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By Bulbul Singh

07 Dec 12. The Indian Army has opted for upgrading the Russian T-90 tanks and buying more advanced versions of the T-90 tanks directly from Russia while going slow on procuring additional Arjun tanks. Nearly 236 T-90s tanks are being upgraded and there are plans to give additional orders of 248 numbers of advanced versions of the T-90 tanks from Russia. The moves comes at a time when the homemade Arjun Mark-2 tank is awaiting further orders, lack of which will further shoot the production price of the homegrown tank, making it too expensive. The Indian Army has already given an order of 248 numbers of Arjun tanks, decades after the tank project was conceived in the 1970’s. However, sources in the Indian Army said, the Arjun tank is nearly twice as expensive as the T-90 tank and has yet to be cleared formally for combat purposes. The Indian Army has been nearly coerced into buying the Arjun tank said a source in the Indian Army. This he said is mainly to keep the state owned Heavy Vehicle Factory ticking.

Meantime the Indian Army is focusing on upgrading the T-90 tanks which will quicken its retaliation and equip it with advance gadgets to automatically track targets while on the move. While the engine of the T-90 tank is being left untouched the targeting system will be advanced. The key change will be a modern targeting system with an automatic target tracker and onboard computers will keep a track of the target in a 360° radius. Fire can be directed at the target better while on move.

The new version of the tank will also have a correction input device which will assess all prevailing factors such as distance of target, height and temperature of the barrel and correct the line and trajectory of fire on its own. The third incorporation will be a new muzzle reference system which will enable a quicker alignment of the tank barrel to its original position after a fire.

In addition the improved tank will have advanced thermal imagers which will enhance the nighttime vision to over 4 kilometers, and will also detect variation in temperatures of advancing vehicles .

The Indian Army is also proposing to buy advanced versions of T-90 tanks directly from Russia. These tanks will have better armor protection, firepower and other features better than the existing T-90 tanks.
The proposal is to buy 248 T-90AM tanks which have a 1300HP engine and re-designed canon.

The Indian Army is currently facing depletion in its tank strength with the scrapping of the Vijayanta and T-55 tanks. Buying the T-90AM in place of the Arjun Mark-2 version makes better sense as the modern T-90AM is priced equal to the Arjun Mark-2 tank said an Indian Army official. The Arjun Mark-2 tank is undergoing trials, carried out reluctantly by the users Indian Army said sources.

There is pressure on the Indian Army from DRDO to award big ticket orders for the homegrown tank added the source as DRDO is developing the Mark-2 version. Weighing 66 tons the Mark-2 would feature several upgrades, including an indigenous engine that would replace the existing German engines and transmission systems of the 58-tonne Arjun Mark-I.
The indigenous content of the mark-II model of Arjun-II tank will be up to 90 per cent as against 58 per cent indigenous content with the Arjun-MkI tank which Is currently with the Indian Army. The MkII model of Arjun tank will also featuresuperior missile firing capabilities and would be ready by 2014. Apart from increased missile launching capabilities, Arjun MkII also has an enhanced auxiliary power unit, explosive reactive armour panels, mine plough, automatic target tracking, advanced land navigation system, digital control harness, and advanced commander panoramic sight among various other features. The MkII model will have a better gun barrel with an Equivalent Firing Charge as the strength of the barrel would be able to sustain firing of 500 rounds aga

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