Thursday, 31 July 2008

Nailing some more falsehoods about the Arjun tank... and some about the T-90!

False argument No 1: The Arjun tank, after decades of failure, can’t suddenly have turned the corner!

It hasn’t “suddenly turned the corner”. It turned the corner very gradually, from around mid-2004. A major landmark came in early 2005, when the problem of the hydro pneumatic suspension unit (HSU) was licked. And in June 2005, the Arjun was to prove its capability in comparative trials in the Mahajan Field Firing Ranges (MFFR); the army agreed to comparative trials involving 5 Arjuns, 5 T-72s and 5 T-90s.

That turned out to be a total fiasco! The Arjun’s electronics packed up in the heat and the trials were over even before they began. The generals who came, including the Western Army Commander, laughed all the way back to their helicopters. The chief, who was to fly in for the trials was rung up and told not to take the trouble.


The CVRDE put in a huge effort to heat-harden its electronics, which is something that bears fruit today. While the T-90 is now looking for air-conditioners, the post-2005 electronics in the Arjun can function flawlessly through 60 degrees.

In summer 2006, stringent firing trials by 43 Armoured Regiment established --- in the words of the army’s own trial team --- that the "accuracy and consistency of the Arjun tank was proved beyond doubt".

Later that year, the MoD stated to Parliament’s Standing Committee on Defence that, "Arjun's firing accuracy is far superior to the other two tanks."

In summer 2007, when the army was being pressured to conduct comparative trials, the DGMF raised another objection: the Arjun should be able to drive for 20 minutes in six feet of water. By the end of 2007, the CVRDE managed that as well.

In the Accelerated Usage cum Reliability Trials (AUCRT), which was held in five phases over the first half of this year, the Arjun had problems in the transmission system (not the MTU engine as widely reported, but the Renk transmission) during the first three phases. Engineers from Renk GMbH, Germany came and fixed that and in the last two phases, which were the really tough, heavy desert, hot weather phases, the Arjun performed flawlessly.

The process of turning the corner has been a slow one, but it symbolises exactly why one should go for an Indian tank: each drawback was analysed by our engineers, fixed according to the users’ instructions, and then delivered back to the users without charging them a penny. Contrast that with the problems with the T-90’s electronics. Nobody is fixing that problem; instead, the Russians are trying to sell us air-conditioners. Added expense, and an inefficient solution compared to heat-hardening the electronics, the way the CVRDE did.

False argument No 2: The manufacturers of T-90 have 5 decades of experience under their belt. The T-90 is drawn from the bloodline of T-72 and T-55, both of which are battle proven.

Even the Russians are not buying into the myth of the T-90. That tank entered service with the Russian Army around 1996 and, till today, there are barely 250 T-90s defending Mother Russia! India has more T-90s in service than the Russian Army… and once we implement the full contract, we will have 6 times more T-90s than the Russian Army.

I wonder why the Russian Army isn’t accepting such a blue-blooded tank with such a fine pedigree??? The Russian Army prefers to use: 2144 numbers of T-72s, 3044 numbers of T-80s, 689 numbers of T-62s (plus 3000 more in storage), and even 1000 rickety old T-55s.

Sorry, but there are no more orders from Russia for T-90s.

False argument No 3: The soldiers who operate the Arjun doubt its capabilities as a frontline tank.

The Arjun tank has been operated by 43 Armoured Regiment since over a decade; 43 is delighted with the tank. I have a very close friend who commanded that regiment and he always argued that a regiment of Arjun tanks was worth two regiments of T-72s. And this was even before the Arjun turned the corner!

After the firing trials in June 2006, 43 Armoured Regiment pronounced itself delighted with the Arjun’s firing performance. As I said above, 43 Armoured Regiment endorsed in its trial report, “The accuracy and consistency of the Arjun has been proved beyond doubt.” The brigade commander, Brigadier Chandra Mukesh, himself from 43 Armoured Regiment, endorsed that report whole-heartedly.

But the DGMF was quick to strike back. Barely three months after that report, the commanding officer of 43 Armoured Regiment, Colonel D Thakur, was confronted by then DGMF, Lt Gen DS Shekhawat. Several eyewitnesses have described to me how Colonel Thakur was upbraided by Lt Gen Shekhawat for “not conducting the trials properly”. Fortunately for Colonel Thakur, his brigade commander, Brigadier Chandra Mukesh, intervened and argued strongly that the trials had been conducted in accordance with procedure.

Talk to the crewmen, the drivers, gunners, operators… and you’ll get an even clearer endorsement. They all love the modular construction of the Arjun, which makes maintenance so easy. Changing a T-72 engine takes a full day; changing an Arjun engine takes a couple of hours.

Minister of State for Defence Production, Rao Inderjeet Singh recounts, “I’ve spoken, off the record, to officers who have gone through the trials. Even the crews (from 43 Armoured Regiment)… who have been testing the tank… I forced them to choose between the Russian tanks and the Arjun. I said, you’ve driven this tank and you’ve driven that tank (the T-90). Now mark them out of ten, which tank is better? And I’ve found that the Arjun tank was given more numbers than the T-90 tank.”

False argument No 4: The army has several objections to accepting the Arjun. Somebody writes, “After all, this is NOT pakistan where the generals are not accountable to anyone.”

The most astonishing part of the Arjun story is that the army (read DGMF) really doesn’t have a clear list of objections to the Arjun. Their objections vary from day to day, and with who they are talking to. Some of their objections --- such as that of the Arjun’s 60-ton weight --- run counter to the army’s own GSQR.

What is clear is that the MoD is happy with the Arjun. According to the Parliamentary Standing Committee for Defence’s last annual report for 2007-08, the MoD testified before the Committee that the Arjun tank was:

• “A product unique in its class”, and “an improved system over the T-72.”
• “Rs 6-8 crores cheaper than its contemporary system in the West”.
• “Far superior (in firing accuracy) to the other two tanks (T-72 and T-90)”.
• “Driven for over 60,000 kms and fired more than 8,000 rounds. There was no problem.”

So you judge: if that's what the MoD is saying... aren't the generals conveying an entirely false impression?

False argument No 5: The Arjun failed the AUCRT this summer

As I mentioned above, the Arjun performed creditably during the AUCRT, once Renk solved the transmission system problem.

But what is far more important is the fact that AUCRT is not a “performance trials”. It is not possible for a tank to “pass” or “fail” the AUCRT. The purpose of the AUCRT is to run a small number of tanks for thousands of kilometres and make them fire hundreds of rounds, basically putting them through their entire service lifespan in a few months. The aim of doing this is to evaluate what spares get consumed during the life-span of the tank; what maintenance and overhaul tasks should be scheduled at what stage of a tank’s life; an AUCRT evaluates a tank’s logistical needs, not its operational performance.

But when the transmission gave some problems in the first three phases of AUCRT, the DGMF was quick to seize the chance to bad-mouth the tank, and to convey the false impression that the Arjun had “failed its trials”.



Anonymous said...

"Brigadier Chandra Mukesh, intervened and argued strongly"

For the first time, I am hearing that in army, an officer argued with his higher officials. I was in the impression that in army hierarchy matters a lot and any word from higher official should be considered as a command

Anonymous said...

Your point is that in Army, there are only commands and there is leeway to argue or dicuss? Thats the first time I have heard that. There are orders and then there are dicussions, even in Army.

Anonymous said...

And what was the order that the DGMF gave to Col. Thakur? DGMF accused Col. Thakur that he didn't follow correct procedure to test. Col. Thakur clarified that he did. Where is the discrepancy about an order that Col. Thakur got and that he did not follow? What are you smoking?

akj said...

I hope Mr. Harry is satisfied...

sudeep said...

Wow !

there can't be a stronger endorsement of Arjun. I would love to see these rolling down rajpath on Aug 15 and into Rahimyar Khan when the time comes B-)

The critics of this program will be left with only quibbles and personal attacks after this truthful and hard hitting article.

Ajai, can you post this in Express/Whichever media body you are working for these days ? this deserves a larger audience than internet fans.

The only question remaining is, how to force some sense into the DGMF.

Iron Man said...

Just as the Arjun's real problems turned around in 2005, Arjun's image related problems might have just turned around for the better this last week of july 2008.
I have much greater confidence that the Arjun will form the tip of the spear of our Mechanized forces

Anonymous said...

Excellent article Ajai. Hats off to you!

Anonymous said...

i thought the Arjun failed winter trials??

Anonymous said...

That's the difference, you "thought". Difference between perception and reality is exactly that. The anti-Arjun guys want you to "think" exactly that while the reality is different.

Anonymous said...

Way to go! You have hit nail on its head!
Can you mobilize media people around this and campaign to save Arjun Program from Army Generals
your voice will have more credibility than the average sensational reporter looking for HOT news! NDTV is closely watched by political and red tape elites..
So this would have more effects than a MoD or DRDO lobby..

Anonymous said...


Ajai, you are stooping low here now. First you discarded the objectivity of a journalist by siding with one and now you effectively questinioning the integrity of Army.

After repeatedly failing for the last 10 years, do you think the only salvation for Arjun MBT is comparitive trail?? What will that achive that Arjaun has failed for so many times??

Have you given a thought that for Army it is double jeoperdy, whoever comes on top!! Do you next want the results published also right, since we don't trust Army. wHO BY THE WAY IS THIS THIRD PARTY THAT WILL TEST THE TANK?? I hope you have some one in mind, Israelis? Americans?? or DRDO people!!

• “A product unique in its class”, and “an improved system over the T-72.”

So it is better than T-72, that has been designed in what like 1970s, why it is unique you fail to mention. Anyway unique coz it is designed by Indians?? discounted the Germans ???
• “Rs 6-8 crores cheaper than its contemporary system in the West”.[/b]

Oh you are talking about this part of the report right?
MBT Arjun has good export potential in African countries due to its superior features vis-à-vis contemporary MBTs.” Poor african countries lining in Que to get ..
• “Far superior (in firing accuracy) to the other two tanks (T-72 and T-90)”.

you forget to mention the next line, because .."It has a second generation thermal imager and can engage targets at 2500 meters.
• “Driven for over 60,000 kms and fired more than 8,000 rounds. There was no problem.”

Next line of the same report
.....What happens is that in the gun control system, there are power amplifiers which are used in the fire control system. Some temperature settings were not properly done by the parent company. These were tucked inside. As you know, now-a-days, blah blah blah....

Even after the lapse of more than 34 years, the nominated agency of DRDO could not execute the mission so far. Inordinate delay has escalated the original cost of MBT project from Rs.15.50 crore in 1974 to Rs. 306 crore in 2005. The Committee are surprised to note that neither the execution agency of DRDO or the certifying agency Director General Quality Assurance (DGQA) are taking responsibility for the inordinate delay and quantity in production of MBT Arjun. Out of 124 ordered for tanks by the users, only 15 tanks have been produced by the Heavy Vehicle Factory, Avadi.

“……… I am afraid our quality control is very poor I have heard that fives tanks were presented before the media, however, when the media and other people went away, the tanks were put back in the factory because still some quality checks had to be made. The biggest problem in India in respect of defence production is quality control. If China can do it, why can we not do it ?”

I can go on debunking each of your falsehood, but since you have madeup you mind to PIMP Arjun, it will not have any use. But thought to correcting the selective quoting of defense report.

Mihir said...

Engineers from Renk GMbH, Germany came and fixed that and in the last two phases, which were the really tough, heavy desert, hot weather phases, the Arjun performed flawlessly.

How is it that this was never reported in the mainstream media or by the Army? The version still doing the rounds is - "the piece of $hit Arjun failed miserably in the AURCT, that too because of the incompetent DRDO"

You need to put this stuff on NDTV/Business Standard, Ajaiji. isn't enough - not by a long shot.

Anonymous said...

Since AjaiShula is quoting the defense committe report, let us see what the committe says on Arjun and DRDO:

The Committee are of the view that the delays in development of weapon systems, MBT Arjun, LCA etc not only has caused significant loss of revenue but also delayed the timely procurement of weapon systems from foreign sources that were needed to keep the forces fighting fit and modernised. The delays cause suspicion on the capability of DRDO in the eyes of the users, the common man and intelligentsia. The Committee do understand that not every equipment can be developed by DRDO. The Committee, however, desire that prior to taking a decision on the development of a weapon system, DRDO should sharpen its foresight, whether it could develop it within a fixed time frame and with Available financial and technical resources or not.

8.22 The Committee feel that DRDO should lay more stress on
the Project Management as in the Western industrialized countries,
where the R&D agencies only design and develop armaments
technologies and the military, as the user agency, has the highest
stakes in such weapon development projects, because it contributes
directly to their operational capabilities.

8.25 From the foregoing the Committee are very much concerned
and strongly feel that over the last 40 years, DRDO has put efforts on R&D and also in manufacturing but still it has not been capable of mastering the technology to fulfil the goal of self reliance designing and developing their own MBT Arjun. It has not been able to deliver the goals of self-reliance as promised by it to the nation. It seems that DRDO can deliver successful results only when it enters into joint Venture/collaboration with a reliable partner.

Bottem line DRDO is only capable of piggyback on some other shoulder and incapable of any product development. Now the DRDO stooges attack the defense committe members.

Anonymous said...

^^the anon before mihir is definitely deepak kapoor or the dolly himself...
ha! ha!
His/her arguments..too much in bold letters and explanations in normal ones..looks very credible at the outset..
but circular argument tactics..

I think Russians are paying these army generals big money..when did army generals had integrity..may be a Manekshaw or two..

even in Kargils the top guys screwed up big time..young officers were the guys who stole the show..

Anonymous said... can DRDO score a goal when army or airforce is moving goal post all the time..
May be aliens shows their futuristic technology from time to time to army..and general get all worked up by seeing alien's technology brochures. I am sure the army conducted our 20 years into the future tank seminar after a UFO crashed in India..may be an Indian Rosewell..
who knows..otherwise which fool will talk about a weapons system that they will invent 20 years down the line.

Anonymous said...

Good points Ajai.

By no means is this just a technical no-go. There should be some major conspiracy behind this.

May be there is something politial (or monetary favours from russians to IA) dimension to this. If you so strongly believe that Arjun is technically sound, proof is needed on these angles to seal this debate once n for all.

If we can prove that there is coertion from Russians or neglect from our own politicians, it will automatically prove IA's guilt and the technical high ground of Arjun. This may not be necessity, but is a good-to-have considering the current mess.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Some people are not happy with quality control on the Arjun tank, so instead of working with the correct parties to improve QC, they are more content with killing the entire project. It is like they WANT india to be stuck at screwdriver technology level (using a screwdriver to put together semi knocked down kits assembled in mother russia) and at the same time ask inane questions like if china can do it, why can't we do it, etc.

Raj said...

regards to Anon posting on 31 July 2008 20:15

Why is it that you keep on bringing the dead reports from the grave. All those reports point to the problems that ARJUN had, let me repeat it again for your sake, its a list of problems ARJUN HAD.
ARJUN cleared all the trials in Summer successfully.

Ajai said...


All these points have been reported in the Business Standard.

They are also in this very blog, in earlier posts.


Silent Lucidity said...

Arjun had problems which are being rectified. What about the problems with T-90, rather than rectifying them, now they want to add an AC.

Anonymous said...

there is tremendous merit in ajaijis article. the so called T 90 has also not performed well and is facing problems which foreign parties may try to solve..the outcome might not be that far a the russians they would charge more money for a delayed and poor quality product..just like what they have done to the various indian submarines, frigates, aircraft carrier etc..the best thing is for a comparative trial with t 72 and t 90 under a third party like lockheed martin which design A1M1s, or European firms designing tanks etc..we are using the service of lockheed martin as consultants for our LCA program..a five day trial contract in indian conditions can be given to them..Now if the army is shying away from it without giving any reason, there is definitely something fishy..after all if the arjuns underperform, it would vindicate the army's stand and justify the closure of this program..therefore why the kunal

Pritam said...

"Inordinate delay has escalated the original cost of MBT project from Rs.15.50 crore in 1974 to Rs. 306 crore in 2005."

What could be funny then this!!! Do you know how much TATA invested in Nano??? Three times of that of Arjun. Do you know how much are invested by other countries in similer projects?? China, US, UK, France, Germany, Israel, Japan??? You want the best from DRDO but cannot approve a fraction of the money required?? But when it comes for foreign maal its very very good. example Gorshkov deal. They need just $ 1.2 billion 'extra'.......

Pritam said...

If DRDO failed the Indian Army also has failed, Gov of India has failed because DRDO is not a company but a R&D org for Indian armed forces thats it.

Anonymous said...

As an observer of the MBT programme for the last almost 18 years I couldn't agree more with the good Col Shukla about how efforts have been made to silently subvert the development of the Indian option. The same in a sense is also true for the LCA programme. And in this the higher leadership of the Armoured Corps and the fighter stream of the IAF are united in their campaign. Unfortunately not many have the patience, and knowledge, of Col Shukla to bring these flaws to light.
There are many aspects of the Standing Committee meetings that do not see publication, hence, the opinion of Parliament is not as simple as it is made out to be.
Long and short of the matter is that India must have its own option. And it must have it on a scale that makes the project viable and economical. The Arjun chasis has to be the platform on which we develop the SP gun for the artillery units that would be required to move with the armoured formations. Imagine how simplified the logistics would then be. All must be aware that a weapon system is best suited for the climate, terrain, and operational requirements, of the country in which it has been designed. The T-series tanks can never be India's best option because they're not designed for the heat and dust of our country.
The same holds true for the Tejas LCA. There is a clear difference in how the Navy funds its share of the R&D budget versus how the Air Force treats the project. The HF-24 Marut was killed by a similar campaign earlier. The same cannot be allowed to happen to Tejas, or Arjun.

Pritam said...

OK if DRDO cant nuilt a tank they built AWACS, ballistic and cruise missile, nuclear submarine, thermo nuclear bombs, missile defence systems and in 2100 also IA will still buy tanks from Russia.

Anonymous said...

anon @ 1st Aug 11:22

"The T-series tanks can never be India's best option because they're not designed for the heat and dust of our country."

Are you planning to use the tank within the country ??

Anonymous said...

The post above is an example of a person with no intellect trying to post trash.
We r going to use tanks in our country and in our neighbour towards the west which has very similar geography.

Anonymous said...

to anon above: has India ever launched a war with another country unprovoked (other than the liberation of bangladesh under the brutal regime of pakistan)? how about in the last 1000 yrs or even its entire history?

yes, the military equipment will be used on our soil to defend the country once the enemy enters our borders; like pakistan and china have done in all previous wars. even if we push into enemy borders, i doubt our "leaders" will have the courage to let the armed forces enter more than a few miles into enemy territory. instead they will jump on a peace agreement with the losing country and offer them part of our land as appeasement. assh*les the bunch of them.

Anonymous said...

With the Arjun baiters defeated in both technology and cost arguments, now they use the ultimate weapon of using selective portions of bureaucratic reports that are themselves outdated.

Outdated reports, outdated tank and outdated thinking. Then what's the way to go: You know the answer, you guessed it right. Its FUTURISTIC !!!

Keep importing a piece of junk till an upgraded (read futuristic) version of that junk is available in the arms market and then what, Import that upgraded junk !

Anonymous said...

"The post above is an example of a person with no intellect trying to post trash."

Where's that rolling with laughter icon ? Seriously dude, I couldn't control myself. Keep it up !

That's probably the best way to answer trolls.

Anonymous said...

It cant get worse than this. Millions of tax payers' money and efforts that have gone into making Arjun what it is today. Shame on you DGMF. Going by the convention we have in India, of every mega decision in Military expenditure being followed by an investigation, lets ask the CBI/CVC/CAGI into thr DGMF's allegations.

DGMF hai hai!!

Anonymous said...

Since AjaiShula is quoting the defense committe report, let us see what the committe says on Arjun and DRDO:

Poster seems to suffer from twin ailments of intellectual constipation and verbal diarrhea. Is advised to slow down, read the entire report in its full context.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ajai,

I am glad you are ironing out the perceptions which were floating around for few years via media. Hats off to you!

One thing has not been addressed properly yet. "Arjun is bulky and can be seen miles away which makes it vulnerable to the enemy's tanks and ATGMs."

Since when did the army started to worry about tucking for cover in case of war? It has a good armour if not better than T-90. It has a good thermal sight to spot the enemy miles away. It has a better accuracy and first kill probability. It can fire its own ATGMs. It can fire on the move and so on... And still why army is looking for a tank to tuck for cover? The chances of taking a hit and survive is as good as a T-90 if not more. Also keeping the Arjun in the border permanently might solve the transportation issues (if any). My knowledge in Geography is not very good but still I bet there are no bridges in Rajasthan.

(Oh well!! Lets use Lego tanks. They can be transported even more easily than even T-90)

Raj said...

in regards to post made by Anon @ 01 August 2008 12:40

We(the pro Arjun posters) have been kicking the rear of the critics from avadhi to the other side of paki border(thats where i believe you should be). Now they come up with useless statements which have no relation what so ever with the discussion going on.
get a life!!!

Anonymous said...

One thing has not been addressed properly yet. "Arjun is bulky and can be seen miles away which makes it vulnerable to the enemy's tanks and ATGMs."

Since when did the army started to worry about tucking for cover in case of war?

You should also inform the people that arjun is only 10cms taller and 10cms wider than the T90, which by itself is about seven and a half feet tall !

Surely being 10cms taller than a seven and a half foot behemoth does not give visibility from miles and miles away (both will be equally visible).

"Arjun is big" is a red herring.

Iron man said...

The Gorshkov was supposed to have been a combined deal with the two Akula II's and 6 Tu-22 bombers. I don't believe the simplistic line about 1.2 Billion dollars going into just cabling and other price increases on just the Gorshkov.
There is definitely more to this than meets the eye. One possibility is that the prices of all things including the constructuion of the Akulas has increased. The other possibility is that India is paying for price increase + something more.
As far as your comments on the DRDO building thermonukes, let us wait until DRDO actually demostrates that the bomb they designed and built "is a thermonuke and it works".

Mihir said...

Do you know how much TATA invested in Nano??? Three times of that of Arjun.

Pritam, the amount Tata spent developing the Nano was much more than that. Their investment in Singur itself is ~2000 crore or something...

Tapas said...

1. If Arjun is inducted in large numbers into IA, then funds will not be there to invest in developing the next future generation tank in Russia, as India will not buy/produce T-90
(A vintage T-72 re-design) in the current numbers. So influence is playing key role now.
WHY ? …Because Russian Army do not need T-90 for cost and also because of the vintage re-design based on T-72, which is going to be obsolete by next 3-5 yrs. Instead they would like to invest in a futuristic tank which can evade radars, better fire power, better heat shielding, better protection, lightweight for easy deployabilty/mobility and with better electronics like integration with network centric warfare etc.etc.(US is designing a plastics and composite based tank of the future) so they need investment for future product to do that India has to buy T-90 that too in numbers.

2. If Arjun (The Hunter-Tank Killer) is inducted into IA in large numbers then the Balance Of Power will go terribly in favor of India..some most powerful and big countries also allies of Pakistan would not like to see that, so they would put their influence behind powerful people/decision makers. Again Influence is playing major role.
WHY? Because India will be able to focus on it’s North and East borders and challenges more aggressively J

3. If Arjun is inducted it will BOOST the morale of the designers/engineers, project manages in DRDO which in turn will result in developing better technologies and products of the future generation very quickly, besides reducing dependency on military equipment exporter nations also impacting their sales. So this is the time to break Indian scientist’s backbone by killing projects like Arjun, LCA and Indian AWACS etc.
If some one remembers how LCA FCS project delay (technology denial and siege) impacted the overall LCA project opening the path for MMRCA, the biggest defense deal ? Please let me know how many of you think if LCA was not delayed then India still would have gone for MRCA?

Ajay Ji …WE NEED to ask the decision makers to participate in public debate in a TV show to prove their points against ARJUN..and I have my points against them ready.

1. They have to prove that IA was always working together with DRDO, by not only refining the requirements (GSQR) but also giving suggestions to overcome them ASAP so that it can be inducted in IA quickly.
2. Let them give us a single example where, concept to production in the first try has been successful, without using a iterative cycle of refinements like using MK 1.MK 2 MK 3. and Why the same process can not be adopted for Arjun also?
3. Why IA is hesitant to do a trail of Arjun and T-90 in parallel, no matter how stringent testing happens for Arjun but a T-90 should also face the same test same time, in same terrain and targeting same kind of targets using same mobility/speed.(Even we all know Arjun’s capability to hit the target on the move J vis-à-vis T-90).
4. Importance of a indigenous equipment at the time of War..and it’s impact on availability of spares etc .

Also we need silent investigations to check if any of these people/burocrats are getting any benefit/favour in return as means of kind (even including getting kids selected for scholarships/sponsorship for their education in foreign institutions) or cash?

Anonymous said...

Harry Says...

Some people, on this site, have cast serious doubts on the motives of senior officers in the Indian Army when it comes to a question on the Arjun Tank. Here is my viewpoint.

To quote from Ajai Shukla's article above:
1) in June 2005... the Arjun was to prove its capability in comparative trials... that turned out to be a total fiasco! The Arjun’s electronics packed up in the heat and the trials were over even before they began.
2) in early 2005... the problem of the hydro pneumatic suspension unit (HSU) was licked

Thus, EVEN AS LATE AS 2005, THE ARJUN WAS NOWHERE CLOSE TO BEING BATTLE READY (Ref: quotes from Ajai Shukla's article above).

Keep these facts above in mind, and then see the Army's viewpoint.

In 2005, egged on by a pressing need to upgrade it's Armoured fist, and because of the state of the Arjun, the Army made up it's mind to continue relying on Russian Armour. The Army then went on to place an additional order for 350+ T-90s.

1) Given Arjun's state in 2005, do you blame the Army generals for their decision not to opt for the Arjun?
2) More importantly, after having made a decision to stick to Russian Armour and after having ordered another 350+ T-90s in 2006, do you blame them for resisting what is essentially a U-Turn in policy in 2008? That would make them look real bad.

Policies, especially in the field of Defence procurement, don't get formed, or changed, in a day. It is but natural to expect people/organizations to try and defend informed decisions made just 2-3 years ago, especially where we are taking about hugh sums of money. So, please stop bad-mouthing our generals.

Even if we "assume" that the Arjun has made a qualitative jump is the last couple of years, the decisions made by the Army in 2005-2006, look like a very sound decisions.

(For the dissenting voice: Please put up your facts in view of the timeline above)

Jai said...


You seems to be a empty drummer. You dont seems not to have complete understanding on the events and wants to make tug-of-war by throwing arguments eventhough you been confronted with umpteen no. of facts. I doubt you grabed any of them. If you dont have an idea, better to ask for claification than making a broad statement.

Drdo issued statement after 2005 incident that the issue is with the temp setting of electronic device which by mistake was not set for 60 deg celsius. These are teething troubles which are expected in any new production line more so in defence where the specification and complications are comparatively higher. Next time before pick some random statements for flagging your horse, make yourself educated on the Arjun program.

Regarding the decision that taken 3 years before that you started grabbling around: If they are set on not inducting the tank, they must come out clearly what made them to reject the tank. So far no explanation was heard. Ajai also mentioned DGMF has no real objection list to Arjun. All the objections they raised are duly addressed.

Then tank was made as per GSQR set by IA. After each and every mistake pointed by IA on Arjun, developement agency worked assiduously in fixing them and presented the Arjun as we see it today(These are facts).

India is not a banna republic, to launch or throw any project out as IA wish. Just as there is committee sanctioning the project, there must be consensus by the involved parties as for whay and which reason the Arjun cannot be inducted. Did you heard about the name CAG ?

Anonymous said...

Forget it Jai !

You are barking up against the wrong tree or rather should I say up against a Flat Wall !

Its exactly this ostrich like attitude in the army as well that's stonewalling the Arjun induction in numbers

Anonymous said...

"For the dissenting voice: Please put up your facts in view of the timeline above"

Ha Ha Ha. Looks who's talking about facts after trying to pass off trash ! Except that its not funny.

For the record go through these "facts" here:

The lengthier you post Harry, the more juvenile you appear

Anonymous said...

Just for you dodo Harry ! Please bother to read it and then talk about "facts" and "timelines":

Timeline 1: Based on GSQR No. 326, the project was sanctioned vide the Government of India (GOI) letter dated 02 May, 1974. Project Development Certification (PDC) of the project was 10 years from the date of sanction.

Timeline 2: In April 1978, the Indian Army called DRDO for a meeting for mutual discussions. The aim was to change the GSQR No. 326. A series of meetings between DRDO and Indian Army, chaired by VCOAS resulted in change in GSQR. The new GSQR bearing the number 431 was issued in August 1982.

The changes in the GSQR No. 431 were

a)Increase in width and weight
b)110/115mm gun was to be replaced with a 120mm gun.
c)Improved Sighting and Fire Control system.

Essentially it meant creation of entirely new design and systems. This means, that Arjun Tank was developed in 20 years and not 30 years. But the story does not end there.

The first prototype of the MBT was developed based on GSQR No. 326 of 1972 and No. 431 of 1982.

Timeline 3: Indian Army changed its GSQR and in November 1985, third GSQR No. 467 was issued. The changes in GSQR were:

a)More lethal gun of 120mm caliber.
b)Requirement of Fin Stabilized Armour Piercing Discarding Sabot (FSAPDS)
c)Development of Semi Combustible Cartridge cases and high energy propellant.
d)Integrated Fire Control System based on sight stabilized system with periscopic gunner sight.
e)Thermal Imaging system for gunner’s main sight for night fighting capabilities.
f)Provision of “Kanchan Armour” for enhanced immunity

DRDO had to re – design the structure of chassis/ hull. The turret had to be designed again to cater to improved armour protection and a high power to weight ratio power pack. The MBT now also to feature Nuclear Biological and Chemical (NBC) warfare and protection system, Medium Fording capability, auxiliary power unit (APU), Laser Warning System (LWS) and Global Positioning System (GPS).

Timeline 4: The status of the Arjun Tank was reviewed by the COAS in May 1994 and “bottom line requirements” were laid down. After the completion of the 1994 trials on MBT Arjun, a presentation was made to the COAS and he laid down “Imperatives” in August 1994.

Timeline 4: In November 1997, the final list of suggested modifications and “joint Action Plan” for the implementation and certification was drafted. DRDO implemented the modification to the satisfaction of the Indian Army.

From DRDO's recent statement the project was closed in 1995, since then whatever has changed since then are only pre production teething troubles like medium water fording, electronics packing up, transmission problems etc, all btw were ironed out.

Anyways, you'll conveniently choose not to listen and post some trashy old standing committee status report to carry on and on, pretty much the same like the DGMF carrying out the sham of testing the Arjun forever in the name of summer trials, winter trials, mobility trials, AUCRT etc but its chickening out of the most important comparative trials.

Anonymous said...

I remember watching Ajai's NDTV piece on the Arjun which probably marked the beginning of his changed viewpoint having watched the tank perform for himself at Avadi.

Some people have questioned Ajai's motives in asking for a comparative trial under third party supervision. Now from the same piece I also remember Maj. Gen H.M. Singh's closing remarks about the need of comparative trials but with the rider of giving Arjun a "level playing field".

Now why would a serving army officer go on record in a national TV channel demanding "level playing field" ??

Because he is (or was) more than aware of the insiders in the army who were out there to scuttle any effort to project Arjun as a success.

Its because of these insiders that the Arjun was made to run endlessly in the winter AUCRT beyond its preventive maint schedules leading to breakdowns in HPS and transmission systems. That's where the angle of sabotage comes into the picture.

Now I'm happy that happened because all the problems were fixed and the summer AUCRT went flawlessly thereby denying the army even that opportunity to bad mouth the Arjun.

I challenge the DGMF to flog the T-90 and T-72 the same way as they did to Arjun and rest assured the puny 1000 hp will pack up in MFFR without doubt !

No wonder then that the same CVRDE is then given the scum job of "Indianizing" the T-72's engine cooling system so that it can work in Indian climes and terrains.

Think when the T-72s were inducted and see when that paper was written and we thought the T-72s are the "workhorse" Main Battle Tank of the Indian Army ?

Anonymous said...

Where are these "stubbornly upstanding COs" Ajai of the likes of Brigadier Chandra Mukesh , Maj. Gen. H.M. Singh, Lt. Gen . Panag ?

Please give them spotlight on TV on a panel discussion like the "Big Fight".

You yourself were a tank commander and have seen the T-72 up close and personal so you can emcee the whole show.

Time to place the last nail in the coffin of these needless and faulty imports has come now.

Anonymous said...

To Jai who said:
"temp setting of electronic device which by mistake was not set for 60 deg celsius"
Dude, if you knew electronics at all you would know that is not the way it works. The temperature tolerance is inherited at manufacturing. In any case, if DRDO is so incompetent as to not set a switch right, the organization should be closed now. Also, tonnes of information is available on why the Army rejected the tank. In fact, more information is available than should rightfully be in the public domain. Please go through it. Lastly, if you cared to read through what I posted, you might see the truth. The facts I quoted, were from your hero, Ajai! Thanks you.

For Anonymous who said:
Ha! Ha! Ha! Are you offering that site as an authoratative word on the tank? Dude, who created that site. Could it be DRDO? Ha! Ha! Ha!

To Anonymous who said:
Please bother to read it and then talk about "facts" and "timelines":... DRDO had to re – design the structure of chassis/ hull.
Dude, the GSQR is expected to change in 30 years, and it did. It's is DRDO's incompetence that the tank did not meet even the basic requirements each time it was evaluated.

Anonymous said...

Harry Says...

For the pro-Arjun lobby, no arguments/facts are good enough.

Going by Ajai's latest article (this one), Arjun was a piece of junk till 2005, which is when my information dates from.

Making baseless alligations against senior Army officers (without proof), trying to destroy the T-90's reputation, and blaming the changing GSQR (as would be expected over 30 years) does not make Arjun a good tank.

Arjun has failed trial after trial and continues to do so. T-90 (if it starts local production) would be as indigenous as the Arjun, which imports all it's important systems (FCS, Engine and Transmission). So much for indigenization! Yup, we welded the tank together.

Unless it is conclusively proved that Arjun really did make a massive qualitative jump post 2006, I would say Arjun is still junk. In that case Arjun Tank would make a good septic tank, the place it rightfully belongs to.

Anonymous said...

"To Anonymous who said:
Please bother to read it and then talk about "facts" and "timelines":... DRDO had to re – design the structure of chassis/ hull.
Dude, the GSQR is expected to change in 30 years, and it did. It's is DRDO's incompetence that the tank did not meet even the basic requirements each time it was evaluated."

What about now in 2008 ?

Heat hardened electronics-yes
Medium water fording-yes
NBC protection- Yes
ATGM firing capability-yes

Does the Arjun meet all the GSQR AS OF TODAY or not ?

But NOW you'll say: No No ! Our tank doctrine has changed to suit the T-90S so we don't need the "middle level" Arjun anymore.

We need something more "Futuristic" !

Like an upgraded T series not made keeping in mind the climes and terrains of this country but only customized as we go along the induction

Anonymous said...

"Harry Says...

For the pro-Arjun lobby, no arguments/facts are good enough.

Going by Ajai's latest article (this one), Arjun was a piece of junk till 2005, which is when my information dates from. "

That's exactly what I said Dodo:
Its as of 2005 not as of today.
Its OUTDATED ! Read my post again if it was not clear why I called it Outdated !

I never said don't induct T-90S in numbers but justifying that import on the basis of non-performance of Arjun is Bull Shit !

Using the same justification to kill the Arjun project completely is even more criminal and making the country go back to the drawing board is like taking the country back to 1974 !

That's why the allegation. Obviously you don't read. These army officers responsible for procurement will have to stand the scrutiny of the Indian tax payer no matter what.

We can go back to the drawing board for something like a light tank which is the requirement in the eastern theater.

The idea will be to build on the lessons learnt from the Arjun project not just in terms of technology but also in terms of production processes and quality control and assurance issues. That doesn't come with assembling SKD kits with screw drivers.

Had that been the case as we have been "assembling" the T-72 for so long now, we would have been able to leap frog to our own MBT without having to import the T-90S at all in the first place. Something like what China does. It just tries to reverse engineer stuff it imports to make a cheap clone but when it doesn't work its completely clueless why it didn't work.

The technology of our MBT program has matured and now by allowing the Arjun production to continue we can identify and iron out all the QA issues in the production builds, and that's what this is all about.

By killing the Arjun project altogether you go back to 1974 ! That's why the allegations !

Anonymous said...

"Unless it is conclusively proved that Arjun really did make a massive qualitative jump post 2006, I would say Arjun is still junk. In that case Arjun Tank would make a good septic tank, the place it rightfully belongs to."

Yeah ! You have already made up your mind like the army so you can ignore my rebuttals above and carry on with your tirade against the Arjun !

Unfortunately the tax payers will ask very uncomfortable questions.

Like do the comparative trial with a third party or in full media glare and settle this once and for all. And if Arjun fails lets stop all indigenous tank R&D altogether and import and assemble kits using screw drivers.

That's what even you want right ?

But if Arjun blows out the T-90 then that should be the end of tank imports in India.

Either way the winner takes it all. That should be fair enough isn't it ?

Anonymous said...

"For Anonymous who said:
Ha! Ha! Ha! Are you offering that site as an authoratative word on the tank? Dude, who created that site. Could it be DRDO? Ha! Ha! Ha!"

I sincerely wish it was but alas it isn't. Its from individuals who want this project to succeed so that India gets its place in the sun among the world's leading tank developers. Assembling tanks from kits will not get us to that position and we have been doing that since 1971. Whatever we know about system integration in a complex system like a Main Battle tank or a front line fighter or a frigate/destroyer or a satellite or a launch vehicle, we have done it ourselves only in the midst of tech denial regimes.

In case you are wondering a lot of our other "indigenous" stuff like frigates, destroyers, satellites, rockets etc have quite a bit of imported components but if you care to read if you'll find out that over the years all these small but critical sub-systems were indigenized involving SMEs and other private sector majors like L&T, not to mention the jobs and wealth in creates in the country.

That's exactly what continuing the production of Arjun is all about. As we understand the nuances of engine and transmission techs they'll be indigenized as well in due course. By killing project Arjun you kill everything with one stone.

Who benefits from this ?

Anyone who is interested in selling us a complete weapon system stands to lose such a lucrative market. If I were these people I will oppose Arjun induction tooth and nail because its my survivability at stake here.

Anonymous said...

Harry has a point with his comment about the Arjun not being successful in the 2005 trials.

What it makes depressingly clear though is that the Army has no mechanism to support indigenous products whether it be in chalking out a multi-year test program or providing integrated program management for the program that includes all players (Army, DRDO, CVRDE).

This is an organizational problem and will have to be fixed top down. Since the Navy has been more successful in nurturing indigenous products, a way should be found to have the Navy take the Army under its wing for transferring their program management strategies. Perhaps we can kill two birds with one stone and create the much talked about CDS position with the Navy staffing it initially. Assuming two year tenures and rotation between the services, the Navy will end up staffing this position for 4 years in the next 10 years - which should be enough time to initiate institutional changes top down.

Anonymous said...

Great idea ! But the way the army has been trying to usurp the General positions it doesn't seem likely that it'll be open to that idea as well !

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

AJAY ji,
now the army is out to kill the abhay the drdo's replacement for the BMP2 by stating that all of a sudden that they would prefer a wheeled version as a replacement for the bmp2,they very conviniently as usual 'forgot' to tell the drdo of that requirement when they were designing the prototype.I mean really are we an african country or what!

Anonymous said...

The army is the most incompetent out of the three services when it comes to indeginization of products even though its products require the least amont of technology amongst the 3 services a tank,howitzer or an IFV is less of a technical challenge than a nuclear submarine,fighter aircraft or aircraft carrier.
It should be ashamed of itself instead of pompously telling taxpayers of this country of how it has the divine right to give their money to russia they should take a page out of the indian navy’s book on how to build things at home.But in all fairness intelligence hasn’t really been the IA’s forte Sam Manekhaws of the world are few and far between.

Anonymous said...

why does not the raksha mantri or PMO intervine on behalf of DRDO to save the indeginious project?

Anonymous said...

Requires the PM and Raksha Mantri to look into the matter and punish the culprits in the Army since the corrupt in the army are playing with the life's of the soldiers who go to war to save the nation. There is no other tank that can give better protection with the Kanchan Armour. Arjun can run fast and fire accurately than the T-90.
Arjun is the tank that Indian Army requires to win battles.

Anonymous said...

@ all you arjun slammer

1. either you are pakistani/chinese
2. you know nothing about the project
3. i've talked to the actual users of the tank, they admire it and love it for what it can do to the enemy

so keeping users in mind and the fact that it is indeed an excellent tank, you can go to hell, and guess what, arjun will get more orders, remember this post, i am telling you what's coming up. because it is THE tank that will see us through if there is a war, besides, just because some people want Russian maal as they get kickbacks, can shub it right up theirs, may god give them tapeworms and send them to hell, we love our soldiers and we want arjuns to be their armor