Friday, August 10, 2012

India's Arjun Mk.2 Tank Revealed

By Atul Chandra
FORCE Magazine

Avadi, Chennai: After more than three decades of development, India’s Arjun Main Battle Tank (MBT) has literally emerged like a phoenix from the ashes, surprising even its most sceptical observers. Last year, the Arjun outgunned the Indian army’s T-72 and T-90 MBT’s, when trials were conducted with the respective units putting up their best tanks and personnel.

FORCE visited the Combat Vehicles Research & Development Establishment (CVRDE) for an exclusive insight into the programme. We learnt that while the Arjun Mk-2 is substantially improved and more capable than the Arjun Mk-1; it is too heavy, limiting areas where it can be deployed by the Army. And that renders it unsuitable for the army’s operational requirements for a Main Battle Tank (MBT). According to P Sivakumar, Director CVRDE, “the weight of the Arjun prevents it from being deployed in all the areas required by the Army”.

Keeping this in mind, the Arjun Mk-2’s improved performance seems to have put the Army in a spot. What does one do with a tank that is fast, can shoot accurately on the move and is relatively well protected but is too heavy to be deployed in the deserts near the Pakistan border as a replacement for the T-72 or T-90? Paradoxically, while the tank itself has demonstrated high speed and mobility, its weight precludes it from being able to operate anywhere the army wants it to. The Arjun Mk-2 will weigh around 67 tonnes and this fatally limits the tank’s operational effectiveness for the Indian Army.

The tank is too heavy to be deployed across the border with Pakistan. It is unable to effectively traverse terrain filled with natural and/or artificial obstacles. Or areas criss-crossed with rivers and canals. That rules out most places in Rajasthan, Punjab and the mountainous terrain of the J&K sector.

This has forced the army to identify areas where the Arjun can safely be deployed and its operational units based. This probably means the Arjun will not fight alongside the T-90s and T-72s. It will certainly not be part of the Indian Army’s strike corps formations, as it could get bogged down in unfamiliar terrain. This runs counter to the philosophy of armoured formations, which are designed for mobile offensive operations deep inside enemy territory. Unlike the T series tanks that have been airlifted to high altitudes like Leh and even out of the country, the Arjun cannot be airlifted by the IL-76 and C-130 J transports of the Indian Air Force (IAF). The C-17 Globemaster to be inducted by the Indian Air Force (IAF) has a maximum payload of 75 tonnes — insufficient to airlift the 67 tonne Arjun Mk-2 with attendant support equipment.

During this correspondent’s visit to the CVRDE facility at Avadi in Tamil Nadu, it was evident that despite the best efforts of its highly committed team of designers and scientists, the Arjun is unlikely to ever be ordered in significant quantities by the Indian Army — which fields close to 3,500 tanks in its Order of Battle (ORBAT). The total orders for the Arjun as of today are 240 (124 Mk-1 and 116 Mk-2). For the Army, ordering more tanks would result in it having to devote more resources — something it seems loath to do.

As things stand presently, the first Arjun Mk-2 will roll off the production line at Heavy Vehicles Factory (HVF) Avadi, two and a half years (30 months) after the order is placed. With the orders likely to be finalized towards the end of the year, the first Mk-2 tank will enter operational service in 2016. With HVF Avadi looking at a production rate of 30 tanks a year, all 116 tanks will be delivered by 2020. If work on the Future Main Battle Tank (FMBT) begins now in right earnest, then the first tanks could be ready for operational service circa 2025. Until then, the army would rather soldier on with its T-90 and upgraded T-72 tanks, which in any case have the required infrastructure in terms of training, manufacture and overhaul.

The major improvement in the Arjun Mk-2, is its missile firing capability from the gun barrel. This was demonstrated in 2004, with Israel Aerospace Industries’ (IAI’s) Laser Homing Attack/Anti Tank Missile (LAHAT). But the tank did not have an integrated Laser Target Tracker (LTT) at that point of time. That is now in the final stages of inspection and is being demonstrated to the user. The army has also asked for more types of ammunition on the Mk-2. This includes Thermobaric rounds and Penetration cum Blast rounds that will be developed in India. Thermobaric warheads create a sustained and intense pressure wave, which can be used against bunkers and hardened targets, while causing minimum damage to the surrounding areas. The army has also asked for two types of practice rounds, including blank rounds for ceremonial purposes. These will also reduce wear and tear on the barrel during training. In terms of protection, the Mk-2 will have full frontal Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA) and since commonality was desirable, it will use the same structuring as the T-series. The Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO) is re-developing the explosive element, which is currently Russian, with better protection capability. It is being developed at the High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL). This will be used for the Arjun, T-90 and T-72 tanks. Active Protection Systems (APS) that help evade attack — both by confusing enemy sensors (soft-kill) or by physically destroying incoming warheads (hard-kill) — will also be incorporated on the Mk-2.

The Israeli ‘Trophy’ system is being considered for the Mk-2. There will also be a mine plough to deal with pressure based mines, magnetic mines and tilt based mines. The driver’s seat on the Mk-2 is now suspended from the roof, compared to being fixed to the floor on the Mk-1 — this provides better mine protection capability. With the Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA) and mine plough together weighing 3 tonnes and additional add-ons expected, the MK-2s weight is expected to increase from 62 tonne to 67 tonne. The suspension has been re-designed to handle 70 tonne. To cater to complaints of track shedding, the revised tracks will have an increased horn length (19 mm) and the wheels have become slightly bigger. The tracks are imported from Germany but the rest is indigenous. The engine will remain the same on the Mk-2. With the original power pack on the Mk-1, the final drive catered to a top speed of 72 kmph. For the Mk-2, the final drive has been changed by increasing the reduction ratio from 4.4 to 5.3 and the top speed is now reduced 58.5 kmph but the torque and the force available at the contact between the track and the road has increased which can cater for the increased weight. Despite the increased weight, CVRDE claims that the acceleration is better than the Mk-1, while fuel efficiency remains the same.

The Arjun Mk-2 programme also suffered a severe setback with the unfortunate demise of senior scientist G K Kumaravel a few months ago. Kumaravel died in a road accident, while at Pokhran for trials of the Arjun Mk-2. He was heading the Arjun programme and slated to take over as Director, CVRDE in the future. He had played a crucial role in the developments and system integration of the Arjun MBT Mk II. The Arjun programme will now be led by V Balamurugan. The biggest problem being faced by the Arjun and a fate that is shared by almost all other indigenous programmes, is the small numbers ordered — that precludes investment in the required production and tooling. Sivakumar told FORCE that “Greater numbers are essential for reducing the price, establishing the process, good quality control mechanisms and continuous consistency in production”. This is also the reason he says that orders are a must. The Heavy Vehicles Factory (HVF) has not been producing Arjun MBT’s for two years and lot of the know-how is being lost.

While officials at CVRDE say the Army has been happy with the performance of the Mk-1, FORCE learnt that non-availability of spares is a continuing problem — the usage of spares was greater than anticipated. There have been complaints of track shedding, though CVRDE officials say that’s caused by inexperienced drivers who’re used to the T-72 and T-90. The 120 mm tank gun has been proved on the Mk-1 series and today, the Arjun barrel offers better life when compared to the T series of tanks. There have been barrel issues on a few tanks and a committee is looking into the matter, according to CVRDE officials.

The process of obtaining replacement spares is time consuming, since there are a number of agencies involved. Limited production numbers further exacerbate the problem. Director Sivakumar told FORCE that steps were being taken to tackle this problem and “unlike the Mk-1, where orders for the tank and the Engineering Support Package (ESP) were handled separately, in the Arjun Mk-2 this will be done simultaneously. That will reduce the time taken for delivery of the required items”. According to him, production has improved dramatically and an Israeli firm is now working on computerization of the line.

Meanwhile, the Indian Army is struggling to maintain its ageing fleet of T-72 MBT’s. While the T-72 was acknowledged to be one of the finest Russian tank designs, the ageing tank fleet is now increasingly difficult to maintain. Its small size and cramped turret make it difficult to incorporate the latest technology — like fire control systems, night vision and electronics. Unfortunately for the Army, the T-90 has not proved to be as sterling a performer as its predecessor. A number of glitches have come to the fore and production at HVF has been slow to take off. Russia has also refused to transfer technology related to metallurgy for T-90S gun barrels and armour plates to the HVF.

Despite all that, the Arjun outgunning the T-90 and T-72 in comparative trials, is akin to the Light Combat Aircraft ‘Tejas’, defeating the F-16 in a dogfight! The units that took part in the competition put up their best tanks and crew. The Arjun managed to fare very well. Army sources have freely admitted to FORCE, that there is a mind block with regard to the Arjun, by those who have operated the T series tanks. But they also admit that the Arjun is appreciably more modern in comparison to the T-72 & T-90, in many respects. For example, the Arjun can fire almost twice the number of rounds the T series tanks can, from its main gun.

The Arjun Mk-2 in many ways is what the Arjun Mk-1 should probably have been. Tragically, total orders for the Arjun over the next decade are unlikely to exceed 400 to 500 units including the 240 already ordered, plus other variants like the Armoured Repair and Recovery Vehicle (ARRV), Catapult 130 mm Self Propelled Gun and SP-155 gun chassis. The last refers to a tracked base that was to be mated with a Slovakian gun, in collaboration with Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML). That proposal has already run into rough weather. It remains to be seen if the army will accept such indigenous offerings or prefer to go abroad for proven systems, which can be inducted quickly and in meaningful numbers, to arrest the alarming decline in its armoured and artillery capability.

What is however clear is that continued production and development of the Arjun must be allowed to continue, if critical design, development and production know-how is not to be frittered away. It is also essential to keep the production line functional — through manufacture, repair, overhaul and upgrades, till the Future Main Battle Tank (FMBT) programme begins to gather steam. Keeping this in mind, it is likely that the DRDO will be able to prevail on the army for a few more orders, to enable low-rate production to continue. It is imperative that the DRDO and the Army move faster on the FMBT programme, to ensure that it is ready in time to replace the T-72.

In all, the army’s armour profile through 2015-2020 could comprise of approximately 1700 T-90S, 1800-2000 upgraded T-72M1s, and 250-500 Arjun’s. Surely, prospective orders for the FMBT, which at the very least would be for 1000-1500 tanks, are incentive enough for this to be taken up as a national project. This futuristic tank is unlikely to cost less than Rs 50 crore a piece — the total orders would be worth Rs 50,000 to 75,000 crore.

Fists of Iron: India's
Future Main Battle Tank

The quest to indigenously design and develop a Future Main Battle Tank (FMBT) by the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), must be accorded the status of a national project, if it is to succeed. The prize could be a minimum order of at least a thousand tanks, to replace the Indian Army’s T-72 tanks, starting 2022.

It is more likely that the FMBT will be ready only around 2025. DRDO will require at least a decade to have the first examples ready for trials and then roll out production variants a few years later. While the estimated development cost of Rs 5,000 crore might seem large, the investment would pay itself back many times over. An order for 1000 FMBT’s would be worth Rs 50,000 crore (Rs 50 crore per piece) over two to three decades. It would boost indigenous Tier-1 and Tier-2 industries involved in the programme.

The FMBT at present is expected to be a highly mobile Main Battle Tank (MBT) in the 50-55 tonne class. It would have the latest technology, like advanced materials to keep the weight down, a smooth bore 120 mm main gun capable of firing missiles and advanced munitions, a modern, high powered engine (1800 hp) with state of the art transmission, suspension and running gear. It will incorporate a high level of crew protection, through use of next-generation Active Protection Systems (APS) to supplement its armour protection. It will also provide a high level of situational awareness to the crew through sensors, data links and the ability to operate in a networked battlefield.

While the Army has asked CVRDE to refrain from talking about the programme, work has already begun on the engine development — a good sign for the programme. Interestingly, companies like Renk and AVL have refused to provide consultancy for engine development. The development of the 120 mm smooth bore main gun will also provide its own challenges, in terms of design and weight. Keeping in mind the Israeli involvement in the Arjun programme, it is very likely that Israeli companies will play a vital role in the development of the FMBT.

CVRDE has gained considerable experience in tank design and development with the Arjun and Arjun MK-2 upgrade. Designing a 50 tonne tank with the features demanded by the Army, will be an extremely difficult task. However many of the parts of the FMBT are likely to be indigenous — such as the power pack, suspension and running gear, 120 mm smooth bore main gun, explosive reactive armour (ERA) panels, communication and data link sets. Facilities would have been set up by then for either joint production, or license manufacture of night sights, targeting and fire control systems etc.

INTERVIEW WITH Director, CVRDE, Dr Sivakumar
‘At Present, the Army has Decided to Induct 118 Arjun Mk-2 Tanks Instead of 124’

What is the status of the Arjun Mk-2 programme currently?

The Arjun Mk-1 with a total of 89 improvements decided upon with the Army, is called the Arjun Mk-2. These 89 improvements have been made not only keeping in mind the concerns and issues faced on the Arjun Mk-1 tank but also to cater for future requirements of the army. At present, the army has decided to induct 118 Arjun Mk-2 tanks instead of 124. This is the result of a policy decision that will see the war reserve for all armoured regiments in the future being reduced by three. And so, two regiments of Arjun Mk-2 will be short of six reserve tanks. The indent for 118 tanks is almost in the final stage. The army has said that it will decide if it is satisfied with the Arjun Mk-2, only after the trials (which began last month and are expected to go on for two to three months) are completed. The Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) will require 30 months (2.5 years) from the placement of the order, for the first batch of Arjun Mk-2 to be delivered to the army. The Mk-2 will incorporate all that we learnt while battling issues with the Arjun Mk-1, in terms of production, performance, quality etc. CVRDE is working to ensure that whatever problems were faced by the Mk-1 will not be repeated in the Mk-2. Based on the Mk-2 programme, we have formed a core committee called the Arjun Core Committee that will monitor the progress of the Arjun Mk-2 on a monthly basis. All the stakeholders starting from the DRDO, the Directorate General of Quality Assurance (DGQA), the Corps of Electronics & Mechanical Engineers (EME) and the users, are present on the committee and we have obtained excellent support from all the stakeholders.

What are the major changes in the Arjun Mk-2?

The Arjun Mk-2 will see the tank weight increase from 62 to 67 tonnes, as a result of specific requirements from the user — which include additions such as the track width, mine plough and Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA) on the glacis plate, as well as the front of the turret. These two requirements alone will add three tonnes to the weight of the Arjun Mk-1. Along with other additions, the Mk-2 is expected to top out at 67 tonnes. We decided after studying the power pack (MTU engine with RENK transmission), that it is excellently suited for Indian desert conditions. We have steadily made this engine and transmission more and more rugged over the last many years, besides improving things like the air filtration system and cooling system. Hence, we have convinced the user that the same power pack, with a new final drive using a higher reduction ratio, can be used for the Arjun Mk-2. This was proved to the Army last year, when we drove 1350 km with the power pack modified to this standard and simulated weights of up to 66 tonne. We converted production vehicle P-1 into Mk-2 with 53 improvements, to obtain feedback. This tank took part in an exercise last summer that lasted almost two weeks, with temperatures of 46 degrees. We have improved the suspension — to provide the same life to components despite the increase in weight. To cater for this new suspension, we have developed a new hull for the Arjun Mk-2.

The Mk-2 variant is now capable of firing missiles, which was not possible in the Mk-1. We had already proved the LAHAT missile as a standby. We are now integrating it on the Mk-2. Apart from that, the Mk-2 will feature a remote controlled weapon system atop the turret. In Mk-1, this required the loader to come out and fire the weapon. The Mk-2 will have an improved commander’s panoramic sight with night vision, hunter killer capability between the commander, gunner and loader. Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) which is not present in T series tank is present. It has been enhanced from 4.5 kW to in excess of 8 kW for the Mk-2. With regards to the Chassis Automotive System, we have digital communication systems, advanced navigation systems etc. We have increased the track width, to ensure that the ground pressure remains the same in spite of the increased weight.

What is the status of the Arjun Mk-1 at present?

The Arjun Mk-1 received orders for a total of 124 numbers. The two regiments equipped with 45 Arjun tanks each, are the 43rd armoured regiment and the 75th armoured regiment at Jaisalmer. The Arjun is fully operational with these two regiments now. The balance 34 tanks will be used to meet the Army’s BRIC requirements and these are spread across the Corps of Electronics & Mechanical Engineers (EME), war reserve, training establishments, DRDO/DGQA etc. Heavy Vehicles Factory (HVF) Avadi has dispatched 116 Arjun Mk-1 tanks. The remaining eight tanks will be delivered over the next five to six months. Most of the spares for the Arjun MBT were consumed during the various trials. We are now working to ensure availability of fresh spares. The other part is the Engineering Support Package (ESP) for the Arjun which includes spares, training and training aids. This is being done in parallel. As far the Arjun Mk-1 is concerned, about 90 percent of its tasks are complete.

What is the cost of the programme till date?

Each Arjun Mk-1 costs Rs 20 crore plus. Each Arjun Mk-2 with all improvements will cost approximately Rs 34 crore. The Arjun Mk-1 programme cost approximately Rs 360 crores. With that money, we made 11 prototypes and 15 pre-production series tanks and the required spares. This included the cost of creating the production line. We are looking at a number of variants based on the Arjun platform, such as Armoured Repair and Recovery Vehicle (ARRV) which is close to finalization. We are also looking to use the Arjun chassis to mount a Russian 130 mm Catapult gun, which was earlier mounted on the Vijayanta chassis. We will also be competing for the Indian Army requirement for a self propelled, tracked gun. We will offer a Slovakian 155 mm gun mounted on the Arjun along with Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML). We have also built the Arjun Bridge Laying Tank (BLT) but the Army says it may not be required. The cost per tank will certainly go down if we get more orders. This will help reduce the import content as well. The Mk-1 has nearly 60 percent imported content and even though there is a lot of value addition being done, the import content will remain the same for the Mk-2. Since the size of the order is small, no foreign company is willing to offer Transfer of Technology (ToT). I feel that if the Mk-2 is ordered by four regiments, then the import content could go down to 43 per cent and further down to 25 per cent if orders are placed for a total of six regiments. The lifecycle costs of the Arjun will be much cheaper than other tanks. The programme has also been able to offer numerous improvements to a number of indigenous programmes and armoured vehicles in service with the army.

(Defence and aersospace journalist Atul Chandra is Bangalore correspondent with FORCE Magazine. This piece appears in the August 2012 edition and has been used here with permission. All text and photos are courtesy FORCE.)

85 comments :

Anonymous said...

It is sad that a good thing will go down to flimsy excuses. The M1-Abrams fought the gulf war and it weighs around 67.6 short tons (60.4 long tons; 61.3 t). I am amused and shocked at our resistance to be self sufficient and continued dependence on the Russians. After all no modern machine was built in a day and adoption in large quantities will make it feasible to make continued improvements. This is shocking at the very least.

Anonymous said...

I fully agree

Anonymous said...

good, solid piece by atul chandra of force mag. thanks for sharing this with us shiv. good work.

Anonymous said...

Quoting Iraq example where there were no water and other obstacles is simply stupid..
Her in India before touching the border itself the tank has to cross own obstacles and bridges..
Does this DRDO guy mean that India should invest billions to reconstruct bridges over those obstacles so that DRDO scientists could earn their bread through Arjun..

simply unreasonable...

Ayan said...

Fine piece of tank. But will not be used as the commission-seekers of the Army will not use it showing flimsy and illogical excuses...

wikiditya said...

use it as self propelled artillery !

wikiditya said...

Technology transfer can take place even when you import stuff , no need to keep the production line running, for 6mill $ u will get a Abrams A2.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 1:42 PM. You Must be a Russian Salesman or a fan of "imported". I saw the map of India to see how many rivers the Arjun will have to cross. The Excess weight in the Arjun Mk-II is because of additions the Army Wanted. And no war leaves permanent structures intact. The need will be to invest in mobile bridges for obstacles. It seems the Army wants one solution for everything. Or is it the Armata (T-99) that now fancies the army. I sincerely hope that we do not continue to deny our industry and scientific community the encouragement they need by not accepting things that they are developing. Will our Army take the M1-Abrams if Offered? I am sure they will jump at it with open arms and not utter a word about the weight problems. We still have this fascination for "imported", no matter how shitty.

Instead of plain rejecting it, the army and DRDO must put their ehads together and see what is a must have and what is good to have that the tank and army can do without. May use some composites in the inside. Maybe lighter material. Maybe a lighter better engine. Optimization is always required in any product.

And Lastly, a genuine effort to support a thing gets marked out as a DRDO guy. I am an Indian in the software field and my connection to the defense forces is because of my dad.

Anonymous said...

Another decidely backward step from the Army. T90 and 72s are virtual death traps. The Arjun is too heavy when the rest of world uses main battle tanks near or even more heavier.

The Israeli Merkava by that standard should be out of service for lacking any mobility.

What is needed is a through investigation into why the Arjun is being killed by the army...

sents said...

A good article. T-90 weighs 52 tonnes, does it have all the upgrades that Arjun mk-2 has? Otherwise those upgrades will increase T-90's weight too.
Already there is a great necessity to improve the infrastructure near LOC(border) areas. So however we are going to improve it, if not for Arjun alone. Not all our border is in LEH. Surely we can put it some other places like Arunachal pradesh. An immediate order of 500 tanks is necessary.

Arjun mk-1 first entered service in 2004 and mk-2 with 89 upgrades came out in 2012, thats somewhat quicker than we expected.
As it performs better than T-90,a reduction of 14 tonnes is all we need. With some more R&D and more indigenous products, we will be able to achieve it within a 4 year time span. If nothing works out, we can get partnership or consultancy from some private firms in india or abroad, to reduce the weight.

A order of 124 is not going to develop any indigenous industry.

Anand Sankar said...

I have to agree that the excuses put forth by the Army for rejecting inducting large numbers of the Arjun is flimsy.

There is never one solution to a problem. What we have now is a fantastic asset - a world class main battle tank as good as any NATO fields. Instead of finding strategies and tactics to make best use of this asset which can turn the tide significantly in a land war, we trying to play it by a book written in the 1980s.

If ArHQ asks the troops on the ground whether they will go into battle with inferior T-series or the Arjun, you know what the answer will be. They will find a way to cross those rivers and canals.

Anonymous said...

shiv, has late sri kumaravel of CVRDE been bumped off by the anti arjun/ISI/CIA and Russian arms lobby in that road accident near jaipur? its easy to eliminate in such a manner.

www.bharatgaurav.com said...

Who has written this a crap of an article a tank that has all the modern gadgets meets all requirements defeats T-72 & 90 but cannot be deployed in any terrain as per this report.

Anonymous said...

Water obstacles are not problem for Arjun tank

here is the pics to support it
http://desmond.imageshack.us/Himg835/scaled.php?server=835&filename=arjun.jpg&res=landing

vertical exhaust pipe on Arjun is meant for this purpose
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_QKkSf03VuFY/S2Pp5L18MFI/AAAAAAAABxg/jjKDLv8n4O0/s1600/DSC01995.JPG

www.bharatgaurav.com said...

these Armoured Corps chaps will never appreciate any thing when they had Centurion tank they said its gun is very good but it driving and maintenance (D&M) is bad so they got T-55 they started cribbing again oh! its gun is not accurate but D & M is superb. in between they simply wrote off indigenously built Vijayanta Tank now when Arjun tank has come they are making silly excuses . in actual fact these people have never gone deeper then 14 kilometres in enemy territory during any war.one solution to this is the magazine 'International Defence Review" should be banned for them as these arm chair soldiers quote too often from it.
Again in any case where do you want to air lift any of the tanks to, even 13 ton tank AMX 13 had to be dismantled in 1962.further these armoured Corps people will not be able to acclimatise in good time and even if you give them Lasix (diuretic medicine)it will bring bad name so give them Arjun and let them fight.
For the chinese procure lots of armed heptrs like LCH they will be both lethal and force multipliers

Anonymous said...

Indian army elites are now so use to being spoon fed. It is easy for them give money to outside (foreign) establishment and get something in return but producing something in-house where some efforts and coordination is required is impossible for them.

Anonymous said...

Why don't the Indian army ask DRDO to produce a light version of Arjun? Strip out the unnecessary heavy components from MK-2 and reduce the width. This way you have a heavy Arjun and a light Arjun. Both tanks can be made better as time goes on. The point is to grow country's defense establishments not kill them.

Anonymous said...

I would rather drive into a battle field in an 67 tonne Arjun rather than in any Foreign piece of crap .... ;)

Mihir said...

Unlike the T series tanks that have been airlifted to high altitudes like Leh and even out of the country, the Arjun cannot be airlifted by the IL-76 and C-130 J transports of the Indian Air Force (IAF). The C-17 Globemaster to be inducted by the Indian Air Force (IAF) has a maximum payload of 75 tonnes — insufficient to airlift the 67 tonne Arjun Mk-2 with attendant support equipment.

Not the T series, just the T-72. The T-90 is too heavy to be airlifted in an Il-76.

In any case, this line of argument is fundamentally dishonest. A T-72 is fine because an Il-76 can just about carry it, but the Arjun is not because the C-17 cannot airlift it along with its support equipment? What sort of logic is this? Can the Il-76 airlift T-72s with "attendant support equipment"?

Anonymous said...

Iraq has the euphrates and the tigres reivers where there is the same problem as in rajasthan ( ever heard of the marsh arabs) what does marsh stand for?. If the amrican M1A1 abhrams can defeat Iraqi Armour in these conditions the Indian Army can do the same to pakistan. It is just that they are not willing. you should just see how easy it was for the american's to destroy soviet tanks with their weekness of amunition storage. It is high time we gave up on russion armour and developed our own.

Anonymous said...

MK2 is best suited for a museum as after 3 decades if drdo cannot make a tank (dozen foreign parts) so its best for taxpayers to put in a museum.
Someone said about israel tank, who are they fighting, yeah right stone throwing people, when they had to fight egypt or turkey then their monster will be sitting duck.

Joy said...

The army is full of shit. All of the worlds best tanks includng Abrams, Leclerk, Leopard and Merkava outweighs the Arjun 2. The soviet T series tin cans are light but they got hammered in the Arab-Israeli wars and the Gulf Wars. Here we have a tank that can smash anything our enemies have but the Army doesnt want it. They want the Russian tin cans. Well to hell with what the army wants, force them to buy the Arjun2 and let them figure out how to use it effectively like Americans and Israelis.

Anonymous said...

The army has given such a flimsy excuse for not adopting such a beautiful and powerful tank..... the weight of the merkava , abrams , leopard are all above 65 tonnes and who said they cant operate in desert conditions the abrams screwed the t-72's in desert storm

Joy said...

Personally I would say scrap the army. Get more American style Marines, Seals, Special forces, and add more armoured IFVs and Arjun tanks. The Army is just another government bureaucracy and employment program.

Joy said...

The midset of Indian army is that of a labour force that just passively operates the military infrastructure. It does not have a mindset of a modern, fast moving, adapatable fighting unit with heavier firepower.

Anonymous said...

Now that DRDO has spent so much money, can't it offer it to foreign countries just to see if anyone wants to take it or not. If someone takes it, may be we will recover some of our taxpayers money.

Anonymous said...

Its a suicidal approach by our army.

Anonymous said...

I simply do not get it.
Almost all major NATO armies have 60 tonne plus tanks.Even the Russians are moving on beyond the T series.Why does the IA continue to stick to the T series deathtraps.Surely they cannot be blind to the fatal flaws in the T series regarding in turret explosions.

Joy said...

This seems like a bad joke that the Army is not happy with Arjun mk2 and is going to order only 118 of those world class tanks. Even while the Army is dragging on with the upgrade program of a 70s era pathetically poor soviet tank namly the T-72 which should have been scrapped decades ago. Instead the army had developed a so-called modern land warfare doctrin based on old soviet tin cans that lost the fight in the middle east decades ago. The army is emphasizing pure logistical benefit over modern tactical combat capability provided by the much superior Arjun mk2. There is nothing in the entire subcontinent (plus China) that can even take on the Arjun mk2 tank. The Arjun mk2 is the future not the T-72 clones. We need at least a 1000 Arjun mk2s. The army better get out of the way.

sohamn said...

What has the weight got to do with Dessert Terrain. All that matters is the Mass/Sq.Inch of tread i.e. in other words weight distribution, the other thing that is imp is Power/Weight ratio. The author either is ignorant or doesn't understand science. The author must remember that M1A1, Challenger, Leopard's & Merkava have more than 60 tonnes gross weight but they have still outperformed all T series tanks in the desert.

Prasanna said...

Lame excuses.. If they are blaming the weight why they have demanded for additional ERA and Mine ploughs. Are they thinking that these stuff weigh like feathers???
I really appreciate Navy which always encourages the indigenous products.
They will only think of Indian products only if no imports are available for example the howitzer case.

Raja Raja Chola said...

@bharatgaurav read the article properly and you will see no one is disputing the superiority and performance of the Arjun Mk2.
That the operational realities along the worlds most heavily defended border states of Punjab and J&K consisting of utilisation of natural and man made anti tank defences render the possibility of armoured strike formations from either pakistan or india virtually cruising into either territory a very very hard slog. In such territory to expect the Arjun to breeze tbrough unhindered when compared to its lighter counterparts is foolish. Yes the Army is equally responsible for making what the Arjun is today. Considering Pakistans stated objective of its willingness to use short range tactical nuclear weapons to brutally blunt any indian armoured strike formation crossing into Pakistan it doesnt matter any more whether we use arjuns or lighter fbmts they will all be vaporised. the best the indian army can do of such a situation is to utilise the arjun in static defense positions to complement its existing antitank defences along the indopak border.
The US Abrams M1 was also tested by the Pakistan Army and rejected for the same reasons of heavy weight and maintainance intensive nature of the gas turbine engines. One should not forget that the battlefield operational requirements along the Indo Pak and Indo China and Indo Bangaladesh borders are very unique and not seen anywhere else in the world. The Abrams M1 was designed to cruise into battle along the lush rolling plains of Eastern Europe in the event of war between Nato and Warsaw Pact forces. The geographical terrain of eastern europe is way more kinder to heavy main battle tanks such as the Abrams M1 and Arjun Mk1&2. The ability to airlift a tank is an operational requirement which cannot be made light of doesnt matter even if only one tank at a time can be flown under current circumstances by the IL17 Gajraj and the soon to be inducted C17 Globemaster. We need to remember our armoured formations have been brought up on a diet of T55/T62/T72/T90 over a span of close to 50 years and attitudes towards anything new is very hard to change. The Soviet tank building philosophy is totally different to that of Western countries and even the route that DRDO has taken with the Arjun. Soviet tanks were and are still designed to be built with as small a operational silhouette as possible. The ARJUN IS A BIG HEAVILY ARMOURED TANK WHICH WILL PROTECT ITS OCCUPANTS IN A MANNER WHICH MAY NOT BE POSSIBLE BY THE t72/t90. Now if the Army doesnt want to in the greater scheme of things utilise the ARJUN in larger numbers one cannot force it down the army's throat.
In my view the current operational conditions for tank warfare along the india pakistan border have changed with the short range tactical nuclear weapon deployment equation. The Army is better of focusing on it special force capabilities and improving the capabilities and equipment of regular infantry and artillery formations. Tank warfare as we knew it in the battle of longewala is dead we will never see large armoured strike formations rolling into pakistan unhindered. Both India and Pakistan have built the equivalent of the Maginot Line along the western state borders which will brutally bog down armoured formations from either country.

Anonymous said...

As long as people like Deepak Bhardwaj are in charge, indigenous stuff will never see the light of the day. You should expose this guy for the corrupt officer he is!

Rohan said...

Did we ban renk and avl from aby future defense contracts.

iambob said...

I really don't understand the Army's reason for rejecting the Arjun. I mean, it's a tank for Christ's sake! It's suppose to be heavy.

M1a2 Abrams is nearly 70 tons and it has had no problems traversing Iraqi streets. Hell, even other Middle Eastern countries operate the Abrams and they've had no problems there either. And I seriously doubt that road/infrastructure in Iraq or these other countries was constructed with keeping the Abrams in mind.

Truth be told, I'm starting to think (and I'm not usually one to believe in such conspiracy theories) that there's something very fishy going on, in regard to the weight issue of the Arjun. I don't really buy into the Army's excuse in this. It just doesn't make sense to me.

Stupid decisions like these are exactly why the Army is the weakest of the three Military branches.

Prodyut said...

The loss of the programme Director Kumaravel due to an "accident" -hit by a truck- needs serious probing and change in operating procedures for Scientists travelling by road..Arms merchandising is a dirty business.

The 20 ton difference between the T90 and the Arjun cannot fully be explained by the smaller size of the T 90.It therefore must be having thinner armour.There should be a quick study as to how much reduction can be done to Armour armour to bring down weight to manageable limits e.g. The Vijayanta had the Centurion running gear and Weapons on a twenty ton or so lower weight.

In the olden days there was a belief that you cannot put too big a gun on too light a hull because the thing lost "register" everytime one fired. So a 50 ton tank firing 120 mm stuff would perhaps be comprising on Muzzle Velocity? Can anyone throw some light on this?

This question would be decisive on this FMBT.

Bobby said...

if the army doesn't like it, the govt. should put in on export.
we'll earn forex, healthy balance of payment, reduce cost (economies of scale), indigenizing spares and component (again cost reduction), earn from establishing repair stations abroad and also transfer of technology(of indigenous component that waill be almost 75% when produced in larger numbers), development and sustainibility of developing labs and organisations and finally, good foreign relations.
it'll be worth it..!

SinghS said...

@Joy Not entire army but some top officers-bureaucrats who are too greedy to let go commission and paybacks from Russian tanks.
And believe me my friend I feel your pain in this one. I really do. Lets hope somebody has a moment of revelation and comes to his senses resulting in order of 1000s of Mk2, which clearly is better in pretty much every aspect when compared to T-series.

Anonymous said...

@Raja Raja Chola,

Although you have put in lot of words, most of it is rubbish.

Airlift. Which army in the world airlifts an tank will all it's bells and whistle decked up? The tank is not expected to roll off the aircraft straight in to battle!

There is something called common sense. For starter Remove the ERA bricks, engine (takes 30 minutes to put it back in). How much weight is saved?

How was tanks transfered to the Kashmir region in 1947-48? Read about it.

Arjun in Punjab Areas: Again common sense tells me you dont take a tank in to places where it cannot be used. Do you think T-90's will not get bogged down? The Pakistan tanks which were lying in the water clogged fields in 65 were all LIGHTER than T-90. Read again. LIGHTER. Still they were stuck.

Crossing Rivers : This one is quite funny actually. No tank is designed to cross Rivers. The water current might sweep the tank away. Driving under water is not that straight forward. You use bridges to cross rivers. No army in the world crosses rivers with tanks.
At the most tanks can cross canal when bridges are not present.

Unique terrain: US in Vietnam. jungles rivers rivens . name it. So where is the "lighter tank" in US army.

All the reports about weight makes one think that developers and army after creating the tank, suddenly had a eureka moment "Oh my god, we have rivers to cross".

So in 20 years no one in India told the developers that "we have unique terrain in the west" ! We are a nation of idiots then. or are we?

Defences along the Pakistan border: You dont take tanks and barge in to static defence. If some commander does it, he deserves the smashing he will face.
There is something called artillery and air strikes. To handle ManP-ATM, you have something called infantry. Tank is a offensive weapon, to be used in conjunction with other elements like artillery, infantry, APC etc. NOT PILL BOX

Pakistan Nuke strike: One sentence. Find out how many tactical nukes required to take out one tank regiment.

Anonymous said...

Continued.....


Why Army is hesitant? Simple. There is more to warfare than a tank with great barrel or hydro pneumatic shocks.

War is all about logistics and training. IA would have to maintain two lines of training (T-90 vs Arjun), two lines of logistics. Plus the fact that Arjun parts are coming from OFB. A single non-reliable source.

If your life depends on OFB, would you trust is to deliver? For T-90s, in desperate times, there is a source called Russia.

IA cannot reason this out with politicians and beaurocrats. It knows it is pointless.

Abhiman said...

A Tata Nano is actually more of an auto-rickshaw with 4 wheels -- than a small car (its engine is at the back, just like an auto).

Similarly, the so-called 'FMBT' demanded by the Army is less of a light tank, and more of an IFV with a tank's turret on top.

Such a highly glorified IFV (like BMPs) is surely not needed, when the world's armies are moving to even heavier tanks in the 60 to 70 ton range.

Besides, aren't Iraqi and Afghan conditions equal if not worse than conditions in the Thar desert ? How can the Indian Army claim that an Arjun can't navigate there, when the 67 ton M1 Abrams was successfully deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan ?

Its apparent that the Army is lying through its teeth to circumvent induction of the Arjun --- and send DRDO on yet another wild goose chase on the so-called FMBT. Till the time, more Russian money can fatten them.

Mr. RA said...

The so-called higher weight of Arjun-Mk1A does not really creates any insurmountable engineering or practical problem.

Anonymous said...

Pahale mera tank kharido...
Phir uskel Rail ka rack Kharido
Phir uske liye Bridge Kharido..
Phir uke liye ARV kharido..

Phir uke liye 65 ton ki tatra kharido...

Wah bhaiay DRDO ki to Chandi ho gayi....

Anonymous said...

Time to wrap up the DRDO and start buying from outside like always. We fight on imported arms and call it our country. What a gift for 15th August. Goodbye Arjun just like the others that came and went

Raja Raja Chola said...

@Anonymous 253pm.
thanks for being able to identify rubbish. it seems as always unpalatable facts are always written away as rubbish.
go back and read your history on armoured tank battles specifically for 1971 India Pakistan theaters. You will see that inspite of your profound insight on how tank warfare is conducted ie softening of enemy positions etc IA strike columns did not manage any great forward penetration worth its salt into pakistani territory. Also Einstein it does not take a great many tactical nuclear strikes to blunt an armoured strike column dead in its tracks. I do not need to find out how many such strikes are needed and it does not take a great deal of imagination to figure out what happens to a armoured strike formation when they realise they have come under a nuclear strike attack.
Pakistan knows its outgunned and outmatched in providing adequate aerial support to dominate its battle space beyond a week at most. They are not going to sit idle and allow that cold hard reality sink in and will utilise the nuclear option to prevent in what according to their minds is annihilation of their country. India has to be prepared one way or the other the inevitibality of a nuclear strike attack on its ground forces pretty early on in the war. While India has demonstrated great strike capabilities for its armoured strike columns during exercises, the reality from 1971 is that its armoured strike formations did not manage any spectacular gains of territory in the western sector.
given the state of natural and manmade anti tank defences on the india pakistan border if IA decides to seize the initiative and cross the border into pakistan they would be better of using their T90/T72 formations as the chances of them being bogged down would not be as much as a Arjun Mk1/2 formation. The lack of weight or presence of weight will be a factor in combat. While it is easy to say Arjun has river crossing capabilities and during combat the corp of engineers will lay bridges across rivers,demine antitank mine fields, blow up enemy obstacles to enable Arjun to ride into battle like a gallant knight. In reality it will be a hard slog for these formations to advance forwards. Anyone who has the time to read up on how the IA tank columns fared in the western sector in 1971 will see the realities of tank warfare and how hard it was to advance into pakistani territory which had a formidable defensive setup utilising natural and manmade anti tank obstacles which were fiercely defended. stop comparing iraq and how the abrams m1 did well there. Iraq had a very well connected road network right upto the Kuwaiti border. The americans sent their Abrams M1 into Battle after establishing total airspace domination. Just because a heavy tank like the Abrams M1 did very well in Iraq doesnt translate right away into a logic that Arjun will do well in our battle field theatres.If it was meant to be that simple Pakistan would have acquired the Abrams M1...GUESS WHAT THEY DIDNT.
In Vietnam americans faced a reality check with the tanks they brought in for it did not stop the Vietcong from continuing their guerilla warfare campaign.
To once again reiterate rubbish: tank warfare as we know it from 1971 is dead. Pakistan is happy to place all its strike assets in defensive holding patterns all along the western sector and blunt any indian armoured offensive or at the very least exact a heavy toll on it before superior IA numbers come into play. And when that happens Pakistan is happy to resort to opening the nuclear strike options. For a failed state to go down that route is a very easy task. By the way this is just a one battle field theater scenario with Pakistan. If the chinese decide to stir the pot and launch a low intensity harassment conflict on the eastern borders then well thats a different story.
Arjun or no arjun let the army get its other fighting arms into shape specifically artillery units which has not seen any worthwile induction since the bofors. This tank debate is worthless.

alma said...

"While the T-72 was acknowledged to be one of the finest Russian tank designs..."

...one of the worst CCCP designs. True death traps, like the T90. Even the M60 was clearly superrior, like it proved it many times.

Anonymous said...

I have a query, may be someone can answer.

When Mk-2 project was initiated, did DRDO inquired about the weight Indian Army would be happy with? If NO, DRDO people are super idiots. If YES and MK2 passes this criteria but now Indian Army is complaining about weight, then Indian Army officers are bunch of super fools and corrupt to the core.

Anonymous said...

What the Indian Army needs is close in air support and the A10 at about $18 million (2012 $) will do a much better job killing off enemy armor in a cost effective manner than any tank. Now that the IAF is out of the business of close in air support this should be the first choice of the Army. With a 45,000 foot ceiling this should be good to go in the Himalayas. It is a flying cannon and armored bathtub designed to take serious punishment that can carry missiles, deliver serious armor piercing ordinance and loiter over the battlefield and with support from the air superiority Sukhois can be a serious force multiplier. It has been in every war by the USA and is still not being retired for a reason.

Praetorian said...

It seems that the quality of Indian Army recruits are so low that they even can't lie properly.

1st of all the Arjun is basically an Indianized Leopard 2A4, only tank that can be fully submerged and can be used to cross canals and shallow rivers where there are no bridges. So, this pathetic excuse of heavy tanks inability to ford rivers gets negated.

As far as deserts are concerned, the Canadian armed forces are using very successfully the Leopard 2A4s (AKA ARJUN) in Afghanistan where the soil condition is not too different from that of Indo Pak border.

As pointed by others, the M1 and Merkava, which are of the same weight category as Arjun, have been operating very successfully in terrains similar to Indo Pak border.

Using the old weight excuse when they can think of none other shows their limited intelligence.

It seems that these buffoons in the Indian Army will do anything and everything to get commissions from "phoren" products.

It's not the Arjun, but the Indian Army that needs to be chucked out and reorganized.

Anonymous said...

I think the Trophy system should be incorporated into the Mk.2. I also think all of the Arjun Mk.1s should be upgraded to Mk.2 standard.

I believe the Mk.2(despite it's weight) will live up to the requirement and be able to perform in today's battlefield. M1A2s are almost 70 tons and they didn't have trouble in Iraq.

UPGRADE THEM ALL! Sacrifices must be made to achieve victory! Jai Hind!

SinghS said...

Several questions come to mind after reading this article -
1-On what basis FORCE website is alleging that Arjun Mk2 cant be deployed in 'most areas' because of weight while same weight tanks were not only deployed but used with huge success by USA?
2- Why this FORCE website is talking about weight as if it is a step backward? Look at history all the tanks are getting heavier with the passsage of time.
3- Israel has been praising Arjun as a tank capable of outrunning and outgunning any competition and best in South Asia. In our own tests Arjun has beaten T-90 easily. Why we continue to ignore all this?
4- If being 60 Tonnes Tank somehow makes it unsuitable for desert acc. to FORCE then how will they explain M1A1 Abrams deployed in Iraq? Are they not aware of what happened in Gulf War and later invasion of Iraq?
What about Israel's Merkava tank which weights 65 tons+ and has been a great success in Lebaon war where Merkava destroyed several T-72s without as much taking a single loss from T-72s.
Or Chinese 99 series which is getting heavier with every upgrade already touching 60 tons+ or South Korean K-88 or British challenger 2 touching a whopping 70 tons which survived being hit by 70 RPGs in Basra. Yep 70 RPGs hit One tank. And it survived.
5- Fact is all the emerging/established powers are moving on to heavy tanks. All the great tanks that we know of are in Arjuns weight class. All the tanks are getting a bit heavier with upgrades.
6- How can they ignore massive differences like twice the rate of fire, maneuverability, pinpoint accuracy of shooting while moving of Arjun.
7- How can army refuse it due to its weight? Were they not aware of the weight of Tank when specs were finalized and development was undergoing?
8- Why this FORCE website article is trying to tarnish Arjun by posting lines like this - he Arjun cannot be airlifted by the IL-76 and C-130 J transports of the Indian Air Force (IAF)
IL-76 can't carry more than 45 tons so it cant take any of the Tanks. Why blame Arjun about it? And C-130 J cant carry more than 16 tonnes. Why even mention those except for trying to make Arjun look bad.
9- Why we are ignoring that T-72s are like punching bags for an truly modern MBT.
What about T-90? Why FORCE is not criticising how T-90 was inducted? How T-90 was tested in Siberia for induction in India! How T-90s destroy road due to high ground pressure creating problems for other troops? How T-90 failed multiple tests when deployed in India? How T-90s engine is underpowered compared to stated figures and worsens in hot climate of Rajasthan?
10- If we are reducing weight then what we are ready to sacrifice?Survivability? Mine Plows? Modern Turrets? Missile firing capability? Mine-plows? Explosive Reactive Armor?

Why we turn an blind eye to numerous defects of imports (T-72 and T-90) while we try to find tiniest of problems with our indigenous products? To me the criticisms of Arjun Mk2 are largely unjustified and are just disinformation campaign of lobbyists. It would be massive mistake on India's part to ignore this tank.

Anonymous said...

In the 8th paragraph: "Penetration cum Blast rounds?" What the heck?

Anonymous said...

Shiv,
totally off topic, but i just noticed this match box of IAF ( MI 8 )
http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/IAF/Galleries/Collectibles/MatchBoxes/Matches1-4.jpg.html

it incorectelly says MI is adreviation of Mikoyan. ( which should really be Mikhail Mil )

not sure where i can post this. please give publicity to this error.

Anonymous said...

there are many ignorant guys here who are posting dubious stuff regarding the weght of ARJUN and its unsuitability indesert due to higher weight.
What is incredulos is it includes the author also.These issues are already discussed threadbare in ajai shukla's blog.
First ARJUN excert LESSER GROUND PRESSURE PER SQUARE FEAT than the army's darling TIN CANS the so called T-90.The larger track area of ARJUN distributes it's 62 ton weight more lightly on MARSHY or DESERT condition.
Many army officers were astonished by this fact during trail.Infact many areas previuosly marked as unsuitable for tank deployment can be covered ARJUN and not by T-90.

ARJUN can operate on many marshy areas of TARAN TARAN in punjab.But T-90 cant. Because of smaller track width T-90 will sink in those conditions.
FACT TWO- The weght of the ARJUN is due to stonger armour for better protection of crew and tank.This was done under specific requierment of army.Because even a simple anti tank land mine by LTTE in sri lanka blew the T-90 apart.
FACT three- The russians themselves have inducted no more than 250 T-90s in their army.Why India alon is ordering 1000s of these T-90s?
FACT four- Russians themselves are moving towards heavier tanks under their FMBT projects as per reports.So they are saddling it with our army.
The T-90's electronics jam in desert heat.Confronted with these problems indian army is looking for suitable air conditioning, for which there is no place and power available in its cramped area.

Unlike that arjun is called desert ferari by israelis due its lesser ground presure ,speed and accuracy.

FACT five --- the exposed rounds lying on the tank floor can blow up T-90s even due to a light intrusive explosion.But in ARJUN the rounds are kept seperately and even if there is explosion inside there are blow out panels to redirect the energy outwards and the tank and crew survives to fight.

neglecting all these facts and saying the ARJUN is overweght as if it is due to the mistake of DRDO is astounding fabrication.
FACT six------------ When ARJUN stands on the border no other MBT from across the border can even daree to come within its range.Because the commander of T-80 UD or whatever chinese junk operated by PAKISTAN knows ARJUN shoots farthe more acuarely with hiher first kill probability.
And he knows while ARJUN can withstand his anti tank round his tank will be blown up like diwali flowerpot.
FACT seven --- The higer shilloute of ARJUN exceeds the T-90 by a FEW INCHES AND NOT BY FEWFEETS. SO it is actually negligible.

PrabhuG said...

Probably whoever talking about floating in rivers should read the wiki on ground pressure.

www.bharatgaurav.com said...

@ Raja Raja Chola it is nice to hear from a Chola and if you are a true Chola then a honour.
leaving things aside your attention is drawn to paragraph 2 line 5 and paragraph 3 line 8 wherein hidden derogatory remarks about its deployment exist about Arjun Tank.
further to above ground pressure of T -72 and T - 90 tanks is 0.83 kg/cm2 and 0.87kg/cm2 respectively whereas that of our Arjun Tank only 0.84 kg/cm2 compared to that of US Abrams tank which is 1.05 kg/cm2 which is a yard stick for a tanks resistance to sink in the ground as such T series and Arjun Tank have very high mobility.
I also mentioned about AMX 13 tank dismanteled and taken to Chushul in 1962 war we can always take Arjun with the turret dismantled in any of the transporters only we must the will however mass deployment of light Combat Helicopters would be a better solution.
From your comment that they can be used as pill boxes points that you are not from the Armed Forces if this be true your comment was /is a good effort.
The gist of my comments(2 prior to this) they (Armoured corps)are asking for boys toys give them the Arjun and let them train to fight and fight earnestly .
it reminds me of an incident of 1971 war when we (Infantry and Armour) were tasked to man a position deep in a mine field for a night to my horror I found tanks facing the other way ( that is the gun towards the enemy and front facing own side a configuration adapted when tanks can quickly withdraw from the battle without giving a fight) I was in a fix as to how to stop our own tanks running away in case the enemy attacked I had a bright idea and asked my Anti tank weapon boys to turn around and gave our tanks as primary target to them soon our Armour chaps realised the ruse and after some altercation changed the tank direction towards the enemy.
My only contention is give them the Arjun and let them fight.

Joy said...

@ Raja Raja Chola

From the very verbose post you have written its very clear you dont have much real knowledge about tank warefare. You claim that Arjun might get bogged down while T-72s have a better chance of advancing. That seems to be your simple premise. Am I correct?

Here is why you are very wrong.... lighter does not mean faster. You need 4 things for rapid movement of armoured colums 1#Speed #2 protection #3 Firepower #4 Situational awarness. Your tank can be lighter but if it cannot provide enough firepower then you will not get past enemy defenses. Weight has no bearing on rapid advancement. Arjun beats T-72 /T-90 in all of the above 3 parameters by a good margin. T-90 weighs 52 short tons and Arjun weighs 62 short tons (mostly beacuse of the extra ERA protection). Otherwise its not a big difference in weight to give T-90 any huge advantage in ground movement. Tanks are always inherently heavy. In this case Arjun is heavier AND faster. The only benefit provided by the T-90 is the logistical convenience of transporting tanks by rail, road or air given our infrustructure and heavy lift capacity. Thats all.

Anonymous said...

@ Chola Chola Raja...
I must say you are a simple idiot who thinks of himself not less of a genius.
Fact is that tactical nuclear warheads cannot be used by pakistan as they know being smaller in size they will be wiped out by Indian nukes if they give a reason for India to fire nukes by using tactical nukes themselves.
AND YOU BIG TIME IDIOT WHO TOLD YOU THAT TACTICAL NUKES WILL TAKE OUT ONLY ARJUN AND WONT AFFECT T90S.
also your bullshit about cruising speed: T90s dont run at 100 miles per hour< T90 s max speed is 69 and Arjun max speed is 71 so your bullshit about t90 cruising and arjun cant is as stupid as you yourself are.
another thing. the fronts and defensive formations you were talking about. do you think those are there with only India and pakistan and all other countries are plain stupid that they dont present such defences against tanks and only pakistan has hand held anti tank ATGMs .
when you are so stupid then you should not write bullshit essays on forums. go learn something.

Arjun is world class tank designed by same Kaff mafoi guys who designed the German Leopard tank.
Its sad to see that Indian Army administrative officers are stooped to such low levels

Anonymous said...

Is that person in photo P Sivakumar, Director CVRDE ?

How come he is wearing sandals on factory floor?
At least senior fellow should look after safety.

the_nerd_guy said...

@Anonymous Anonymous "How come he is wearing sandals on factory floor?
At least senior fellow should look after safety."

LOL this is India. Safety? What is that?

Anonymous said...

How do folks come up with these articles defending the indefensible?

I mean what about our terrain makes crappy tanks better than the world's leading tanks. How is it that the terrain the rest of the world makes them ideal for heavy tanks to completely devastate T series tinpots, but in our unique terrain, heavy tanks become useless and tinpots are ideal? Are we on the same planet as the rest of the world or are we in a parallel universe?

Nukes? Russia didn't have too many nukes, so that's why the west went ahead with those stupid heavy tanks. Now if Russia had as many nukes as Pakistan, then NATO would have standardized on 40 ton tanks, or rather no tanks at all.

Heavily defended borders? Iraq was like Canada US border. And the NATO Warsaw Pact border was where children had picnics and looked for mushrooms. And of course the Maginot Line made tanks unnecessary, which is why Hitler disbanded his Panzer divisions and rode in on bicycles. Wait a second, how exactly would Pakistan nuke our tanks if they are in close contact with the "heavy defenders" of the heavily defended borders? Or is there actually some chance that they would punch through and then they would nuke the tanks. But then the Arjun can't punch through the "unique terrain" and the "Heavily defended border", so maybe the nuke thing will not be called into play. Of course the T-90s will just... aah let it be.

And did you come up with the C130 transporting tanks all by yourself? No seriously, did you actually think of it and write it? Or was it just a mistake? Surely you cant write something that incredibly dumb and still be published.

Another jewel is: "The tank is too heavy to be deployed across the border with Pakistan. It is unable to effectively traverse terrain filled with natural and/or artificial obstacles. Or areas criss-crossed with rivers and canals." ... and the T90 flies over these using its advanced hovercraft attachment. No please make that clear, what about the T-90 enables it to "effectively traverse terrain filled with natural and artificial obstacles". Please do clarify else go hide somewhere in shame.

What about "as it could get bogged down in unfamiliar terrain." I will lend them my car's GPS. Maybe then they can find the route out of the "unfamiliar terrain". What the heck is "unfamiliar terrain"? What is "Familiar terrain"? Do T-90s frequently train in Pakistan along the routes of their planned ingress, so they are more "familiar" with the terrain? What if the T-90s have to make a slight change in their path? Will they then be in "unfamiliar terrain"? And terrain will be familiar or unfamiliar to the tank commanders not to the tanks, so how does a terrain become unfamiliar to a tank? Please explain.

Do you actually write all this by yourself? Honestly, did you? Do you understand anything of what you wrote about? Or are you on the job because of your language skills?



Raja Raja Chola said...

To the anonymous dunce @1153 take you blood pressure tablets. Your rabid raving and ranting about the Arjun is not going to make the Indian Army order more Arjun tanks. A lot as been spewed out in this post but guess what guys it ain't gonna make any difference. Indian Army doesn't want any more Arjun's than what it has already ordered. People who have a problem with that can go on a fasting spree at Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi. And hopefully for your sake the government and Indian Army will tremble n shake n decide to order atleast 3000 Arjun Mk2 tanks.

Anonymous said...

In this new DRDO bashing season, where our BMD apparently doesn't work since it needs a US stamp of approval, Arjun in whatever mark will never see widespread use by our army which is happy to send it's armoured corps men in wafer thin diet size tin-cans and of course our beloved media with its selective and motivated leaks to discredit our indigenous defense R & D personnel, our new motto should be:
Be Indian, Act like an Indian which is to Buy Foreign !
Happy Independence Day ! Independence from what You might want to ask ?

Anonymous said...

Raja Chola,

What the army does or does not do is not in my control or yours. But what you put forth as opinions and facts are completely in your control.

The ridiculous half truths you have posted are the reason why a lot of us are having "blood pressure" episodes. I had written about it earlier and would like to bring it up again, did you actually think of the C-130 airlift angle and the "unfamiliar terrain" angle? When you wrote these two things, what were you thinking?

Anonymous said...

This is what the DRDO has to say on the Arjun, why blame the Indian Army then?
From the article
According to P Sivakumar, Director CVRDE, “the weight of the Arjun prevents it from being deployed in all the areas required by the Army”.

KSK said...

Answer to Anon 8.17...the article is idiotic.

Anonymous said...

Time to wind up and shut down CVRDE.

Thing to do now, is to export the Arjun Mk-2 production line to Pakistan and amortize the development cost. The media & hopefully the CAG will then atleast shut up the 500 crores spent, 30 years in the making.... ra ra, it loves to parrot.

PA will find the ways and means to fight IA with the heavy tank in the suitable terrains.

God bless the brave men of IA's armoured corps or should I say light armoured corpse.

SinghS said...

@3:26 "God bless the brave men of IA's armoured corps or should I say light armoured corpse."
I see what you did here.

What I suggest is that we simply put both T-90 and Arjun Mk-2 in a head to head competitive trial in exactly same conditions as in would be theaters of war.
Then evaluate both on their own merit and on their merit vis-a-vis each other.
After that make an comparative list of Advantages and Disadvantages of both. It shall be done in the manner by which IAF selected MRCA i.e. thorough and unbiased. Had that method not followed in MRCA we would be purchasing upgraded F-16s...

Anonymous said...

SinghS,

The last time they tried to do comparative trials, the Arjun blew away the T90 in every parameter.

They are not going to do that again.

Besides, how difficult is it to fail the Arjun by saying, it does not meet weight requirements. Or "River Crossing Ability" unacceptable because it cant go over quickly laid bridges rated for T90 weight category.

It seems like only Pakistan can save the Arjun now, by ordering the Leo.

Anonymous said...

"Despite all that, the Arjun outgunning the T-90 and T-72 in comparative trials, is akin to the Light Combat Aircraft ‘Tejas’, defeating the F-16 in a dogfight! ...For example, the Arjun can fire almost twice the number of rounds the T series tanks can, from its main gun."

Yes, shining light of Indian progress: a much bigger tank can fire more rounds of ammo. Is this alien technology or human ingenuity? /sarcasm

I was disappointed with the article on other specific grounds: why didn't it discuss the potential areas of operation for Arjun? That is kind of the point, rather than comparing it with platforms who can operate in areas and with transport that can't support Arjun.

Also, the mention of Russia's refusal to provide full ToT missed a rather big point that is eminently related to the broader subject: they HAVE offered full ToT if India buys the latest upgrades for T-90, which are beyond those which even the Russian Army is pursuing (which has it's own successor MBT program of course).

Ultimately, whining about what outguns what is infantile. India's neighbors do not field Abrams or Leopards, and T-90 ESPECIALLY the latest upgrade offer is more than capable of fulfilling it's mission. As an experience building project, Arjun has succeeded, and it will likely prove an operational success in theaters where it can operate and be transported/maintained without hindrance.

Joy said...

Our team cans are better the Paki tin cans. And we are buying Apache longbow helicopter gunship. We will still dice up anything the Pakis put in front of us. So it doesn't even matter what tanks we have. Arjun would start be good for future indegenisation program.

Harkirat S said...

The Arjun is a patchwork effort - disparate major components / assemblies such as the powerpack, gun control equipment, gunner's sights, track & road wheels (assembled not integrated) sourced from various manufacturers and tossed up as a MBT. While it may be argued that this is an almost universal design and development approach for MBTs to cut costs and exploit leading-edge technologies, CVRDE has 'grafted' various sub-systems together in a fig-leaf approach to cover major design flaws and performance deficiencies. The tank is SHIT - ask the two armoured regiments that are reeling under the maintenance / repair load of a huge number of dead tanks.

Take for instance the dated 120mm rifled gun - RIFLED !!! Not only is the FSAPDS ammo under-performing (penetration was found wanting during the comparative trials with T-90s), the HESH ammo is a product of DRDO kitchens - no other ammo variant such as fragmentation or multi-mode HE ammo has been developed due to a pronounced inability. SO the DRDO gets LAHAT gun-launched missile as a third ammo variant claiming they had planned for the same. There is no HEAT or multi-mode anti-personnel 120mm ammo. The DRDO has not been able to design a single HEAT warhead for indigenously manufactured ammo till date - forget the ancient 106mm RCL round or the famously-absent Nag ATGM warhead. Infact the DRDO insistence on the superiority of a rifled gun is so bloody contrived to conceal their poor ammo design abilities. Instead of being an additional ammo variant for precision, long-range engagements, LAHAT has become a convenient plug-in to blunt criticism of poor ammo diversity. How many LAHAT rounds will each tank carry as its on-weapon ammo scale ? The LAHAT fire control system, including target designation system, possibly requires a stand-alone installation in its night-capable form. Given LAHAT's 300 m/s velocity, a target at 4000m will require to be tracked and designated by the firing tank (if not externally designated) for atleast 14 secs. While this acquisition-cum-engagement duration maybe acceptable as an odd exception for engaging helicopter targets or other ultra-critical battlefield threats but certainly not for its role as secondary tank ammo - irrespective of its hit/kill probability specs.

Examples abound of DRDO's proven inabilities in ammo development - the 81mm smoke grenades for the in-service MBTs and ICVs are incapable of creating instantaneous smoke-screens despite years of DRDO efforts; the 84mm Carl Gustav ammo is still 100% imported-design, indigenous manufacture; the 'vaunted' SHAKTI grenades to replace the HE-36 have yet to go into mass manufacture; even the 125mm HEAT ammo retains the original Soviet design; the in-service ATGMs (KONKURS, FAGGOT, MILAN) retain original warheads; why even the 125mm FSAPDS AMK 340 is absurdly underperforming when it manages to reach the target. Come to think of it, the DRDO has not been able to develop even training / practice variants of main gun ammo for the 125mm gun.

The tank's dimensions are unacceptable - despite components and major systems / assemblies miniaturising with each generation, coupled with digitisation benefits, the MBT is over-sized which has added to the weight of its armoured shell.

The results of the design audit by an Israeli consultancy team are still under wraps but I figure that the ARJUN Mark 2 is the result of cosmetic / reconstructive surgery to remove basic design & performance blemishes.

A design and performance analysis of the ARJUN requires a dedicated web site - just for its flaws! For now, I'd take a cue from the movie 'The Expendables 2' and wish the tank "Rest in Pieces (RIP) ARJUN Mark 2 !!! You have had your exclusive moments of honest ignominy and misappropriated fame."

Anonymous said...

"The C-17 Globemaster to be inducted by the Indian Air Force (IAF) has a maximum payload of 75 tonnes — insufficient to airlift the 67 tonne Arjun Mk-2 with attendant support equipment."

RUBBISH - American M1a1 are transported by C-17 and those tanks are heavier than Arjun.

Should call themselves the Farce magazine.

Its more appropriate.

Anonymous said...

Ok guys. I don't want to do this but its unfortunate that I have to. Don't take this the wrong way because its tough love. I love India and love its people but I hate its corrupt army generals who are also the dumbest people on earth.
They have destroyed our capability and capacity to be internally self-sufficient. As someone pointed out, no indigenous effort is perfect from start. The western nations have always been technological ahead of us. This was not the fault of DRDO in fact fault of our ancestors who never united to fight foreign enemeies. That destroyed our technological prowess.
Coming back to the present though. We are a free democratic institution. We should not have to depend on Russia for anything when we have the capability to make better products than them. But why do we?
Because of corruption. Our generals take bribes from Russian agencies whose bribes are nothing compared to what government of India pays them to buy shitty tanks like T-72 and T-90. One reasonable person would ask why we still have T-72s. 1991 war of Iraq should tell you how terrible and outdated these tanks are even if they are upgraded. The Iraqis had upgraded T-72s against the American Abrams. But they were no match. American obliterated every T-72 they spotted and in the process lost no Abrams.
Our army institution specially tank division of it suffers from huge corruption and we are being sabotaged by Russians to buy bad hardware from them.
We have seen Russian as an ally, a partner but they have repeatedly used us a cash cow. And they won't give so easily. Look at all the deals across the airforce (Migs), navy (aircraft carrier).
As far as the case of T-90 goes. There is no doubt that it cannot compete against the Arjun. So what do Russians do? They bribe our generals into delaying Arjun's induction into our service. The army generals run ridiculous amounts of test on Arjun that no one has ever done before. They deliberately delay the process which puts pressure on the Indian government. The government gives up and bug the T-90s. But the Russians don't stop there. A tank is no good without it am munitions. So then the Russians are again able to sabotage their way into selling Indian government 25,000 invar missile which btw does not compare to our home made NAG system.
The generals of out country have forgotten that they are the SERVANTS OF INDIAN PUBLIC NOT THEIR RULERS!!! We need to beat this attitude into them so they server us better next time. If I had to guess the death of G K Kumaravel was another sabotage by the Russians.
Please feel free to disagree with me but you know I am right.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree. One has to realize that an homogenization of a product will not be perfect from the start. The army does know this or why does it keep buying the T series one after the other.
Even the Pakistanis were able to make a tank in a good time period. That happened because their army didn't keep coming in with different requirements. Army generals are the least educated in our military institution.
They do not know how a project. works. One comes up with a set of requirement first and then gives the project a time limit. Those are the basics of any project. If you keep changing your requirements, of course the DRDO would have to scarp its previous work to meet the new ones. That was the only reason why the Arjun project took so long.
We were doing fine till early 1980s when Pakistan started testing Abrams for its army. Our army generals chickened out and completely revamped the requirements for Arjun. The DRDO was beating its head against a wall because now it had to scrap the project. And guess what! Pakistan never ended up fielding the Abrams.
A project can't be run like that. If you want something done in a project, you stick to the requirement and let it go through undisturbed. Then later you come in and ask for upgrades. That is a methodological way of carrying out any project. If DRDO was under a better project guidance, we would have had a tank out with low production cost and development cost.
What needs to happen is we need to educate our generals and teach them to be better servants of the Indian public. They act like they run our public which is a wrong attitude. The generals should not have any say in what equipment they get. They should be happy with whatever the tax payer money is providing them with. But want to act like little princess who want the best in the world all the time.
This is not how a nation gets the best army of the world. When America got its independence from Britain, it did not have any superior equipment or number but it had the will and strength to fight.
We need our generals to focus on their ability to willing and strong to fight. The rest on how they get to fight should be left to the public so we better spend our money.
Homogenization of Arjun would have actually had a positive effect on the civilian sector. Just imagine the technologies learnt in Arjun could have been used to boost our home grown industries. These are things that our illterate generals won't ever understand and they don't need to. All we need them to do is for them to PERFORM THEIR DUTY WITH NO QUESTIONS ASKED. If the indian public want the generals to fight with swords, then they should do it WITHOUT ANY QUESTIONS ASKED!!!!!

Anonymous said...

can anybody enlighten me what is the ground pressure of this tank if its under 0.9 then i dont see any merit in army's argument...M1A2s have a GP of 0.96 and worked quite fine in the desserts of iraq...Arjun MK1 had a GP of 0.84 which was quite good when compared to other MBTs...unless of-course somebody in the army has the audacity to claim that iraqi dessert sand is heavier than the Thar sand...looking at their record they could come out with excuse if everything else is made keeping their requirements in mind...again i dont really agree with somebody claiming that the spare part availability in case of OFB is going to be better in case of russian tanks...their punctuality has been under question for more than 1 projects...although im not a fan of OFB professionalism, its still better to have these weapons made at home...

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Anonymous said...

Stpd argument/reason by army ppl that its not possible to air lift the tank. Do they airlift every tank„?

Anonymous said...

Given a little research my 2 cents on this is, the arjun's ground pressure is pretty competitive vis-a-vis modern mbt's. As far as the airlift is concerned, the argument was nicely countered by the "t72 in il76" analogy given by another person in an earlier post. The argument by raja about pak army using tactical nukes imo works in favor of a heavy tank with good nbc survival equipment. I too tend to think that the real reason for rejecting indegenous tanks may have more to do with reduced opportunities of getting kickbacks. I too think that the army should hv ordered 400-500 of mk2's.

Anonymous said...

I agree the army should have been iven at least 500 if not 1000 tanks. We should stop letting the army decide on what they should get instead we should have them just focus on developing tactics and strategies based on the equipments they have.

Anonymous said...

I'm relative of GK Kumaravel. Its been a year since he passed away. May his sole rest in peace. I'm very sorry to inform that the government was not that supportful! we just now got the pensions cleared ! atleast i'm sure the ppl around here are supportful.

Aerrow said...

there is actually a piece of information that is critical but has not been put here. An Israeli team of experts were called in and told to evaluate the Arjun. They said that the ARJUN is an amazing tank and that the army should focus on improving it. The army folks were kinda surprised. This is there in wiki. I don't really think that the military structure is right. The world is moving towards highly co-ordinated military structure. Our guys can barely communicate with the airforce and vice versa. In a real war, the army, navy and airforce will each fight their own independent battles and wars with little co-ordination. We need to end their turf wars first and then come up with a joint tactical command ability. In modern wars, tanks dont kill tanks. tanks are killed by gunships and infantry with anti-tank weapons. The US never lost M1 abrams to a tank kill but had lost many abrams to IEDs, RPG's, AT rounds and such. Many abrams were damaged beyond repair. It wasn't that the tanks were destroyed. Its just that they were damaged critically and in such ways that replacing the tank would be cheaper than repairing.
All countries are gonna do everything in their power to ensure that India will never be self reliant. Why would anyone like to loose their biggest market/customer ?

vinish shetty said...

I took some time to read this article and also some of the replies here, 1st thing hi all my name is VinishShetty I am from Bangalore, that said I am really surprised at why the army is rejecting the arjun MBT in favor of the T90s or the proposed upgraded t72m let me give some technical details to all readers first, the reason why tanks where developed in ww1 was to quickly end a war because both teams dug trenches and Sat There doing nothing, to end this stalemate tanks with caterpillar tracks where developed, now lets look at the necessity and role of tanks today, at the end of ww2 army's and scientists around the world realized that no tank howmuch ever armored however heavy it is is not safe, anymetal thing with a cavity is easily destroyed, now the focus shifted on making the kill systems(guns and types of ammunition they fire) better reason was 2 different war doctrine followed by 2 sides NATO and PACT, NATO focused on better guns with longer range, whereas PACT focused on cheap tanks with big guns and overwhelming the enemies with huge number of tanks kind of overrun and flank your enemies, to be fact in both the wars with Pakistan India followed the same strategy and it worked( have not mentioned kargil, since it was more infantry focused), that my friends tells us about the Indian army's requirements, a fast moving small signature tank with a big gun(where the t series tanks fit snugly), now where does it leave the arjun?? Arjun actually fulfils the western necessity for a fast heavily armoured tank with a better gun that can takeout a tank survive the hit from a second reload and takeout the second tank, coming to role of a tank, basically2 offensive and defensive, In my opinion t series are only suitable for offensive and hopeless in defense( remember what happened to Iraqi tanks, most of them where static targets) ( lessons from Vietnam highly mobile t55 tanks defeated the static American forces) todays battlefield is highly fluidic, at one point you may have to be offensive and then defensive to secure the ground you have gained, or exactly opposite, defend an attack and push forward going on offence, based on the above report of the arjun mk2 it would suit the later however it could also be a great offensive tank better then the t series, the gulf war was fought on desert terrain same or worse then rajasthan or baluch, the western forces did not seem to have suffered any mobility issues with there 65+ ton tanks, I guess the Indian army forgets when a stronger army attacks the weaker army blowsup all infrastructure like bridges, and roads, but a tank is designed to keep moving inspite of these obstacles, there was also a report I read once that our army was worried since they did not have the right infrastructure( transport carriages) to transport heavy tanks to the frontline(talk about upgrading infrastructure), if these kind of petty issues and focus only on Pakistan policy are not changed we would not be able to field our best agains the worst to come. Jai hindh.

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