Monday, 28 July 2008

It’s War! And you can win it for the Arjun…


If so many of you are willing to argue so passionately for the Arjun (more than a hundred intensely argued posts on my article below) I’ll keep putting out the facts. And here is the first bunch of clarifications… about some of the misconceived arguments being made in some of the posts.

Falsehood No. 1: “70 Arjuns have been rolled out in 8 years!”

Wrong. These 70 tanks have taken less than two years to manufacture. The Arjun’s series production didn’t start in 2000… it only began last year. And the Arjun production line is already very close to producing its installed capacity of 50 tanks a year.

Falsehood No. 2: “Quality speaks for itself.”

Wrong. Quality speaks for itself only when the system is actually in service. But when the equipment is being evaluated, quality is entirely subjective. It is easily buried… in trial reports, which are subject to various pressures and pulls. If the Directorate General of Mechanised Forces makes it clear that the Arjun tank isn’t what they want, if the brigade, division and corps commanders of the units conducting the trials let it be known that they don't think the Arjun should look good, only the occasional stubbornly upright CO will insist that it's a quality tank. Most will make sure that the trial report buries the tank.

And the problem today is that most of those senior officers haven't seen the Arjun today; they still remember the Arjun of 10, 5, even 3 years ago. So perception and institutional memory is loaded against the Arjun.

Secondly, trials can be structured in a manner that tilts the scale dramatically against the equipment being tried out. In the case of contentious equipment like the Arjun tank, the best way to make trials somewhat objective is to hold "comparative trials"… in which two or three pieces of equipment are put through identical routines. Even that can be fiddled, but it is far more difficult to do so.

Falsehood No. 3: “T-90 production delays are due to the Ordnance Factory Board.”

Wrong. The T-90 is still not at the point of production. And that's because the Russian manufacturers haven’t transferred technology. My earlier article (see below) explains the exact position.

Falsehood No. 4: “The army is not taking over the Arjuns because they are defective.”

Wrong. The army is not taking over those tanks, period. They haven’t yet undergone a transfer inspection, so nobody on the planet knows whether they are defective or not.

That having been said… those tanks might well be of a standard below that of the "Pre-Production Series (PPS) Arjuns. That is because of the well-known difficulties in transitioning from "prototype to production”. That involves changing the mode of production from single piece production to mass production; this gives rise to quality control issues all over the world.

As an example, when the T-72 started being manufactured at HVF Avadi, the quality of those indigenous T-72s (called the Ajeya) was so bad that one of our frontline regiments --- 88 Armoured Regiment, an excellent outfit being commanded by an outstanding officer --- was officially declared “Unfit for War”. It was unprecedented! No armoured regiment had ever been declared “unfit for war” before that. And the reason was simple: productionising the T-72 threw up problems of quality control during mass production.

The Arjun could well face similar problems. But they weren’t used to cut down on the T-72 programme, and --- if they happen with the initial batch of Arjuns --- they shouldn’t be used to curtail the Arjun programme either. It’s an issue that happens, and then gets resolved with a little bit of effort.

Falsehood No. 5: Buying the Arjun is equivalent to “sending soldiers to their deaths in sub-standard equipment”.

Firstly, we haven't yet established that the Arjun is sub-standard. If the army's reluctance to hold comparative trials is any indication, it might well emerge that the T-72s and the T-90s are the substandard equipment in this ball game.

Secondly, the armoured corps is not going to war in a hurry, so we have the time to experiment and nurture an indigenous tank. The last time tankmen went to war was in 1971. If you ask any senior officer when the next time will be, they won’t have an answer. So India DOES have the time to accept the Arjun, iron out any production wrinkles (and we are only ASSUMING that there will be some) and, very importantly, to absorb the know-how for operating the Arjun.

Okay, I’m wrong in the above para. The last time tankmen were sent to their deaths was when barrels started bursting in the T-72 (and it wasn’t only “made in India” barrels), which turned out to be happening because when we started making the barrels, we weren’t tempering them to the right temperature. But that problem got resolved, it wasn’t used to scuttle the T-72 programme.

Not one Arjun barrel has given the slightest problem yet. But other tank parts might, and they must be fixed at leisure… and we have the time to do that.

Falsehood No. 6: “Offer the Arjun for exports. If it’s good, other countries will buy it.”

Wrong. Traditionally, when a new weapons system comes out, prospective buyers observe how it functions in service with its home military. If the Indian Army turns its back on the Arjun, nobody else will even look at it.

Keep the feathers flying!

87 comments:

Mihir said...

These clarifications answer many questions, Ajaiji! Thanks!

Pritam said...

THat is great Ajaiji. Please take this to NDTV and other Indian prime media as well. You are the best person to do that. With motto..

"Let have a comperative trial of Arjun and T-90S by a independent source... that will only reveal the truth."

Teews said...

Ajai, its not fair, you are hitting the arjun non-believers below the belt with your facts. Its so unfair of you, you should only be fighting with the fancy made up stuff like these guys make up. So so unfair of you only :)

Seriously though, keep up the good work.

Also, this needs to go mainstream and should not be limited to blogs. The only way we can put pressure on the IA procurement (remember, not the entire IA), is to go mainstream and ask GoI and MOD, why our hard earned tax money is going into Russia's coffers instead of local production.

Teews said...

And one more time Ajai, Oh Paaji tussi chaa gaye !!!

Anonymous said...

Ajai-ji,
Thanks a lot ! Your clarifications are very useful and add to the discussion, go a long way in dispelling Arjun myths.


Can you also add a few comments about the Arjun weight (non)issue ?

The tank is heavier, but it has better crew comfort, better armor, and better survivability than say a 10-12 tonne lighter T72. In any case it is only 6 tonnes heavier than the chieftain !

Can you please compare the weight with contemporary western tanks ?

Also, can you settle the issue once and for all, by commenting on the mobility and the fact that the engine gives the tank faster speed, better acceleration (than t90), and the tank design has lower ground pressure (than t72), higher obstacle clearance ?

What are your comments on the rail transportation issue ?

Lastly, what is your take on the percentage of imported components in Arjun ?

Once again, thanks a lot Ajai-ji !

Raj said...

Thanks for the clarification.

Anonymous said...

Ajai, wonderful article! Thank you for raising the bar for defense journalists in the country! It is high time that indian def journos actually did some investigating, weighed the evidence, and came to their own conclusions; instead of simply mouthing the opinions of their buddy generals. Thank you for showing the way!

It is sad that our country is full of naysayers like Rat Pandick; but their uppance will come.

Anonymous said...

Ajai, thanks for clarifications.

Are NBC protection suites available for Arjun ?? Probably, it could be the reason behind IA selecting T90...

Anonymous said...

NBC for Arjun:

http://frontierindia.net/indigenous-nbc-sensor-for-arjun-mbt

Anonymous said...

The NBC suite for Arjun was designed and developed by Bhabha Atomic Research Center. The NBC suite exists, is installed and comments about it can be found in the DRDO's statement

Anonymous said...

Great, some sense being injected into the discussion that had been hijacked by people with little facts and much abuse.
While at disspeling myths, Ajai Ji, would you also like to comment on the loose statements made by the protagonists of DRDO about the army brass and others in general?

Do you really think the army is opposing Arjuns in favour of T 90s because they are on ruski payroll? Or maybe the intentions are a little better, irrespective of the outcome?

Won't it be fair and make for more balanced reporting if you comment on such aspects also raised in the recent discussion?
Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Thanx a ton fr this Colonel.
I would like to know if the ARJUN is comparable to the Al-Khalid or any MBT of the western nations for that matter?

J

Sparsh said...

Col. Shukla,

Two comments off the top of my head:

(1) Those who trot out the "only x Arjuns have been produced in y years!" charge don't seem to have a basic grasp of economics. If the army won't commit to more than 124 tanks then it does not make any economic sense to set up a production line that churns out Arjuns by the shiploads. If the army commits to more Arjuns then the production lines can be expanded to meet those increased orders. As it is the current 50 tanks/per seems too much for confirmed orders of only 124 tanks.

(2) The weight issue: The Army operated >50 ton Centurions (arguably the most successful tank it has taken to war) more than *forty* years ago without all the bellyaching that we hear about the Arjun's weight today. If the army wants the protection levels of the Arjun then all that armour will come at a certain weight and the army will have to revamp its logistics to handle a tank of that weight. There is no way around it.

Plus, if the Army wants a tank with the armour protection levels of the Arjun and the weight of a T-72, then I have to ask: What exactly is it that the Armoured Corps is smoking? Pass some of that good stuff along to me as well.

Sparsh said...

Col. Shukla,

One more thing: Please turn on captcha (or its equivalent) for the comments.

Right now there is nothing to prevent automated bots from spamming your blog.

Aditya said...

Thank you, Ajai, but I suspect you were being trolled by a professional in the comments of the previous post. Such professionals may recognize sense when put forth so clear but they will quickly sidestep the issue and try a different line of attack. So be warned, there may be more (crap) to come from some quarters.

Sandy said...

Now that's some thing. He has come a long way.

We bloggers who believed, Arjun has made it to the league had tirelessly posted messages on several blogs and news article comments to change perceptions.

I do believe Ajai shukla’s change in stance is due to some extension due to this and his own attempt to corroborate facts.

Now he is doing something that we all cannot cumulatively achieve through his widely published articles. That is a “V” for all of us.

Probably he would again criticize the project on factual basis later on. But we need not be in aggressive trashing mode, if indeed it is factual. It would not serve any purpose.

Jaydev said...

Ajayji plz clarify why army top brass dont want the tank around? Its quite bewildering. Is it corruption,matters of perception,Russian arms lobby or a reluctance to change? Why cant Govt cancel extra 340~ t-90s tanks, to put pressure on army to induct arjun. At the end of the day, their preferences are not above national interest for indigenous capability. Its not like DRDO is thrusting a fibre glass a INSAS mounted Maruti Omni on Army..Its a goddamn missile firing heavily armoured tank with network warfare capabilities and all for fuk sake!!

Anonymous said...

Harry Says...

Ajai Shukla main source of information is the DRDO. Evidence of his close relationship to the DRDO is evident in the pictures published with his articles. He can thus be forgiven for seeing, and thus projecting, a one sided story.

Perhaps Ajay would like answering the following:
1) If Arjun is a failure, is it DRD0's only failure or one in a string of many?
2) How has DRDO been able to perform a miracle in the last 2 years (which supposedly has tuned it's ability on it's head), something that DRDO wasn't able to do in the last 2 decades?
3) Why would the Army not want a good tank?
4) What makes you (Ajay) better than the Indian Army to make a call on this tank, and if indeed you feel you are better equipped to do so, are you willing to stake your reputation on it?

Anonymous said...

Mr Shukla, since you have contacts within the armoured corps, what do the people who are actually testing the Arjun MBTs feel about it? We know how the brass thinks, but is the feeling shared by officers and men testing these machines? And as these men have driven both T-72 and Arjun, I would really like to know their thoughts on Arjun.

Keep up your good work.

Why doesn't the Indian Army understand that keeping technology indigenous as much as possible is the only way to be sanctions proof?

sniperz11 said...

SIMPLY BRILLIANT AJAIJI!!!

That should shut the mouths of the anti-Arjunites on the previous post, especially "TheTruth" guy.

Can we take this thing forward officially in any way? Create a mass movement like with Jessica Lall and Mattoos.... and in this case, Its critical, simply because in those two cases, only a single person died, and the fight was for justice, but here, the fight is for the lives of our jawans and the safety and progress of our country.

Could you motivate the other defence journos to speak the truth on this issue, on TV - you, Aroor, Manu Pubby, Sandeep from India Today, and the rest.... I'm sure there won't be much ambiguity on this issue - the facts are quite clear.

A request - could you talk about the strategic mobility and maintenance issues with the Arjun. This is one area where the Army and T-90 supporters have tried to take an advantage.

I'm absolutely sure that these are non-issues, which, if the Army were committed to Arjun induction, would have easily been solved.

1. Silhouette - the Arjun is among the smaller tanks in its class in this respect, despite having an old, big and comparatively inefficient engine.

It is only 7 cm wider than the T-90 and 10 cm taller.

2. Mobility - If the army were interested, we can easily solve these issues is my opinion. What do you think?

3. Maintenance - a hurdle that can be crossed. Technicians trained on simpler T-90 tanks will have to be trained, but I think that can be navigated if the Army were indeed interested.

What about doctrine Ajaiji... could you address that as well. The army looks like it is stuck with the old soviet era tactics in the age of Cold Start and RMA.

I heard that the Army has not held a technical conference for almost two decades... is that true?

What is the MoD and Army HQ doing in all this? They have kept quiet... is there any movement in there going on?

What does DGMF say about this whole issue? Has he given any comments about this?

Look forward to your reply.

Warm Regards

Anonymous said...

GOd bless you.BUT I think someone high up in the govt is tackling this one by one,the navy is undoubtedly the blue eyed boy which designs everything from nuclear subs to aircraft carriers in house,the airforce has also started singing the indeginization tune with a team deployed with HAL (Aka the IN) TO WORK On the light attack helicoper,MTA,SARAS,even the LCA and the new embraer mounted awacs.
WHAT is left is our great army which if it had its way would have us importing 5.56mm bullets to meet its best of brochure claims(BBC) specifications.
I say we ban imports of everything except perhaps 155mm guns which we need tot for.That's how our space program got built.I Am also wary of letting the private sector in as far as the IN ARMY is concerned cause you will then have the punj lloyds of this country who only have 'marketing' skills setting up hollow buildings with screwdriver technology to 'license produce' imports.

Anonymous said...

Harry Says...

Ajai Shukla main source of information is the DRDO. Evidence of his close relationship to the DRDO is evident in the pictures published with his articles. He can thus be forgiven for seeing, and thus projecting, a one sided story.


You idiot, did you know that it is COLONEL Ajai Shukla ? Do you also know that he is an ex. TANKER ? DRDO might have given "inside" access, but that man has trained for battle in the IA.

Are you going to allege that an army man sold out to DRDO ? That by itself shows how much you back our armed forces.

Anonymous said...

Dear Hatchet Harry,

Ajai Shukla main source of information is the DRDO. Evidence of his close relationship to the DRDO is evident in the pictures published with his articles. He can thus be forgiven for seeing, and thus projecting, a one sided story.

Umm... assuming this is true, isn't it a good thing if people start "selling out" to Indian companies and PSU instead of the Rooshians, Chadians, and Burkina Faso-ans?

:P

Anonymous said...

I have been following your blogs and writings for a long time and have posted only once before. My two cents ..

As per my experience I know that corruption in army is more prevalent than rest of the services combined. The procurement system in the Indian Army is a mess and follows whims and fancies of those responsible for procurement rules. Those whims and fancies could be because of personal gratification considerations or sometime due to pure egotistical tendencies and god complex plaguing the higher honchos of the establishment. Even though I know that there is not much of a check and balance in the system and objective assessment is hardly ever done or kept in consideration I do believe that those responsible for this state of affairs needs to be systematically brought to justice. Atleast an investigation should be constituted and those making absurd rules should either be suspended or given a dishonorable discharge from the service or relegated to duties such as training rather than being kept in a position where they could influence decision making.

Giving them benefit of doubt in this case I would like to say that those responsible for this type of decision making may not be doing it because of monetary considerations but whatever twisted logic they are following is itself criminal. Their mere intent, whatever heck that be, doesn't really absolve them of their actions.

Anonymous said...

Man and we thought we were fighting a losing battle !
Thanks Ajai, for everything.

Just love those beauties lined up like in pageant like that, though I would prefer them to kick dust in Pokhran and kick the crap out of Al-Khalids, only if my army listened

Anonymous said...

Round 2 begins !

Anonymous said...

Harry says....

Ref: Umm... assuming this is true, isn't it a good thing if people start "selling out" to Indian companies and PSU instead of the Rooshians, Chadians, and Burkina Faso-ans?

So, are you saying it's OK for the DRDO to lobby for the sale of the Arjun, even if it is a sub-standard tank? What we do not need is sold-out people deciding the agenda. Merit alone should decide who wins and that is exactly where the Arjun fails.

did you know that it is COLONEL Ajai Shukla ? Do you also know that he is an ex.

Colonel or not, he is projecting a pretty lop-sided view. It hard to believe that after 30 years of failure, the DRDO has performed a miracle with the Arjun in the last two years.

Anonymous said...

Harry Says...

Pretty and obsolete is all that the Arjun is.

sniperz11 said...

Harry,

Just because Ajai Shukla's article doesn't match your dreams, you think he's a DRDO hack? First, check out his posts & articles about Arjun before 2007 - you'll find a big contrast.

Anonymous said...

Sally says....
You have not been able to prove that Arjun is substandard, you have not been able to prove that inducting Arjun in numbers will not be economical
You have not been able to prove that Col. Ajai Shukla is a DRDO agent either.
In short, Sally says you have not proved anything.
You have been beaten all around and yet you are still beating around the same bush.
Grow up and file your taxes, your tax money will be used to buy those Trash-90 Scraps

Anonymous said...

Tom says...

Can we stop entertaining this fool Harry? It is quite obvious he doesn't read the responses to his posts or it might just be that he doesn't possess the intellect to process the rebuttals. Either way, reading his posts is an exercise in repetitive tedium.

Anonymous said...

But but harry convinced me that there is no gavity ! I even took out the flat walls from my house to build slanting walls ! you mean to say a trainee engineer can be an idiot ?

Anonymous said...

For those wondering about the weight and maneuverability issue, the following is an excellent article on the subject:

Arjun MBT weight implications
http://frontierindia.net/arjun-mbt-weight-implications

Anonymous said...

Harry Says...

Dear Sally, and what have you proved:
- That the T-90 is bad. How?
- That Arjun is any good at all. How?

Please note
- The Arjun is not for free. By your own post, it costs the tax payers more than the T-90.
- The manufacturers of T-90 have 5 decades of experience under their belt. The makers of Arjun have none/zero/zilch!
- The T-90 is drawn from the bloodline of T-72 and T-55, both of which are battle proven. What does the Arjun draw on? Absolutely nothing!

Dear Tom,
"Repetitive tedium"? How long have you been looking that up in the dictionary?

As far a Ajay goes, I respect him totally. More importantly, I think I understand his motivations. Please note that he is trying to make a big mark for himself in the world of Journalism, and for that he needs a coup. He is trying to manufacture the Arjun story as his Coup, his ticket to the big-time.

Anonymous said...

DO YOU GUYS SINCERELY BELIEVE THAT THE T-90, BUILT BY THE RUSSIANS WITH OVER 5 DECADES OF TANK-BUILDING EXPERIENCE UNDER THEIR BELT, IS INFERIOR TO THE ARJUN, WHICH WAS ASSEMBLED BY AN ORGANIZATION WITH NO PRIOR EXPERIENCE OR EXPERTISE IN TANK BUILDING? GET REAL! WHAT ABSOLUTE MORONS!

Anonymous said...

Tom says...

Actually, I grew up in a "phorun" country. Maybe that warms you up to me a little more?

More than one journalist is waking up to the circus that is the indian army. Check this link for more information on your beloved T-72/T-90 for the disaster that it is:
http://livefist.blogspot.com/2008/07/force-mags-prasun-k-sengupta-working-on.html

The truth will out soon enough and traitors like you will need to run and hide.

Anonymous said...

Dear Tom...

blogspot.com ---> Opinions, not facts!

Anonymous said...

DO YOU THINK BY TYPING IN CAPS LOCK YOUR POINT BECOMES MORE VALID?

REMEMBER KIDS, CAPS LOCK IS CRUISE CONTROL FOR COOL

Anonymous said...

Yup, the casual reader will see it and see my viewpoint, even when it's posted on a site with just the opposite agenda! Thanks you.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

In response to the sweet post above...

DO YOU GUYS SINCERELY BELIEVE THAT THE T-90, BUILT BY THE RUSSIANS WITH OVER 5 DECADES OF TANK-BUILDING EXPERIENCE UNDER THEIR BELT, IS INFERIOR TO THE ARJUN, WHICH WAS ASSEMBLED BY AN ORGANIZATION WITH NO PRIOR EXPERIENCE OR EXPERTISE IN TANK BUILDING? GET REAL! WHAT ABSOLUTE MORONS!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

>>>
DO YOU GUYS SINCERELY BELIEVE THAT THE T-90, BUILT BY THE RUSSIANS WITH OVER 5 DECADES OF TANK-BUILDING EXPERIENCE UNDER THEIR BELT, IS INFERIOR TO THE ARJUN, WHICH WAS ASSEMBLED BY AN ORGANIZATION WITH NO PRIOR EXPERIENCE OR EXPERTISE IN TANK BUILDING? GET REAL! WHAT ABSOLUTE MORONS!


IN RESPONSE TO YOUR POST ABOVE,

DEAREST RETARD FROM A MADRASSA, THE ISRAELIS HAVE BUT TWO DECADES OF EXPERIENCE AND MAKE BETTER TANKS THAN THE T-90

THEY ASSEMBLE THE TANK FROM WW COMPONENTS AS WELL, INCLUDING MTU ENGINE

THE BRAZILIANS HAD LESS THAN ONE DECADE OF EXPERIENCE AND MADE BETTER IFVS THAN THE RUSSIANS BMP'S

FINLAND AND SWEDEN WITH ALMOST NO EXPERIENCE IN MAKING IFVS MAKE AMONGST THE WORLDS BEST IFVS

AND THE T-90 IS NOTHING BUT THE T-72 BU WHICH WAS REJECTED BY THE RUSSIANS AS THE STANDARD MBT IN FAVOUR OF THE T-95 ONLY A FEW HUNDRED HAVE BEEN INDUCTED TO KEEP THE PLANT RUNNING

THEY ARE WAITING FOR THE T-95

SO GROW UP RETARD AND GO BACK TO MOMMY BECAUSE BAD BAD PPL ON THE INTERNET SHOWED YOU UP FOR A FOOL

Anonymous said...

Your remaining comments are equally stupid. In fact, you are so retarded, that I can wager that you must be a Paki. But if you truly are Indian, then it goes to show that Pakistaniyat is a state of mind, and dumbf*cks like you can even be born on this side of the border, as the recent blasts in A'bad and Bangalore showed, done by similar brainy chaps like you.

Genius, sheer Genius

Indeed Harry is a Pakistani

at least he is as intelligent as one.

LOL

Anonymous said...

Hey ! Pakis dont need to feel left out, there is a blog with pakistani achievements http://bositiveneuj.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Harry Says...

To those who have posted some particularly colorful posts...

Do you realize how much you have degraded this board with your crass remarks? Puts up real questions about your upbringing, education and backgrounds. :)

Anonymous said...

Mr Harry Fairy,

Telling the same thing again and doesn't make a statement more true.

Proving someone else wrong doesn't make you right either.

Information in forum is public domain and can always be debated. We understand your point much better than your understanding of our understanding of it. Your recursive attacks and rebuttals don't seem to add much value to what you already said (or) what someone said against you. If possible, bring new points of view and think twice before you type.

I personally dont care about your nationality.. Dumb people do come in all shapes, sizes and nationalities. Still I hope you are not Indian.

malkurad said...

Neither DRDO nor IA showed the maturity it takes to take forward the Arjun project.

IA has not realised that this is not just about a tank. Its about the country becomming self sufficient in defense systems. How long can you fight a war with others weapons?Unless you start somewhere how can you expect us to be self sufficient within the next decade or two?Instead of thinking about the future 15-20 years down the line and beyond, it has got stuck in immediate present.


DRDO has also handled it very naively. The T-90 is the core tank of the IA. The army is used to it and have practised with it for ages. To an army replacing T-90 with a tank being produced the first time in india and one which has failed on many trials earlier was bound to cause alarms. To top it is the poor quality and production rates of the avadi production plant.Further the army would have to change doctrines to fight with a new tank which would be a mammoth task to train its entire tank crew.


Now the whole episode has become an ego issue. If people think that by ranting against the IA they are going to have the Arjun inducted then they are very naive. We all know how for an individual when something becomes an ego issue to change your position for even a small thing becomes such a challenge. And here we are talking about an Army over its MBT!



DRDO should have handled it more smartly. Instead of showing like Arjun will completely replace T-90's...it should have played it like Arjun will support the T-90's. Instead of replacing the T-90's Arjun will replace all the old vijayantas and T-72 etc. This would have been not so threatening to the army. Further instead of completely changing their doctrine..IA could have had the Arjun regiments be deployed in other areas than the oen facing pakistan. This would have also enabled IA to learn new tactics with Arjun. Who knows some of the ideas may even make its way into the T-90.

As Arjun would begin to get inducted in more and more regiments, it would also calm IA nerves and make it more acceptable to the IA. DRDO made a basic mistake in not acknowledging the psychological impacts and like a true amatuer, which no private business organization would make, focussed solely on technical stuff like strength of kanchan armour to push the tank.


It doesnt work like that in the business world. It wont work with IA.


Its better that atleast now DRDO accepts that it could have followed a better approach. Everything is not lost. DRDO can still employ professional negotiators and smart ex defense professional and re-negotiate with the IA and this time try to engage the IA rather than tell IA what is good for them!

thetruth said...

I see that the DRDO types have a typical reaction. They parise to high heaven anything that supports thier stance, are trashy and abusive about any counter point, and obfuscate issues with more venom. A really inconvenient point of view is immediately dubbed as Paki - rather convenient I would say.

In all these lengthy posts and comments, not one has replied to the basic question - if it is not defects, what are the specific ojections of the Army to taking over the Arjuns? After all, this is NOT pakistan where the generals are not accountable to anyone (much as people here would like to have us believe). So, to justify their 'egos' and 'idioticity', what are the reasons they have quoted?

I am raising this yet again, without expectation of any decent response, but amd still doing so just for the record.

Indian said...

Col. Ajai Shukla,
If you are interested, a certain advocate is interested in filing a PIL to find out why the IA has refused to do comparative trials.

if you are interested in helping him, please say so on this blog.

Anonymous said...

THE LIAR IS BACK !!!

Anonymous said...

MR LIAR, since you know all about the army's objections, why don't you tell us and save us the rhetorical questions ??

we are all waiting (with bated breath, no less) for the pearls of wisdom to fall off from your orifice !
cheers !

Raj said...

In all these lengthy posts and comments, not one has replied to the basic question - if it is not defects, what are the specific ojections of the Army to taking over the Arjuns? After all, this is NOT pakistan where the generals are not accountable to anyone (much as people here would like to have us believe). So, to justify their 'egos' and 'idioticity', what are the reasons they have quoted?

Go through all the archives of BR or Ajai's blog to know about the development of ARJUN tank.
Read the whole thing ebfore you start asking first. People on net don ot have enough free time to help others with the basic of questions.
Till u understand the whole history, dont even bother to post.

till then JAI HIND

Anonymous said...

"DRDO should have handled it more smartly. Instead of showing like Arjun will completely replace T-90's...it should have played it like Arjun will support the T-90's. Instead of replacing the T-90's Arjun will replace all the old vijayantas and T-72 etc."

Thats exactly what DRDO has done. See here:
http://livefist.blogspot.com/2008/07/exclusive-drdos-statement-calling-for.html

Read the DRDO statement and judge yourself where do you see them criticizing Arjun ??
All they are saying is don't shut the assembly line so fast.

Remember the HDW submarine line was shut down because the company allegedly had paid kick backs and even after the supreme court dismissed that case what happened ?
We lost that expertise that was built with so much money and effort. And now we are back to drawing board with a new french design. Whereas see what the Koreans did to their HDW SSK Type 1500s now. their specs are better than HDW 214 themselves.

Thats how you learn the basics, hone your skills and churn out a better product with each production cycle.

M1A2 which is revered the world over, its genesis comes from a very mediocre tank M60, but that did not stop them going for incremental, iterative development. Same for T-90S. There are 2 questions here : Does the T-90S really meet our requirements and second why is the army so desperate to scuttle all research done so far and push the R&D team back to the drawing board.

We already had Bhim a kickass SPG and we shot ourselves in the foot by scrapping that because the company had some under ahnd dealings, then we have Arjun BLT, and now Tank Ex.

So Arjun like LCA is not just a tank but its a whole generation of technologies which has placed us in the reckoning of major countries.

A WLR could be developed from the technologies used in Rajendra. Thats what research does. It spawns other applications and associate technologies. So allow Arjun production to continue the project will spawn other technologies like Tank Engine and transmission as well in due course of time, but for that the Army will have to don the role of a stake holder and not a customer.

See the project called Kaveri, while the air force is crying for a higher thrust engine the navy has been able to extract a KMGT out of the same project but for that it involved itself as the stake holder and lo behold they are now talking of equipping the Rajputs with this engine which was meant to fly.

Why do we want to repeat the same mistakes we did before of abandoning research mid-way. The LCA is prime example of the birth pangs that we will have to undergo everytime we go through a tech development cycle but its no justification to abandon it midway and its especially criminal to start from scratch all over again. As a tax payer thats where I get pissed off !

Rahul M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

"A WLR could be developed from the technologies used in Rajendra."

already developed by DRDO and ordered by army.

Anonymous said...

malkurad,

The T-90 is the core tank of the IA. The army is used to it and have practised with it for ages.

I know that you made your post with the best of intentions, but I would like to nitpick. India signed the T90 deal in 2001 for 310 tanks. As Ajai mentioned, not a single tank has rolled out of Avadi, so we can safely assume that IA has 310 T90, delivered from 2001 onwards. It is not the case that they have been using it for ages. It is also not the case that all armored regiments use the T90. However, they have been using the T72 for ages and (it is claimed) that logistics,training and operational doctrine of T90 and 72 are comparable.

Anonymous said...

Well said.. Arjun is more than just this tank.

There may be technical spin-offs

DRDO could potentially become more organized and sell better

It provides hope that indigenous inventions will replace existing foreign ones some day.

Something delivered after 30 years of eating on taxpayers money.

It is a much needed start, though, at present, questionable in terms of quality

Anonymous said...

"Neither DRDO nor IA showed the maturity it takes to take forward the Arjun project. "

Yes the DRDO shown quite a bit of immaturity in not having the army to sign a risk sharing contract. Ask any private company to do research for you without a risk sharing contract they will throw the agreement documents in your face.

But they are learning the ropes too. They put their foot down when the air force wanted to change the platform for the AEW&C in between when basic things like preliminary design review for the project were complete and the project was ready to take off. Today a reluctant air force has agreed to the choice of the platform and Inshallah we should see the Indigenous AEW&C aircraft with home built AESA radar soon take to the skies.

You can fool people only so many times.

O Btw, the DRDO is exactly asking the Army to take the Arjun project forward, they are the ones asking the army to keep the production lines open to iron out all deficiencies between the PPS tanks and actual production builds and build upon the experience to make Arjun-II with indigenous engine, transmission and more network centric capabilities, its the Pig ass attitude of the Army that's stonewalling everything.

Anonymous said...

Ajai,

This issue is well worth a public litigation. Isnt someone responsible for all the research money that has gone into this project?

Army may have its reasons for rejecting it. But someone has to take responsibility for our tax money and provide some answers.

If the west is shouting about software and call center jobs shifting to India, we have the right the question our sweat and blood (tax money) gifted in millions to Russia, Israel, France, US etc.

Anonymous said...

"Something delivered after 30 years of eating on taxpayers money."

Read this from DRDO's statement. Its a hard economic fact and checked with CAG.

"The project on development of MBT Arjun was initially sanctioned in May 1974 at a cost of Rs.15.50 crore with a PDC (probable date of completion) of 10 years. Time and cost have undergone revision on 3 occasions (in 1980, 1987 and 2000). The reasons for revision in cost and time are; major changes in qualitative requirements, developmental delays for new systems/technologies, delay in import of sub-system due to import embargoes, increase in number of prototypes, difficulties in organising for field evaluation etc. The final cost at the time of closure of the project in Mar 1995 was Rs.305.60 Crores. The development of tanks of similar capabilities in a foreign country will cost 10 times the development cost what we have incurred in India."

Now do the math:
Rs.305.60 Crores over 30 years, forget the associated high inflation of those years and you see even that logic hits a FLAT WALL

Anonymous said...

O I forgot see that the project closure date in March 1995 , that from May 1974 is not even 30 years that has been bandied in the posts so far.

Aggi said...

There we go again - outright insults, vague statements and a whole lot of opinion, and advise to research on the net. Not one concrete fact about reasons army is not accepting the Arjun.

I actually do not know the facts clearly, or I would have said so here - though I know that people here have by and large closed minds about any other point of view. But I do know for certain that the reasons why further deliveries are not being taken by the army is because the initial lot of tanks that were handed over were full of defects, which the army wanted removed in not only the initial lot, but also assurance that the subsequent lots will also be defect free. The army is already committed to taking the order they have place (120 odd tanks)and thus the design aspects are not in question at all.
To counter their inability to deliver defect free tanks, the whole story about sabotage was circulated.

If you people want to be credible, at least be willing to accept that an argument has two sides. In the anonymity of the net, it is very easy to shout down inconvenient opinions and statements. It is also so very easy to be abusive, vulgar, crude, instruments most people here have been resorting to when they can not come up with a coherent reply. I have refrained from replying back in the same coin, not because I am unable to, but because I am unwilling to.
"NEVER ARGUE WITH IDIOTS. THEY DRAG YOU DOWN TO THEIR LEVEL, AND THEN BEAT YOU WITH EXPERIENCE".

Anonymous said...

To Mr.305.6 crores

with all due respect, I am not from a "foreign country"

I make less that .5% of that 305 crores in 15 years of my career. So this justification that we spent Xtimes less than foreigners dont hold.

We are more resourceful, material cost less, human labor is extremely cheap - so no wonder we spend multiple times less.

Anonymous said...

Me neither sir, but when I see this economic argument being bandied about, I can't help it either.

And also like you I file my taxes on time and what really pisses me off is that we will use the argument of 305 crores 30 years etc to beat the crap out of a desi project but we will still be willing to spend 14 crores on a 48 ton piece of pure junk not made for this country that is night blind, has no ventilation and that blows up like a sardine can !

Anonymous said...

"There we go again - outright insults, vague statements and a whole lot of opinion, and advise to research on the net. Not one concrete fact about reasons army is not accepting the Arjun."

Aggi all your points are valid except for the fact for me Arjun is just symptomatic of the greater malaise that afflicts the desi R&D. Its just a case in point.

I have never denied the fact that DRDO made historical blunders in claiming the moon at street prices and delivering lemon in the end.
The problem is DRDO is trying to regain its lost credibility here and the vested interests are the ones who are stonewalling that effort.
Give them a chance, and if we can't give them a chance then lets stop desi R&D once and for all. Lets stop this sham of making desi products just to showcase them in R-day. We look like complete idiots there.

Anonymous said...

"To counter their inability to deliver defect free tanks, the whole story about sabotage was circulated."

How do you know that ? Do you documentary proof to prove it otherwise ?

I don't believe in the sabotage theory either but I do believe that that the same tanks underwent a successful summer AUCRT in MFFR where skin temperatures easily reach 50 deg. C. That's a hard fact, isn't it. If you can prove it otherwise I'm ready to be proven wrong.

So when the winter AUCRT fails the Army immediately jumps the gun and testifies in the parliamentary standing committee saying the Arjun is bad, when the Arjun passes Summer AUCRT the army doesn't even whimper an approval. See the attitudinal difference !

Anonymous said...

"Falsehood No. 6: “Offer the Arjun for exports. If it’s good, other countries will buy it.”

Wrong. Traditionally, when a new weapons system comes out, prospective buyers observe how it functions in service with its home military. If the Indian Army turns its back on the Arjun, nobody else will even look at it."

That's exactly right !

Look what happened to Dhruv the ALH. Its not the world's best light helicopter but still its top of the line. One of the machine even crashed in Aero India 2007 with pilot giving up his life and yet the services have used it evaluated it and their feedbacks have been used to imprave the machine, and now we have Export Orders repeat Export Orders !
Not to mention the fact that a WSI-Dhruv, a Light Combat Helicopter and a Light Observation Helicopter will be spawned off it.

If we had killed local research this would not have been possible at all.

If we kill Arjun now, all the expertise that we developed will be lost with it and we will be perennially import dependent which is exactly what the Russian arms lobby wants. And thats why all the talk of Joint Venture in FMBT or whatever. Mark my words if we kill Arjun and go into that JV we will end up getting an upgraded T-90S only, nothing more, no gun technology, no armour technology,no electronics nothing. This farce needs to be exposed right in its face.

Anonymous said...

Go through all the archives of BR or Ajai's blog to know about the development of ARJUN tank.
Read the whole thing ebfore you start asking first.


Don't we know What Col Ajai said about Arjun just last season?

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.


Now coming back to Truth No.1 What was holding the DRDO from manufacturing Arjun from 2001 when the order was placed. What prompted them to suddenly manufacture 60 in the last two years? did the army gave the green signal? heck no, then what??

Truth No.2 Quality indeed speaks for when you put through the rigorous test, which Arjun has not able to stand up. the you have lo behold sabotage. Army is made a bunch of thugs.

Truth No.3 Russians do want to provide technology like the T-72 and Mig -21, 27, But for the chanukyan DRDO asking something which they know russians will not part. hence the logjam.

Truth No.4 That is exactly why Arjun has been rejected. Unless Ajai also subscribe to sabotage theory.

Anonymous said...

"Russians do want to provide technology like the T-72 and Mig -21, 27,"

Yeah, Right ! Dude you really live in La-La land.
T-72 whose barrel bursts have killed our jawans,
Mig-21 the still flying coffins whose spare supply was stopped and we had to depend on countries like Poland and when it resumed all we got were some rusted and used parts that actually increased the Mig-21 in-flight failures again killing our pilots while the top brass were busy with evaluations and reevaluations of the jet trainer.

Our Jugular vein that Russia has as of today is their help in our nuclear submarine project and even that is alleged, not much is known about it and for the fact that they are actually leasing to us one of their latest Akula-IIs, never mind the endless delays and upward price revisions.

Anonymous said...

"If the west is shouting about software and call center jobs shifting to India, we have the right the question our sweat and blood (tax money) gifted in millions to Russia, Israel, France, US etc."

No sir, its not millions its BILLIONS with a big B we are the latest Richie Rich of the world arms market who has every Tom, Dick and Harry arms exporting country salivating at our projected purchases never mind if can't feed our whole population.

akj said...

Anonymous said...
"Russians do want to provide technology like the T-72 and Mig -21, 27,"

Is Russia our father to provide us freebies? Are we some client state of the Bear? Dont make stupid statements like that because u can.
Dear Harry, i will try to answer ur questions.
Harry Says...

Ajai Shukla main source of information is the DRDO. Evidence of his close relationship to the DRDO is evident in the pictures published with his articles. He can thus be forgiven for seeing, and thus projecting, a one sided story.

Perhaps Ajay would like answering the following:
1) If Arjun is a failure, is it DRD0's only failure or one in a string of many?
R&D is a risky field. Even if u have a 10% success rate, tht is good enuf. But what really hurts is when somebody potrays a success as failure.
2) How has DRDO been able to perform a miracle in the last 2 years (which supposedly has tuned it's ability on it's head), something that DRDO wasn't able to do in the last 2 decades?
You r seeing the results in last 2 years; The effort is of the last 2 decades.
3) Why would the Army not want a good tank?
I dont know. 2 possible reasons - 1. Maybe they r not convinced of the tank 2.Bribe

4) What makes you (Ajay) better than the Indian Army to make a call on this tank, and if indeed you feel you are better equipped to do so, are you willing to stake your reputation on it?

IA needs to conclusively prove to taxpayers that Arjun is a bad tank which they havent. As for Ajai Shukla's qualification, he has no bias and will gain nothing/lose whatever tank is inducted. As for my personal conviction, i am willing to sit on a Arjun and face a T-90 on a one to one shootout.

Anonymous said...

can u publish this in a column in a newspaper? lets open people's eyes

F-14 said...

Thank Ajayji for your balance point of view and something which is hidden for uncovering.

We may be glad that you contribute a bit to IDF.

Anonymous said...

Harry Says....

Arjun Vs T-72

People who are comparing the Arjun to the T-72 should hang their heads in shame. T-72 is a much older tank, nearing the end of it's life. Comparing the Arjun to the T-72 shows your level of confidence in the Arjun.

Anonymous said...

Harry Says...

Dear Akj,

Thanks for trying to build a decent conversation.

The crux of my questions was, has the tank really changed or has it's marketing? How come a tank which failed test after test (and still does), suddenly gained such support in some quarters, over the last two years?

"IA needs to conclusively prove to taxpayers that Arjun is a bad tank which they havent"
The IA has shared/leaked quiet a bit of information (more than I would have expected given the secracy normally surrounding such matters) and these reports are there for us to see. Arjun supporters however question the validity of the trials themselves and the motives of officers high-up. The tie-breaker thus becomes some very basic questions:

- How has Arjun turned a corner so suddenly?
- How did DRDO with absolutely no prior experience, make a tank (allegedly) better than the Russians?
- Why were the timelines and budget not met (question of competence)?
- Is DRDO's track record that of failure of success (question of competence again)?
- Do the people pushing this story have a personal stake?
- What is their source of information and what is their motivation?

Answering these would throw up some really interesting possibilities.

"Ajai Shukla's qualification, he has no bias and will gain nothing/lose whatever tank is inducted"
As I said, I respect Ajai Shukla. However his interest is not in a balanced story but to make it stick. This is supposed to be his coup, an outstanding bit of investigative journalism which could carry him into the big league. Not to mention that DRDO is his primary source of information and thus he would be expected to push it's agenda.

Anonymous said...

"People who are comparing the Arjun to the T-72 should hang their heads in shame. T-72 is a much older tank, nearing the end of it's life. Comparing the Arjun to the T-72 shows your level of confidence in the Arjun."

Who's doing that Dimwit ? Show me a post where that has been done. T-72 comes into the picture because T-90S carries the T-72 legacy. Its nothing but an upgraded T-72 with cosmetic changes. T-90S btw were compared to Marutis versus the Arjun being compared with BMWs, see the MoD press release for proof.

And O btw, the army thinks so seriously about the "middle level technology" and "overweight" Arjun that it can't even accept a Tank Ex that is essentially a T-72 chassis fitted with Arjun technologies. Even the weight issue doesn't hold any water there.
The intentions of the top brass are clearly exposed.

Anonymous said...

After all these posts I can say for myself that I'm not a DRDO agent nor do I work for DRDO or any of its lab. But seeing your relentless rants about the T-90s character assassination attempts and tirade against the Arjun you, Dirty Harry seem to be a typical "Indian" arms peddler servicing the Russian mafia.

That to me is even a worse abuse than being labeled a Paki.

Anonymous said...

Harry says...

you, Dirty Harry seem to be a typical "Indian" arms peddler servicing the Russian mafia.


... or maybe a good Indian citizen, genuinely concerned about the Officers and Jawans who will eventually take the tank to war.

... or maybe an informed citizen who sees Arjun for what it is, a tank assembled from foreign components, at a much higher cost and which has not yet met the requirements of a MBT.

... or maybe a dissenting voice that has made some people very uncomfortable.

Whatever takes your fancy dude... whatever takes your fancy.

Mihir said...

How about a lil' kid with no knowledge of the real world who banged his head on one too many flat walls?

Anonymous said...

Harry Says...

Please find the "flat wall" concept explained here:
(Please look under section 1.2 Geometry, subsection 1.2.1 Slope and ricochet)
http://www.strategypage.com/
militaryforums/2-19002.aspx

May I also add Ha! Ha! Ha!

Mihir said...

Strategypage! Ridiculouser and ridiculouser, I tell you!

Why not pee dee eff?

Ha ha ha indeed! :D

Photonman said...

Ajai,

Nice piece.

I was wondering if it would be possible for you to be a little more aggressive in weeding out non-serious/abusive comments on your posts. They often obscure the real issue and leave a bad taste.

akj said...

Dear harry, I will try to answer ur questions. These are my opinions only which have been formulated through reading abt this project.
- How has Arjun turned a corner so suddenly?
There is no question of Arjun turning a corner suddenly. As i mentioned earlier, It is the result of 20+ years hardwork. The media glare is on it now bcoz of 2 reasons: No further orders for Arjun and new orders for T-90 giving rise to the question why is T90 preferred over Arjun.

- How did DRDO with absolutely no prior experience, make a tank (allegedly) better than the Russians?

Arjun is better than T-90 in certain respects like better firepower and protection. T-90 has a lower profile, higher range and lower logistics footprint. The question is whether IA should abandon a tank that is good enough to take on other world class tanks for a foreign product. Western tanks have a similar design to Arjun and in recent wars they seem to have an upper hand over lighter tanks like T-72/90. Merkeva is regarded as the best tank in the world by many while Israel started designing tanks 50 years later than others, say UK. So an Indian tank may be better than a Russian one.

- Why were the timelines and budget not met (question of competence)?
As you mentioned India was developing a tank for the first time. So time and cost overruns were likely to happen and they did. Some say that change in GSQRs was also a reason for delay.

- Is DRDO's track record that of failure of success (question of competence again)?

DRDO as any other agency have achieved success and failure. Kaveri engine, trishul missile etc were not very successful but Agni,Prithvi,Akash missiles are successful. Another success is the ABM shield. Visit DRDO website to know more about their programs.

- Do the people pushing this story have a personal stake?
I would say every Indian has a stake in an Indian product.

- What is their source of information and what is their motivation?

I am not equipped to answer this question. My motivation is love for India and consequently love for anything Indian...Source of information is blogs, forums like BR,KeyPub etc and print media.

Anonymous said...

Harry Bhaiya,
Kyon itna load le rahe ho?
Dont keep blaming the DRDO,If the IA orders something then it has to accept it.It cant just keep changing specs,every day just becoz porkis got some new toy.
Acccept what u have ordered,ask for more stuff with diff specs you will get it.
DRDO was treated liek a cow milk whenever IA want and keep kicking its ass everytime.
DRDO has to improve on productivity and quality in some areas( not all ) GOI has to take some measures.
All said ,still i say DRDO has done remarkably well considering the resources and GOI backing it.
All over world lots of project are delayed even america has taken approc 20 years for F22..so please dont keep buttin DRDO.

about cost of 350 crores over 30 years ,it is peanuts,just a indica car to develop it cost them 250 crores and 8 years
oh please just stop DRDO bashing.
IA is not the problem,it is the procurement dept of IA that is corrupt,all make a beeline for natashas and batashas fro russia brides

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

the arjun tank was always junk, is junk now, and always will be junk.....


move on