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2 juillet 2015 4 02 /07 /juillet /2015 16:35
Arjun MK II - source Livefist

Arjun MK II - source Livefist

 

June 27, 2015 By Vivek Raghuvanshi – Defense News

 

NEW DELHI — The Indian Army's plan to develop and build a medium-weight main battle tank to replace more than 2,500 Russian T-72s has raised questions about the future of the homemade Arjun tank and likely would kill a decade-old proposal by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to build a tank, according to analysts and officials.

 

The Indian Army this month floated a global request for information to seek partners to design the new tank under a program called Future Ready Combat Vehicle (FRCV). As a medium-weight platform it would weigh 40-plus tons, compared with the Arjun, which weighs 60 tons.

 

"The proposed FRCV is in the medium category and is more likely to be around the T-90 platform than the Arjun Mark-II platform, which is getting close to the medium-heavy/heavy category," said Anil Chait, retired Indian Army lieutenant general. "Designing and developing the product around proposed qualitative requirements afresh would suggest that we may be looking toward the end of the Arjun saga," he said.

 

However, Rahul Bhonsle, a retired Army brigadier general and defense analyst, said the Arjun will progress from the current Mark-1 level to Mark-3.

 

"The lead time for the FRCV to be manufactured, if all goes well, is likely to be approximately 15 years or so. This provides adequate scope for the Arjun series to be progressed to at least Mark-3. Moreover, there is a need in the Indian Army for an Arjun class of tank."

 

While no Ministry of Defence official would comment on the fate of the decade-old Futuristic Main Battle Tank (FMBT) project to be developed by DRDO, an Army official said FRCV has "surely killed" the FMBT.

 

The FMBT, intended to be in the 50-plus ton category, was also meant to replace the T-72s.

 

"The FRCV seems to be a completely new project which possibly junks the FMBT, which was being worked upon by the DRDO or may be a lead to the developing agency to add on to the existing work that has already been done on the same," Bhonsle said.

 

"I surely see Americans, Russians, French, Germans, Koreans and British participating along with Indian companies in stand-alone or joint venture mode. We could see leading companies from there which are involved with tank design, participating in it," Chait said.

 

Unlike the earlier tank effort, the FRCV does not restrict production to the DRDO. Domestic defense companies in tie-ups with overseas defense companies can serve as the production agencies.

 

"As this is an open competition, private agencies could also be roped in to develop the tank. The best option would be for DRDO designing and developing the same with a foreign partner as it is best placed technically to do so. For an Indian private company in collaboration with a foreign partner it would be a Greenfield venture," where the foreign company would construct new facilities for the project, Bhonsle said.

 

The Army plans to begin induction of the basic FRCV by 2025-27, which would be the platform on which numerous variants would be developed to serve different functions. These variants will include a tracked light tank, a wheeled version, a bridge layer tank, a trawl tank and mine plows, armored recovery vehicle, self-propelled gun, anti-aircraft tank, artillery observation vehicle, engineer reconnaissance vehicle, and armored ambulance.

 

According to the request for information, FRCV will be executed in three stages: design, prototype developmental and production.

 

The request says the design agency and developing agency can be separate entities. The best design will be chosen and given to the nominated development agency for prototype production. The selected prototype will be given to the production agency or agencies for bulk production.

 

Shankar Roy Chowdhury, retired Army general and former service chief, said the paramount requirement for the tank is survivability.

 

"Russian designers sought to achieve this [survivability] by smaller size [three-man crew and lighter armor], lower profile and speed. The West preferred larger turrets, hence thicker armor, heavier tanks. The test for both designs has been the Arab-Israeli wars and the gulf war. The Russian designs did not do too well. Blame that on the crews if you like," Roy Chowdhury said.

 

The most important requirement, however, is that the future FRCV must be indigenously designed, Roy Chowdhury said.

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21 janvier 2015 3 21 /01 /janvier /2015 08:35
Arjun Tank May Miss Date Again

 

January 19, 2015 idrw.org

 

The domestically produced Arjun Tank beat the Russian T-90 tanks hollow in the field trials, but it may again miss the date for its delivery to the Indian Army in 2015, because of the new conditions slapped by the Indian Army procurers every time the state-run DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) came forward to declare ready its production.

 

On the recommendations of the Army, the Defence Ministry has kept demanding newer and newer additions in the Arjun Tank Mark-2 that its total weight has gone up and now DRDO is being posed the challenge to reduce its weight. The new challenges are thrown at DRDO every time trial of its tanks were completed against the order placed with it in 2010 for producing 124 such tanks.

 

When the trial was over, a new demand was made that the Army needs night vision device on the gunner side of tanks. The Chennai-based Heavy Vehicles Factory of DRDO complied with the demand, the Army sought a similar device also on the commander side. That too was complied with when a fresh demand came to install 120mm gun for anti-tank guided missiles. The gun was fitted when the demand came that it should be rather a laser gun.

 

Since the laser guns are not produced indigenously, DRDO bought them from Israel and installed them. The Army, however, rejected these guns for too much smoke it produces and sought more changes. An insider says as many as 72 technical changes have been incorporated by DRDO since I got the original order in 2010. The Defence Ministry insists that all these changes were felt necessary to have a most modern tank with the Army, but those in DRDO now smell a deliberate attempt to browbeat the public sector company to give up and let the government import the tanks from abroad.

 

Nobody in the Defence Ministry is ready to listen that so many changes have made the tanks costlier and heavier and hence the designs will have to be reworked to reduce price and weight and hence DRDO cannot make the delivery on time as announced by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar without understanding the politics that goes on in the ministry.

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