INDIA TO UPGRADE TANK FLEET
By Bulbul Singh
18 Sep 05. The Indian Army has decided to upgrade all its existing T-72 tanks numbering over 1600 and bring it par with the Russian T-72 S tanks. The Indian Army has decided to make the T-72 tank as the Main Battle Tank even as it procured 310 T-90 Russian tanks which are currently under license production at the Avadhi Heavy Vehicles factory.
“As 60 per cent of the components of the T-72 tanks with the Indian Army are common to the advanced T-72S tank of Russia it has been decided to upgrade all the T 72 tanks and make the T-72 as the Main Battle Tank”, remarked a senior official of the Indian Army.
The Indian Army is already facing serious shortage of tanks with fifty per cent of its 3500 tanks slated to go to the junkyard in another five years due to old age. Early this year the Indian Army decided to junk its 800 Vijayanta tanks which were commissioned into service in 1966.
Currently Indian Army’s mechanized formations are equipped with
The T-72 M1 tanks with the Indian Army have been indigenised at the state owned Heavy Vehicles Factory, at Avadhi in southern India,
T-72 S which involve world’s latest Tank Technology have been subjected to vigorous user trials at various locations by the Indian Army has been found satisfactory revealed the Indian Army official adding that the T-72 S is a new generation tank and its Rocket can destroy all kinds of surface and flowing air targets and its armor can survive modern battle conditions and its fire control system provides laser-ranging sight with stabilization with computer system and the missile control system caters for semi-automatic laser beam, ECM-protected.
The Indian Army official said, the up gradation of the T-72 tank to T-72S specifications will not be very expensive and all the tanks can be upgraded to T-72S specification at the same cost as buying all the 310 T-90 tanks.
India signed a $650 million deal with Russian arms export agency, Rosoboronexport for supply and license production of 310 T-90 tanks under technology transfer from Nizhnij Tagil, Russia based tank manufacturing plant, Uralsky Vagonostroitelny Zavod.
Under the deal, 180 tanks are to be produced in India and remaining 130 tanks would be made available under fully and semi-knock down condition. Currently no Indian battle tank possess a laser missile firing and nuclear – biological and chemical (NBC) protection capability.
All the 130 tanks have been b delivered to the Indian Army and around 50 T-90 tanks have been license produced at the Avadhi factory.
An official of the Indian defense ministry said, up gradation of the existing T-72 tanks was a better proposal rather then buying lesser number of T-90 tanks. The T-90 contract was entered into by the previous National Democratic Alliance government and the new United Progressive Alliance government will agree to the latest decision of the Indian Army to upgrade the T-72 tanks said the official of the Indian defense ministry.
The Indian Army official said the selection of the T-72 S tank as the next Indian Army’s upgraded tank was based on the following merits of T-72S
• Combination of Rocket, Reactive armor, powerful gun and excellent integrated fire control system which makes it versatile
• Carries most reliable communication at the battle field.
• Provides perfect mobility and high maneuverability under any weather conditions.
• Lays effective smoke screen by smoke discharges and engine.
• Incorporates efficient dig equipment and equipment for clearing passages in mine fields.
• Requires minimum preparation time for under water drive at a depth up to 5 meters.
• Can be transported with all types of transportation means.
The Indian venture to make its own home-grown Arjun tank has not fructified. The Indian made Arjun tank by the defense research agency, Defense Research and Development Organisation, (DRDO) has not fo