report is nothing BUT ABSOLUTE BS.


Joe said...

Edit : Go figure out the number of trials MERKAVA/ABRAMS/LECREC/CHALLENGER has gone through!


torson suspension.. ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS!!!!

Anonymous said...

Shiv, torsion suspension??? Ouive...Sigh, you dug your own hole.

Anonymous said...

So Shiv, I am guessing now that people have pointed out the flaw in your latest Arjun bashing, you will lie low for a while. Quick man, go back to your source and see what else he can give you to throw back at us about a new Arjun "problem".

Anonymous said...

Arjun having filter problem! so what? even abhrams and bradelly had filter problem during desert strom.causing frequent filter cleaning.this is nonthing to lose your sleep about, or shout from your roof.Its just like a flat tyre in your car,simply change it with a spare.

Shiv Aroor said...

haha! ok, so the torsion part was a slip-up. hydropneumatic was meant of course, though no one would ever believe it. the A-MBT is a class-1 machine of course! everything else is just junk. a thousand army people are completely wrong. sigh. if i could dig my own hole with one silly spec, i think i'd be dead a long time ago, joe (it was one or the other, and i said the other -- big deal). get on with reality. what were the problems. and why are they still there. and who gives a $%^ about the mercava or braddley.. this is the arjun we're talking about. the indian army doesn't care if the mercava fails. get real. the beginning of a solution is in recognising that there could be a problem. not by saying, no you're wrong, you don't know nothing, and everything's just fine.

Anonymous said...

dear aroor, nice try but you just got b!tch slapped. you dont even know what a suspension is or what types are used in tanks but then you claim that the arjuns failed, and give a type that doesnt even exist on the arjun!!
and its "merkava" not mercava
and its "bradley" not braddley

seems like every statement of yours is littered with mistakes.

why dont you report on topics you are suited for and are intelligent enough to report on? stuff like shilpa shetty on big brother?

Anonymous said...

anon, you're a clairvoyant dude. that's the ultimate plan. defence reporting is a means to an end -- page 3 reporting. entertainment, my first passion. but until then, tough nuts. move on. b!tch slap! the last time i heard that word was in American History X. Seen it? No? Nevermind. -- shiv

Anonymous said...

I would say the mention of torsion in place hydor pneumatic definetly not a slip up. You probably reported the same way as you heard.
The reason I say that is there is already a couple of reports floating around which mention about "breaking of torsion" in Arjun during the war games.Hence it cant be a simple slip up from you.
About the point of recognising the fault is the first step to improvement is obviously true,but then if some faults are delibrately announced time after time for years,even after they might have been fixed,what fault do you expect the DRDO to fix,if they dont exist?

As far as the IA being right or wrong,let talk about it.
First point if there are regularly failures within supsension,the IA would never fielded it in a war game.I havent read any comments by the IA which describes failure of suspension.
Even if there were failure of suspension,do you say all the Arjun tanks had failures?
If no,then how you based your conclusion that Arjun has failed to be operationaly useful? Can a failure on one tank during a high tempo war games be considered an direct example of DRDO's incompetency on developing the Arjun?
The people who write here do not have issues with faults been pointed out.But unfortunately our Indian writers seems very keen on proving that even a possibly silly issue is a irrefutable proof of "unresolvable problems with Arjun".

I dont see any efforts by the such reporters to actually draw a border conclusion.
Your source probably asked some armour chap negatively(since it always been that way!) "Was there any problems with Arjun?" He would got the answer "yeaah.. some suspension problem..". And that was enough to come to a conclusion that Arjun was a failure in the excerise!


Anonymous said...

Shiv Aroor & others got enough documents about DRDO. But they are willing only to say wrong things about DRDO. No matter how many documents & evidences you provide you cannot change the dog tail.

DENIL & OTHERS pls stop feeding the wrong goat!

Shiv Aroor said...

nithin, good point. unfortunately i wasn't there myself, and couldn't corroborate any information coming in yesterday. i'm working on a more full-fledged report on the Arjun's performance at Pallu. One way or the other, the reports all unanimously talk of the Army's dissatisfaction. I don't know. Have the overheating problems really been fixed? No, from what I heard last.. but let's see. The torsion part -- ok I admit, was probably an overstep. AFMCs frequently imagine that it's good news for me (and the others i'm so boringly clubbed with!) when something fails. it isn't. if that were the case, why didn't i go hammer and tongs on the Agni-3 failure last year? please read what i wrote at the time. The point in case is of the Arjun. Who do you justifiably believe? DRDO? Hmmm! The Army, ok I admit, probably only a little. Who else? the MoD? There's nothing imminently political about the Arjun, as is the case with the Agni. A supposedly ill-informed bunch of reporters without engineering degrees (this is absolutely the best I've heard so far!) and minds so biased it hurts. if that's the case, there are notable exceptions always. i'd be happy to publish here a full-frontal report on the Arjun's performance at Ashwamedha. If anyone who visits this blog was at the exercise, isn't a journalist, isn't an AFMC, can give us a ground-level non-partisan review, I'd be happy to put it up here. There are real issues when dealing with the matter of the Arjun. As Paddy said, how long can you go on developign something (and for god's sake, don't pull up the example of other foreign tank programmes, that just doesn't cut it). it's all very well to say these things take time and everyone goes through them. I just wonder why a programme commissioned eight years before i was born, still hasn't been fully accepted by the army. And after all this time, it's still only 42% indian! blame the army, blame DRDO, blame technology denial regimes, blame them all. it's the same denominator every time. i acceded that DRDO has had more than its seemingly fair share of brickbats, but I also believe that DRDO's structural ethic warrants harsh criticism and reform until it can get at least the fundamental semblance of a well-oiled system in place. i don't need an engineering degree to figure that one out. on another note entirely, rumour's out that JJ Singh will visit the Mahajan ranges in July and give the Arjun programme the Army's final stamp of approval. If that happens (and happens cleanly, without MoD duress), I'll be the first to send Manthiram flowers.

Anonymous said...

So this is "slip-up number..."? In any Western country, you would have been sued for libel, willful misrepresentation of facts, defamation, and what not. And you would have spent the rest of your life writing for "Sandhyanand"

Srirangan said...


I understand your points about Army's dissatisfaction. But do you really think the Army would conclude judgements after Day 1 of un-official tank trials which are supposed to last atleast 5 days?

In fact the Army won't pass a judgement until actual trials are completed, not adhoc trials being slipped in during annual exercises.

Paramters from the trials are usually sent back to the actual developers/consultants and technical officers from the Army, and it would take days if not weeks to pronounce a judgement on the performance of the Tank.

Do note, a relatively comprehensive database of actual results of the tanks performance is required to conclude either way. Unless of course something critical is broken, in which case the tank wouldn't be tested in the first place.

Just the enthusiasm at which the MSM shows to publish factually incorrect reports is shocking.

Like Nitin said, the 'torsion' claim couldn't have been a slip up or a typo; unless ofcourse the torsion beam suspension of the T-90 (yes, this tank uses the torsion) is broken and you just got the names of the tanks wrong in your report.

But then again, I'd rather evaluate the veracity of my sources in any case.


DRDO bashing is a non-event. I don't care if it be bashed or praised to the sky -- as long as the reports speak facts. Sadly a lot of defence journalism in our country is ignorant.

You have the opportunity of setting new standards and benchmarks as a defence journalist. I wish you luck.


Srirangan said...

Shiv Said: Who do you justifiably believe? DRDO? Hmmm! The Army, ok I admit, probably only a little. Who else? the MoD? There's nothing imminently political about the Arjun

It is not a matter of trusting x, y and z. If an Army source gives you information, make sure you verify it to be true. Same with the DRDO folks, or anyone else slipping you information.

As a writer, you don't need to conclude every report and pass a judgement. Reports can be made quoting contradictory claims by all parties and leaving the final judgement to the audience.

- Sri

Shiv Aroor said...

srirangan, no i didn't get those mixed up. this was about the arjun -- the information given to me did not specify the suspension type. that was my own error (which i've corrected!). the information i received merely referred to suspension problems during speed runs. again, sri, all that you say is ok. how does one account for the delay? 34 years developing a tank has to be some sort of record, sir!

Srirangan said...


We didn't take 34 years to produce a tank. That's a myth.

For a country like India back in 1974, everything had to be done from scratch. This involved setting up organizations which would setup the infrastructure for heavy engineering, this alone would take atleast 10 years if not more.

India of 1974 was a closed shell, wasn't like DRDO could hire Western Firms as consultants to guide them through even the very initial stages.

I would not want to cite specific examples, but remember an infant can't drive a car - he has to grow up first. Our heavy engineering industry was the infant back then.


That being said, large projects take decades, not just here but even in the Western World.

So "34 years it took, still not done" has the shock factor we in the media want, but it really isn't telling the truth, IMHO. :)

- Sri

Anonymous said...

Arjun is an prime example of IA "given a copy of requirements" and then "expecting" DRDO to bring out a western concept heavy armour 120 mm gunned tank.
IA tried to do the same way as we go into a tailor shop and give up measurements for shirts and tell the tailor to stick it.Do we tell the tailor when,where or for what we are gonna wear the shirt?

What did DRDO do? It tried to "implement" the "requirements" and then present a tank to IA. What DRDO doesn't know is how,where,when the IA is gonna use the tank,becoz the IA did not bother to take ownership and educate DRDO about it's tactics,infrastructure,training constraints etc.
Hence the cycle keeps repeating until DRDO actually learns above how IA implements Armour Warfare.
The scientist at DRDO are civilians ,they do not have idea about how rugged a system needs to be,becoz IA did not bother to tell them.
Since IA was only interested in testing Arjun,when it comes up....DRDO presents Arjun when it wants to! No pressure from the user to complete in time!

This is why user involvement is so important.When some of the posters here compare the way how IN works with DRDO to that of IA,it is a excellent example.
IN works with the same bunch of "good for nothing" people at DRDO,but then in so many years not one... I say not even one murmur from the IN.
Why? Why is that the issues seems to be only with IA and IAF? Why is that only IA and IAF complain?
Becoz IN extracts what it wants from DRDO. It sets the initial and the end for a project. Hence it cannot "complain" what IN itself creates!
IA and IAF has got in to habit of shopping while IN is not so lucky as it's needs are very expensive.


Anonymous said...

shiv tomorrow you didnt know the difference between torson and hydropneumatic suspension and CLAMPLY MENTIONED "sources confirmed torson leak", today your saying "it was my mistake and I have corrected it" ROTFLMAO.

Its laughable to see that Arjun NEVER HAD serious issues with its turret or suspension, maybe you need to recheck your sources, again, I'll believe things when you, Rajat pandit and likewise will STOP THE PROPAGANDA which is SO DAMN CLEAR.

Another writer in IE says Arjun has both suspension, and GOES ON WRITING THE CRAP.

look what he writes,

“Highly placed sources said the Arjun squadron, which has been deployed in the five-day Army exercise ‘Ashwamedha’ in Rajasthan, had serious problems in its torsion bar, which broke owing to jerks while speed driving. Besides, the leakage in the hydro pneumatic suspension system, the tanks’ German MTU 838 Ka-501 engine is also a cause of concern.
Exercise results till the fourth-day showed that the tank was neither ready for induction nor was suitable for war-maneuvers. A personnel said that the height of the tank was also not suited for wars.”

It cannot have both a torsion bar suspension and hydro-pneumatic type can it? And the MTU engine is far ahead of the Russian ones on the T-90s.No doubt about that. The M1A1 , Challenger and other western tanks are comparable in height to Arjun. They were absolutely fine in real world battle weren't they ?

“Other challenges gripping the tank were the non-integration of the fire control system and the gunner’s main sight. According to a source, the sight, which may have two in ten chances of falling, could be entertained as those two chances could be predicted in a real war. The fire control system, which took into account the wind, heat and internal temperature, had to be integrated for accurate firing.”

The Auto Car India road test report back in 2004 of the Arjun that we have with us specially mentioned the integration of the FCS with the gunner's sight. According to the magazine, all you need to do is put the sight on target, press a button, a laser is engaged, the computer does the calculations for windage , heat etc and then FCS points the gun in the right position and shoots. How come the whole Tanks FCS/Gunner sight design changed overnight?

Honestly stop this JOKING, your doing nothing BUT MAKING FUN of yourself, anyways someone seems to want to meet with you good you can puup a interview online per se eh.

Teews said...

Shiv, lets take your points as granted. Say Arjun is flawed, say it desn't stand upto Army's standard. What next? We stop indeginazation? And then what, buy T-90s for the rest of our lives?

Blame DRDO as much as you want. It is even justified, fine I accept it. Revamp DRDO as an organization. But I still bet you anything it would still have taken the same time that it took to reach the current status. I have mentioned this several times. Your infatuation of DRDO and their weakness makes you neglect other aspects of the problem completely. Until you are ready to accept them and throw mud equally at the other culprits, people will continue to defend DRDO even if majority of the fault lies with them.

Teews said...

Reposting my earler comments.....

You misunderstood me. I saw all your articles and appreciate you accepting our feedback.

But when you write an article, you are either completely bashing DRDO in one article or pointing out to articles that say otherwise. My point is you take the crux of the issue. So as an example the heading could be like "Indeginous efforts falling behind". You give examples of what is falling behind by stating the projects and who is leading this. In this case DRDO and IA/IAF/IN. But you have to ask the main question WHY. And there is where you start putting facts in. Take every organisation into account from MoD, GoI, DRDO, IA,IAF,IN, etc. and against them put down where each of them went wrong. And then if possible give a solution to each of the issue.

For example, we spoke about DRDO not being able to complete projects. In that article where were the questions about what GoI or MoD has done to retain the pool of people working in these projects, what have they done to ensure IA and IAF have done to commit their resources, project management, etc.? What have they done to come up with a plan to tackle changing GSQR? What kind of accountability will DRDO own up to? What efforts are in place in DRDO to make them not only good engineers but better management skill that is so important for successful and timely completion of projects so vital to our defence organizations? What about accountability for GoI and MoD who sit on RFQs and delay important systems on one excuse or the other, which if it had happened in time would have given breathing space to not only IA/IAF/IN but also to DRDO and between them they could have planned this better.

Where are these questions? I didn't see them under one article and hence to me it does not give me a balanced look. Anyone who reads that article comes out saying DRDO is mucking everthing up, which could be true but not necessarily the entire truth.

sniperz11 said...

Now, Shiv, I quote from ur post Before:

"the delay? 34 years developing a tank has to be some sort of record, sir!"

Perhaps you should ask your army 'sources' that question.

Most of them were the very same people who kept changing the GSQRs.... just as a tank for their previous requirement came out.

First it was 40 tons 105 mm.

Then 120 mm...

then Gulf War, Pakistan's looking at the Abrams, and the Army wanted
120mm awesome protection with a State of the Art FCS, and Beautiful suspension....

in short... M1A1 Abrams capability... for 50 tons!!!!

and you expect that the tank should not have delays????

Look at it this way.... this Project has spanned 30 years and atleast 3 major GSQR changes.

Other tanks like the Abrams, Leopard and Challengers have gone through THE SAME CHANGES OVER THE SAME TIMELINE....

they were all 105 mm upgraded to 120 with armor...

you had the M1, then M1A1, then M1A2... Similarly for the Leopard

Leopard-->Leopard 2--->Leo 2A--> all the way to present Leo2E.

Merkava: Merkava 1 to 4..

The only difference is that these tanks were entered into service.. problems and all...

If the same was done with Arjun, then we would be calling the program an upgrade program, which is what they are doing now.

You guys make it look like we haven't even got a prototype after 30 years.

Anonymous said...

Shiv, If you are interested, please see following how much time US spent on Abrams

Designed in the 1970's by the Land Systems Division of the General Dynamics Corporation in response to the U.S. Army's MBT-70 program, the first M1 rolled off the assembly line in 1978. After two years of acceptance trials, the first of these vehicles was delivered to the US Army on February 28, 1980. By 1985, evaluations of field service had prompted the first modification requests, and production shifted to the M1A1. The first M1A1's were delivered to units in August of 1985. The Army has converted 368 older M1s to M1A2s. An additional 580 M1s are being upgraded to A2s under a five-year contract awarded in FY1996, with a total of 998 M1 upgrades planned. In 1999 the Army began upgrading M1s to the M1A2 System Enhancement Program (SEP) configuration. The SEP embeds digitization capabilities inside the Abrams’ electronic architecture, eliminating the requirement for electronic appliques.

1978 - USA M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank
Armament: 1- 105mm M68A1 rifled gun
1 - 7.62mm MG coaxial
1-0.5"AA MG
Engine: Avco Lycoming AGT 1500, turbine, multi-fuel
1500 hp
Speed: 45 mph (Governed)
Range: 300 miles
Crew: 4
Weight: approx. 67 tons

1985 -USA Abrams M1A1 MBT

Armament: 1 - 120mm smooth bore cannon M256
2 - 7.62mm MG M240
1- 0.50 caliber M2 MG
Engine: Lycoming Textron, AGT-1500, multi-fuel
turbine, 1500 hp
Transmission: Allison X-TIOO-3B with 4 forward, 2 reverse gears
Speed: 42 mph (Governed)
Range: 289 miles
Crew: 4
Weight: 67 tons

1999 - USA M1A2 MBT Abrams
Armament: 1 - 120mm M256 smoothbore gun
1 - 12.7mm (0.50") AA MG
1 - 7.62mm coaxial MG
1 -7.62mm MG on a Skate mount
6 - barreled smoke grenade launchers L8A1
Engine: Avco Lycoming AGT 1500, multi-fuel turbine,
1500 hp
Speed: 45 mph (governed)
Range: 300 miles
Crew: 4
Weight: approx. 60 tons

ajay said...

sir, me been reading your post on this blog particularly Arjun Mbt.its my interest.makes me feel you do not have the real understanding of a modern tank.Very complex.Arjun is more complex in the context of IA.Meaning IA has to develop new doctrines, develop newer traing methods for their crew, train a whole lot of crew for them.IMHO. its a case of "naach na awae to aangan tehere" in lieu of IA. Arjun is at present the best MBT in
in indochina & southasia.IA will have to learn to use it properly.

Anonymous said...

Dear Shiv Aroor,

I read some of your articles. Appreciate your attitude for allowing others to criticize you and you taking that sportingly.

I am a general public, I dont have much understanding about defence & military affairs.

Being said that, I follow several twists and turns happening in the on going dicussion...

As an Indian, I willing to see our desi product, Arjun, getting inducted into our army.

Pls see to that, our wish gets fulfilled in the form of your reports.


Anonymous said...

shiv, the first rule is to not blabber about the wrong things and then claim that they are the truth

you do so all the time

yes u need some engineering sense to UNDERSTAND drdos work or even r&d work

otherwise you are another gasbag like in the media who talk of rising sensex but become red in the face when theyre asked about what the stock market is rising for

u dont have the experience or knowledge to comment but ur an expert !!

34 years for arjun is a joke. and exactly why u journalists should not be allowed into defence without basic knowledge of the topic or commonsense.

the orginal arjun was 40 tons and 105mm, then it became 40 tons plus with 120 then pakistan says import abrams and indian army wants a better than m1a1

drdo has had to throw three designs awaY and start from scratch

in other countries every one of the earlier ones would have been inducted, given a name, and follow on types called variants

only in india we keep changing a project totally but call it the same name since otherwise funding would be also cut by politicians who would buy into people like you and their claims

all sorts of comments about joint ventures that u make...i can say for sure you have never worked in 1 or negotiated for it also..fact is in JV you have to put your own stuff forward...and that can come from only ur own existing project to meet timelines.u chaps say no local stuff only JV, then who will invent the ready items, ?!

Anonymous said...

Hey Shiv,

What happened at Rajasthan? You promised a blog today on problems of Arjun faced in high temps?


sniperz11 said...

Must be having a hard time trying to spin the truth of an Arjun success into one of utter failure.....

Zero said...

Sahi bola sniperz11ji!

Sham Aroor's torission suspension broke.

Anonymous said...

Shiv aroor does not have torsion suspension. He levitates his fat ass using pulsed jet technology and does not walk on the same ground as everyone else. He is above all of you.

Anonymous said...

Basically guys like Shiv Aroor gets to LIE like crazy all over the place to make a living and then if you point out one of them that is so obvious to all, then its 'OOPS Sorry, that was a slip up'. How many other lies that is not no obvious to laymen ? For Eg: "Engine Overheating". We all know Arjun has an engine and that engines do get hot. So there is always a chance that Aroor might be right, yes ? That's how these anti-national bastards make their living, selling their mother for money.

There must be a 'MFs' club in delhi, Rajat Pandit, Vishal Thapar, Ajay Shukla, Shiv Aroor. I'd like to see their passports and see how many Russian Visas have been stamped on them.

Russia is actually becoming our enemy these days !!! More insidious than the pakis or chinkis.

Shiv Aroor said...

pseudo-jingoistic NRI (or hoping to be!) bile. one of the few joys left in life. think of some new ones you guys. the russian one is a little dry now. really. you sit at computers the whole day in checked shirts, so let's have something new now.

Anonymous said...


most of us have worked all over the world. we dont need to be nris to see through you--- so tell us who put u upto the drdo article but for shekhar gupta? so whos the nri wannabe..what did he offer u? make u bureau chief,lol?

Anonymous said...

Mr Aroor, I'm a self made millionaire who came up from humble origins and made my money in India.

People like me are your biggest problem. We believe in India and Indians. We believe this country gives opportunities to those who work hard. People like you who think the only thing india is good for is to tear it up in parcels and sell to the highest bidder are our mortal enemies. You may think everyone who has an internet connection and can type in english is a young NRI (or wannabe as you call it). You would be surprised how many middle aged entreprenuers and business managers in India are aware of the lobbies that work againt india and are quietly doing what they can to stop it. We may not be as vociferous and public as you are given that we need to do an honest day's work for our living, but you are very well known in India perhaps even more than abroad.

One of these days when there is enough critical mass to make a formal move, your name along with a few others will make the top of the list.

Do you really think you can forever work againt the nation while living here and not get pushed back ?

I hope your and your's IT returns are impeccable, because that's where the trouble would start.

Mihir Shah said...

Shiv>> pseudo-jingoistic NRI (or hoping to be!) bile.

WTF? You appreciated criticism, right?

Anonymous said...


Why do you feel the need to respond to comments like "selling your mother.." etc :-D

@@ mihir, "selling your mother" is not criticism, its invective, that too invective that hides behind anonymity. :-)

I disagree with Shiv's coverage and I think its slanted against DRDO. I also think that Shiv is not appreciative enough of hurdles faced in developing high tech. products indigenously.

At the same time, I dont think this is a reason to be so uncivil.


Anonymous said...

I agree with anoy above,
Posters here dont need to drop to such a level,where they might have to use such statements.
Posters who believe in the abilities of Arjun, I believe have lot of strong points which can help in the debate.

The effort is to try to let Shiv understand there is always a alterbative side of a story.

What would be your comments on this

Anonymous said...


Stop the Press!!!

Indian Army Satisfied With Arjun MBTs Performance

It can't be, it can't be, how is this possible, all the horror stories about 34 years of development by DRDO. It is impossible, I say. DRDO delivering quality equipments to IA and IAF, it can only happen in fairy tale.

Let the conspiracy theory pour in, I am absolutely looking forward to the lobbyist working overtime to get something together. I mean how can they allow this. Were they sleeping all this while? Sigh... I am gutted, to allow the infidel DRDO to succeed.... blasphemy I say, blasphamy !!!!

Sniperz11 said...

There is absolutely no reason to badmouth anyone. Just because this is the internet doesn't mean its a free for all...

Not only is some of the language used here by anonymous posters uncouth and uncivilized to the worst degree, it serves absolutely no purpose but to show that the posters who do so are little better than computer literate primates.

Mr. Aroor may be wrong, he may have an axe to grind, he may just be posting what he feels, and though we may not agree with him, it is the purpose of this blog and us to convery others to our PoV, logically, civilly and calmly. Insults serve no purpose in continuing an informative dialogue.

Anonymous said...

Shiv should begin addressing the people he is referring to... what say? Otherwise simple ol' me gets konphoojed

- Mihir

Zero said...

That India-defence is as guilty as Shiv Aroor.

I read this news first in frontier

look here. I think. Look at the sentences used. The sentences are consistent with flamboyent sentence make of

I dot understand why people like india-defence and shiv aroor don't have brains :(

Shiv Aroor said...

mihir, sudeep, yes, i do need to start addressing my comments. and seriously, invective isn't such a bad thing -- at least it means the commenter has a bit of passion (if nothing else!), but when it takes the form of half-baked threats, it's just tiresome.

Shiv Aroor said...

oh and mihir, WTF, of course i appreciate criticism. if i didn't i wouldn't have set this thing up.

Anonymous said...


May 08 today, aswamedha completed, may I know what was its results in regard to arjun.
Your promised info is already 5 days late and I am still waiting


Sniperz11 said...

JJ Singh had stated that the performance would be analyzed and the results obtained by 5th... He never said that the results would be released.

It would probably take a week for the Army to figure out what exactly happened, and give a press conference. Plus, it will certainly take some more time to analyze the Arjun's performance by itself.

Wait and Watch.

Anonymous said...

Invective is a nice word. When criminals hide behind the law to terrorize citizens, after a point encounters are officially sanctioned. A press that has been given unlimited freedom (a necessity for democracy) can be (is) misused against the nation by people like Mr Aroor. After a certain point its advisable to target such individuals through a process that involves a section of responsible office bearers but acting outside the strict confines of conventional law rather than continue to reason with those who count every web hit as another paisa in their pocket.

While senior editors may be so embedded in the system that they may be difficult to uproot without hurting the system, a lot of good can be done by curtailing the the second class goons like Mr Aroor who form their workforce.

Zero said...

I complained to Frontier India. I was right

8 May, 2007, (FIDSNS)

Its has come to the notice of Frontier India Technology (FIT), the parent company of Frontier India Defence News Service (FIDSNS), that, is illegaly using FIDSNS content with some modification .

For example


FIT requests not to continue the same. FIT has invested manpower, time and money for the same.

If not followed, india-defence should consider this as first official warning.

Frontier India Technology

Anonymous said...

Hi Shiv,
Is it possible for you to verify what Denil has said above regarding the number of Arjuns fielded for the games were 13.

Anonymous said...

its been a whole week, waiting for your promised report on Arjun post war games. you promised Sir, try keeping that promise.waiting

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

34 years to build Arjun is just a over stated comment passed again and again to thrash DRDO hoping it will run for cover. This point has been over played to an extent inconceivable.

We should consider the fact that we do not have a recent culture of building weapons, I mean the last two centuries. If you look back other countries like Russia, America, Germany etc. has build in weapons serially the experimental tanks and planes build itself would run into thousands.

Where in India can to build a 20th century MBT without having anything to look back. It is not like going forward from where you have build the last one. It is about building it from oblivion.

The truth is only 17 years has passed after the latest GSQR was submitted to DRDO.

The latest GSQR for MBT based on M1A1 Abrams was submitted to the DRDO in 1990. DRDO fulfilled the GSQR with a product that has same capability of M1A1 Abrams with 10 ton less weight. Arjun is ready now. DRDO has done a commendable job in just 17 years!!!!!!!!

I think you understand now. If you are purposefully feigning ignorance of this fact then, no one can help it. Many of us believe so, just because the way you have carried out writing on certain issues in your journalist career.

It is not about criticizing you; it is about a suspicion of a nefarious design that reflects in your articles. A purposeful suppression of facts or ignoring the achievements, repeatedly highlighting set backs even if they have been resolved way back.

Every time a new GSQR is placed, that is the date on which the development of that project begins. When you have a set of new requirements then, even if you have received an entirely different requirement earlier and worked on it for considerable time, you have to strap it and start from the beginning.

Ask any engineer, software professional, for the matter ask any one in a professional who develops a product. It is not just like writing an article in one day believing your unscrupulous sources, not even caring to take time to double check and verify the facts.

In just 17 years you have an MBT with world class Armor.
Kachan armor itself is proved its mettle. Only MBT that can rival in the armor is the Challenger tank with Chobham Armor. Now we have NERA armor!!!!! to add to it.
120 mm rifle gun that has now proved its accuracy beyond doubt.
World class FCS !!!!!- Apparently from France.
Pneumatic suspension - one of it's kind in the world!!!!! - Providing riding comfort of Rolls Royce.
Well we have an engine of 1400 HP - good enough. 1500 HP would have been better.
Self-diagnostic system
Battle management system

Well not bad at all. For one, it is too good. Well-done DRDO!!!!!!!

US and Israel is interested in the Armor technology. Shiv, are you aware of it? Ummm...

Leakage problems with pneumatic suspension was fixed years ago - (You are acting as if you do not know it. When you need to trash about a product, you need to repeat again and again the problem the product faced years ago. When you tell a lie repeatedly there will be people who believe it is the truth).

Smooth bore gun changed to 120 mm rifle gun - reports as I have read from various sources about this gun has been excellent. 15 out of 17 in stationary position and 17 out of 17 while in the move.

Years ago we had a problem with the rubber pad on the tracks being pulled of the tracks - Shiv, do you believe it still exist. Please, tell me .....

Tracks are now produced by L&T

Army does not know what they want. First of all they should have a for sight..... . They should setup a department just to foresee the requirements of future weapons. Out of the box thinking is required.

Matter of fact improvement of armor, FCS, Self-diagnostic system, Battle management system; ride comfort is not possible because they are already the best. Yes, improvement is of course possible but for future.

In 2-3 years 1500 HP diesel engine will also be indigenously produced.

Weight of the Tank is another aspect, which has been repeatedly pointed as a drawback of this tank. Let me know which tank in the world does not weight 60 tons. Is there any?

Weight of M1A2 68.7 tons. The latest Leopard weights 60 tons. Leclerc weights 56 tons. Leclerc is considered to be of the best mobile mbt of the lot. All of them have gone for armor sacrificing mobility. Army wants a MBT with a real potent armor. With the kind of anti tank missiles we have now, it is improbable to have a tank that weights 45-50 Tons with an effective armor. It is simple if you need armor compromise on mobility to or to gain mobility compromise on armor. With the kind of Armor Arjun has got you cannot ask it to fly like a T-80 or T-90 tanks.

T-80UM2 "Black Eagle" build by KBTM design bureau in Omsk is not going to be inducted in the Russian Army. The new object - 95 (T-95 - currently build in Uralvagonzavod plant) would be 50 plus ton tank with a very large smoothbore tank gun of reportedly 135mm or 152mm calibre, in a remotely controlled mount. This would be the first Russian tank, which gives priority to the Crew protection, because the crew compartment is separated from the ready ammunition supply. Seats for the driver, gunner and commander are in a special armored capsule, separated by an armored bulkhead from the automatic loader and turret.

I am surprised about the fact that, there are still people out there claiming that the Arjun MBT is over weight. There is no basis for this argument.


Anonymous said...

I meant to say to build the 21th century Tank

Shiv Aroor said...

anon: wow long comment. i think there's an element of truth on both sides. there are problems with the tank that need sorting out, and these are problems that only full fledged productionisation can solve. the army wants to keep testing, DRDO wants to deliver and iron out through liaison (there has to be a compromise somewhere). and half-wits like chacko joseph of frontier india spending four days with the MBT think they "understand" it. wow.

Teews said...

:) I would like to think that Shiv and Chacko are two sides of the same coin. Just at the extreme ends of the line :)

Anonymous said...

chacko is more honest than aroor. way more honest. i get a feeling that aroor loathes chacko because the latter doesnt pull his punches and says it as it is. aroor otoh couldnt distinguish between an arjun or a t-72 if both were shown to him on a red carpet ride.

Zero said...

Shiv Aroor is jelous of chacko joseph for this

Arjun Mk2 -
The Futuristic MBT

Shiv cannot understand Mk1, Chacko is already in Mk2.

True, these two guys are extreme ends.