Tuesday, December 06, 2011

EXCLUSIVE: India's Arjun Tank In Army's Biggest Wargame

I will be posting longer on the Arjun, but I know a lot of you wanted to know what they looked like in deployment. (Note the large pixellated digi-camo). For now, let me tell you what 21 Corps commander Lt Gen Sanjiv Langer said when I asked him if the regiment under his formation was happy with the Arjun: "It is not our job to be happy. We have objectives, and we have to make do. Nothing is everything you want it to be. I can say that the Arjun has matured. It has gone beyond the point of being in incessant trials. It is inducted and operational now, as you saw in the exercise. But what we are really waiting for is the Arjun Mk.2."

Here's the sobering point though: this week, celebrates the 40th anniversary of the 1971 war. It was a year after this war that the Arjun project began -- started specifically to give India a home-built battle tank it could manufacture in large numbers so that there would never again be a deficit of armour. With 124 Arjuns with the Army, and another 124 of the Mk.2 in the pipeline, we're talking a total of 248 tanks -- embarrassingly less than the intended figure of at least 2,000 that had initially been hoped for. That's rough going. Let's hope the Mk.2 is everything the Arjun was not. And more.

More soon.

Photos / Shiv Aroor



50 comments :

Manu said...

Thanks for these amazing pics of Arjun MBT.

Cheers

Anonymous said...

Finally I see the Arjun in action.

Thank you Shiv Ji for posting these photos of Arjun.

vinod said...

wowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!!!

Anonymous said...

its Hummer H3 of deserts.

KVR said...

The officer seems to be typically politically correct. The photos look good but multi crore question - is it doing what its supposed to do or is still 'waiting for Mk2'?

IamBob said...

Now that's a proper piece of machinery right there...
Good work shiv!

Anonymous said...

That doesn't inspire a lot of confidence in a home grown product. How about the trials for the tin can T-90 ? I only hope when Arjun MK-2 comes around I don't hear that Corps Commander is looking forward to wet dream called FMBT.
Thanks a ton Shiv for those pictures. You made my day. How many Arjuns did you see deployed in the operations ?

Anonymous said...

All I can say I am speechless. Wonderful. At first glance it doesn't look bulky at all, more like a sniper. Good job.

Anonymous said...

Ah, come on Shiv. If you watermark so much, how will Mr. Oh-so-naive Geopolitics editor "write" articles...

DHRUV said...

you have watermarked alll the images in between, it spoils the image.ur tag at the bottom was enough.can't even make it my desktop background.
thou a nice job..............
would hav been great if it was crusing down the desert jut lk one of t72 u posted here:)

sents said...

Good pics.Is arjun mk2 getting a indigenous engine?

Anonymous said...

Clearly, the officer does not appear to be satisfied with the tank in its present form.

panic said...

Do we need the Watered Down T90 anymore, we have the Tank Hunter Arjun MBT.
Eagerly Waiting for Mk2.

Anonymous said...

please dont watermark image 1,8 adn 9

Black Hawk said...

I am totally disappointed!

The Arjuns carry the red flag which I think means that they are mimicking enemy tanks (Shiv please confirm if I am right or wrong).

The army is just using these tanks as showpieces. They are not being used as integral elements of our strike formations.

Jith said...

Thanks a lot Shiv

Anonymous said...

It appears DRDO has assembled Arjun to satisfy their egoes rather than to be fighting machine for a user. It is finally the user who has to ditermine if a periclualr piece of assembled machine can fulfill their mission fulfilment requirement.

The way all "shisys" of Gen Saraswat are pushing Arjun out of sheer prejudices and potraying the users in the bad light is not good for the prospects of Arjun.

Plain and simple.

There is nothig in Arjun which DRDO can claim to be their own. For user it does not even has emotional value except for a name, perhaps. Saraswats Arjun is unneccesarily trying to compare with Guru Drona's Arjun.

Anonymous said...

Hi! Thanks for the images. I agree with Dhruv, i would be nice to have them with little less intrusive watermark. Cheers - gred

Gourish said...

Danke..

Mr. Ra said...

Arjun arrives and the Big Bang occurs...

Shiv Aroor said...

I hate watermarking photos too. Unfortunately, I don't have a choice. Too many of my photos are lifted and used on other sites (and magazines!) without a credit and backlink (both fair use norma). Until a time when my photos aren't stolen, we're going to have to live with watermarks, sadly. It's a bad world :(. There are commercial magazines and journals that steal my photos, and that is unacceptable, since Livefist is completely free. I'm sure you guys understand.

Mr Singh said...

Shiv

Thank you for the pictures please carry on the good work and i hope other people understand its no nice feeling when your property is stolen and thats why we have locks on our houses and Shiv is doing same for his goods to be protected.

We dont need more thiefs like Mr Prakash Nanda.

Sameer said...

Watermarking is fine but you can at least change the style. You should look for portions with rich texture so that removing watermark is near impossible, but at the same time you should spare the object.

For example, in first image, you could have placed watermark little lower and over the sand from where it would be really difficult to remove while sparing the Arjun (placing watermark on sky would be useless). You might argue that someone can still lasso out the object. But if you choose to be cynical, I think there is no end to it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Shiv,

great pics. hope u could see some firing... ask them abt Arjun's move and fire capabilities...

Anonymous said...

I don't see any ERA??!!....its a sitting duck without it.

Anonymous said...

wow .... they look damn good ....

Akash.. said...

Thanks a lot shiv.. You really made me Happy.. :) please post some video if you have....

Rohan said...

Good to see the indigenous Arjun being part of the Army's offensive excercises...

for those who are critical, I want to remind you that when Kia and Hyundai first came out with the cars, they could not even go up a slope without difficulty...my friend's first Kia broke its axle within the first year.


Developing capability is an incremental process and there are various stages of maturity before you reach the stage of having a world class product.

Anonymous said...

Hi Shiv,
Beautiful pictures.
But it raises few questions.
Any WW2 documentary or Top 10 Tanks list, we see T-34 as the best tank. One main reason was its sloped edges. I fail to see any similar slopes on Arjun. Compare it with any modern tanks and you see its turret missing slopes. Its like a big block over block. Slopes help increase the available thickness. Is this a known exclusion from Arjun? or did DRDO/ARDE made a blunder? Any insights on this can be helpful.

Thanks

Anonymous said...

Anom @1:33

If Arjun having straight face is DRDO blunder, then the maker of T-34, the Russian might have made even bigger blunder.

T-90 also has a straight faced, boxed turret!

The slope you see on T-90 is ERA bricks.

And guess what both have composite armour, one reason for "not being slopped".

Anonymous said...

I don't see any armor on the tank even though these are the final product delivered to army.

Anonymous said...

anon @ 9.09 pm you seem to think ERA is the mai-baap of all armor protection. May I remind you that the Arjun survived a direct hit because of it's Kanchan composite armor. True, the Arjun MK-2 is getting ERA panels in addition to the Kanchan but if you think ERAa are the be-all end all protection you need read this post from Ajai Shukla and think again:
http://ajaishukla.blogspot.com/2008/08/t-72-vulnerability-again-illustrated-in.html

Those unfortunate T-72s had the ERA jewellery on them. I'm glad Arjuns are playing the role of aggressors because that's exactly the hunter killer role they'll be employed for.

Shiv, as far your comment goes that"Let's hope the Mk.2 is everything the Arjun was not" that'll hold as long as the army doesn't keep shifting the goal posts and becomes a full fledged stake holder with CVRDE instead of pretending to be a hard ass'ed customer (I wish the Army showed the same spine standing up to the T-90 bull shit of the Russians)

Ram said...

Very good pictures Shiv. Atlast the Arjun is in an exercise. Do go ahead with the water marking, However see if you can reduce the size of the Watermark in the form of a seal and have it in two or three places in the image.

Generic Troll said...

What? No sloped turret?

Why do those crew-members look like unprofessional uncles?

Etc...

Anonymous said...

Sloped Edges on the turrent
- Sorry if you misunderstood my comment, but when i said block over block, i did not mean ERA blocks, but i meant that whole tank looks like a small cuboid over a big cuboid.

If you see pics of any other tank like T-90, T-72, M1A1 Abrams, Challenger 2, Leopard, Merkava 4, you would see that front face of the turrent is sloped.

This helps deflect the tank shells better than a flat face.

Arjun might have a kanchan composite armour or ERA blocks, but this looks more like a basic feature to be designed.

Constructive arguments are appreciated than stupid replies.

JJ said...

Anonymous @1:52:

For sloped armour to be effective, the projectile has to hit the tank at a certain angle. Even with straight armour plates, most projectiles fired will hit it at an angle instead of hitting it straight on as most people think. Also, you should read something about how different kinds of armours work.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 1:52

Tanks like Abrahams, Leo, Merk have slopped turret because of the material which makes it's armour. They heavily use steel, hence providing a slopped surface for a projectile gives more steel depth.

Composite armor don't follow that concept. Take a example of a bullet flying through a layer of steel,jelly,water,air and then steel. The bullet will have different velocity based on the material it is traveling in, just like sound! Pure Physics.

The concept of composite is to provide such a combination that the projectile slow down considerably. A slopped armour will brake the composite,rather than entering through individual layers. Check the turret structure of T-90 and Chally.



Let us no assume makers of Arjun are that stupid.

Why ERA? gives protection against a exploding shell,where composites by default is not ideal.

Anonymous said...

JJ,

Why should I read when I already know everything.

Sarcasm aside, why is the whole "sloped armor" thing still continuing? People who are actually interested in armor and are commenting here should by now understand that armor, especially composite armor is very complex business and not a case of slapping on steel sheets.

How about this, people who are convinced that sloped armor is better than flat armor by XX% should just read up on composite armor before commenting. Small task what say?

No offense intended but please do not assume that you are some genius who has figured out that if armor thickness is "X" and by sloping it by angle "y" you present a greater thickness of "X/cos y". There is a lot more to armor design now in this age of long rod penetrators.

Anonymous said...

anonymous..
dead wrong, M1 does not have a sloped face due to it's composition of steel. Chobham armor is ceramics, kevlar, and in the case of U.S. M1's DU as well.

Gautam said...

The Abrams, LeClerc etc also have composite armor: Just clarifying. The sloped outer surface is still advantageous no matter what the armor type.

The upgraded Russian T-90SM also has sloped reactive armor.

IamBob said...

I'm sure then can add sloped armor later on. German Lepopard has a very similar design to the Arjun and use to be "blocky" too. But in the later version of the Tank they seem to have added sloping armor.

Anonymous said...

Let me see if I understand it correctly:

Sloped Armor advocates here want the Arjun to follow the Leopard example and strap on more armor and increase the weight further?

AND

Go for a complete redesign of the sights because they will have to be moved to the top like the Leopards as the new armor will obstruct the view. Guess how long a redesign of the turret will take.

And now to make for a sensible discussion, can we please have someone tell us what theoretical advantage in terms of penetration millimetres and what practical advantage in terms of scenarios will such a costly exercise provide.

Karthik Soundarajan said...

Arjun looks like the boss out there. Its just massive and awesome. I hope we can beat the South Koreans in the tank market and sell a few of these.

IamBob said...

To the genius (sarcasm) at 2:08:
I doubt a few plates of armor would significantly affect the weight to power ratio.

And if that change makes the Arjun better, then I don't care if it means "redesign of the sights."

Clearly, winning the fight, the battle, or the war is more important than the inconvenience of adding on a few more plates.

Leopard before: http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/land/row/leopard-2a4-kl5.jpg

Leopard after: http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/land/row/leopard-2a5-kl19.jpg

If the Germans could do it, why not India?

Anonymous said...

Hello Bob,

Im the genius :) Actually I'm not (Surprise!!) which is why I'd still need somebody to explain what effect the addition of "a few plates"(what weight?) will have on the penetration resistance of the turret. Please see if you can express that in either percentage or effective millimetres of steel.

Which prevalent weapons or expected weapons is the Arjun currently vulnerable to, that the addition of such sloped armor will make it resistant?

Lastly, it might just be a matter of us having a slightly different attitudes to life, but rather than asking, "Why cant we do it if the Germans did it?", I'm more likely to ask, "Do we need to do it? what is the gain and what is the cost?"

I really think that the logic of, "Lets do it coz the Germans did it", or "I THINK sloped armor must be really awesome", is very very weak. I hope I can find a better reason for why we should embark on a time consuming and energy sapping journey of redesigning the Arjun turret.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bob,

Genius here again :)

A quick glance at composite armor gives me these snippets from Wikipedia (please put forth counter arguments from more reliable sites if you disagree with quoting Wikipedia):

"Ceramic tiles draw little or no advantage from sloped armour as they lack sufficient toughness to significantly deflect heavy penetrators. Indeed, because a single glancing shot could crack many tiles, the placement of the matrix is chosen so as to optimise the chance of a perpendicular hit, a reversal of the previous desired design feature for conventional armour. Ceramic armour normally even offers better protection for a given areal density when placed perpendicularly than when placed obliquely, because the cracking propagates along the surface normal of the plate" (From the wikipedia section on Chobham Armor)

Here is another quote:
"Another development decreasing the importance of the principle of sloped armour has been the introduction of ceramic armour in the seventies. At any given area density, ceramic armour is also best when mounted more vertically, as maintaining the same area density requires the armour be thinned as it is sloped and the ceramic fractures earlier because of its reduced normal thickness." (From the wikipedia section on sloped armor)

So it seems like even for the Leopard, the main protection comes from the composite/spaced armor which is flat and slab sided, with the add on sloped armor providing some additional protection. Now if someone could point out what the MAGNITUDE of this extra protection is, then we could have a better idea of whether it is worth going for the extra weight and the extra time and the extra expenditure. Remember that the Indian Army's main problem with the Arjun is weight, and now maybe even the cost.

Now I beg you to not say, "Well the Germans must be idiots then, they didn't read wikipedia". Please contribute.

Anonymous said...

JUST A THOUGHT

Turret Arjun with gun and thermal image
Base t-90 with more power ful engine
think.......

IamBob said...

Re: Genious
I'm not an Engineer or Scientist. I have no idea how or if adding sloping armor on the Arjun will make it safer or better. All I am saying is that if it does indeed improve the Arjun, then they should do it.

Anonymous said...

Bob,

It was not my intent to put you in a spot.

Lots of people are clamoring for sloped armor in here. So much so that this desire to see sloped armor has translated into - "Arjun doesn't have sloped armor, therefore it is an obsolete piece of crap"

The problem is that when enough people say it, then it becomes the accepted wisdom. Subsequently if somebody comes along and says that composite armor is much superior to traditional armor and that it works best when it is not sloped in order to offer a perpendicular face to the projectile, then he is ridiculed and dismissed.

I have urged everybody to do a basic read on composite armor and sloped armor and how they resist KE penetrators, HEAT rounds, ATGM rounds etc.

Finally I'd request everybody to kindly think for a minute about how 60 tons of the latest armor is useless unless you add 4.5tons of sloped steel sheets. The 4.5tons is what the Leopard 2A5 has as the add-on sloped armor.

Please, think.

iambob said...

^Well, well....
I hate to say I told you so (I actually don't hat it, in-fact, I'm gonna do a bit of gloating here), but I told you so!

http://img339.imageshack.us/img339/2564/imgarjun2crop2.jpg

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Im0iro9i0Uk/T50_Zo1OoWI/AAAAAAAAP-c/fPZEstrFi7s/s1600/Arjun+Mk+II+graphic.jpg

What do you have to say for yourself now?
:)