Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Army to order more Arjun tanks


New Arjuns will fire LAHAT anti-tank missiles and be fitted out with two tonnes of slap-on extra armour protection

by Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 14th Apr 10

The success of the indigenous Arjun main battle tank (MBT) in desert trials last month is generating additional army orders for a tank that is emerging as a notable R&D success. Meanwhile, the Arjun is becoming more capable; the Defence R&D Organisation (DRDO), which designed the Arjun, says that all future Arjuns will incorporate major improvements, including the ability to fire missiles.

Business Standard had reported (Arjun tank outruns, outguns T-90, 25th Mar 10) that the Arjun tank had conclusively outperformed the Russian T-90 --- the army’s current frontline MBT --- in trials conducted in early March by the Bikaner-based 180 Armoured Brigade. 

The army is still evaluating that trial report to decide how many additional Arjuns it should order, over and above the existing order of 124 tanks. But the question before the army is no longer whether to order more Arjuns; rather, it is how many to order? Highly placed Ministry of Defence sources confirm that the army is moving away from its staunch opposition to the Arjun. 

The DRDO, meanwhile, is working overtime to sweeten the deal. Dr S Sundaresh, the DRDO’s Chief Controller for Armaments and Combat Engineering, has told Business Standard, that all Arjuns now ordered will fire anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) through the tank’s main gun; provide extra protection for the tank’s crew through explosive reactive armour, or ERA; be fitted with thermal imaging panoramic sights that allow the Arjun’s commander to scan his surroundings even by night; and incorporate at least seven other improvements over the current Arjuns. 

“We had test-fired the Israeli LAHAT missile through the Arjun gun as far back as in 2005”, pointed out Sundaresh. “It will take us about six months to integrate the LAHAT’s designator into the Arjun’s fire control system.”

The addition of two tonnes of ERA will increase the weight of the Arjun to just over 60 tonnes, making it one of the world’s heaviest tanks. But the DRDO claims that its powerful 1500 Horse Power engine easily handles the extra weight.

“The ERA will protect the Arjun’s crews from enemy missiles. Initially we will fit the same Russian ERA that protects the T-90 and the T-72. But we will also develop our own indigenous ERA.

An early order from the army would be crucial, says the DRDO, for continuity in the Arjun production line at the Heavy Vehicles Factory (HVF) near Chennai. The current order of 124 Arjuns will occupy the production line until end-2011. For the next order of Arjuns to hit the production line then, the order would have to be placed now. That would allow 18 months for provisioning of components, such as armour sheets and sub-systems that are manufactured by ancillary suppliers. That period also caters for the purchase of foreign systems, e.g. the engine from MTU, Germany.

“Continuity is vital for quality control”, explain officials from HAV Avadi. “We have instituted systems for quality control in the current order of Arjuns, which is why they performed so reliably during trials. These systems will wither away if the production line shuts down for lack of orders.”

Since the Arjun’s assembly takes 12-18 months, a fresh order of Arjuns will start being delivered 30-36 months after the order is placed. Thereafter, HVF will deliver 30 Arjuns per year if it operates with just one shift of workers; 50 tanks per year with two shifts.

82 comments:

Anonymous said...

Excellent news. Not sure if the ERA is of much significance considering it has not been a life-saver for the crew. Since it is a slap-on tacked on top of the existing armour, it might still be helpful in assuaging the IA's top brass about bringing it on par with the Tin Cans.

Jai ho! Jai Hind!

Anonymous said...

1500 HP engine ! from where ? is this from MTU or has DRDO managed to make one finally ?

Anonymous said...

Dear Ajai Shukla Ji,
Can you explain why the DRDO is not using Nag ATGM instead of LAHAT from iserali in Arjun Tanks ?
Bye
AJ

AJ said...

Dear Ajai Shukla,
Why can't the DRDO uses the sucessful NAG ATGM instead of LAHAT from iserali in the Arjun Tanks ?
Bye

AK said...

How man times must the Arjun trial,
before it's taken as a tank.

The answer my friend, is blowing in the wind, the answer is blowing in the wind.

Anonymous said...

“We had test-fired the Israeli LAHAT missile through the Arjun gun as far back as in 2005”, pointed out Sundaresh. “It will take us about six months to integrate the LAHAT’s designator into the Arjun’s fire control system.”

Why has LATHA not been integrated yet? What has DRDO been waiting for? They need to be more proactive and not just reactive. Specially with something they have been trying to hardsell.

Anonymous said...

Give us an inside scoop ..what are the numbers we are looking at?? 124 more or is it another 376 to touch that magic 500 mark.

Anonymous said...

Nice, the Arjun production rate must be 100/year, so that in the next 10 years we have about 1000 Arjun's and 1600 T-90's. It's time that we phase out the T-72's in a gradual manner. Even though 1600+1000 adds upto 2600 tanks well short of the required strength of 4000 MBT's. The remaining can be the FMBT based on the Arjun that will start production from 2020 onwards. The Army must have clear vision of what is an FMBT and how it should be. They must not look at brochures and order an FMBT. The idea is a tank that is suitable for the Indian terrain and Indian soldiers to fight and win a war. It can be in the Indian sub continent or it can be anywhere in the world as India becomes a great power like U.S and China by 2020.

Sparsh said...

Col. Shukla,

>> incorporate at least seven other
>> improvements over the current Arjuns

Could you please enumerate those seven improvements?

Does it include the laser warning system and the anti-laser system that was mentioned in TechFocus some time ago?

sujith said...

Hi Ajay, great news:-) Is the ERA necessary? It appears the 'Kanchan' armour provides sufficient protection.. And is the indigenous 1500 HP engine still undeveloped? I mean if both the ERA and the new engine are imported, not only will the imported components increase but the price too will increase right? So all in all the new(and
improved) arjun will be heavier,
more expensive and with a higher ratio of imported components. If it is the Army that insisted on these improvements it would certainly be ironical since weight, price and imported components were the very reasons arjun was refused so far:-)

Venkatesh Thiruvarul said...

Mr.Ajai.

I am one of your follower and avid reader of your postings.
I have 2 questions for you w.r.t Arjun/MBT

1. If it takes 30tanks/per year/per shift and 50tanks/per year/2 shifts, why can't we just start producing it in 3 shifts at least 75tanks/ per year. I strongly believe that at 30/per year, it will get obsolete by the time it reaches say, 300 or 450 mark. Any possibilities of producing it in 3 shifts.. whats stopping us. I am pretty sure, financing is not an issue any more for a country that is shining.

2. Also, why not try exporting it to other countries not just to keep the production lines alive to get the break-even point and but also improve our capabilities for FMBT.

Anonymous said...

ajai, any clue as to how many additional arjuns will be ordered, based on the march results?

Anonymous said...

Ajai,
Thanks for posting a good news. but i have a couple of questions. do u any update on indigenous 1500hp engine for Arjun tank and the indigenous ERA armour?

G.K. Lamba said...

Shukla ji the 1500 hp engine isn't a typo is it?

sudeep said...

>> But the DRDO claims that its powerful 1500 Horse Power engine easily handles the extra weight.

Has the Arjun engine (MTU 838 ?) been uprated from 1400 Hp to 1500 Hp or DRDO is ready with the more modern MTU 873?

Band said...

This will be one of the best news for Indian MIC.

This is where not only the indigenous R&D turns a corner. But also the relationship between the services & DRDO.

With the success of Akash, Nag, Shaurya, Shivalik, indigenous EW systems etc etc - the incubation period of indigenous R&D is begining to payoff.

Venu said...

IA griped when its weight is 58 tons. Will they stay calm when it is going to grow much fatter?

Daanish said...

Excellent news!!!!

Anonymous said...

what is the required no of tanks in indian army in near future?

that will give us some idea about the size of the order of arjun assuming IA wants the tank.

as i see it, there is already an order of 1600+ T90s. 2000 T72s are being upgraded.
so is there a place for a bulk order for arjun in the coming decade?

devindra sethi said...

Very good news and the fact that the new Arjuns will incorporate LAHAT capability and ERM armour will make it a desert warrior with humungous capability.Whilst writing the NSQR's of Project17 warships for the navy I made sure that the parent service would receive a very capable platform in the 21st century.INS Shivalik is the first step.Similarly Arjun mk2 should meet our requirements and must be produced in sufficient quantities at home.LAHAT can also be fitted on the HAL LCH to meet the army AVIATION CORPS needs.This will make inventory management better.All in all a good decision by MOD / ARMY.

gururaj said...

wow. this is great to hear. after crucifying Arjun for invalid reasons the army is seeing reason!!
may be T-95 cancellation by Russia may have had factor, i guess, in army's position now. may be they were hoping to make T-95 as future MBT!!

no harm. honesty only begets respect. if true, the army has salvaged itself from an unsustainable position.

hope they order in numbers that would not only make the project viable but with healthy cooperation they can make it as invincible as it can get.

finally Ajai sir lot of credits to you and people like you who have made the army "see reason".

i appreciate your sustained mission in giving a "true picture" as to the reality and my hearty wishes to you to continue the way you have been.

Maratha Mind said...

A very good and expected news if the IA has some 'sense' left.

Again the order for new Arjuns cannot be less than 376 for stabilizing production lines as per DRDO.

Quality control is being taken care of in case of ARjun. Good to note.

The Mark 2 version has to follow the Modular structural design. Strongly suggest the IA to start a new establishment on the lines of Naval design Institute and draft the basic design (blue print) for mark 2. IA should draw up the basic design instead of throwing the GSQR document at DRDO's face.

Anonymous said...

this is a great day for indian millitary research.

Anonymous said...

it's great news, however our army is very shifty. today they say yes they want more, very encouraging words. next day some top brass will come up saying "no, too heavy, not futuristic, too many imported components" etc and similar nonsense. it's happened toooooo many times in the past.

Shailendra said...

Hello Ajay,
I think it would be better to start some work on MK 2 of Arjun and order it rather than ordering any existing one. Better to have some delay rather than spending money in upgrade after 10-15 years.
What you say ?

Spirit of Exuberance said...

Thats a very Good news. So finaly army has shown interest in Arjun. Hopefully they will order in sufficient numbers to make the project feasible. Thanks Mr. Ajai.

ArjunTankFan said...

Hurrrraaaaaahhhhhh

Ghorcharrah Gabbar, where art thou?
(No I am not the same anon)

By the way Shuklaji, what are these 7 additional improvements?

Also I had learnt somewhere, that the Arjun Mk 2 would have its turret redesigned wit a GIAT industries autoloader similar to the one used on board the Leclerc and the South Korean K2. Is this true?

Also what is the status of development of the indigenous 1500hp engine? Recently the engine test cell was commissioned at CVRDE. Any updates on that, for us young mujahids?

Now that you have finally broken the good news, I think we can bank on you for the above information as well as something exhaustive on the Arjun Mark 2.

:)

joydeep ghosh said...

@ all

Point is we need to replace the Project Gulmohar T-55 and upgraded Vijanta tanks totalling around 1200+ by 2016, as these will be retired by then.

Also we need to replace the over 2400+ T-72 in service and we can replace them all only by 2025.

As such the only tank that will be available in numbers is T-90. So we will continue to see T-90s being inducted, as of now 1657 are contracted.

Arjuns as the article says even if ordered more now will take atleast 3-4 yrs to roll out from HVF Avadi. As for the number, reports say the IA will order for 176 more atleast.

However this depends on the role asigned to Arjun and T-90s. Last time it was said that IA wanted to use Arjuns in desert areas only (suratgarh, hanumangarh, shakargarh).

If so producing over 300 pf these Arjun Mk1 wont be viable.

Now the thing we need to watch out for is how the GSQR for Arjun Mk-2 will come out from army and how many of these will be ordered.

mirza said...

Dear Ajay your missed word "Mark-2"
and for your information India has ERA in shape of non-energetic reactive armour (NERA)

http://www.india-defence.com/reports-3162

Anonymous said...

I hope they do not get away with any number less than 1000 Arjuns.

Anonymous said...

delivery after 3 years @50 tanks/year will bring max 350 new tanks by 2020.

Anonymous said...

Ajai,

How much of a role do you think the new Army chief might have played in this decision? It is quite a turn around isn't it? Arjun has proved its mettle quite a number of times before yet the Army somehow found ways of convincing the MoD against buying more Arjuns. The new Army chief steps in and wolla we hear this news.

Eventually, it is a matter of personalities and the vision they have for the armed forces when it comes to the service chiefs. Hope, the new chief has a broad and pragmatic vision for the Army that does not limit itself to the bright and shiny imported tin cans!

Anonymous said...

I hope the DRDO will talk to the Army before they make any improvements, so they can arrive at a mutually agreed list of enhancements. Also, they should build a bridge layer for the Arjun, wider train cars for transportation to the desert, etc.

Anonymous said...

No MK2. A continuous evolutionary improvement in the Arjun even beyond the hypothetical FMBT. ARJUN will remain just THAT...ARJUN!
They do that with automobiles...It is true.
Jai Sri Krishna!

Broadsword said...

Alert readers!

Thanks for drawing my attention to the engine BHP mistake. It is 1400, as you point out, not 1500. I've made the amendment in the article.

Anonymous 07:48:

The Nag is not used because it cannot be fired from the barrel of a tank. It is too big.

Sujith:

ERA is necessary to deal with shaped charge threats, which the existing Kanchan armour cannot handle.

Venkatesh Thiruvarul

Let the order come and then they can start deciding upon the number of shifts. Don't count your chickens before they are hatched.

Export? Good idea! You know some countries that are ordering?

Anonymous 13:23:

I don't think it would be correct to call the army "shifty". They are actually quite straightforward.

What they certainly are is "inflexible". As they see it, they were correct in opposing the Arjun for so many years... and the DRDO was to blame for overpromising and under-delivering. Now, with the tank ready for operational use, why should they rush to accept it. That sums up the way the army thinks.

The answer, of course, is: it is in the army's own long-term interest to accept and mentor the Arjun.

Anonymous 00:00

The new army chief has not had ANY role in this so far. He has not even seen the report.

Indeed this has happened soon after he took over charge, but that is coincidence.

Saying that he had a role is a bit like saying, "The Polish president must have been the key opponent to the Arjun. As soon as he died, the Arjun has been accepted!"

Thanks!

joydeep ghosh said...

@ ajai sir & Venkatesh Thiruvarul

Shiv Aroor said some time back that Columbia was interested in buying Arjuns.

@ all

With respect to 7 improvements, my guess is
1. Arjuns now ordered will fire anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) through the tank’s main gun
2. Extra protection for the tank’s crew through explosive reactive armour, or ERA will be added.
3. Thermal imaging panoramic sights for the commander.
4. It might be related to the external fuel tanks. (there was some problem with it, right!!!)
5. Change in position of machine guns on top of gun turret.
6. Better ventilation and sitting arrangements

Remaining I cant figure out.

With respect to increasing number of Arjuns, we need to expand Arjun production line from 1 to 2 as well as bolster the capacity of the HVF Avadi to manufacture more T-90s and Arjuns.

Add any extra infoemation if you have.

Daanish said...

Would it be prudent to assume that a replacement power plant for the Arjun tank could be gas turbine derived A La Kaveri core.

Arvind said...

Re Ajai

I think, I remember reading (somewhere) that DRDO has boosted the power of engine to 1500hp and hence lot of its brochures mention 1500hp.

Anonymous said...

What is wrong with the Arjun that so many are talking of the Mk2?? What is being promised in the Mk2 that will make it that much more effective than the Arjun?

I fear that after the demise of the "weight", "big", "unreliable", "bridges", "trains" and other imaginary demons, it will be "intangibles" and "Mk2" which will be used to kill the Arjun.

sudeep said...

ajai

Why the new requirement of ERA against HEAT rounds? These arent exactly new threats, and Kanchan was supposed to be better in offering protection against all threats, KE and HEAT..

Anonymous said...

@anon @ 20:58,
Production rate is a function of Order size.
If the order is big enough they would expand the capacity or add another facility. So counting on how many years it will take to fulfill the order based on current production rate is meaningless !

They should just give a big order, add infrastructure for higher production rate and make changes incrementally.

Anonymous said...

Ajai,

thnkx for the article. do u have any update on indigenous engine developing by DRDO for Arjun tank?

Daanish said...

Is there any word on having auxiliary atgm capability for the tank ie 2 ready launch tubes on the turret when engaging multiple enemies in a dynamic confrontation.
As for the add on reactive armour that has been proposed is there any indication that it will be sloped(a la leopard 2) or will it present a perpendicular face to the incoming penetratore/heat round.

Ashish said...

Excellent news. The next step DRDO should take is to test Nag missile against the Arjun. Its a win win situation.
If Arjun is destroyed...bravo Nag.
And if Arjun survives...not even top attack shaped charge anti tank missiles can hamper Arjun's awsomeness.

Sudip Das (sddp1968@yahoo.co.in) said...

Why LAHAT , Why not Nag developed by DRDO , isn't DRDO killing its own development . Tax payer's money has been spent in development of Nag Anti Tank Missile

Anonymous said...

Sudeep,
all of us start using the term "tax payer's money". good, that we have this awareness. But, guys working in DRDO and other defense organizations are at least as smart as us. Don't you think we need to ask the same questions to all the other public servants who are visible and who influence our life in a greater aspect?

Remember, we are from a country who cannot even design a decent passenger car on our own. it is a great achievement to assemble a tank (a world class tank that one) with no prior tank design experience (Russia started designing tanks from first world war and used it in wars to improve its design)

Anonymous said...

sudip, nag is a very big missile, it's in an entirely different class of missiles. it does not fit into the 120mm tank gun.

Maratha Mind said...

I think the Mark 2 version should be design only version for some next 10 years.

Arjun Tank will suffice for next 20 years with constant upgrades to its Battle management system, controls, Armour,night vision, thermal imaging,etc

If T-72 stayed for like 4 decades, Arjun Mark 1 definitely can stay for three decades. MArk 2 ploy can be used to squish the arjun mark 1 's achievement and induction. We need to be aware of these IA tactics.

The mark 1 with the above developments and development of laser guided shells , GPS guided shells, anti-tank missiles, can present a formidable challenge to China/Pak for atleast next 3 decades.

Unknown Soldier said...

Ajai,
In my opinion it is erroneous to compare Arjun with T-72 or T-90. They are not in the same class. Besides Arjun costs 50% more than T-90 (18 cr for Arjun, 12 cr for T-90). Not counting 3.5 billion spent on development (without adjusting for inflation) and 36 years to do it. Arjun was originally meant to be a 40-tonne tank with a 105 mm gun. It has now grown to a 60-tonne tank with a 120 mm gun. The tank was meant to supplement and eventually replace the T-72 MBT that was first inducted in the early 1980s. Now we want T-90 to be replaced! Think what can you do with an additional 6 cr budget per T-90. Buy the latest FCS and a 1500 HP engine for 4 cr and be left with 2 cr to do what you please.

Broadsword said...

Unknown soldier:

You're absolutely correct, it is not right to compare a 60-tonne tank with a 40-tonne tank. That is why the army should not go in for such trials because the trials will only make their favoured tanks look inadequate. Instead, the army should evaluate the Arjun on its own merits.

Regarding the cost of the T-90, maybe you should read the Defence Minister's statements to parliament. He has announced that the T-90 costs 17.6 crores. So, for the same price as a 40-tonne tank, you are now getting a 60-tonne tank.

Not bad, huh?

Also, who is asking for the T-90 to be replaced? As every article in this blog has argued (and which you do not seem to have read), it will take two decades of non-stop Arjun production to replace even the T-72s.

You want to keep the T-72s and do away with the Arjun because it took 36 years to develop? And because the army changed the specs along the way?

Marcus said...

This is great news. However will it not add to more logistical issues. Now another munition type needs to be considered 120mm.....would it not have been better to go for the 125mm?

Over-promising and under delivering is a national Indian issue. In fact in europe this is an accepted indian trait. I am glad that the army is aware of this trait, especially as their lives depend on it.

However its quite disappointing to hear that the weight will go up by another 2tonnes, just because the much vaunted amour cannot handle the shaped charged warheads is quite laughable. I wonder what else needs to adapted?

Anonymous said...

Excellent news

Daanish said...

To broadsword, excellent point it is one that i share but rarely express.
The tank itself is excellent but since the bulk of the armoured core is still legacy t-70/90 class mbt's, it would be prudent to have a armoured thrust doctrine which plays on the strengths of both types. Again comparing doctrinally different tanks is senseless.

Anonymous said...

Unknown Soldier:

"Grown to 60tons" - Growth is the sign of life. The Arjun is actually the epitome of artificial intelligence programming. It has learned at a geometric rate and has become self aware and has grown, assimilating the steel of nearby tanks using hordes of nano-bots.

"Think of what you can do with 6 crores" - Yeah, with that the T-90 can finally have half decent protection through ERA, night vision etc. Of course for Shotra and all I guess more money would be needed.

"Latest FCS, 1500HP engine" - Why doesnt the latest fundoo tank have the latest FCS??? I'm not sure, but is there a 1500 hp engine that can be plonked into a T-90?

Im sorry about the totally idiotic post I made here, but how else to respond and how else to articulate disappointment with the continued unwillingness to accept the obvious?

Anonymous said...

Ajai

I disagree that the ERA is being added for protection against shaped charge warheads, because the Kanchan was proven against both missiles and FSAPDS during its development, and India makes both the Milan and Konkurs for testing, both of which are superior to the vast number of RPGs out there. All ATGMs effectively used shaped charge warheads anyway.

IMHO, the ERA is being added because it is a cost effective way to boost protection for the tank in a modular fashion, to match the latest tanks worldwide, without adding to development time and expense. The Kontakt-V as used on the T-90, if used on the Arjun should add around 200 mm of KE and 600 mm of HEAT protection
http://fofanov.armor.kiev.ua/Tanks/EQP/kontakt5.html
The overall weight may be lower for the Arjun by a ton as it may end up being added only frontally.

So it makes sense to add this as it boosts protection without expensive re-engineering for newer kinds of armour. Ie basically keep the existing armour array, add fasteners for attaching ERA and go with it. This should make the Arjun future proof against even tomorrows penetrators/missiles in the works.

Would you have an idea about the other 7 improvements for the Arjun bar the panoramic sight and LAHAT? AFAIK, other improvements were to include
- Autotracker in FCS

- BMS (Battlefield Management System) being developed by DRDO-BEL

- Defensive Aids Suite
http://www.drdo.org/pub/nl/2009/March-09.pdf

(This is clearly superior to the Shtora system as it incorporates both a jammer and an aerosol grenade/ DRDO Anti thermal grenades in the 81 mm launchers )

- MCS from Barracuda SAAB (same used by many tanks ww, including Leopard)See above link


So what are the other 3 improvements, any ideas?

RAT said...

The stratgey is clear Deploy Arjun in Deserts and T-90s in Hilly region so if the picture is correct the enemy on the other side of the desert will have no answer to it as what ever they have is update of some obselete design and in hills well that a story that we will have to think over and well maybe discuss and only discuss

Anonymous said...

4. The lack of MOD ownership and accountability. In other countries, the MOD fixes doctrine vis a vis threats with the services, a perspective plan is drawn up and then the equipment is developed to meet it. In India there is little of this. Only now, the Army and DRDO are working on such plans but the MOD is conspicuous by its absence. Clearly, let alone provide leadership or facilitation, the MOD is just a bystander in many cases. The solution here is for the MOD to designate critical projects as being under its overwatch and play a more active role throughout, from beginning to end to ensure they are not stalled/delayed to the extent possible.

5. The sad case of the OFB. While both HAL and BEL are either already investing or aim to invest 10% and more of their turnover on indigenous R&D, the OFB remains limited to hand me down tech with lack luster leadership. Their so called successes are either from DRDO tech, or reverse engineering existing systems. They lack the R&D focus, because the organization lacks the strategic aim to be a player. BEL, HAL both know the writing on the wall as regards competition and are hence upping their game. The solution here is that OFB needs to really "get" into research and development to partner DRDO and industry.

Unless these five issues are solved as mentioned, we will continue to have problems and the Army will continue to come up with overambitious specs, which programs will be promised overnight and we will end up with the next Russian junkyard relic passed off to as the most modern tank ever.

Anonymous said...

The problem is that

1. The Army has no clue what it wants. It has no special weapons design organization that can even work on its own, to come up with ideas and then develop them with DRDO/industry. From what I know, there is an overworked Weapons Dte which cobbles together GSQRs with relevant service arm via brochure bashing and what officers deputed feel.
Those IA officers who then go to DRDO/Industry and understand what R&D is, are then treated as pariahs by the ARMY because they are seen as traitors to the oliver green for pushing the case for industry/DRDO. This has its roots also partly in the extremely tribal set up of the Indian Army as inherited from the British, and which continues without reform which a) puts a soldiers loyalty to his unit, service specialization and then the Army and b) against the civilians who are more or less not worthy of respect (thanks to the antics of Lalu, Mayawati etc). The solution here is to create a weapons development directorate that is staffed by both military and civilian people, even third party industry professionals, who at the very least keep track of weapons systems, and indian industry and work on reasonable GSQRs and also assist in program management.

2. The DRDO is so insecure that it will not get the order to indigenize that it agrees to whatever vague claims the Army asks of it. There simply is no culture of saying no. It is very similar to the IT sector where Indian pvt companies routinely fudge words when in front of demanding customers abroad and it ends up being a "miscommunication". The difference is that in the pvt sector the cost arbitrage, makes the Indian pvt sector still valuable. Here, the Army regards DRDO as a dogsbody who is dependent on their good graces and often treats it with veiled if not outright contempt. This can only be solved by outright committment from the Army end that it will be ok with upfront cost estimates and timelines, and not play the political "I am just the customer" role.

3.India's lack of engineering expertise. Irrespective of how much people want to fool themselves we are still a developing country with limited capabilities in some technology areas. Ergo, DRDO/Industry have to reinvent the wheel. There is no other option unless you get license production on a platter, and in the case of the Arjun, many items were initially not available, so that will add delay. The way out of this is to develop a technology roadmap with the Army/DRDO and then assiduously persist for each and every system, irrespective of whether there is a corresponding AIFV project or not. Otherwise, when a project is launched we will have to either begin from scratch or license produce.

joydeep ghosh said...

@ Maratha Mind & Unknown soldier

Why are you and everybody else is scared of Arjuns, more specifically Arjun Mk2.

Its a known fact that both are in different class and meant for different jobs.

Now our only concern should be the no. of Arjuns ordered henceforth. Another concern is that whether Arjun Mk2 will have the indigenous designed engine or not.

Also personally I like what @ Ashish said

"The next step DRDO should take is to test Nag missile against the Arjun. Its a win win situation.
If Arjun is destroyed...bravo Nag.
And if Arjun survives...not even top attack shaped charge anti tank missiles can hamper Arjun's awsomeness."

fighterclass said...

ajai, an update on the LCA's engine selection please ! march 2010 came and went.

joydeep ghosh said...

@ anonymous 23:33

I think the latest 7 developments asked for probably include

1. Automatic target locating, tracking and destruction system.

2. The Tank Urban Survival Kit which is a series of improvements to the Arjun intended to improve fighting ability in urban environments which includes defensive aids.

3. A Laser Warning Control System (LWCS) in cooperation with Elbit Limited of Israel to be equipped on the Arjun. LWCS includes laser warning system, Infra Red jammers and aerosol grenade smokes, and will help reduce the signatures of the tank in the battle field and help it improve its survivability.

4. DRDO is also co-developing the Mobile Camouflaging System (MCS) technology along with a Gurgaon-based private sector defence manufacturer Barracuda Camouflaging Limited. The MCS is being developed by DRDO to help the tank reduce the threat of interference from all types of sensors and smart munitions of the enemy in the tank's systems.

5. DRDO also plans to develop robotic that will work on tele-linking Arjuns in addition to make the tracking of targets automatic.

6. An anti-helicopter round.

7. Extra protection for the tank’s crew through explosive reactive armour, or ERA will be added.

8. Thermal imaging panoramic sights for the commander.

9. Something related to the external fuel tanks. (there was some problem with it, right!!!)

10. Change in position of machine guns on top of gun turret.

Guess a new improved 1500 hp engine will be with Arjun Mk2.

and pls comeup with a name!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Nag should be able to kill any tank in the world today, western or eastern, so how will that help. It will just muddle issues. And the Army will now ask for Nag proofing without adding weight, even though Pak has no Nag.

Anonymous said...

Joydeep, if you read my post, i have already covered most of your improvements (autotracker, Defensive aids, MCS and BMS) and ajai clearly mentions 7 features in addition to the ERA, CPS w/TI and LAHAT. So leave those out.

Furthermore, there is no problem with the fuel tanks, nor is an anti-helicopter round required (FSAPDS and LAHAT are both capable of taking down any helicopter).

Your other 4 points are:
- Changing machine gun positions (Why)?
-TUSK (thats Abrams not Arjun)
- Robotic vehicles tele-linked to Arjun - source for this?
- 1500 hp engine (doubtful, not mentioned so far)

Amol said...

Newbie question
Most of the modern tanks have slanting angled shapes at the turret. it is / instead of | to put it crudely. Arjun is all straight lines and no slants. WHY!!??? i thought it was a basic design feature for tanks that slanting line design better protect against missile attacks. (ok maybe not top down attacks like the Nag but from a man held missile that shoots straight at the tank?) does anyone know why the arjun does not have such a design?

Anonymous said...

Amol, there is nothing 'modern' about slanting armour, it was first used in WW2 by T-34 tanks, about 65 years back.

what you see as slant armour is just the extra ERA bricks that are bolted on to the actual armour underneath, that armour has the job of protecting the tank against tank fired sabot rounds and is almost always flat. modern sabot rounds are stopped by the volume of armour it encounters, NOT the angle at which it hits the armour, do you understand ?

so, if the arjun designers had slanted the armour on arjun, it won't have provided any advantage against anti-tank rounds (world war two is long behind us and modern anti tank weapons don't give a damn if your armour is slanted or not) BUT would have reduced the armour thickness, seriously affecting protection level.

Anonymous said...

@Amol,
Because the tincan-72, the Arjuns would replace does not have a slope either. The later versions of Arjun would have the slope.

Anonymous said...

Most of what is being mentioned for Mk2 should have been in Mk1 itself!
They are all contemporary technologies and are by and large standard on many modern generation tanks.

Still going by the Arjun saga,accomplishing th itself would still be a feat.

I do hope we are thinking beyond the' tech' touted for Arjun Mk2

Anonymous said...

@anon@16:52 and amol,

Check the japanese T90 tank design, it does not have sloped turret either. We need mass production now and enough of R&D for now.

Unknown Soldier said...

Dear Anonymous

Slanting armour has the following advantage:-

* Increases the depth of penetration
* Increases the chance of a recochet

Thus affords more protection evry thing else remaining the same. The angle of attack for an incoming projectile increases due to slopped armour. Bad for the projectile - good for the tank.

sudeep said...

Unknown solider,

Slant armor is not used in composite armor that uses ceramic tiles as part of the armor package.

For these tiles, it makes no difference whether the impact from a KE/HEAT round is at 90 degrees or at different angle. In fact, if the projectile impacts the armor at an acute angle, it has the possibility of shattering even more tiles than a 90 degree impact.

The slanted armor modules you see on Leo2A6 etc are basically add on modules of spaced armor, whose primary function would be to remove the focus of the molten metal jet from HEAT rounds from the primary armor package of the tank.

Adding these should not be a big deal at all, and either spaced or ERA can be chosen depending on the wishes of the designers and users.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spaced_armour

sudeep said...

Unknown soldier,

for more details abt ceramic armor and how slanted ceramic strength is worse than perpendicular los strength:~

look at 1.3.4.2, pg 7/15
http://www.scribd.com/doc/6032093/Armor-Basics

Unknown Soldier said...

Thanks for your comments. While what you say is true this is not to take away the advantage of sloped armour. Please refer to the following document to be acquainted with advantages of a sloped armour. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sloped_armor.

While I agree with you when you say that Ceramic tiles draw little advantage from sloped armour this is because they lack sufficient toughness to significantly deflect heavy penetrators. However it will mater if some one can come up with a suitable design that is sufficiently tough and yet can be curved then it will benefit from the advantage of a sloped armour effect. For a detailed discussion please refer http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chobham_armour.

The same article goes on to say that there is a general trend away from ceramic armour towards perforated armour. I wonder what will happen to our own Kanchan Armour. Will it also hopscotch to oblivion?

same anon said...

Unknown Soldier said...

Dear Anonymous

Slanting armour has the following advantage:-

* Increases the depth of penetration
* Increases the chance of a recochet

Thus affords more protection evry thing else remaining the same. The angle of attack for an incoming projectile increases due to slopped armour. Bad for the projectile - good for the tank.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

that is true for world war 2 HEAT rounds, not modern sabot rounds ! next you will be saying cavalry charges are the most advanced battle tactics of the 21st century ! HA HA HA !
for a sabot projectile, slant ceramic armour seriously degrades the protection afforded to the tank.
do keep up with the times !

Anonymous said...

It is great that we have at least moved beyond the "Is Arjun better than T-90" discussion.

Now we are getting into discussions around sloped armor, spaced armor, perforated armor, sandwich armor. People are reading up and understanding the pros and cons of these and how they match up against AT weapons etc.

Congratulations to you Ajai, for I think you should see this as one of the key achievements of your blog.

Ra said...

I feel that the combination of 1000+ Arjun Mk1 and Mk2 with 1600+ T-90s can be a very devastating combination against all our possible enemies...

Unknown Soldier said...

My comment to Ajay’s article has been misunderstood by a few. I was not debating whether Arjun should be inducted into our armed forces. Did we have a choice really…after sinking a few billion rupees into the rabbit hole? However I am of the opinion that in trying to retrieve some investments from the MBT project our army may be left holding a white elephant. The army is in a gamblers dilemma. A gambler does not know when to quit. After losing a lot of money he thinks he should invest some more as a win will partially offset his loss. That never happens and he continues losing his money until there is nothing more to lose.


In my comment I wanted to re-emphasize that the DRDO was inefficient, had squandered millions & billions of public money and has not delivered any modern weapon system in the required time frame. I was reading somewhere that India has fought all its wars with inferior military hardware than that of her enemy. Consider the following. In 1974 DRDO asked and received 15.5 cr to develop a modern MBT for the armed forces. Thirty seven years later it produced Arjun. A single tank costs more than the entire estimated cost of the project. It did so by spending 3.5 billion INR. The cost over run is a record of some sort. Such an instance cannot be found any where in the world. Even by DRDO’s dubious standards. It’s a record!

Why was the Army hesitant about Arjun’s induction till date? It was because the tank consistently failed in all its previous 7 tests that were conducted by the Army prior to 2010 trials. In 1988- major deficiencies were noticed in mobility, engine, and transmission. In 1996 trials Arjun fared below acceptable standards for ammunition, mission reliability, emergency traverse, accuracy of gun. FCS was useless above 42 degrees C. In 2005- major problems were noticed with its main gun sight, suspension system, and FCS besides engine failure. In 2006 trials Arjun overheated and had an erratic FCS. In 2007 two trials were carried out and in both Arjun fared miserably. Army cited 14 major defects to be sorted out. In 2008 trials Arjun had four engine failures within first 1000 km. Deficiencies were noticed in power pack, accuracy and consistency, hydro-pneumatic suspension, top rollers and gun barrels. Ofcourse the Army refused to accept a sub standard tank. What would you have done in such a situation? Army was unfairly blamed for being unpatriotic and not supporting an indigenous product. Is it justified? Army was also blamed for changing the QR during the project. When a development project runs for so long how can QRs remain the same? Modern day battle field of the 21st century is no longer the same as that existed in mid 1970s.

Arjun’s design is based on German Leopard 2A4. German designers Krauss Maffei were contracted for the design of Arjun MBT.

Engine, transmission, gun barrel, tracks, Night Vision Devices, LRF and FCS are all imported. Engine is from MTU, Transmission is from Renk , Tracks are from Diehl, all German companies, FCS is from Elbit, Israel. The hydro-pneumatic suspension is both a bane as well as boon. It is maintenance intensive as well as prohibitively expensive in comparison to torsion bar found in other tanks. While we are talking about maintenance let me tell you a story.
After driving the Arjun Tank for 60,000 kms and firing more than 8,000 rounds DRDO realised that the erratic behaviour of the FCS was due to an incorrect thermostat setting. To rectify the mistake DRDO took 9 months as the switches were tucked deep inside. Access to those switches could only be had by dismantling half the tank. So much for the maintainability of the tank. (the Sixteenth Report by Standing Committee on Defence (2006-2007)

Anonymous said...

Why was the Army hesitant about Arjun’s induction till date? It was because the tank consistently failed in all its previous 7 tests that were conducted by the Army prior to 2010 trials. In 1988- major deficiencies were noticed in mobility, engine, and transmission. In 1996 trials Arjun fared below acceptable standards for ammunition, mission reliability, emergency traverse, accuracy of gun. FCS was useless above 42 degrees C. In 2005- major problems were noticed with its main gun sight, suspension system, and FCS besides engine failure. In 2006 trials Arjun overheated and had an erratic FCS. In 2007 two trials were carried out and in both Arjun fared miserably. Army cited 14 major defects to be sorted out. In 2008 trials Arjun had four engine failures within first 1000 km. Deficiencies were noticed in power pack, accuracy and consistency, hydro-pneumatic suspension, top rollers and gun barrels. Ofcourse the Army refused to accept a sub standard tank. What would you have done in such a situation? Army was unfairly blamed for being unpatriotic and not supporting an indigenous product. Is it justified? Army was also blamed for changing the QR during the project. When a development project runs for so long how can QRs remain the same? Modern day battle field of the 21st century is no longer the same as that existed in mid 1970s.

Your claims are amusing because the so called list of defects you cite are ones which can be and were ultimately addressed via iterative improvements. Yet, the same thoroughness was not extended to the T-90 purchase. Lets consider: The T-90 still does not meet mission reliability standards with engine failures, its FCS still does not perform at 42 deg c let alone temperatures above it, its transfer of technology agreement fell by the wayside so the Army is still importing expensive Refleks missiles while local production remainds dodgy, armour was salvaged using Arjun technology, its gun still cannot fire Indian made ammunition so much so that an indian computer from the Arjun has to be integrated. The worst is that these defects were known even when the T-90 was trialled, with two engines packing up much before stipulated time. Did these "consistent failures" in all previous tests prevent the Indian Army from inducting the tank? No, it bent over backwards to accomodate the Russians and continues to peddle untruths (see Ajais own articles) about the efficacy of the tank before all and sundry! So pray tell, whom are you kidding about the Army's general attitude towards the DRDO and Indian made equipment, when the Army not only flouted rules for the T-90 but continues to mislead the public and taxpayer by inducting more of these flawed designs. Furthermore, it places a follow on order for 347 more tanks and proceeds with the license production of 1000 tanks, before the flaws are rectified. In contrast, the Arjun is asked to jump through more and more hoops to justify its induction! Perhaps a made in Russia sticker would have helped the tank sell itself?!

Arjun’s design is based on German Leopard 2A4. German designers Krauss Maffei were contracted for the design of Arjun MBT.

So? The Abrams design is also influenced by the Joint German-American MBT-70 project undertaken! Korea before it developed its tanks looked the world over for designers and subsystems. Turkeys new MBT Altay program depends on the Korean Black Panther tank for design input, and even takes TOT for complete technology packs and subsystems!
The Arjun in fact differs from the A4 as it has a rifled gun, and its rounds are encased in individual armored containers, and it even has an APU. That the DRDO was able to achieve this after being only granted a larger and 100 hp less engine stands to its credit. Furthermore, many of the systems are different, and the Arjun armour is substantially more capable.

Anonymous said...

Unknown soldier,

Kindly attempt me to address your claims. Few of them, unfortunately, have merit.

In 1974 DRDO asked and received 15.5 cr to develop a modern MBT for the armed forces. Thirty seven years later it produced Arjun. A single tank costs more than the entire estimated cost of the project. It did so by spending 3.5 billion INR. The cost over run is a record of some sort. Such an instance cannot be found any where in the world. Even by DRDO’s dubious standards. It’s a record!

This is typical of the misleading claims that you have made. The Arjun of 1974 was nothing but an upgraded Vijayanta which tank was ready by the 1980's in the form of the prototype Chetak. In 1985, it was the Indian Army which took a look at the Abrams MBT and asked the DRDO to then come up with an equivalent. For all your claims of the In my comment I wanted to re-emphasize that the DRDO was inefficient, had squandered millions & billions of public money and has not delivered any modern weapon system in the required time frame. , you conveniently avoid the blame the Army has to share for asking the impossible of a nation which could not even make its own car. But that is to be expected from the ilk of DRDO bashers where introspection is thoroughly absent whilst they blame the DRDO for all ills! Consider the record of the US, from WW2 to before the Abrams, the US produced families of main battle tanks, the Patton itself had a dubious record during the Indo-Pak wars thanks to Pakistani misuse, whereas the Sherman which was produced in the tens of thousands in WW2 had the dubious distinction of being outmatched by the German premier tanks, until dedicated improved variants were fielded. Even so, it took the United States, six decades of development before it fielded a SINGLE tank that could call itself the equal or even superior of other tanks worldwide. Six decades of development, thousands of combat deaths, and untold Billions in development, and this is just the United States. The record of other nations is no better. Yet you make claims on the DRDO which of course, has to develop an all singing and dancing tank, as and when you want it. Clearly, their fault is that they were not supermen!

Anonymous said...

Engine, transmission, gun barrel, tracks, Night Vision Devices, LRF and FCS are all imported. Engine is from MTU, Transmission is from Renk , Tracks are from Diehl, all German companies, FCS is from Elbit, Israel. The hydro-pneumatic suspension is both a bane as well as boon.

As compared to the T-90 which is all imported, or perhaps it was made secretly in India while we were unaware?
This list of "imported components" reeks of a funny mindset. On the one hand, an all imported Russian tank with inferior specifications in almost each and every subsystem is ok, but its fine because it will all be license manufactured in India..but the same does not extend to the Arjun! In fact, license production is available for a production run of 500 tanks, but the Army will not order above 124 and then blame the DRDO for having imported subsystems. Talk of sleight of hand! Furthermore, the gun barrel is not imported - its from Midhani. Nor is the FCS all imported, the crucial fire control computer is from TATA, designed by DRDO. The same is now being reconfigured for use on the T-90. An Indigenous GMS also exists as an option as does the option to license produce the sight. And nor is it from Elbit, but from Sagem.

What is perhaps the most amusing about your claims of imported technology is how conveniently they sidestep the manner in which developed countries with far more advanced infrastructure share technology. The Abrams uses the Rheinmetall 120mm German smoothbore gun, which is also in one form or the other on the Japanese Type 90, Koreas tanks. Scratch below the Abrams armour and you'll find dime a dozen subsystems made by corporations from across thr world, including the British BAE Systems. The Germans themselves, in turn licensed the Hughes Fire control system developed for the Abrams for their Leopard 2 tanks. The British when they developed the Challenger 2, ditched their homegrown gunners sight and went to Thales. The Merkava 4 uses a German MTU powerpack license manufactured by the US and transferred to Israel. The UAE Leclercs in service use a German MTU Europowerpack over the original Hyperbar Engine. The PT-91s exported by Poland to Malaysia use imported gun barrels, French FCS and other items!

And of course, the DRDO is to be faulted for not having made every screw inhouse even whilst having made backups in place or having licensing agreements, while an all imported T-90 or T-72 is perfectly acceptable, even while the Russians renege on TOT.

Why, that makes the DRDO monsters. On the other hand, the same clique that attacks the DRDO for having imported systems on its tanks and systems bays for its blood when it develops items inhouse, accusing it of re-inventing the wheel, and taking far too much time. Is it any wonder then that Global arms manufacturers look upon India as such a good market? Nowhere else will they find such willing experts who run down their own people using dodgy arguments and buy into fancy brochures when said equipment still wont work decades into use, as on the T-90.

Anonymous said...

fter driving the Arjun Tank for 60,000 kms and firing more than 8,000 rounds DRDO realised that the erratic behaviour of the FCS was due to an incorrect thermostat setting. To rectify the mistake DRDO took 9 months as the switches were tucked deep inside. Access to those switches could only be had by dismantling half the tank. So much for the maintainability of the tank.

What a ridiculous canard, and a deplorable attempt to spin the story. That report is available to all to draw their own conclusions. For your kind knowledge, the 8000 odd rounds fired by the DRDO from development tanks went well because the DRDO set the switches on the filters to the required standards, whereas the OEM would factory set them below 55 degree cent and why wouldnt they, as they didnt require such temp settings. When the DRDO examined the incorrect trials, they saw the switches on the series tanks had been improperly set by the OEM and reset them and put them back for trials, which these tanks cleared flawlessly. Net, this was an OEM error and easily rectified. And these integrated switches are in the GMS and GS which by design is intended for base work and behind armour. Compare and contrast to the T-90, where eight years on, the issue is yet to be resolved.
The time taken for addressing all the issues the Army raised and incorporating them into production tanks, with the OEM incorporating even further heat ruggedization. Again compare and contrast to the shoddy way in which the T-90 still cannot use its thermal imager reliably.

Chandra Yallampalli said...

I wonder sometimes why our Armed services officers simply have to find such skimpy excuses to curse DRDO.

Here are some examples of fine worldwide manufacturers.

EADS:
Here is Europe:
http://www.businessweek.com/globalbiz/content/aug2009/gb2009086_977202.htm

Here is the US:
http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?i=4505009
http://www.ainonline.com/news/single-news-page/article/technical-challenges-add-to-lockheed-martin-f-35-problems-say-auditors-24387/

It is the favourite pastime of our Generals from Army to curse the DRDO and others, but never admit their own mistakes.

I think DRDO should just tell Govt of India they will now work for export like IT/ITES industry and leave the Army to import. Why put up with such nonsensical abuse from Army all the time. Best of both worlds. The Army will also get what it wants and should be happy. Only taxpayer will suffer but TEHELKA has shown reality of Army procurement anyway.

PRANAV UNDALKAR said...

WE SHOULD ORDER AT LEAST 340 ARJUNS.