Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Friendly fire damages the Arjun


(Photo: At the Combat Vehicles R&D Establishment, Avadi, with CVRDE Joint Director, Major General HM Singh, who has ably guided the Arjun Project for over two decades)




by Ajai Shukla
Business Standard: 22nd April 2008

The Arjun tank is in pitched battle even before fully entering service with the Indian Army. Ironically, the most hostile fire is coming from the men who will eventually ride the tank into war: the army’s mechanised forces. These experts, it now emerges, have rubbished the tank before Parliament’s Standing Committee on Defence; they say they will not accept the Arjun unless it improves considerably. What benchmarks it must meet remain undefined.

The Arjun saga encapsulates the pitfalls in any attempt to build a complex weapons system. It all began in 1974, when the Defence R&D Organisation (DRDO) undertook to build India’s own Main Battle Tank (MBT). The euphoria gradually waned as the DRDO missed deadline after deadline, eventually losing the army’s trust with unfulfilled promises that the tank was just around the corner. The army undermined the project in equal measure, periodically “updating” the design as technology moved on. DRDO scientists joke that whenever they approached a technology solution, the next issue of Jane’s Defence Weekly would give the army new ideas for upgrading their demands.

Exaggeration notwithstanding, the DRDO has a point in complaining about changes in the Arjun design goalposts. There is logic too in the army’s plea that it could not accept a 1970s, or a 1980s design in the 1990s and 2000. But there was neither logic nor reason in the recriminations that followed. Instead of design and R&D partners with equal stakes in the Arjun, the DRDO and the army locked themselves into mutual finger-pointing: no matter how much the Arjun was improved, there were always some flaws that remained to be sorted.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD), meanwhile, watched mutely. With the Arjun ploughing through endless trials --- 15 Arjuns have already run 75,000 kilometers, and fired 10,000 rounds in the most extensive trials ever --- the army insisted on another tank. In the late 1970s, the army bought the T-72; in the 1990s, the T-90s came along. But despite thousands of crores of rupees paid to Moscow, the Russian tanks have been raddled with problems; now hundreds of crores more are being spent in upgrading their night fighting capabilities, navigation equipment, radio sets, and their armour. Tens of Indian soldiers have died as the barrels of Russian tanks burst while firing.

In contrast, just Rs 300 crores were used in building and developing the Arjun. This is not to say that the Russian tanks are worthless. Operating military equipment is fraught with danger and upgrading is a continuous process. But the army’s tolerance for Russian defects contrasts starkly with its impatience for the Arjun.

Some army exasperation was, perhaps, understandable when the DRDO was plugging a tank that was not yet fit for the battlefield. But it is no longer justified when the Arjun is performing well. Army soldiers from 43 Armoured Regiment, which operates 15 trial Arjuns, praise the tank whole-heartedly. Problem solving will remain a part of operating the Arjun, just like with India’s Russian fleet. But while the soldiers and junior officers accept that the Arjun has come good, the generals remain fixed in the past.

As a result the army, incongruously, finds itself defending its Russian tanks from the Indian challenge of the Arjun. The tank’s developers, the Combat Vehicles R&D Establishment (CVRDE) at Chennai, has been clamouring for face-to-face comparative trials, where the Arjun, the T-72 and the T-90 are put through the same paces. After first agreeing --- and even issuing a detailed trail directive in 2005 --- the army has backed away from comparative trials. Instead, it told the MoD that it was buying 124 Arjuns, and trials were needed only to ascertain its requirements for spares. While doing these trials --- which have nothing to do with the Arjun’s performance --- the army has testified before the Standing Committee on Defence that the tank’s performance was suspect.

Contrast the Indian Army’s approach with how other countries approach complex defence R&D projects with long gestation periods, where technology gets outdated during the development cycle. The four-nation Eurofighter consortium bypassed the “technology trap” by agreeing to first develop a simpler fighter, which all participants would buy as Tranche 1 of the project. During Tranche-1 manufacture, newly developed technologies would be harnessed into a newer, more capable Eurofighter. The last Tranche-1 aircraft was delivered last month; the new multi-role Tranche-2 aircraft has been developed meanwhile; deliveries will start now. Clear development milestones and a more accepting approach by the users have made Eurofighter a success.

The army placed an order for 124 Arjuns eight years ago, when the tank was not even a viable fighting platform. Now that the Arjun is pulling its weight (almost 60 tons!) and those 124 tanks are rolling off the production line in Avadi, this order should be seen as Tranche-1. The CVRDE is refining many of the Arjun’s systems with technologies that have been developed more recently, particularly through harnessing India’s growing IT proficiency. Assuring a Tranche-2 order for improved Mark 2 Arjuns, and allocating R&D funding would set the project on a path where India might never need to buy a foreign tank again.

One reason for the army’s judgemental approach to the Arjun is its lack of involvement in the tank’s development. Unlike the navy, which has its own directorate of naval design, and which produces itself the conceptual blueprints of any new warship, the army has no technical expertise --- nor any department --- that designs its tanks. The Directorate General of Mechanised Forces (DGMF) is staffed by combat officers from the mechanised forces, most of whom see the Arjun not as a national defence project, but as a tank that they must drive into battle. A whole new approach is needed.

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

I remember vividly how JCage aka Nitin heckled you along with his Rakshaks some years ago. That Bigot went to the extent of calling you Mentally Challenged as you have lost your balance by bouncing off in T-72 tin-cans.

Now, When I read you accusing the Army as corrupt baffons who chase Russian Lolitas at the expense of Indian beuty, I just don't know whether you have become wiser in the "new world" or the effect of T-72 has waned off.

Anonymous said...

The world is bigger than Nitin.I am shocked that there could be so much hatred for the Arjun by a section of the army even when it performs so well.Something is definitely wrong here.Very wrong.

As a average citizen of India I thank Mr. Shukla for saying it as he sees it.I certainly dont know much about tanks or have special sympathies for Arjun or Nitin or any special antagonism for T-90. Well done sir,you have carved out a niche for yourself in defence journalism in India.Great job and we will expect articles of similar quality from you later on.Yes Sir, you have got a permanent fan!Keep it up.

Anonymous said...

no personal comments please .

Anonymous said...

Shukla,

A nice article that says some of the truths that must have been told a long while ago.Yup.. Engineering development is messy,is usually a spiral process and it is only by doing and refining you can get close to perfection. It is not "science" in that sense.

I have always maintained that the army is institutionally incapable of doing any product development or even participate in it. Forget about the technical part of it , I doubt that they can even come up with a concept /doctrine/ battle plan (don't know what you would call it in the military world) and come up with a requirements documents that can actually be realized in a weapon.. (something analogous to Market definition and product requirements you do in civil life in product development).

All the army can do is to adopt a readily available weapon and adopt "operational doctrines/ tactics" around it. I don' think they have in them to do anything conceptual/ground breaking.

Why waste time in pushing the Arjun to an unwilling customer. Cut your losses and bail out.We have wasted the careers over the last 20 years of a lot of folks in DRDO and other places in the Arjun project. Wait for some leading army to field a new concept with the learnings of Iraq and Lebanon in a short while from now..The Army will claim that as the next best thing to sliced bread (coz it has large followers behind it. aka conventional wisdom) and then get somebody to come up with a "me too" product or get a license to produce it locally.. That is the only thing that will work.

Take out the DRDO resources and use it more profitably in other areas (I am sure there are hundreds of others)..

-vina

Anonymous said...

Why do you compare Arjun and Eurofighter programs ? I don't think the European cooperation on this fighter can be qualify as efficient and clear ! They have lost much time and money for years ! Happily they are four partners so they have been able to compensate their organizational blur with the number of aircrafts bought to keep the program on track... even if Germany, UK and Italy consider cuts in the orders. And don't forget the EF presently has only one export success, Saudi Arabia : a BAE's captive market. It would have been better if you compared the Arjun program with Leclerc, Abrams, XK2 MBT or another one-country program because MBTs are rarely developed in cooperation.
The EF example is understandable in one sense : the Arjun is a cold-war-era concept that the DRDO didn't know how to make evolve. The DRDO failed where the Eurofighter consortium succeeded... but with so money spent ! Rafale's concept has been more clever. I think the most part of Indian difficulties in developping up to date programs is that the MoD do not have any clear vision of its needs in the medium/long term future. Europe and USA do not really have this problem because they have prospective plans and White Books concerning technological and operational evolutions in the 20/30 next years. The Arjun program is a typical example of this lack of vision.

sniperz11 said...

Great article Ajaiji... well balanced.

One question, what exactly doesn't the Army not like about the Arjun that is at least half valid??

1. They say its a heavy tank.
2. Too wide and too long- mobility issues

To the first, Arjun is the lightest tank in its class - 4 man, heavily protected tanks, and that too with a big, old, heavy engine.

To the second, the tank is only 10 cm taller and 7 cm wider than the T-90S, so I'm not sure if that issue is valid.

What is your opinion on these? Are the Army's doubts justified, and are there any drawbacks that you've noticed in the Arjun?

TIA.

Ajai said...

Anonymous,

Your comment: "When I read you accusing the Army as corrupt baffons who chase Russian Lolitas at the expense of Indian beuty, I just don't know whether you have become wiser in the "new world" or the effect of T-72 has waned off."

Surely you realise that situations change? And that a tank which is under development can be sub-standard in 2003... and become acceptable in 2007?

Or are you of the viewpoint of most of the posters in BR: India = Good; and Foreign = Bad; and it doesn't matter what system or what context we are talking about?

I talk logic. In a dynamic world, a position which you hold today will almost certainly have to be abandoned a few years down the line. The Arjun was developed into an acceptable weapon system... and so I changed my position on it. The Trishul didn't make the cut... so I still hold onto my views on that.

To quote a well-regarded thinker on tank warfare, Captain Basil Liddel-Hart: The only people who don't EVER change their minds are those who have stopped thinking altogether.

Anonymous said...

While the emotions wrt scrapping the Arjun project is understandable what we must also understand is that if we scrap Arjun now, we would have redone the HF-24 episode and see the fun Tejas is having right now. I think DRDO is doing the right thing doing experimentations like Tank Ex etc, In any case the development should not be stopped otherwise everything learnt so far will be lost. The Army can help by continue to give piece meal orders and keep the production lines running so as to progressively improve the product. See what happened when the submarine production line was shut, all the expertise was lost and we have to now import the tech all over again.

devendra said...

Well i am much younger than the Arjun Project, so i will ask a few questions with respect. :)

The vision that the Indian leaders keep on talking about, you know the 2020 vision the 2050 vision. they have a very important important element to them, the ability to have an independent opinion on world affairs, military is a important part of these visions and must take steps to ensure that they do their part in achieving this vision.

For the Indian Army promoting military hardware made inside India and making sure that they do everything in their power to get induct as many indigenous products as soon they can should be the top priority along with defending our borders (obviously).

This should have happened ages ago (the induction of indigenous projects), the army should be looking for answers instead of more questions.

What is the problem?

How much of Indian Army equipment is Made in India?

How can this situation be resolved?

Has anyone addressed this problem?

Why are fellow Indians so unaware of these things?
so much of our money has to be spent on our defence about time the people started asking about how.

left wing nut job said...

Where are the P-15A (3rd hull) pics? :)

Sandeep said...

It is the most balanced article I have ever read about Arjun.

The manner in which the article started and ended has been exemplary. Till today DRDO was the wiping boy, it is not that when their wrongs need to be justified. We also need to take Army to task on this issue.

It has always been a clamoring about the 35 years taken for the tank to be built. No one talks when the last GSQR was placed.

Arjun MBT is entirely based on Western concepts. The primary design is similar that of the Leopard 2A4 Tank, because of the design consultancy by Krauss Maffei and the involvement of several German firms.

The latest GSQR for MBT based on M1A1 Abrams was submitted to the DRDO in 1990. When you have a set of new requirements then, even if you have received an entirely different requirement earlier and worked on it for considerable time, you have to strap it and start from the beginning. This is not a consideration for these fellows. There is a huge difference in 35 years and 18 years.

DRDO fulfilled the GSQR with a product that has same capability of M1A1 Abrams with 10 ton less weight. Arjun is ready now. DRDO has done a commendable job in just 18 years!!!!!!!!

Every time a new GSQR is placed, that is the date on which the development of that project begins. Ask any engineer, software professional, for the matter ask any one in a profession who develops a product. It is not just like writing an article in one day believing your unscrupulous sources, not even caring to take time to double check and verify the facts.

In just 18 years you have an MBT with world class Armor.
Kachan armor itself is proved its mettle. Only MBT that can rival in the armor is the Challenger tank with Chobham Armor. Now we have NERA armor!!!!!.
120 mm rifle gun that has now proved its accuracy beyond doubt.
World class FCS !!!!!- Apparently from France.
Pneumatic suspension - one of it's kind in the world!!!!! - Providing riding comfort of Rolls Royce.
Well we have an engine of 1400 HP - good enough. 1500 HP would have been better.
Self-diagnostic system
Battle management system

Smooth bore gun changed to 120 mm rifle gun - reports as I have read from various sources about this gun has been excellent. 15 out of 17 in stationary position and 17 out of 17 while in the move.

US and Israel is interested in the Armor technology and the rifle technology.

Army does not know what they want. First of all they should have a for sight..... . They should setup a department just to foresee the requirements of future weapons they require. Out of the box thinking is required.

Matter of fact improvement of armor, FCS, Self-diagnostic system, Battle management system; ride comfort is not possible because they are already the best. Yes, improvement is of course possible but for future.

In 2-3 years 1500 HP diesel engine will also be indigenously produced. Hopefully.

Weight of M1A2 68.7 tons. The latest Leopard weights 60 tons. Leclerc weights 56 tons. Leclerc is considered to be of the best mobile mbt of the lot. All of them have gone for armor sacrificing mobility. Army wants a MBT with a real potent armor. With the kind of anti tank missiles we have now, it is improbable to have a tank that weights 45-50 Tons with an effective armor. It is simple if you need armor compromise on mobility or to gain mobility compromise on armor. Else, you need to have a power packed engine. The kind of Armor Arjun has got you cannot ask it to fly like a T-80 or T-90 tanks.

T-80UM2 "Black Eagle" build by KBTM design bureau in Omsk is not going to be inducted in the Russian Army. The new object - 95 (T-95 - currently build in Uralvagonzavod plant) would be 55 ton tank with a very large smoothbore tank gun of reportedly 135mm or 152mm calibre, in a remotely controlled mount. This would be the first Russian tank, which gives priority to the Crew protection, because the crew compartment is separated from the ready ammunition supply. Seats for the driver, gunner and commander are in a special armored capsule, separated by an armored bulkhead from the automatic loader and turret. They are introducing something called electric armor. It would interesting to know how it works.

With all respects to sniperz11 , I am surprised about the fact that you feel the Arjun MBT is over weight. I think, there is no basis for that argument.

Ajai sir, your point is well taken. I think you were late by 1-2 years. Well said “The only people who don't EVER change their minds are those who have stopped thinking altogether”. Praise does not come easy for you for some reason. But for this one there is no other option. Luv you man... Good work

Sandy

Anonymous said...

Well, if Nitin is a bigot, I don't know what that makes you anonymous.

It is such a pleasure to see such clear statements coming from an Indian defence journalist. Mostly the public has to make do very shoddy work. Thanks a lot for getting things on record.

Anonymous said...

Col Ajai, Thanks for commenting back. I respected your views then also as well as now. But still I can not see through the improvement in your article.

Surely you realise that situations change? And that a tank which is under development can be sub-standard in 2003... and become acceptable in 2007?

Surely 4-5 years is a lot of time for improvement, but the fundamental problem you listed are still out there:
1. The tank suffers from a hybrid design where several major components have been bought off-the-shelf and slapped together into a tank.

2. The tank suffers from a high profile, high visibility, high vulnerability to helicopter, ATGM and tank attack from ranges beyond which it can pick up those enemies.

3. The issue of translating a prototype into a production line remains beset with Quality Control problems.

4. Strategic mobility remains a major problem for the Arjun.

5. If the tank does not perform well in trials, it should be shelved and categorised a technology demonstrator, rather than shoved down the throats of the army.

What changed in all of the above mentioned problems???
Arjun is still mishmash of disparate system.

The profile of Arjun is still same or has it is changed???

Strategic mobility-- any improvement??? has it become 40 tonnage??

and the Army is still complaining that it is not performing well in trails and you want the Arjun shoved down their throats. The same Ajai, who argued otherwise!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi anon!@22april 11.00 am!
Jcage posts are more balanced and less egoistic compared to other BRfites.May be Ajai has become more wiser now!

sudeep said...

>> 1. The tank suffers from a hybrid design where several major components have been bought off-the-shelf and slapped together into a tank.

Can you provide some specifics ? Do these components not work well together ? How is the Arjun different from M1A1 with its German gun etc ?

>> 2. The tank suffers from a high profile, high visibility, high vulnerability to helicopter, ATGM and tank attack from ranges beyond which it can pick up those enemies.

Is Arjuns vulnerability to ATGMs/KE rounds/attack choppers more than/less than T90/T72 ? Please keep in mind the performance of these Russian tanks in desert storm/chechnya etc.

>> 3. The issue of translating a prototype into a production line remains beset with Quality Control problems.

The problem OFBs have with high tech manufacturing is common to both T90 and Arjun. There is no argument here for buying something off the shelf.

>> 4. Strategic mobility remains a major problem for the Arjun.

We have BLT and sarvatra systems that can take the weight of Arjuns. The ground pressure of Arjun is less than the T90. The T90 cant be airlifted by any aircraft that the IAF has. the flatbeds for transporting Arjun are ready. So where are the problems ?

>> 5. If the tank does not perform well in trials, it should be shelved and categorised a technology demonstrator, rather than shoved down the throats of the army.

It has to be shoved down the throat of the Army even if it doesnt perform. If only to ensure that an Army bureaucracy whose technological capacity is NIL and whose ignorance is exceeded only by its arrogance is taught a lesson: WORK WITH INDIGENOUS TECHNOLOGY !!

Anonymous said...

Another bhagt of the RSS Knicker Guru, aka JCage aka Nitin Bigot here..
Jcage posts are more balanced and less egoistic compared to other BRfites.May be Ajai has become more wiser now!

This is what the Basterd wrote about Col Ajai Shukla, see that moron contempt for armed force personnel!!
Meanwhile, I'll just print out your entire poorly phrased, incoherent, dishonest rant and use it to wipe my butt, pretty please. The name Ajai Shukla will just about be fine, right there. Though I might get a rash. But thats a price I am prepared to pay.

Agreed he is paid to write highly of DRDO's achievements, but to ridicule Armed forces is not done. Now BR is nothing but organized RSS moron din for bashing Armed forces.

Ajai said...

Dear all,

While I never delete posts (except for viruses) and I don't like to interfere with what anyone is writing, may I please request visitors to post on real issues, not on individuals.

I may disagree with many people but, even while disagreeing with them, I uphold their right to express a view, no matter how wrong I think it is. For that reason, any blogger, Indian, Pakistani, Chinese, or from Mars, should be welcomed here. If we were to start hurling personal insults at everyone we disagree with, there wouldn't be any interesting debates going around.

I really don't care what anyone writes about me, here or in any other forum, such as BR. But, for the sake of keeping BROADSWORD a forum for diverse views on serious military and security issues, lets keep the personal mudslinging off these pages.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

MANY of the guys! blogging here seems to be an expert in Tank design!! Strategic mobility is a problem!!!
The tank is manufactured in Avadi, chennai- almost in the southern tip of India. It has gone by all maens of transport Truck, by train, by tank transporter - right from Avadi to balasore, to Babina, to mahajan, to ganganagar, to bikaner, to jodhpur, to pathankot .... Avadi to Mahajan in 72 hours by train non stop day and night. How many bridges on the way - how many places it has crossed canal- may be next time some one should count.
Next tactical mobility. Friends it is not the weight of the tank that matters. what matters is the ground pressure. I suggset talk with data and not with half baked knowledge. If the ground pressure is more the vehicle will start "sinking" digging more especially in loose sand. I hope the Expert here knows that the tank wars are fought in deserts and cross country terrains and not on runways and tarmacs.
I am sure you will agree ( if you dont agree I suggest you leave this blog and spend your time prcisous time elsewhere). Then the ground pressure of Arjun is much lesser than T series be it T72 or T90. thats the reason cross country speed of Arjun is much higher than that of T72/T90 and on loose sandy terrain. Thats also the reason that Arjun has cleared all sand dunes without stopping. I suggest one decide a circuit with high slopes sanddunes in betweeen and time it for the full circuit for both arjun andd 72/T90. You will see Arjun wins handsdown. So it is neither the startegic mobility nor the tactical mobility thats blocking - the real problem seems to be in the closed minds of certain but powerful officers both in service and OUTSIDE service!!
AUCRT - as the name suggests is to assess the spares requirement in the shortest time -as otherwise it would take a very long time to establish the wear and tear of the components. This trails are normally conducted under the supervison of MGO who has to plan for the spares scheduling. but here the objectives seems to be totally misplaced. So guys if there are some issues - they are unnecessarilty blown out of proportion to favor some hasty decisons that are in pipeline are alraedy taken and they have to justify such preconcluded decisions. Thats what i call closed mind. We had -all along "flying coffins" and added to that "bursting coffins". and enough of them already (remember Ajai - tank man's comment -"expendable" one has seen it in operation "desert storm" the "burning coffins" - sorry I never meant to hurt your feelings - but definitely the tank may be expendable but not the men and definetley not at todays growing India - for India is no more a poor country)And just to proove that point letus not try to make it poor by perinnailly importing. Tomoroow someone will comeout with "not a weird idae" anyway all our equipments are outsourced - why not outsource the army also. may be cheaper also. anyway there is shortage of manpower. why not outsource it totally!!!!!

sniperz11 said...

With all respects to sniperz11 , I am surprised about the fact that you feel the Arjun MBT is over weight. I think, there is no basis for that argument.

Actually Sandeep, I never said that Arjun was overweight. In fact, this was exactly what I said:

"To the first, Arjun is the lightest tank in its class - 4 man, heavily protected tanks, and that too with a big, old, heavy engine."

Anonymous said...

"Govt looking into `sabotage possibility` of Arjun tank
New Delhi, April 24: Government on Thursday spoke of the "possibility of sabotage" in winter trials of country`s indigenous Arjun tank prompting army chief, Gen Deepak Kapoor, and other top officials to rush to the Avadi tank factory to carry out fresh inspections."

Excellent Shukla Ji, Due to your efforts people are finally seeing through the Army's tactics, I could have imagined Army stating half truths to favor T90s but sabotaging the Arjun, Boy O Boy !! The army's credibility keeps going downhill from here.

Anonymous said...

How did the below Problems you listed in Arjun resolved in 2007...

Surely you realise that situations change? And that a tank which is under development can be sub-standard in 2003... and become acceptable in 2007?


1. The tank suffers from a hybrid design where several major components have been bought off-the-shelf and slapped together into a tank.

2. The tank suffers from a high profile, high visibility, high vulnerability to helicopter, ATGM and tank attack from ranges beyond which it can pick up those enemies.

3. The issue of translating a prototype into a production line remains beset with Quality Control problems.

4. Strategic mobility remains a major problem for the Arjun.

5. If the tank does not perform well in trials, it should be shelved and categorised a technology demonstrator, rather than shoved down the throats of the army.


I hope you could clear this up..lest we assume that it is due to DRDO sponsored Bharat darshan ..

Ajai said...

Will respond to the questions about Arjun's drawbacks in details... was in Pune, just back.

But it's really amazing how so many posters are unable to separate the professional from the personal. For example, Anonymous' insinuation that DRDO may have sponsored a "Bharat Darshan" (whatever that is) for me.

Anonymous, my sweetheart, I NEVER pay for my trips myself. And I NEVER accept a trip being paid for by the person or organisation that I'm writing for. All my trips are paid for by NDTV, or Business Standard.

Astonishing, isn't it? That a media house would pay for a journalist to travel... but they all do. And, even more astonishingly, nobody tries to influence what I write.

And if you don't believe that, you must have a lot of spare time on your hands if you still visit my blog.

Anonymous said...

I NEVER pay for my trips myself. And I NEVER accept a trip being paid for by the person or organisation that I'm writing for. All my trips are paid for by NDTV, or Business Standard.

I think you got me wrong over here. That WAS not my intention, I was merely referring to DODO opening their facilities all over Bharat for your Darshan and you being gentleman is little more courteous in your writing than should have been.

In all the articles you have written visiting DODO, there lack a other side. You being a defense Analyst we expect objectivity, not just repeat what has been briefed, but look beyond that.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 27 April 2008 10:45: Why don't you STFU instead of trolling like this ? Unless you have something significant to add to the Arjun issue other than picking on Ajay's Journalism skills, I hope you realize that not only are you wasting bandwidth but also are making a complete fool of yourself.

Ankur said...

Anon @ 27 April 2008 10:45: Your criticisms are vague and also wrong. Unless you have something specific to add to this discussion why not shut the hell up?

Better still, set up your own blog if you are so desperate to rant? They would clearly be better than you pissing everybody off here.

Broadsword said...

Anonymous has a right to question... let him do so.

To answer your suggestion, Anonymous, you are absolutely correct in believing that someone who opens the doors for me will look better in my articles than someone who doesn't. The reason is not some conspiracy; it is simply because by opening up to a journalist, you leave him/her with no choice but to print what you tell him/her. The article may have a counterpoint to yours, but at least you've got your point in. It's a lot better than a sentence saying: "when contacted, xyz refused to comment."

But you seem to be commenting on an article that you haven't bothered to read. The article quite clearly criticises the DRDO for misleading the army with false promises during the early stages of the Arjun programme. I would suggest that you read the article, or if you say you have, then re-read it.

And finally, I didn't visit HVF Avadi for the first time in my life. During my days in the military, I must have visited it at least five or six times for detailed conducted tours.

Your problem seems to be that you like a monochromatic world, where everyone just repeats what they've said before. In my case, I prefer to change my views when a situation changes. If you call that fickle-mindedness... then I'm happy to be called fickle-minded.

Abhiman said...

Mr. Shukla, the hallmark of a fine journalist may be that he does not stubbornly "stand by his story", but changes his stories as the reality changes.

You have written articles that have been "virulent" on the Arjun in the past, but these series of articles are by far the finest in professional defence reportage that India has seen in many years. Since your stories (and not you) changed with the changing reality, you are a distinguished journalist. The same goes with Mr. Shiv Aroor.

Sir, please continue with these series of articles in the Business Standard, as they have gotten a fine fan following now, including me.

However, if NDTV carries a kind of "Special Investigation" based on your series, it will be far more impactful.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

JCage this..that..Shukla this..that..

Its hilarious to see pakistanis like buradiah suck upto Col Shukla by calling some guy he had an arguement with on a webboard a ba$tard, RSS and what not..tell you what, at the end of the day..I think both guys are mature enough to knock a few beers back and let bygones be bygones..i mean who cares about arguements on the internet?

but u pakis- like this child buradiah sitting in his abbas hovel in saudi arabia, polishing his masters limousines is very upset that col shukla can actually write in depth and with lucidity about indias defence industry and give praise (and criticism) when it is due about the drdo or the army...

poor pakis...now what flags will you clutch?
tell u what, go catch some new paint and paint another chinese missile green..make you feel better so that you dont need to rant about jcage or ajai shukla or army or drdo.

have to admit the bile the pakis have for indians who dont fit their preconceptions is friggin hilarious!!

now ajais integrity is being attacked...pakis are w@nkers of the first order.

Aggi said...

Just one point - to the best of my knowledge, the gun barrels that burst were Indian made, all being of 'Ajay' tanks, and firing Indian Ordnance Factory made ammunition. I do not think any of the original Russian guns gave trouble. But I may be wrong!

Anonymous said...

Aggi, you are indeed mistaken. the barrel bursts took place in both indian and russian made barrels, but it was the indian made ones which sparked the investigation. before that, the army had written off the russian made barrels bursting - as an unavoidable hazard. and the ammo that burst, again- if u talk to OFB, they say the army didnt store the rounds properly, because of which the ammo explosive "bled" - their words not mine, and finally blew up when fired. all the spoilt ammo was either destroyed or rebuilt.
just in case u were curious..

Anonymous said...

In my case, I prefer to change my views when a situation changes.

Fair enough Mr.Ajai, Respect that and can't argue otherwise!! but still am fail to understand what MAYA-MANTRA did DODO do to Arjun to change your views:

1. The tank suffers from a hybrid design where several major components have been bought off-the-shelf and slapped together into a tank.

2. The tank suffers from a high profile, high visibility, high vulnerability to helicopter, ATGM and tank attack from ranges beyond which it can pick up those enemies.

3. The issue of translating a prototype into a production line remains beset with Quality Control problems.

4. Strategic mobility remains a major problem for the Arjun.

5. If the tank does not perform well in trials, it should be shelved and categorised a technology demonstrator, rather than shoved down the throats of the arm


Arjun is still mishmash of disparate system.

The profile of Arjun is still same or has it is changed???

Strategic mobility-- any improvement??? has it become 40 tonnage??

and the Army is still complaining that it is not performing well in trails and you want the Arjun shoved down their throats. The same Ajai, who argued otherwise!!!

The only change I see is your views!!!

Ravi Sharma said...

[QUOTE]
I remember vividly how JCage aka Nitin heckled you along with his Rakshaks some years ago. That Bigot went to the extent of calling you Mentally Challenged as you have lost your balance by bouncing off in T-72 tin-cans
[QUOTE]

Bharat-rakshak should not be taken seriously, most of the poster are NRI indian who have probably never visited india in their life time. From the poster you can gather the age of member which i guess is not more than over 13 year old.

To Ajay Shukla, please ignore these incompetent wanna be's

I have enjoyed reading all of your blog please continue the good work.

Best wishes

Ravi Sharma
(Rudrapur India)

Ankur said...

Dear Ajai,

If you are not already doing so, could you please run a follow up to the report in the Lok Sabha about the Arjun tank? The link I followed was:
http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/NEWS/newsrf.php?newsid=10003

I cannot believe that they are still lying about it to our faces, and not giving the full context of the "failures". Would love to hear your views on this latest development.

Many thanks in advance!

Broadsword said...

Yup, will be running a follow-up report. Watch this space...

Anonymous said...

That parliamentary repply was misinterpretted.

Here is an antidote of the same reply

http://frontierindia.net/government-monitoring-the-arjun-tank-trials

Anonymous said...

If that link does not work use this link


href="http://frontierindia.net/government-monitoring-the-arjun-tank-trials">Government
monitoring the Arjun Tank trials

Anonymous said...

Oops!
use this link

http://tinyurl.com/5rmk9t

Ankur said...

Anon: thanks for the links.

"Earlier the Arjun Tank trials used to take place away from the prying eyes of media, and routine statements of Arjun Tank failure were leaked by unnamed Indian Army sources to some selected media. This time, some sections of the media has been active and brought out the truth to the general public. Later, more unnamed sources from Indian Army told media that the “sabotage theory” was wrong."

*OUCH*

Anonymous said...

Hope you will change your views on Arjun once again in light of new "FACTS" revealed by no less than a person propagating sabotaged theory!!
http://pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=38445

Following defects have been noticed during the ongoing Accelerated User Cum Reliability Trials by Army:-

Failure of power packs

Low accuracy and consistency

Failure of Hydropneumatic Suspension Units

Shearing of Top Rollers

Chipping of Gun Barrels

The rectification of defects and performance of tanks are being closely monitored.

This information was given by Minister of State Defence Production Rao Inderjit Singh in a written reply to Shri Prabhunath Singh in Lok Sabha today.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 06 May 2008 15:18

The parliamentary statement says that "The Army Found the defects" and minister has clearly washed off his hands. He did not say that Arjun has those defects.

Now army is caught lying in parliament. After all Army wallas are Bhaiyas.

Anonymous said...

this pakistani buraidiah really hates jcage calling him RSS and all..on internet i have seen others using jcage name for supporting china and all. funny how one man can cause so much takleef to both pakistanis and chinese.