Saturday, October 3, 2009

Indian Army to procure 300 light tanks

Even as the Indian Army continues to rectify problems that cropped up with its recently inducted T-90 main battle tanks, it has drawn up plans to procure about 300 light tanks.

A request for information issued to prospective vendors has pegged the requirement at about 200 wheeled light tanks (armoured cars) and about 100 tracked light tanks.

The Army wants tanks for effective employability in the high-altitude areas and mountainous terrain as well as in the deserts and urban and semi-urban terrains in the western sector. The numbers and type of tanks and the projected areas of deployment is indicative of the Army's threat perceptions and operational requirements in various theaters and its doctrinal approach.

Defence sources say the numbers could rise. The army, at present, has 63 armoured regiments out of which about half a dozen have been re-equipped with the T-90

Russian T-90s, procured a few years ago, faced problems while operating at high temperatures in the desert, affecting the tanks' electronics, fire control system and thermal imagers.

According to sources, trials are on in desert to evaluate ratifications and modifications to overcome the problems. About a dozen Russian experts are assisting the Army in the Rajasthan ranges. The Army initially bought 310 T-90s and placed an order for another 330 in 2007 besides license producing another 1,000 by 2020.

Military experts say that light tanks would primarily be used for reconnaissance, where speed and stealth are preferred over firepower. Wheeled tanks have a much lower audio signature and are more manoeuverable than tracked tanks.

Maj Gen Raj Mehta, a cavalry officer, said light tanks are more effective in areas like paddy field, water-logged terrain, sand and marshy ground, where the ground pressure is very low.

Then there is the issue of logistics and cross-country transportation. A light tank weighs up to 14 tonnes while the T-90 or the Arjun weigh 45 and 58 tonnes, respectively. This makes it easier to transport them to the high-altitude areas in Ladakh or North-East by road or air.


Go India, shine with your brilliance. India progressing and becoming envy of its neighbours. Inshalla.

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