Friday, November 6, 2009

Indian tank fights doubts over performance


The Indian army will take at least 124 of the controversial Indian-made Arjun tanks by April, according to media reports.But the army still doubts its performance as the country's proposed main battle tank to replace hundreds of Russian-made T-90 tanks.W. Selvamurthy, head of research and development at the Defense Research and Development Organization, made the announcement, saying many of the tanks are already being manufactured and getting readied for delivery.

"All of them will get inducted into the armed forces in March and April," Selvamurthy said in a report in the Times of India newspaper. "Other organizations are also giving us orders."He was speaking at the valedictory function of a training course at the Defense Institute of Advanced Technology at Girinagar, near the city of Pune.The DRDO project manages the Arjun, which has been designed and is being made by Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment at Avadi, in the state of Tamil Nadu.

But the project has been 35 years in the making, and getting the first batch operational has been a battle in itself, lasting a decade, according to a report in the Hindustan Times newspaper last May.Around 45 examples are already being used by the army, said the report. Yet the vehicle faces extensive comparative trials with the T-90s to see just how much the military can depend on it.The Hindustan Times article said the Arjun was plagued with a number of major problems concerning its fire control system, suspension and poor mobility due to its excessive weight, coming in at just under 60 tons. The T-90s weigh in at around 45 tons.

Performance issues rose as early as 2000 prompting the army to begin ordering the T-90s instead of waiting for improvements to, and delivery of, Arjun tanks.More than 390 T-90s were ordered in 2001, and last November another 347 were ordered. Also, as part of the deal, the Avadi Heavy Vehicles Factory in India has begun the licensed manufacture of another 1,000 T-90S tanks. The army is also upgrading nearly 700 T-72 tanks.

In July 2008 the army said it needs nearly 1,800 dependable tanks to replace the older Russian T-55 and T-72 tanks. This will be met through the progressive induction of 1,657 Russian-origin T-90S tanks and 124 Arjuns.The Arjun measures just under 33 feet long and 12 feet wide. Armor is a Kanchan steel-composite sandwich development. A 1,400hp diesel engine gives it an operational range of 280 miles with a speed of 45 mph on roads and 25 mph cross-country.

The 120mm rifled main turret gun can fire the LAHAT anti-tank missile. Secondary armaments are a MAG 7.62mm Tk715 coaxial machine gun and an HCB 12.7mm AA machine gun.Indian media reported in May 2008 that the tank was found to have low accuracy, frequent breakdown of power packs and problems with the gun barrel. Details of failures during trials were embarrassingly noted in question-and-answer times by ministers and elected representatives in the nation's parliament, the Lok Sabha.

The DRDO said it needs to have up to 300 rolling off the production line in order to see where all the performance issues lie. It wants the army to eventually take at least 500 tanks before any serious upgrades can be considered.The Arjun tank is named after one of the main characters of the Indian epic poem the Mahabharata. The discussion of life and karma is the longest epic poem in the world, being roughly 10 times the length of the Iliad and Odyssey combined.

The Arjun news comes just after the end of a joint exercise by the Singapore armed Forces and the Indian army in Devlali, India. Soldiers from the 23rd and 24th Battalion, Singapore Artillery, and the Indian army's 283 Field Regiment took part.The exercise, which included live firing of the SAF's FH-88 Howitzer guns and 155mm Battery guns from the Indian army, was the fifth in the Agni Warrior series. It began on Oct. 9 and ended Oct. 26.

8 comments:

What india should have done was run two parallel programs of tanks, independent of each other and two separate departments/divisions of R&D, and let them compete against each other....

Secondly, they should have inducted a small company of Arjun's and
operationalize them with forward tabk unity. This way they would have found solutions of each technical issue in the field and find a solution with the help of army engineering units.

In 35 years, any organization should have been able to produce at least 2 tanks.

Producing a tank is not an easy job. DRDO is doing its best to make Arjun one of the best in the world. They are constantly working on improving its performance. Any unwarrented critisism will certainly affect their performance. We need to encourage their work rather than silly proposals of creating a compatitor of DRDO. We don't want start all over again. It's really silly.

I'm not going to diss the Arjun tank, but you can't say that DRDO is taking 35 years on a tank because they want to make it one of the "best in the world".
Sure everyone wants to make a weapon which is among the best in the world, but the fact is that the Indian Army is choosing the T-90 over the Arjun currently. And the T-90 is hardly one of the best in the world, so what does that say about the Arjun's performance?

Not that the development of the Arjun tank hasn't been useful to DRDO. In future they would use this experience to manage their building of weapons far better, as they learnt with the LCA. So while there is the negative of having many delays, there is also the benefit of making sure you don't fall into the same holes in future.

yes arjun is now obsolete by any standards if a Tank takes 25 years to build then by the time its comes out is is outdated.And as mentioned the army is going after t-90 so arjun is not so best in armys eyes.it is inducted for the sake of national pride.India should learn to walk before it can run.all the tank making countries started their base from having a vibrant indigenous vehicle industry which india lacks,(all the vehicle industry in india is dominated by foreign technology,and tata trucks are not great)after all tanks is nothing but a tracked vehicle.

@ carry on Pankaj,
I really like you man. You are a genius to have defined the tank in such a manner. What happens in case you get fired by something as light as 7.62 mm bullet(AK47) in a non tracked vehicle - ( tank without tracks in your definition)?

Arjun is a very competent tank. IA has shifted the goalpost with their requirement. T90 & Arjun are in different weight class. The problems were with the gear box supplied by the Germans, rectified already.The tank that were subjected to trials had already done more than 5000 Km travel and then subjected. How Many T90's can with stand the travel of 5000 KM's?
The gun is much more stable than the T90 and Battle management capabilities are far better than other tanks India is operating or likely to operate. Only Issue is weight at 58.5 tons. But the Pressure per square inch is far lesser than T90.
Arjun will beat the Shit out of T90 in any comparative trials and thats what the lobbies don't want. It is faster, better stablised gun and has NIGHT FIGHTING CAPABILITIES UNLIKE T90( faulty thermal imagers). Only issue as i said is weight and width as it will require redesigning the railway wagons to transport it . Of course the Gun is rifled and can fire more kind of ammunition than T90 again.

Arjun has a better armour ( kanchan). A fair trial is impossible and already minister had to warn the IA in parliament if there is any sabotage he will take is seriously. Trials will depend on the training of the crew, familiarization of weapon system and off course role originally planned by Army.

DRDO should simply export it to pakistan ( it's much better than Khalid) or Africa.

chandrabhanji DRDO busy making "kachra Maal" which even the indian defence forces dont want to buy,they eventually go for israeli/russian made.history is a testament to this.

The question is not Arjun Tank or any project of DRDO. All projects are suffering from slippages in timeline, poor quality of deliverable, escalation in cost. It is high time that we allow private partneships in to defence sector or open up for private participation. This will bring more transparency and accountability to precious pblic money.....

its not that DRDO is making 'kachra mal" n arjun is really a very good tank inspite of its defaults.we should all shut up n try to improve the arjun instead of blaming DRDO.DRDO is doing is best to make arjun the best tank.n russian made T-90s are the worst tanks according to me.they have more faults than the arjun tank.i think that the army should stop importing T-90s n should induct more arjuns because they are more capable n more stronger than t-90s.and i personally think that the T-90 are the coffins for our soldier,ofcource they are lighter than the arjuns but even the US ABRAMS are heavier as arjun's n still they are the best tanks in the world.this means that the weightof the tank dosent matter,the only thing matters is that the performance which should be improved frm time to time

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