Indian Army Chief’s admission of Armoured debacle stuns the world

 

 
 
Indian Army Chief’s outrageous admission of Armoured debacle stuns the world

—General Kapoor says Indian army does not posses ability to fight armoured combat in night 
—Army Chief shameful admission makes Defence Minister Antony chew his buts 
—India’s numerical tank supremacy over Pakistan eliminated by Armoured Corps’ night blindness 
—India Arjun Tank eats dust while Pakistan Al-Khalid MBT remains a success story 
—India’s missile systems remain shady as nation celebrates 62nd Army Day

 

While the Indians celebrate 62nd Army Day, country’s Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor, just after a couple of weeks of announcing a new war doctrine of Indian army to eliminate Pakistan and China in matter of hours even if it has to fight on simultaneous fronts, outrageously admitted Indian Army’s Armoured debacle and expressed concern about the force’s ‘night blindness’ in the area of Armoured Corps and mechanised infantry. ‘My major concern is that night blindness of the army is removed so we are able to fight in the night as in the day,’ Kapoor said at New Delhi Yesterday, an admission that stunned the world in the back drop of his two weeks old remarks.

 The situation also forced Indian Defence Minister Antony to chew his own buts as he had been endorsing and projecting General Kapoor’s announcement regarding the new war doctrine for Pakistan and China  Earlier, when his attention was brought to the fact that the Indian Army’s tanks have a night vision capability of 20 percent, Pakistan’s have 80 percent while China has 100 percent, General Deepak Kapoor admitted this outrageous military debacle by saying: ‘You are right.’ 

‘Projects are already in the pipeline to ensure that we have the night vision capability that our adversaries have. It may take three-four years,’ Kapoor added. The lack of night vision capability of the Indian Army has affected its fighting capability during the night. The deficiency has been persistent since the Kargil conflict.

On a query about the obsolete artillery of the Indian Army, the army chief said that successive bans have delayed acquisition of new guns for long. ‘Artillery is a cause for concern. We need to have better guns. Trials for towed guns are underway. Because of bans the process got delayed. We are now acquiring (ultra light) guns through FMS (Foreign Military Sales) route (from the US),’ Kapoor added.


But the latest admission of Indian Army Chief about failure of its armoured corps to fight a battle in the night time is an additional and a rather huge disadvantage to the Indian Army and crystal clearly negates the claims of Indian Army Chief regarding smooth victory in case Indian army has to fight a war with Pakistan or China or even both at the same time.The Daily mail’s investigations into the matter reveal that despite a numerical strength of tanks over Pakistan, Indian army otherwise armoured and infantry capabilities are even below average if compared with Pakistan Army.  According to these findings, Indian armoured corps comprises around 4, 059 tanks with a backup of 1, 133 as reserve while Pakistan Army’s Tank strength is 2,401 with a backup of 270 as reserves. However this numerical supremacy of Indian army is outraged with the fact that Indian armoured corps relies mainly on its Main Battle Tank (MBT) Arjun which emerged as a big failure while Pakistan Army’s armoured corps’ main strength has become Al-Khalid MBT which is a great success story, endorsed across the world. 

The Daily Mail’s findings further disclose that India’s MBT Arjun is more flab than brawn. More a heavyweight than a performer. A potpourri really, with a French engine, and German seals fitted into an Indian hull and turret. And transporting this heavyweight is going to be another problem, which could limit its operational performance. These findings further indicate that Arjun has indeed suffered throughout its development, from confusion and inexplicable delays and by imbalances between the Army, the DRDO and the bureaucracy. Pakistan by contrast, has drawn a lesson from the Indian experience and avoided the trap of over lasting her R&D’s indigenous know-how in the development of its MBT  Al-Khalid.

The Daily Mail’s findings indicate that Arjun mounts a 120mm rifled gun deadly in lethal power but wanting in accuracy. Its performance in various trails was reported to be anything but up to the mark. It is believed that during in March 1990, General V. N. Sharma, the then Army Chief of Staff and an armoured expert, was “quite wild” when only three of the five rounds hit the 5X5 meter target and no hit was scored against a moving target.

According to Major General M. L. Popli (retd.) of the Indian Army, Arjun’s production was basically planned as an ambitious project with complete indigenous components and assemblies but it was later revealed that the Arjun’s sub-systems were all imported except for the hull and the turret. The imported assemblies include all major sub-systems such as engine, transmission, track-suspension, gin and fire control. Our experts are of the view that their integration, “leaves much to be desired”. The auxiliary power unit from France did not perfectly fit in the tank, with the German seals not meeting the General Staff qualitative requirements of withstanding temperatures up to 150 degree Centigrade. The barely measured up to 120 degrees. Arjun is therefore quite a “fuss” with the French engine, with German seals fitted into the Indian hull and turret mounting a not very accurate 120mm gun. 

Armoured experts say that another problem thrown up by the heavyweight is its transportation. Arjun could present a lot of problem for transportation by railways particularly through certain portions of the system. This imposes very serious limitations on the Arjun’s operational performance. In most of the field armies, the tank transporters and assault bridges are not usually designed to take such heavy weights. These aspects mostly highlight the engineering and operational problems.

According to The Daily Mail’s findings, global military analysts say that Pakistan adopted a step-by-step approach towards the manufacture of its MBT-2000 Khalid, and this is the single most important reason for having stolen a march over India. They are of the opinion that the Indian project was too ambitious, whereas Pakistan’s approach was more systematic comprising the following phases and that was why Pakistan Army got a well prepared MBT while the Indian Armoured Corps was equipped with huffing, overweight and inaccurate Tank system.

The Daily Mail findings indicate that clear technical and professional edges of Pakistan Army’s Armoured Corps over Indian Army’s Armoured Corp  are valid reasons to make General kapoor a really apprehensive Chief of Indian Army. These findings indicate that Pakistan’s MBT-2000 Khalid mounts a 125mm gun with thermal image converter. Maximum efforts were devoted to getting the machine souped up as possible mainly to cut down weight. Just compare the 60 tons Arjun with the maximum 44 tons Al- Khalid.

It is essential to mention that Al-Khalid is equipped with 105mm gun with a more powerful engine, special armour for increased protection in the indigenously built laser range finder and thermal image sighting system to maximize the gun range even in the hours of acute darkness, enabling Pakistan Army’s armoured Corps to enjoy a complete technical and professional Supremacy of over Indian Armoured Corps; a fact that now worries Indian Army Chief the most. 

Further more, Al-Khalid MBT has an integrated fire control system for reducing engagement time and increasing accuracy, along with the automatic fire support system. This tank’s most lethal component, the penetrater ammunition called Armour Piercing Fin Stabilized Discarding Sabot (APFSDS), is also being indigenously produced. This project has been designated P-87. Currently, a series of such closely related projects to manufacture hull, turret, gun barrels and engines are in various stages of planning-execution. All these will finally merged into a tank manufacturing factory that will produce MBT-2000 Khalid.

The Daily Mail’s findings indicate that despite the disgraceful admission of the Indian Army Chief regarding Indian Armoured Corps’ inability to combat a battle in the night, the Indian Army is already going through a very depressed and dejected phase and many of the missile systems, given to the Indian army have also emerged as seriously faulty and rather super-flops battle tools. These investigations indicate that many of the tests of Missile systems, carried out by Indian DRDO and declared officially as successful, have actually got a highly dubious result history.

The Daily Mail’s investigations reveal that the failure in rapid succession of Astra missile system, a satellite launcher and a new ballistic missile have shown up the technological and budgetary difficulties faced by India’s space establishment, both civilian and military. These investigations indicate that India’s intermediate-range ballistic missile “Agni III” that was launched by the secretive Defense Research Development Organization (DRDO) failed soon after liftoff  and crashed into the Bay of Bengal, less than 1,000 kilometers away from the launch site.

The failure of the Agni III was a very serious matter because it exposed the political limitations of India’s attempts, despite its ambitions, to pursue a military capability. The surface-to-surface ballistic missile, designed to have a range of 3,500 kilometers, took off in a “fairly smooth” manner at the designated hour. But “a series of mishaps” occurred in its later flight path. Earlier, India decided to postpone the missile test out of fear that a test could hamper US Congressional ratification of the India-US nuclear cooperation deal. 

Publicly, the then Indian Defense Minister cited “self-imposed restraint” to justify the postponement. However, General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US military, visited India and declared that “I do not see it [a test] as destabilizing” or upsetting the regional “military balance” since “other countries in this region” (read, Pakistan) have also tested missiles. Following this “facilitation” or clearance, and after indications of favorable votes in US Congressional committees on the nuclear deal, India’s stand changed. 

A week later, the DRDO announced it was ready to launch Agni-III. This was the ninth missile in the Agni series (named after the Sanskrit word for “fire”) to have been tested. The first was tested in May 1989. The last test (Agni-II) took place in August 2004. The Daily Mail’s investigations indicate that unlike major powers including the US, Russia or China, which test the same missile 10 to 20 times before announcing that it is fully developed, India considers only three or four test flights to be enough for both producing and inducting new missiles and thus ended up with inaccurate results and the success story was announced in a hasty manner. 

These investigations disclose that this was not the first time that the test of an Agni series missile failed. As earlier, some tests of the shorter range Agni-II (range 2,000 kilometers-plus) also proved unsuccessful. However what made the Agni-III’s failure significant was that unlike its shorter-range predecessors, it was a wholly new design, developed with the specific purpose of delivering a nuclear warhead.

The Daily Mail’s findings indicate that Agni-I (range 700 to 800 kilometers) and Agni-II were both products of India’s space program and connected to its Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP), itself launched in 1983. Originally, their design used a satellite space-launching rocket (SLV-3) as the first stage, on top of which was mounted the very short-range (150 to 250 kilometers) liquid fuel-propelled Prithvi missile. The Agni-III’s brand new design, in which both stages use solid propellants, was to enable it to carry a payload weighing up to 1.5 tons and deliver it to targets as far away as Beijing and Shanghai. At present, India lacks an effective nuclear deterrent vis-a-vis China, based on a delivery vehicle carrying a nuclear warhead. Agni-III was meant to fill the void.

The causes of the failure of the test flight are not clear. Scientists at the DRDO, which designed and built the missile, have been quoted as saying that many new technologies were tried in the Agni-III, including rocket motors, “fault-tolerant” avionics and launch control and guidance systems. Some of these could have failed. Other reports attribute the mishap to problems with the propellant.

“The DRDO isn’t the world’s most reliable weapons R&D agency,” Admiral L Ramdas, a former Chief of Staff of the Indian Navy, told The Daily Mail. “The Indian armed services’ experience with DRDO-made armaments has not been a happy one. Their reliability is often extremely poor. We often used to joke that one had to pray they would somehow work in the battlefield,” he added “The figure of the budget of DRDO is extremely high for a poor country like India, with a low rank of 127 among 175 countries of the world in the United Nations Human Development Index,” said Anil Chowdhary of the Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace. “Yet the DRDO has delivered very little.”

The Daily Mail’s findings indicate that none of the three major projects assigned to the DRDO were completed on time or without huge cost-overruns. These include the development of a Main Battle Tank (MBT), a nuclear power plant for a submarine, and an advanced Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), all involving expenditures of hundreds of millions of dollars.
 “The primary reason for these shocking instances of underperformance and inability is lack of public accountability and oversight of the DRDO,” says M V Ramana, an independent technical expert attached to the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Environment and Development, Bangalore.

“The DRDO, like all of India’s defense and nuclear service establishments, is not subject to normal processes of audit. It has used ’security’ as a smokescreen or shield and refused to be held to account,” he adds. The Daily Mail’s investigations disclose that Pakistan, in sharp contrast, has always accorded high priority to its air defence management, with its multi-tier surveillance cover, air defence fighters, quick-reaction, short-range missiles and an integrated control and reporting system. The Indian Armed Forces, however, continues to make do with its obsolete air defence systems, The IAF, for instance, has aging Pechora, Igla-1M and OSA-AK missile systems, and that, too, in woefully inadequate numbers. While Trishul was to replace its OSA-AK weapons system, Akash was meant as a substitute for Pechora.

 The Daily Mail’s findings reveal further that But both the Trishul and Akash air defence missile systems, which are part of the original Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme launched as far back as 1983, have been dogged by development snags in their “command guidance and integrated Ramjet rocket propulsion” systems. Trishul, for instance, has been tested over 80 times so far without coming anywhere near becoming operational. It was, in fact, virtually given up for dead in 2003 after around Rs 300 crore was spent on it, before being revived yet again.

Trishul’s repeated failure, in fact, forced the Indian Navy to go in for nine Israeli Barak anti-missile defence systems for its frontline warships, along with 200 Barak missiles, at a cost of Rs 1,510 crore during the 1999 Kargil conflict. The Daily Mail’s investigations reveal that India’s missile scientists are on record to have said that the country’s indigenous missile programme is flagging and needs foreign assistance to revive it. The embarrassing admission came amid claims by Indian analysts that Pakistan’s missile programme had proved to be more robust and surefooted than India’s. 

The Mail Today, an Indian newspaper is on record to have quoted the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as announcing that it would scrap its 25-year Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) very soon. Talking about the Trishul surface-to-air missile that has now been termed a technology demonstrator, former Indian Naval Chief Sushil Kumar said:“It was a national embarrassment. DRDO made fake claims for 25 years. In the 1999 Kargil conflict, the Navy was vulnerable to attacks from Pakistan’s Harpoon.

“Finally the project was scrapped when the Navy went in for the Israeli Barak missiles. The Prithvi’s naval variant, Dhanush, is also flawed and ill-conceived, which is being inflicted on the Indian Navy. Former Air Chief S. P. Tyagi said:“Akash was to be ready at a certain time, but it wasn’t. I had to change everything to make up for the delay.” Both missiles were part of a programme to develop indigenous weapons, which began in July 1983, with plans for Agni, Prithvi, Trishul, Akash and Nag missiles.

The IGMDP, which was aimed at achieving self-sufficiency in missile development and production, comprises five core missile programmes; the strategic Agni ballistic missile; the tactical Prithvi ballistic missile; the Akash and Trishul surface-to-air missiles and the Nag anti-tank guided missile.  Indian newspaper, The Mail Today quotes S. Prahlada, Chief of the Control Research and Development, DRDO, as saying that development and production of most of the futuristic weapon systems would henceforth be undertaken with foreign collaboration.

With regard to the nuclear-capable Agni series, comprising I and II, the newspaper quoted army sources as saying while they had been tested five times each “a handful of tests are not enough to prove a missile’s worth”. There were different problems with other systems too. “Pakistan has always been one step ahead of India in its missile programme,” the newspaper said, adding that Islamabad has “a much more robust missile force than India, one capable of launching nuclear weapons to any part in this country.” Unlike Indian missiles, which were declared “inducted” after a few tests, the Pakistani projectiles have always been thoroughly tested.

With this state of affairs in the direction of the missile systems, coupled the Armoured Corps’s inability to combat a night vision battle, one should must salute the Indian Military leadership to have come up with the announcement of evolving an innovative war doctrine to crush Pakistan as well as China and that too in hours’ time

Pakistan’s Main Battle Tanks (MBT)

Article by outflankers at February 24th, 2012
Leopard 2

A tank is a tracked, armoured fighting vehicle designed for front-line combat which combines operational mobility and tactical offensive and defensive capabilities. Firepower is normally provided by a large-calibre main gun in a rotating turret and secondary machine guns, while heavy armour and all-terrain mobility provide protection for the tank and its crew, allowing it to perform all primary tasks of the armoured troops on the battlefield.

Al-Khalid: Al-Khalid is designed with a 125 mm (length: 48 calibers) smoothbore, auto-frottage and chrome-plated gun barrel which can fire the following types of conventional ammunition: APFSDS, HEAT-FS and HE-FS. Despite a common belief that the gun is Chinese, it was later changed to a modified variant of KBA-3 series of 125 mm smooth bore gun for Al-khalid MBT which provided compatibility with Ukrainian ATGMs such as Combat. Gun-launched, laser-guided anti-tank guided missiles can also be launched and two types are believed to be in use on the Al-Khalid, the Russian-designed 9M119 Refleks (AT-11 Sniper) produced in China under license and the Ukrainian-designed Combat, which may have been modified in Pakistan to incorporate a larger warhead. Al-Khalid also fires a Pakistani DU round, the Naiza 125 mm DU round (armor penetration: 550 mm in RHA at 2 km). Al-Khalid is equipped with a muzzle reference system and dual-axis stabilization system. Elevation and azimuth control is achieved by electro-hydraulic power drives. The automatic ammunition-handling system for the main gun has a 24-round ready-to-fire magazine and can load and fire at a rate of eight rounds per minute.

The tank is also equipped with a 7.62 mm-coaxial machine gun, a 12.7 mm externally-mounted air-defence machine gun that can be aimed/fired from within the tank and smoke grenade launchers. The gunner is provided with a dual magnification day sight and the commander with a panoramic sight for all-around independent surveillance. Both sights are dual-axis image stabilized and have independent laser range-finders. The tank has true hunter-killer capability, giving the commander the ability to acquire new targets independently while the gunner is engaging another target. The automatic target-tracking system is designed to work when tank and target are both moving. Night vision for the gunner and commander is achieved through a dual-magnification thermal imaging sight. Both sights are integrated with the fire-control system. The production Al-Khalid tank has a fire-control system of western origin. In the MBT 2000, the Chinese Norinco fire-control system has inputs from ten sensors. The ballistic computation time is less than one second. The manufacturer claims routine first round hits on standard 8 ft (2.4 m) square targets at ranges over 2,000 meters.

  • Effective range: 200 to 7,000 meters
  • Sensor: laser ranging from 200 to 9,990 meters
  • French Auto-tracking, interfaced with gunner station, firing four types of munitions, gunner’s thermal imaging sight, commander’s image intensification night vision sight, gyro-stabilized and UPS power supply system.

The tank is equipped with the “Integrated Battlefield Management System” (IBMS), named ‘Rehbar’, a digital communications system developed domestically by HIT and CARE (Centre for Advanced Research in Engineering). It comprises a flat-screen display mounted inside the tank which communicates with those of other vehicles, including command posts such as the HIT Sakb. It uses a data-link to facilitate secure communication of battlefield information between units, including tank video footage and information from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).

The production model Al-Khalid is powered by a 6TD-2 liquid-cooled diesel engine, designed by the Kharkiv Morozov Design Bureau (KMDB) of Ukraine. The 6TD-2 is a supercharged 6-cylinder engine delivering 1,200 horsepower (890 kW). The 2-stroke design, with the pistons arranged horizontally in an opposed piston configuration, makes the engine very compact and therefore more suitable for being fitted into relatively small vehicles such as the Al-Khalid MBT. The 6TD-2 engine drives a French-designed hydro-mechanical automatic transmission, the SESM ESM500, also fitted to the Leclerc MBT. Capable of manual and fully automatic power-shifting, the transmission has 5 forward and 2 reverse speeds along with a braking system that incorporates carbon friction brakes and a secondary speed-retarding system. Gear shifts are controlled by a torque converter which is made more efficient by addition of an automatic lock-up clutch.

There is also a mechanical back-up system for use in emergencies, able to shift 2 gears forward and reverse. The suspension consists of torsion bars, hydraulic dampers and buffers, whose role is to provide a stable firing platform while the tank is moving at speed over rough terrain and as smooth a ride as possible to reduce crew fatigue. The tracks are mounted on six dual wheels with rubber tires, a drive sprocket at the rear and an idler at the front. They are protected by side skirts, the forward sections of which can be fitted with explosive reactive armor, and track wear is reduced by replaceable rubber track pads. The Al-Khalid is fairly lightweight by Western standards, weighing 46 tons compared to the 60 tone M1 Abrams and Leopard 2. A power-to-weight ratio of 26.66 hp/tonne gives acceleration from 0 to 32 km/h (0 to 20 mph) in 10 seconds and a maximum speed of 70 km/h, the speed and agility also helping to improve survivability. A snorkel allows the tank to cross water obstacles up to 5 meters deep, after some preparation by the crew. Navigation is assisted by an inertial navigation system (INS) and a GPS satellite navigation system.

Al-Khalid has modular composite armor and explosive reactive armor, nuclear-biological-chemical defences, an effective thermal smoke generator, internal fire extinguisher and explosion-suppression system. The infra-red signature of the tank is reduced by infra-red reflective paint. Al-Khalid 1 is equipped with a newly developed indigenous ERA which is not only light weight, but also more resistant to APFSDS, HEAT and HE-FS rounds. ERA is developed by Global Industries and Defense Solutions (GIDS) Corporation. Al-Khalid is also equipped with an Active protection system known as VARTA (guards) which is a Ukrainian modification of Russian Shtora APS system. HIT is also working on an indigenous APS system for future batches especially for Al-Khalid 2.

An advanced laser detection system from Al Technique Corporation (ATCOP) is present, the ATCOP LTS 1 laser threat warning system developed by Institute of Industrial Control Systems. LTS 1 consists of a mast-mounted sensor and operator’s control box, which includes a display showing threats 360 degrees around the tank. It can detect laser rangefinders and laser target designators as well as respond automatically by triggering acoustic alarms, smoke generators and other countermeasure systems. LTS 1 can detect laser devices operating in the 0.8 to 1.06 µm waveband, has a 360° field of view in azimuth (resolution of 15°) and a field of view in elevation of -15° to +90°. Operating voltage is 12 V or 24 V DC nominal with power consumption being 8 W nominal. The sensor head is 165 mm in diameter and 35 mm high while the control box is 80 x 130 x 55 mm in size. Laser Threat Sensor LTS786P is an early warning device which gives audio and visual alarms of threat by sensing a laser beam aimed at it from any direction. The exact location of the threat (in-coming beam) is indicated by nine LEDs, covering all directions above horizon. It has the capability to differentiate between a Laser Range Finder, Laser Target Designator or a Laser Target Tracker Signal. In addition, provision of sensor output signal, interfacing for appropriate counter-measures, is also available. It can be used on stationary or moving objects of any size or shape. Maximum operating Range is 10 km.

al-khalid1
Al-Khalid2
 

T-80: The T-80 is similar in layout to the T-64; the driver’s compartment is on the centre line at the front, the two man turret is in the centre with gunner on the left and commander on the right, and the engine is rear mounted. Overall, its shape is also very similar to the T-64. The original T-80 design uses a 1,000 horsepower gas turbine instead of a 750 horsepower diesel engine, although some later variants of the T-80 revert to diesel engine usage. The gearbox is different, with five forward and one reverse gear, instead of seven forward and one reverse. Suspension reverts from pneumatic to torsion bar, with six forged steel-aluminium rubber-tyred road wheels on each side, with the tracks driven by rear sprockets. The glacis is of laminate armor and the turret is armored steel. The turret houses the same 125 mm 2A46 smoothbore gun as the T-72, which can fire anti-tank guided missiles as well as regular ordnance. The tracks are slightly wider and longer than on the T-64 giving lower ground pressure. The main gun is fed by the Korzina automatic loader. This holds up to 28 rounds of two-part ammunition in a carousel located under the turret floor. Additional ammunition is stored within the turret.

The ammunition comprises the projectile (APFSDS, HEAT or HE-Frag) plus the propellant charge, or the two part missile. The autoloader is an effective, reliable, combat tested system which has been in use since the mid-1960s. The propellant charge is held inside a semi-combustible cartridge case made of a highly flammable material – this is consumed in the breech during firing, except for a small metal baseplate. The T-80s main gun has a range longer than that of western tanks, being capable of engaging targets at a range of 5,000 m. The T-80′s armor is made of composite armor on the turret and hull, while rubber flaps and sideskirts protect the sides and lower hull. The later T-80 models use explosive reactive armor and stronger armor, like the T-80U and T-80UM1. Other protection systems include the Shtora-1 and Arena APS, as well as the discontinued Drozd APS (though a limited number of T-80Us have them installed).

T-80
 

T-54/55: Like many post-World War II tanks, the T-54 and T-55 have a conventional layout with fighting compartment in the front, engine compartment in the rear, and a dome-shaped turret in the centre of the hull. The driver’s hatch is on the front left of the hull roof. The commander is seated on the left, with the gunner to his front and the loader on the right. The tank’s suspension has the drive sprocket at the rear, and dead track. Engine exhaust is on the left fender. There is a prominent gap between the first and second road wheel pairs, a distinguishing feature from the T-62, which has progressively larger spaces between road wheels towards the rear.

The T-54 and T-55 tanks are outwardly very similar and difficult to distinguish visually. Many T-54s were also updated to T-55 standards, so the distinction is often downplayed with the collective name T-54/55. Soviet tanks were factory-overhauled every 7,000 km and often given minor technology updates. Many states have added or modified the tank’s equipment; India, for example, affixed fake fume extractors to its T-54s and T-55s so that its gunners wouldn’t confuse them with Pakistani Type 59s. The older T-54 can be distinguished from the T-55 by a dome-shaped ventilator on the front right of the turret and a driver-operated SGMT 7.62 mm machine gun mounted to fire through a tiny hole in the centre of the hull’s front. Early T-54s lacked a gun fume extractor, had an undercut at the turret’s rear, and a distinctive “pig-snout” gun mantled.

t-54/55
 

Al-Zarrar: Al-Zarrar’s primary armament is a 125 mm smoothbore tank gun with an auto frottage, chrome-plated gun barrel. It is capable of firing APFSDS, HEAT-FS and HE-FS rounds as well as anti-tank guided missiles and a Pakistani DU (depleted uranium) round, the 125 mm Naiza. Naiza is capable of penetrating 550 mm of RHA armor at a distance of 2 km. Reloaded by a semi-automatic autoloader, the gun has a dual-axis stabilization system and thermal imaging sights for the commander and gunner integrated into the fire-control system. The image stabilized fire-control system includes a laser range-finder for accurate range information and ballistics computer to improve accuracy. An improved gun control system is also fitted. The secondary armament consists of an external 12.7 mm anti-aircraft machine gun mounted on the roof of the turret, which can be aimed and fired from inside the tank, and a 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun.

The Al-Zarrar is powered by a liquid-cooled 12-cylinder diesel engine, giving a power output of 730 hp (540 kW) and torque output of 305 kg at 1300–1400 rpm. A combat weight of 40 tones gives Al-Zarrar a power-to-weight ratio of 18.3 hp/tone and a top speed of 65 km/h. Crew comfort is improved over the Type 59 by a modified torsion bar suspension system.

Al-Zarrar uses modular composite armor and explosive reactive armor to give improved protection from anti-tank missiles, mines and other weapons. The Pakistani ATCOP LTS-1 laser threat warning system is fitted to inform the tank crew if the tank is targeted by a laser range-finder or laser designator. Smoke grenade launchers are fitted to the sides of the turret. An automatic fire-extinguishing and explosion suppression system is installed to improve crew survivability.

Alzarar1
Alzarrar2

India Reverses Gear, Puts Arjun Tank Back in Production

Jan 28, 2013 12:16 UTC by Defense Industry Daily staff

 
Latest updates [?]: Article updates; What’s in Arjun Mk.2?; What’s beyond Arjun?
Arjun tank

Arjun tank
(click to view full)

India’s indigenous Arjun tank project began in 1974, and originally aimed to replace the Russian T-54 and T-72 tanks which made up the bulk of that country’s armored firepower. As has often been the case in India, its DRDO government weapons development agency sought an entirely made in India solution, even though this would require major advances on a number of fronts for Indian industry. As has often been the case in India, the result was a long and checkered history filled with development delays, performance issues, mid-project specifications changes by India’s military, and the eventual purchase of both foreign substitutions within the project (now 58% of the tank’s cost) and foreign competitors from outside it (the T-90S).

The 58.5 tonne Arjun tank wasn’t fielded with the Indian Army until May 2009. In contrast, Pakistan’s much more time-limited, scope-limited, and budget conscious approach in developing and successfully fielding its T-80UD “Al-Khalid” tank external link is often cited by Arjun’s detractors.

The Russian T-90S will form the mainstay of India’s future force, despite that tank’s performance issues in hot weather external link. That won’t change, but after beating the T-90 in a number of trials, the Arjun now has a clear future in India…

 

 

 

Arjun Cap, and T-90S Trade

T-90 Catching Air

T-90, backside ollie

The Arjun is an indigenous project, but not wholly so. Imported items such as the engine/ power pack, gunner’s main sight, and other components account for 58% of each tank’s cost. This is not uncommon around the world. Israel’s Merkava tank family also relies on a foreign-built engine, for instance, as does France’s Leclerc.

It is uncommon among Indian policy-makers, but the reality is that a series of project failures gave them little choice. The Arjun has been plagued with a mix of problems over its 36-year development history, including its fire control system, suspension issues, and poor mobility due to excessive weight. It has also grown from a 40-tonne tank with a 105mm gun, to a 62-67 tonne tank with a 120mm gun. Predictably, project costs spiraled up from Rs 15.5 crore in 1974 to Rs 306 crore (INR 3.06 trillion). The army was not pleased. In an unusual stance, they accepted the tank only after a third-party audit by an international tank manufacturer, and orders were strictly limited.

The Indian army didn’t even stand up its 1st Arjun armored regiment until May 2009, 35 years after the program began. To underscore the point, even that milestone followed a development that seemed to end the platform’s future. In July 2008, India had announced that production of the Arjun would be capped at the already-committed total of 124 vehicles. Instead, development would begin on a new next-generation tank, designed to survive and serve until 2040 or so.

That appeared to close the book on a failed project, but opinion in India was sharply split. Many observers cited this as the final failure. Other were noting the problems with the T-90s, and the Army’s refusal to conduct side-by-side tests, alongside recent test successes that began earning the Arun some military fans. In May 2010 desert trials alongside the T-90S, the Arjun did surprisingly well.

In response, the government and the Army changed course somewhat. Arjun production would double to 248. That’s an improvement, but DRDO insists that a 500 vehicle order is needed to

give them the volume needed to iron out all production difficulties, and provide a platform for future development.

Reference 

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