Monday, July 07, 2008

Exclusive: Faced with stubborn Army, DRDO hunts for third party quality inspector for Arjun MBT

It's been a sombre week for the Arjun main battle tank. Last week, the Army's DG Mechanised Forces Lt Gen Dalip Bharadwaj said that the Army would place no further orders beyond the 124 already indented for with the Heavy Vehicles Factory (HVF) at Avadi. That alone has been the cherry on top for a morbid quarter for the tank programme. The Army is still stubbornly resistant to comparative trials of the Arjun with the T-90 and T-72. And earlier this year, the tank's gearbox failed during accelerated usage cum reliability trials at Pokhran. It now appears that the DRDO has lost faith in the Army as well.

According to my sources at Avadi, the CVRDE is now scouting for a "third party quality assurance agency" to undertake the inspection and quality assurance of the manufacture of the running gear, hydro-pneumatic suspension and track adjuster, manufactured by BEML, Kirloskar Pneumatic Company (KPC) Limited and KGF respectively.

Currently, CVRDE is the "inspecting authority" of all tanks produced by HVF. But it appears convinced that an outside certificate of approval is now necessary as a last ditch effort to persuade an obstinate Army. The agency will be identified by next month following a tender process -- the agency can be Indian or foreign.

The uproar over Arjun continues limitlessly, but one thing is clear. There is still no clear logic from the Army about why it refuses to conduct the promised comparative trials of the Arjun with the two Russian types. Enough has been said about the rationale, so I won't say more, though the clamour has gotten louder, and it's making the Army (or at least some of its generals) look like it's/they've got something to hide.


Mihir said...
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Mihir said...

I'm happy that the tamasha is finally over. The DRDO should now say .|.. to the Army when it asks for A/Cs for its "modern and futuristic" T-90s

Anonymous said...

Probably, T tanks have some hidden capability which Army doesn't want to be open.

Anonymous said...

Yeah like it can fly supersonic and also be fully submerged. I can only pity the T90 crew when it enters the narrow alleys of Karachi facing ATGMs from all quarters. It would be "game over" for the tank even before it started. BTW, Shiv can you ask Lt. Gen Bharadwaj, If Arjun is not "futuristic" why not import some other western MBT like chaly/leopard/M1A2. Right now every country is dying to do business with us and rake in the moolah. Why this chai-biskoot seminar tamasha ?

Anonymous said...

Looks like the Indian army is shamelessly corrupt. In full glare of the public eye, they have the cheek to refuse the Arjun MBT, even after the tank has proven itself at almost every test, and from what we hear, the end users, the soldiers themselves love the tank. And then the army talks about 'izzat'? Izzat for the corrupt? And let's not even get into what the IA has been up to in Africa.

Anonymous said...

as if the army will be convinced by this stunt. waste of time if you ask me.

Rahul said...

Ts have already shown their might in afghanistan(soviet invasion), OP Desert storm, OP Iraqi freedom by flying in air(in metal pieces).
Gone are the days when MBTs were meant for desert/open area warfare. Urban is the new word for MBTs. Where a MBT may have to stand still for plus-24 hrs. As 'Anti-Tank' infantry weapons had shifted from cheap chinki RPGs to MP-ATGMs like spike. Death of a 'T' and its poor crew(packed as animals) will be a hit away!

Gaurab Arka Chaudhuri said...

I think the Army Brass is being pressurised by the Russians to buy more T's and hence this desperate attempt to discredit the Arjuns.
I agree that the the T is a gr8 tank, but the Arjun is better.

Anonymous said...

The Ts are great machines but they are riddled with inadequacies as the last few years have shown. overheating problems, range finger glitches, you name it. we should not jump to praise the Ts just because of their long op record. in an urban scenario, the arjun would still be far superior, considering troop comfort and protection. an mk2 of the arjun, if the army would ever allow it, would be one amazing tank. but who will give these chaps a chance i wonder.

Anonymous said...

such a tragedy that the army will not buy more than 124. what the hell is 124 tanks? two regiments worth? it is embarassing and a real whack in the face of all the years and toil gone into making an indian tank. this is a sad day for indian defence modernisation. i agree with one of the previous commenters. someone has become rich endorsing further purchases from moscow. there can be no other explanation. regds, jcd

Anonymous said...

There is at least one gentleman with qualification to pass the quality control of Arjun MBT, our own Col Shukla :mrgreen: .

Mr. Shukla has become the new defender of DODO after having said this about Arjun;
[quote]fundamental views of the Arjun's flaws (posted on Bharat-Rakshak years ago) remain unchanged. Especially my views that:

The tank suffers from a hybrid design where several major components have been bought off-the-shelf and slapped together into a tank.

]Has this changed today...??? It still is the mish mash of different pieces slapped together.
The tank suffers from a high profile, high visibility, high vulnerability to helicopter, ATGM and tank attack from ranges beyond which it can pick up those enemies.

Does it become low profiled today??
The issue of translating a prototype into a production line remains beset with Quality Control problems.

What did you saw between then and now???
Strategic mobility remains a major problem for the Arjun.

Oh now is it the flying tank Mr Shukla??
If the tank does not perform well in trials, it should be shelved and categorised a technology demonstrator, rather than shoved down the throats of the army.
This is exactly the Army has consistantly saying-- Arjun is not performing well in trials, not that it denying that a rookie can hit the target

Anonymous said...

Why have you mentioned 'exclusive' at the top, Shiv? Didn't all the newspapers also carry this story recently !

Anonymous said...

It is the attitude that worries me. Instead of working in tandem with DRDO, they tend to wait till the product is done, then call is troublesome or delayed.

Foreign companies may also be behind the scenes, bribing the army to keep indigenous efforts out. I would suggest a through CBI probe into the assets of these army top brass.

Third party evaluation wont make a difference(Even if Arjun proves to be much better) because you can never force a customer. In this case, customer IS literally God - he is saving a billion lives standing on the border.

Anonymous said...

It's okay to build a cut-and-paste weapons system. It's only the end product that matters. In other words, so what if Arjun is a cut and paste of systems from here and there? (Indian armor, German engine, French FCS) If you do it properly, the end product can still be very good. Isn't this what the Navy has been doing for many years, engineering large ships based on off-the-shelf items brought from different countries? You start there, then you attempt to replace all foreign components with Indian ones...

Anonymous said...

The arjun is a survivable tank with good firepower. In philosophy it is akin to the centurion tank that saved India's bacon in '65 and '71 wars. India had only 4 regiments of centurions but they sufficed. It could take punishment , good gunnery, accurate and good ammunition penetration. come on folks wake up!!!! The army of the plains and desert will be more enabled with 'The Arjun'. If the Arjun is at 60 tons the Centurion at 56 tons was not far behind and no one complained about mobility!! The objections to the Arjun are inane and unprofessional (and amusing). The gentleman may not have sat on a tank long enough to learn his beans about tank warfare. Is SOMEONE out there listening and watching out for our collective wellbeing????