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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

NUMBER 9.MAIN BATTLE TANKS

(I)ARJUN MARK 2 & FUTURE MBT

Arjun Mark II MBT is an advanced version of the Arjun MBT being developed by Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CRVDE), part of Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO)...

The Arjun features a 120 mm main rifled gun with indigenously developed APFSDS ammunition, one 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun, and a 12.7 mm machine gun. It is powered by a single MTU multi-fuel diesel engine rated at 1,400 hp, and can achieve a maximum speed of 70 km/h (43 mph) and a cross-country speed of 40 km/h (25 mph). It has a four-man crew: commander, gunner, loader and driver. Automatic fire detection and suppression, and NBC protection systems are included. All-round anti-tank warhead protection by the newly developed Kanchan armour is claimed to be much higher than available in comparable third generation tanks.

Armament
Armed with a 120 mm rifled gun, the Arjun is believed to be capable of firing APFSDS (Kinetic Energy) rounds, HE, HEAT, High Explosive Squash Head (HESH) rounds at the rate of 6-8 rounds per minute and the Israeli semi-active laser guided LAHAT missile. 

Protection
The turret and glacis are heavily armoured and use "Kanchan" ("gold") modular composite armour. The Kanchan armour got its name from Kanchan Bagh, Hyderabad, where the Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL) is located. The armour is made by sandwiching composite panels between Rolled Homogenous Armor (RHA) to defeat APFDS or HEAT rounds. During the trials in 2000, the Kanchan was able to withstand a hit from a T-72 at point blank range, and was able to defeat all available HESH and APFSDS rounds, which included the Israeli APFSDS rounds. A new honeycomb design non-explosive and non-energetic reactive armour (NERA) armour is reportedly being tested on the Arjun.

Arjun Mk-II
Arjun’s new version boasts of an improved missile firing range apart from a latest laser system, which can detect explosives on the ground. Another critical feature of the tank is that a missile can be fired from it to destroy long range targets and also shoot down enemy helicopters.

The critical summer trials of the Arjun Mark-II version took place in June in Pokhran, Rajasthan and were conducted by the DRDO, while the winter trials are expected to take place later in the year. The June trials have already seen the Arjun MBT Mark-II tested with a number of technical improvements, including command panoramic sight and uncooled thermal image. It has been estimated that 40 more technological improvements are to be tested, including a new transmission control system and new fuel tanks. The first phase of the end user trials will happen by October or November for the missile and other design improvements.

CVRDE Director P. Sivakumar has indicated that the Arjun Mark II MBT will have a total of 93 upgrades including 13 major improvements as compared to Arjun Mark I. The major upgrades would be missile-firing capability against long-range targets, panoramic sight with night vision to engage targets effectively at night, containerisation of the ammunition and enhanced main weapon penetration. There will also be additional ammunition types, explosive reactive armour, and an advanced air-defence gun to engage helicopters, a mine plough, an advanced land navigation system and a warning system which can fire smoke grenades to confuse laser guidance. Other upgrades are an enhanced Auxiliary power unit providing and improved gun barrel.


DRDO chief VK Saraswat said the German engine on the current version of the tank would be replaced by an Indian power plant and the new variant (Arjun Mk-II) would have 90% indigenous component. Saraswat, also the scientific adviser to the defence minister, told HT at Aero India-2011: "The new variant will have high indigenous quotient, except for some hydraulic and electronic systems. The tank should be ready in early 2014. It will feature several modifications including superior missile firing capabilities." On June-2011 the Mk-II begun to undergo trials at Pokhran ranges in Rajasthan. The Mk-II is also expected to go through its winter trials later the same year.

Arjun tank hull and turret has been modified to achieve the target weight of about 55 tons from 59-64 tons. Elbit is helping to enhance its firepower and battlefield survivability and IMI is helping to augment Arjun Mk II’s mobility, redesign its turret and hull and improve its production-line processes told Rahul Bedi, Jane's correspondent.


FUTURE MBT
The Arjun MKII variant is to be followed by the Futuristic Main Battle Tank (FMBT), which started development in 2010. The Indian Army plans to induct the FMBT from 2020 onwards. The FMBT will be a lighter tank of 50 tons.
Urgently in need of capable tanks, the army has worked with DRDO to finalise a broad range of capabilities for the FMBT. These have been formalised in a document called the Preliminary Specifications Qualitative Requirement (PSQR). The detailed specifications of the FMBT, once finalised, will be listed in General Staff Qualitative Requirements (GSQR).

Amongst the capabilities being finalised for the GSQR are: active armour, which will shoot down enemy anti-tank projectiles before they strike the FMBT; extreme mobility, which makes the FMBT much harder to hit; the capability to operate in a nuclear-contaminated battlefield without exposing the crew to radiation; and the networked flow of information to the FMBT, providing full situational awareness to the crew, even when “buttoned down” inside the tank.

Also being finalised is the FMBT armament, a key attribute that determines a tank’s battlefield influence. The Arjun already has a heavy 120mm ‘main gun’, and two small-calibre machine guns; the recently ordered batch of 124 Arjuns will also fire anti-tank missiles through their main gun. The army wants all of those for the FMBT, with ranges enhanced through technological improvements.

However, the DRDO chief ruled out an electromagnetic gun, the next generation in high-velocity guns towards which armament technology aspires. “The Future MBT is not so far in the future,” Saraswat quipped.
DRDO to develop army's next-generation tank 

(II)T-90S BHEESHMA MAIN BATTLE TANK, 

The T-90 is a Russian third-generation main battle tank that is a modernisation of the T-72 (it was originally to be called the T-72BU, later renamed to T-90)
The T-90M Bhishma is a customized, improved version of the T-90S which India developed with assistance from Russia, Israel and France all of whom India has very close ties with. The tanks are equipped with the French-designed thermal sights and utilizes India's Kanchan explosive reactive armored plates. In April 2008, the Indian Army sent request for proposals to Rafael, BAE Systems, Raytheon, Rosoboronexport, Saab, and Germany’s IBD Deisenroth Engineering for an active protection system for the T-90S Bhishma. The contract is expected to be worth US$270 million . Saab's LEDS-150 has won the contract.

The T-90M features the ‘Kaktus’ embedded explosive reactive armour (ERA) package on its frontal hull and turret-top (the T-90S has ‘Kontakt-5’ ERA), is fitted with an enhanced environmental control system supplied by Israel’s Kinetics Ltd for providing cooled air to the fighting compartment, has additional internal volume for housing the cryogenic cooling systems for new-generation thermal imagers like the THALES-built Catherine-FC thermal imager (operating in the 8-12 micrometre bandwidth). In all, India plans to have 1,640 T-90 tanks in service by 2018-2020.

Armament
T-90 tanks featuring 2A46M 125 mm smoothbore tank gun, NSV 12.7 mm AA machine gun and PKT 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun.
The T-90's main armament is the 2A46M 125 mm smoothbore tank gun. This is a highly modified version of the Sprut anti-tank gun, and is the same gun used as the main armament on the T-80-series tanks. It can be replaced without dismantling the inner turret and is capable of firing armour-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot (APFSDS), high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT-FS), and high explosive fragmentation (HE-FRAG) ammunition, as well as 9M119M Refleks anti-tank guided missiles. 

Protection
T-90S Bhishma of Indian Army is fitted only with a "two-tiered" protection system: the first tier is the composite armour in the turret, second tier is third generation Kontakt-5 ERA.
The first tier is the composite armour in the turret, consisting of basic armour shell with an insert of alternating layers of aluminum and plastics and a controlled deformation section.
The second tier is third generation Kontakt-5 ERA (explosive reactive armor) which significantly degrades the penetrating power of kinetic-energy APFSDS ammunition and also these ERA blocks give the turret its distinctive angled "clam shell" appearance.

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