Wednesday, January 28, 2009

India’s ‘Born Again’ T-90M MBT






By the year’s end, if all goes as per plan, the Indian Army will begin receiving its first T-90M main battle tank (MBT) in completely knocked-down condition from Russia’s Nizhny Tagil-based Uralvagonzavod JSC. It may be recalled that in February 2001, India bought its first batch of 310 T-90S MBTs worth US$795 million, of which 120 were delivered off-the-shelf, 90 in semi-knocked down kits (for licenced-assembly by the Ministry of Defence-owned Heavy Vehicles Factory, or HVF, in Avadi), and 100 in completely-knocked down kits. This was followed by a follow-on contract, worth $800 million, being inked on October 26, 2006, for another 330 T-90M MBTs that were to be built with locally-sourced raw materials. The third contract, worth $1.23 billion, was inked in December 2007 for 347 upgraded T-90Ms, the bulk of which will be licence-assembled by HVF. The T-90M’s final round of user-trials were successfully concluded last year and it has now been cleared for series-production.

The T-90M is a radically upgraded variant of the existing T-90S ‘Bhishma’ MBT, and is 1.5 times more capable than the T-90S. 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 micron bandwidth and housed within the Peleng-built 1G-46 gunner’s sight) and the commander’s panoramic sight (which houses the Matis-STD thermal imager that operates in the 3-5 micron bandwidth and which has also been selected for the Arjun Mk1 MBT’s panoramic sight), is fitted with an automatic gearbox, has an electro-hydraulic turret-drive-cum stabilisation system, and most importantly, has a 52-cal 2A46M-5 Rapira smoothbore main gun barrel that also comes fitted with a muzzle reference system. The T-90M’s powerplant will be the Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant-built 1,000hp V-92S2 diesel engine, while a 1kW AB-1-P28 auxiliary power unit will provide back-up electric power when the engine is idling. The gunner’s sight-cum-laser rangefinder will be the 1A43 system, which will also house the Peleng-built 1G46 day sight and the ESSA module containing the Catherine-FC thermal imager and the 9S517 missile guidance module for the Refleks anti-armour/anti-helicopter round. The digital hunter-killer fire-control system will use the 1V528-1 ballistics computer and the DVE-BS meteorological sensor. Bharat Electronics Ltd will supply the T-90M’s digitised battlespace management system and radio communications suite (licence-built models originally designed by Elbit Systems and Tadiran), while Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd will provide the fibre-optic gyro-based autonomous land navigation system.

In future, the HVF is expected to retrofit all 987 T-90 MBTs with active protection systems (APS) for which Army HQ on April 24 last year issued requests for proposals to six companies (Israel Military Industries, RAFAEL, BAE Systems, Raytheon, Rosoboronexport, Saab, and Germany’s IBD Deisenroth Engineering) for procuring 1,657 active protection systems (APS) worth $270 million. Those taking part in the Indian bid were Russia’s
Kolomna-based KBM Engineering Design Bureau with its Arena-E APS on offer, IMI of Israel with its Iron Fist suite on offer, RAFAEL’s Trophy APS, Raytheon’s Quick Kill APS, Saab’s LEDS-150 and Deisenroth Engineering’s AMAP-ADS. Eventually, the LEDS-150 was selected and its procurement contract was inked on January 27, 2009. The Land Electronic Defence System (LEDS) combines active signature management, soft-kill and hard-kill mechanisms to provide full spectrum active protection to armoured vehicles. Full hemispherical coverage is provided to detect incoming threats and alert the crew. When installed in full configuration, the LEDS-150 offers MBT-comparable protection to light and medium combat vehicles against engagement by weapons like RPG-7s, anti-tank guided-missiles, KE ammunition, mortars and artillery shells. The LEDS-150 is an active defence system and typically comprises laser warning sensors, ADC-150 active defence controller AD, a number of munition confirmation and tracking sensors, and high-speed directed launchers, which allow the combination of soft- and hard-kill countermeasure deployment capability to the platform, optional displays, and interconnecting harnesses. The hard kill feature of the LEDS-150 product is characterised by its capability to physically destroy the efficiency of the terminal ballistic capability of attacking munitions without residual penetration of the protected vehicle. The hard kill system detects and tracks a single or simultaneous threats and calculates if the attacking munition will hit the platform or not. The system determines the best inertial intercept position and provides the slew and firing commands to the launchers. The Mongoose-1 countermeasure missile is launched at a predetermined time to intercept and neutralise the detected munition off-board at a distance of between 5 metres and 15 metres from the vehicle to minimise the collateral damage to own forces.

Interestingly, the hulls and welded steel turrets of the 330 T-90Ms, along with their Rapira gun barrels, will be fabricated by HVF with locally-sourced raw materials, while an improved version of the indigenous ‘Kanchan’ modular ceramics-based composite laminate armour package will be used for substituting the Russian package, whose technology-transfer has been denied by Russia. The same also goes for the Kaktus ERA tiles and RPZ-86M anti-radar paint coating, which will be totally imported from Russia.

Presently, as things stand, Indian Army HQ is adhering to a modified MBT force structure, whose original version, as proposed in 2006, had called for a fleet of 3,780 MBTs, comprising 1,302 T-90s 2,356 T-72s and 124 Arjun Mk1s. The modified structure now calls for 2,473 higher-end MBTs, including 1,409 T-90s, 248 Arjuns, and 692 T-72M1 Combat Improved Ajeyas. The Army’s gameplan is to have 21 regiments of T-90s and 34 regiments of upgraded T-72M1s and six regiments of Arjuns by 2020.--Prasun K. Sengupta

64 comments:

xerses said...

Where did THAT come from?
Thanks Prasun, Good job.

Abhijoy said...

Love how the ELBIT runs on Win98.Haha..

Great article prasun.

IMHO the welded steel turrets are a great addition given the propensity for T-series tanks to "blow their lids" when penetrated.

Sparsh said...

Abhijoy,

The T-series tanks "blow their lids" when penetrated due to the loose rounds of ammunition in the crew compartment cooking off. Having all the rounds in a armoured carousel provides some degree of protection from a cook off occuring but even then the ammo is still in the crew compartment and if a cook off occurs, the tank will "blow its lid".

The only way to prevent an ammo cook off from tearing your tank and its crew apart is to have an Arjun-like ammunition arrangement.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

That same hand-held BMS console is also on the Arjun. The most revolutionary situational awareness tool, however, will be the tactical internet network developed by TATA Consultancy services which will be put to its first operational field tests this June. This will enable the BMS to be functional at optimum levels. The tactical internet dramatically reduces the amount of SATCOMS-based reqd bandwidth that will otherwise be hogged by other battlespace situational awareness tools like the CDISS, Battlespace Surveillance Systems, and Artillery CCCS. Hence, for Integrated Battle Groups, the tactical internet network has been devised as a fail-safe system for enhancing tactical situational awareness over a frontage of 7km and depth of 10km.

Sparsh said...

Prasun,

Could you give a more detailed accounting of your projected tank and tank regiment numbers? They don't add up. For instance the ~700 upgraded T-72s come nowhere even close to 34 regiments.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Sparsh: The numbers don't add up as yet because the total number of T-72M1s to be upgraded has not yet been decided upon. Out of the 2,356 T-72s acquired, only 692 have been upgraded to the CIA standard. The next tranche to be upgraded is supposed to be about 900 units for which competing offers have been received from Rosoboronexport/Uralvagonzavod JSC, ZTS-Martin of Slovakia, Ulraine's Kharkiv Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau. and from the DRDO (this being the Tank Ex).

Sparsh said...

Prasun,

A few points:

[1] If the Army wants 34 regiments of upgraded T72s then the number of T-72s to upgrade is pretty clear na?

[2] I thought the original intent was to get 1657 T-90s (310 + 347 + 1000). Why was this scaled down to 1409 T-90s?

[3] Lastly, what is your source for these prospective numbers? Just curious.

Maximus said...

I second sparsh on the numbers. I really can't locate the 2nd batch of 330 tanks elsewhere. Also i noticed there's no mention of the deal to produce 1000 tanks at HVF using ToT, on which Ajai Shukla has widely discussed on his blog.

It was always 310 + 1000 + 347 = 1,657.

That would tell why the Army wants 1,657 Active Proctection Systems as mentioned in this post.

One more thing, are you sure about the ASrjun numbers being revised to 248 from the initial 124? But i guess it's still not enough for the CRVC to break even.

No offence meant, just wanted some clarification...

Anonymous said...

Prasun, What is the cover on T-90 ?

It looks like T-90 comes with leather upholstery.

Anonymous said...

[3] Lastly, what is your source for these prospective numbers? Just curious.

this guy will never give. when i asked last time he told me that he cannot spoon feed me!!##@@

Prasun K Sengupta said...

The licenced-production of T-90Ms will take place in tranches, 347 being the first tranche. Subsequent tranches will follow in future. I never said anywhere that the licenced-production will start and end with 347 T-90Ms. That was also clearly explained in the interview given by the present COAS to FORCE magazine's January 2009 issue in which the T-90M's procurement breakdown was given. Furthermore, the APS systems being procured are not just for MBTs, but also for the BMP-2K ICVs. It must also be noted that the figure of 1,000 T-90s floating around applies to the total number of such MBTs to be procured by India as per the commitment given to Russia way back in 1998, and NOT 1,000 + 310 + 330 +347. That commitment figure of 1,000 as since been increased by another 400+. What Russia is now proposing is that if OFB is unable to licence-produce the first 347 T-90Ms on time, then the follow-on agreement on the planned licence-production of 400+ T-90Ms can be modified into an off-the-shelf procurement of the futuristic T-95 FMBT.

To Anon@1:25AM: Firstly, I'm not in the habit of sharing my sources of information with anonymous entities. Also, since my blog entries are not academic disertations I'm not obliged to give any references or bibliographies to satisfy anyone's curiosity. Nor am I insisting that you or anyone else believe me, as I don't require your approval or disapproval to establish my credibility. What you may or may not believe and how you judge the contents of my blog is of no consequence to me whatsoever, period.

Xerses said...

Prasun
What is your comment on the T-90M's 52-cal 2A46M-5 Rapira smoothbore main gun? How is the ammo storage handled in the M version?

Does the Army's plan to accomodate just 248 Arjuns sound the still-
birth of the Mk2?

Is the DRDO developing a dedicated tank-killer like the Terminator?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Xerses: The addition of a muzzle reference system on the Rapira cannon along with French Gen-3 thermal imagers for both the gunner and commander will significantly improve the T-90M's first round hit capability. The autoloading mechanism remains the same as that on the T-90S. As for the Arjun Mk1 current plans call for only 124 + 124 units in two tranches. Regarding the dedicated tank-killer, the Army has ordered two Regiments of BMP-2Ks equipped with the Kliver turret that houses 4 x Kornet-E ATGMs. The Army is also gunning for converting some 900 existing T-72M1 MBTs into BMP-T Terminators that will be equipped with the same kind of Gen-3 French-origin thermal imagers as that on the T-90Ms. However, the DRDO has been unable to come up with any kind of Terminator-like upgrade proposal as it is too preoccupied with the NAMICA, Abhay ICV and Tank Ex R & D projects. One would have expected the DRDO to offer, by 2002, a tank killer using the T-72M's hull, a modified turret housing up to four Nag ATGMs and a hydraulically operated and raisable mast-mounted optronic sensor (like the 15km range LORROS) required for acquiring hostile armoured targets and also conducting short-range terrain surveillance by day and night. But, as they say, one doesn't always get what one desires.

Anonymous said...

macha can u confirm whether or not india transferred or sold any dhruv alh to myanmar junta before the protest by eu countries supplying components in the dhruv??

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Vanakkam macha! Welcome back! You were silent for quite a while. Regarding the Dhruv ALH there's no way it can be expected to be sold to Myanmar because it is powered by engines that were developed and built by Turbomeca, an European company, and therefore Turbomeca too is subjected to the current EU ban on trading with Myanmar. It's that simple. Even when the Dhruv ALH is powered by the Ardiden/Shakti engines built in India by HAL and by Turbomeca in France, it will still be subject to the EU ban as the end-user certificate issued by Myanmar to India (in case of a sale of the helicopter) will be classified by the EU as a document that violates the EU ban. But if the Dhruv ALH comes in a version that is powered by Russian or Ukrainian engines, then the helicopter can be sold to Myanmar without any kind of restrictions.

Anonymous said...

Vanakkam!! Soukiamma?? i was observing the comments but had nothing to say earlier.. now i got something 2 ask so u hear me again hehe.. i know what u r saying but is it so difficult for india to transfer 2 or 3 of its dhruvs to myanmar??? of course this was not a hyped deal because india themselves knew its illegal but for certain favours there is a possibility some dhruvs are in myanmar possession, could there? anyway what can france do even if they find out??

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Firstly, such things cannot be kept a secret as Turbomeca personnel are there within HAL as per contractual obligations. By tracing component serial nos one can easily trace the origin and destination of such components without any headache. Secondly, Russian and Chinese helicopter manufacturers who are also competing for supplying helicopters to Myanmar will be the first ones to leak information about any sale of the Dhruv ALH to Myanmar. Thirdly, I go to Myanmar at least once every month to liaise with Myanmar Air Force HQ for spares support and the MAF long ago decided to procure both fixed- and rotary-winged aircraft from only Russia and China. The MAF therefore is not so stupid to buy any military aircraft from India knowing fully well that spares support from India can be stopped any time. As to what will France do in case India violates the EU ban, well, I wouldn't even hazard a guess about the consequences. All that France has to then do is supply some things to China or Pakistan that will make India very very uncomfortable. In international relations, no one would behave like what you've suggested (i.e.making such unauthorised sales), because the price to pay is very high. Only if the country is one of the permanent members of the UN Security Council can it get away with such embargo violations, as the Chinese are doing with Pakistan.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

But if India's Ministry of Defence decides that it is all right to spend tens of millions to dollars for flight-certifying engines of Russian or Ukrainian origin on the Dhruv ALH, just so that a few such helicopters can be exported to Myanmar, then I guess such a sale can go through. It really is the MoD's and HAL's choice, and what the cost-benefit ratios will be.

Anonymous said...

i c. anyway thanx for ur opinion machaa.

Anonymous said...

oh and one more thing macha, what about the dhruv and israel?? does israel operate any? they wer supposed to market it but that fell through... but do they operate any?? as far as u can say how viable is dhruv for export? do u see bolivia and indonesia's intent coming thru to a sale since several others have already bought s.a. turkey, ecuador?

Anonymous said...

THERE is a news that Pakistan Navy will get AEW&C and UAV soon

any idea about AEW&C ??
an uav?? for MPA role??

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Macha, one Dhruv ALH was sent to israel for weapons integration as this is what Venezuela and Bolivia wanted, but now as you know both these countries have broken diplomatic relations with Israel. So HAL's picknicking with Bolivia and Venezuela are now over. Therefore, only Ecuador and Turkey remain as the confirmed customers, along with Nepal. The Dhruv ALH will be viable as an export product only AFTER it secures its FAA flight certification. It was the absence of this that prompted Chile (along with the TATAs and Essar Group) to reject the Dhruv ALH. Without this certification no one in their right mind will provide insurance coverage (for the civilan version). That's why even Apollo Hospital Group and other hospitals have to date refused to order the EMS version of the Dhruv ALH, choosing instead Eurocopter-built machines. As for Indonesia the requirement there is for more Mi-17V-5s and Mi-35Ps, not for Dhruv ALH-type helicopters. In my personal view HAL has made a big mistake by delaying the development of a 12-tonne version of the Dhruv ALH. This version, capable of seating up to 20 pax/troops, is what the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force requires in large numbers in the yearsd to come. By now HAL should have begun flight-testing the prototypes. And by the time it does, the end-users will already have imported similar helicopters (like the NH-90)!!!

To Anon@12.10PM: The first of four Saab 2000 AEW & Cs will arrive in Pakistan this August. By 2010 the first of four ZDK-03 AEW & C platforms will be delivered by China's CATIC to the PAF. The Falco UAVs are already operational with the PAF while the Pakistan Navy already has acquired a small number of mini-UAVs that are shipborne and are of the vertical takeoff and landing type.

Bobs said...

that hand held console is also used with the FH-77 howitzer.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

That's right. It is a universal manportable BMS console that is also used for the Shakti artillery command, control and comms system.

Anonymous said...

i thought saab-2000 AEW & Cs are for airforce not navy?


ZDK-03 AEW & C what is that??chinese ERIEYE AEW & C??chinese Phalcon AEW & C??

any detail about vertical takeoff and landing type shipborne uavs??how many they have??

thusspakerono said...

wow man awesome! cant wait till our western neighbour gets a load of this.
Extremely well organised pieces and high on technical content...very nice blog:)

Prasun K Sengupta said...

No one claimed that the 4 x Saab 2000 AEW & Cs are for the Navy. They will be operated by the PAF.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

ZDK-03 is a Y-8 airframe housing the radome-mounted 360-degree PESA radar arranged in a fixed, triangular configuration.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To thusspakerono: Glad you like it. Enjoy!

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@2:25PM: The Pakistan Navy's UAV is the APID-55 vertical takeoff and landing UAV, built by Sweden’s CybAero AB. The VTOL-UAV can carry an optronic payload of up to 20kg/44lb. It has a maximum take of weight of 160kg/352lb. The APID-55’s flight control system guides it, including the start-up and landing functions, without assistance from any operator. With the assistance of an inertial navigation sensor, a GPS receiver and a couple of other sensors, the flight control system, via an operator’s command, maintains the UAV’s stability during flight. The APID-55 operates with a water-cooled 55hp two-stroke engine. The rotor is a Bell-Hiller system with a rotor diameter of 3.3 metres. The operator controls the helicopter via communications relay from its shipborne control station using a laptop-based graphical user interface. The operator uses a computer for both the helicopter’s flight plan and flight surveillance.

Anonymous said...

macha confirmed orders are from turkey, peru, ecuador and nepal isnt it? didnt know venezuela was interested. regarding indonesia see http://www.domain-b.com/aero/mil_avi/mil_aircraft/20081025_
Indonesian_army.html

can u also pls tell me a bit more about the 20 seater dhruv? when was it started or put on hold? i never heard of it. frm what i know only 3 new helicopters are being developed now by hal, the HAL Medium Lift Helicopter, LOH and LCH. Is the 20 seater the MLH? isnt that the one they are looking 2 develop with foreign partner?

hey by da way u were supposed to post your report from FORCE magazine on 2009 expected developments???

Anonymous said...

Hey!.. isn't that a picture of a T80/84? got any actual pictures of the t-90M.

Void Walker said...

the Dhruv ordered by Israel is used by IAI for VIP transportation.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Well, Macha, unless and until there are official confirmations from Peru, Ecuador and Turkey I would be disinclined to believe what is being said. The same goes for Indonesia as well. Especially after all the hoo-haa about Chile going to order the Dhruv ALH and then nothing of the sort happening! Thus, the only confirmed export deliveries are to Nepal and Israel. The MLH is the 20-seater helicopter. Regarding expected developments one can find a lot of ino in the February 2009 issue of FORCE and the three Show Dailies to be published during Aero India 2009.

To Anon@4:52AM: No, that's the T-90M and the photo was taken by me during the Urals Arms Expo at Nizhiny Tagil last year. At that expo the T-90M was unveilled for the first time and the Russian language Show Dailies published by Uralvagonzavod JSC (which co-hosted the expo) gave extensive coverage to this new model, which is also being acquired by Algeria minus the Israel-origin hardware. For laymen, the dead giveaway that this is a T-90 is evident from the existence of the gunner's night sight (containing the Catherine-FC thermal imager over and behind the gunner's day sight) and the existence of the muzzle reference system, both of which are not there on the T-80 and T-90S. The T-84 being of Ukrainian origin was not displayed at the Urals Arms Expo. In any case, the Russians don't refer to any T-80-series MBT as the T-84 any more.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Void Walker is right.

Anonymous said...

macha HAL never said chile bought the dhruv. they only said that chile was a potential customer. however for peru and ecuador they have placed confirmed orders. just goto google and type in peru / ecuador dhruv and see. so u cannot equate chile to these 2 countries. indonesia of course has only expressed interest thats all.

what void walker said about israels dhruv is what i too heard. so now which is it did israel buy it for vip transport or to retrofit with israeli gizmos??

Macha u said no problem u will scan and post ur Jan 09 article frm force magazine. u said it will contain details about upcoming future developments for the year along with a explanation detailing the improvements carried out on the T-90M MBT, 347 of which are being acquired by the Indian Army during the BrahMos MRCM Operational topic discussion. i m also eager 2 hear about those new missiles

Prasun K Sengupta said...

The Dhruv ALH bought by Israel Aerospace Industries is also fitted with IAI's integrated defensive aids suite. The other Dhruv airframe that was displayed by HAL in Paris and Farnborough from 2002 was and is owned by HAL as a demonstrator platform and that too is fitted with IAI-origin equipment, including the LAHAT anti-tank missile. Regarding the T-90M, you already have all the details above. Will in future post details on the 300mm MBRL rocket and the ATGM version of the Pinaka MBRL's 214mm rocket. Lastly, regarding the orders for the Dhruv from Latin American countries and Turkey, I would prefer to hear officially from those countries rather than rely on google, yahoo! or Wikipedia. They all could well be right but I choose to reserve my judgement for now. Let's hope something concrete is officially announced during Aero India 2009 next month. I also never said that it was HAL which announced anything concerning the Dhruv's sales to Chile. I was referring to the MoD officials that made all kinds of erroneous statements between 2005 and 2007.

Anonymous said...

Walker ji, where were you for so long?

Void Walker said...

I was off to France and then to Israel for abt 6 mnths....training stuff onlee...

Anonymous said...

ok macha will await the info on the missiles in the pipeline. pls pre-empt the official news sources into bringing them to us. also whatever u say i am pretty sure that nobody said that chile had even bought the dhruv. i know there was lot of hype that chile will be a potential customer and were very happy after testing dhruv ... ... but nobody said that they have already commited to purchase it. and the orders by south american countries were from times of india, the hindu and other media sources but i understand that sometimes these news sources also tend to over report... so lets see anyway.

Anonymous said...

The UAV being inducted by Pakistan Navy is CAMCOPTER-100 and not APID-55. The APID-55 actually crashed during the trials.

Anonymous said...

prasun, the tank in the picture is actually the t-72 bm, technically speaking and not the t-90. though it may be argued there is little difference between them. the relikt package is actually an evolution of the kontakt-v package. i find your statement about redoing the t-90 armour to be quite baffling - since it will definitely be time consuming and involve a lot of design work, since the welded armor in the t-90 is closely integrated into the tank. also, have the kinetics systems even been successful yet, to be purchased for cooling? and why not use the CATHERINE TI for both gunner and commander instead of operating a bewildering mix of TIs from competing manafacturers (catherine from thales and matis from SAGEM).

Prasun K Sengupta said...

As per the posters displayed in front of that MBT exhibit at the Urals Arms Expo last year, it was clearly written as T-90M. FORCE's January 2009 issue has in it 3 separate interviews of senior Army officials directly involved with armoured warfare and the armoured corps and their statements (not mine) are the final say on this. The Kinetics Ltd-supplied systems were trialled out in Rajasthan as far back as mid-2004 in both the T-90S and T-72CIA, but could not be ordered earlier for the T-90M as the OFB and Rosoboronexport were haggling about the ToT for the T-90M's composite laminate armour. In the end, to expedite matters the Russia-sourced armour was rejected by 2006 in favour of the latest derivative of the Kanchan that has been co-developed with Israeli assistance. This was confirmed by the OFB officials who were at the Urals Arms Expo and were quoted in the show dailies published by Russian publishing houses during the expo. I believe even some local national dailies in India quoted the Chairman of OFB as confirming this just after the Russian President's state visit to India early last December. Times of India, for one, also published such an en verbatim quote. The design blueprints for the T-90M have been with India since 2004 and work on designing, developing and validating the armour coating on the hull and welded turret began right then, and was completed by early 2008.
Now, regarding the different types of TIs for the gunner's sight and commander's panoramic sight, this is the accepted practice in the subcontinent as the two sights perform totally different functions and at different times. That's why even in the case of tghe Arjun Mk1 and Al Khalid MBTs, this practice has been adopted (even the OEMs are the same). One also needs to consider the type and time of armoured campaigns to be conducted. In the Thar desert, for instance, the crucial breakout battles will ALWAYS be at nighttime, when the 8-12 micron bandwidth has the advantage in terms of superior target detection/acquisition ranges. During daytime and high temperatures, however, manoeuvre warfare will not be the norm and consequently the need arises for TIs with better ranges and target discrimination. It is here that TIs with staring gate arrays operating in the 3-5 micron bandwidth is the superior system. Now, consequently, due to this arrangement, there emerges a requirement for two independent data transfer channels from each of the two sights directly to the digital ballistics computer. For the Arjun Mk1 such an arrangement is easily installed as there is ample internal room for the additional wiring and related insulations, but inside the T-90S this was a sheer nightmare. Thus, the dimensions of the T-90M's turret are different from those of the T-90S, just so that the additional wiring and extra crypgenic cooling elements for the two independent TIs can be accommodated without any compromises on crew ergonomics.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

By the way, if you check out the photos of any T-72 series, T-80 series or the T-90S that were showcased in Russia during last year's IDELF and Ural Arms Expo shows, NONE of them have the MRS fitted to the cannon barrel. I also collected the latest brochures of the T-90S and T-72 upgrade packages of Russian origin, and none of them had the MRS specified. In fact, the MRS for the T-90M was designed by Elbit Systems and its production rights were sold to Uralvagonzavod JSC two years ago, as both Algeria and India had made the MRS a mandatory item for incorporation.

Anonymous said...

prasun, a mrs is no big deal. the rogatka upgrade for t series and bmp series systems has it, and so does the t-72 bm. i dont know about the signboard but just asked a russkie chap who's very deeply into all this. he confirms its the BM with a mrs, muzzle reference sight.
also, he was very skeptical of the M as well, the last t-90 variant was the t-90 v, or vladimir, with the welded turret for he late designer of the t-90. this was actually the welded turret second batch of t-90s sold to india. he says india has chosen not to go for the AC which the algerians did. but of course, didnt mention the power loss thanks to AC ops.

incidentally in trials for the t-72 modernisation project which our army has been going through for years, the mrs was on offer and indeed trialled by a vendor.
can you post excerpts from the force articles, without whole thing, it should be ok.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

The Algerians are going for the Russian AC package, while India has selected the Israeli AC suite. Therefore, those Russians not involved at the industrial level at HVF (and who have only academic knowledge without any inputs from OEMs)) would not know about it at all, since all installation and integration work will be done by HVF inside India. The same was the case with integration of the Litening-3 pod and Popeye Lite PGM with the Su-30MKI, all of which was done inside India exclusively by Indian parties and therefore no Russian party has any idea if and how such work has progressed. For the T-72 upgrade project's Phase 2 it was Elbit Systems that trialled out the MRS along with a thermal shroud for the Rapira cannon. I cannot post any of the FORCE articles in this blog or anywhere else as I'm not the Publisher of FORCE magazine. But you're of course free to buy the magazine from its publisher.

Anonymous said...

Hi Prasun! I have been following your blog ever since you started it.
can you tell me what is the leathery covering on the first tank pic?

Rahul Singh said...

I saw 2nd last picture firstly. After seeing T-90M in it, i thought T-90M have got a new turret which was looking mean to me. But when i scrolled to first pic i went crazy(laughing)! Can anybody tell me, how those 1/2 inch thick plates will offer any kind of defence against simple RPG, leave tank-killer's aside?

I feel sorry for my country and crew of these Ts.

Anonymous said...

anon@4:48 that leather covering is so that the tank doesnt get rusted when exposed to the elements.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Rahul Singh: That 2nd last photo (above the 125mm APFSDS rounds) is that of the Ukrainian T-84 MBT and that entire photo is that of an information board/poster belonging to Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) that was shown at the DSA 2008 expo at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last April. As you why is BEL showcasing the T-84 instead of the T-72CIA or T-90S+ Bhishma, your guess is as good as mine.

Anonymous said...

Does Malaysia buy anything from India in the defence sphere PRASUNji other than TATA trucks?

Also is the Varunashtra heavy torpedo operational?

Thank you

Prasun K Sengupta said...

The RMAF is 'buying' the IAF's expertise in drafting the operational and maintenance curriculum for the Su-30MKMs. The two RC-1 and RC-2 computers for the Su-30MKM's NO-11M Bars PESA radar were sold. Now the sale of ceramic brake pads and drag chutes for Su-30MKM is being negotiated. The aircraft batteries for the Su-30MKMs too come from India. Earlier BEL had sold some ground-to-air radios in 1997 for the RMAF's tactical air control parties. The rotables and consumables for RMAF MiG-29s also come from the IRAL subsidiary of HAL.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

The Varunastra heavyweight torpedo is still undergoing user trials.

Anonymous said...

Thank u PRASUNji

What do you mean by consumables for RMAF MiG-29s? Is it engine oil / lubricants?

Can u please tell me what brand is the SU30 MKI/MKM battery if you know?

Thanks about the Varunashtra's update. Do you foresee the Navy industing this ionto service or giving shortfall excuses?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Rotables and consumables include POL stocks, and accessories like rubberised seals, tyres, brake pads that have to be replaced periodically due to constant wear-and-tear. The battery supplier is HBL-Nife that has a JV in Malaysia with a Malaysian MRO company. I;m sure that Varunastra will enter service in future. If I'm not mistaken it is a passive/active homing torpedo and needs to be developed as a wire-guided torpedo as well.

Anonymous said...

thanks PRASUNji

rahs said...

Prasun, u have mentioned in your article that Indian Army HQ is pursuing a modified MBT force structure comprising of 1,409 T-90s, 248 Arjuns, and 692 upgraded T-72M1s. Also that: "Army’s gameplan is to have 21 regiments of T-90s and 34 regiments of upgraded T-72M1s and six regiments of Arjuns by 2020"

but how can just 692 upgraded T-72M1s equip 34 regiments, while 1,409 T-90s account for 21 regiments. These numbers are actually confusing. Could u please clarify. Thanks in advance, and congratulations on such an informative blog!

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Thks for the compliments. Actually, the clarifications you seek are already mentioned above. The 692 T-72CIAs are only what's been upgraded so far and they are to be followed by at least another 700-900 upgraded T-72CIAs in future.

thiru said...

Hi Prasun ji, I'm a Malaysian Indian with great interest in russian weapons. I was googling for Relikt when I bumped to your blog. The tank you mentioned as the T 90 and not the T 72BM, was shown by another user in a reputed defence forum as the T 72 with Relikt armour. Also whats the difference from Kaktus to K5 and Relikt to Kaktus? Why does India not use Relikt instead? Are they not exportable?
Also, hope to see more Malaysian-Indian cooperation in defence sphere. I was very dissapointed when Mysia went on and bought Pt 91 instead of the T 90, as you know the T 90 is much superior and have much more upgrade potential compared to the Pt 91. Wish they would have seen India's example just like they did with the Su 30 Mki. also regarding the Sukhoi RC computers you mentioned, are those confirmed? I remember reading conflicting reports that the indian batteries were finally omitted even though they were argtted in the beginning.

AkI said...

Has Russia given up on the Indian Market? They are screwing us on all defense procurements like T-90, BhraMos, MiG 29K and the Admiral Gorshkov.

This screwing by the Russian has a silver lining.This should force the Army to go in for more Arjuns.

Indian defense planners & politicians should remember Chanakya's saying : "There are no permanent friends or enemies; there is only permanent self-interests."

We are being taught a bitter lesson this way; but will we learn?

F said...

thiru,

The only problem I have with the PT-91M, apart from the carousel loader, is the fact that ERAWA2 protects only against chemical energy rounds and not KE penetrators. It remains to be seen if the armour decides to up armour the tank with bar armour to the rear and sides.

vishu said...

Hi
I was reading the article ... regarding T-90M.
Is it correct to day that india is using Kanchan armour instead of kaktus ???

How good is latest kaktus armour ???

majorrk@hotmail.com said...

it is rather pre mature to confirm inking of procurement of 1600 odd numbers of APS. as far as I know MoD is yet to decide upon the evaluation methodology for the various proposals. you have also missed out the mention of DASTAN from Ukraine with their product ZASLON.

Vasiliy Fofanov said...

The tank in the first picture is a T-72B upgrade kit "Rogatka" (aka T-72BM or T-72B2), presented for the first time in 2006. Immediately obvious recognition points that this is not a T-90, never mind a T-90M, are TKN-3 commander's station and a manually operated AAMG; a good indication that this is an upgrade of an old tank is the cast turret armor (UVZ didn't do those for over a decade already).

The "leathery" stuff is the Nakidka camo shroud.