Thursday, August 6, 2009

What's Wrong With The T-90S MBT's Fire-Control System?






All the answers lie within the above-posted diagrams. Anyone care to figure them out?

104 comments:

Anonymous said...

simple - here's the answer

this is a 'day and night' system, as sch it doesnt work at dusk, which is the time Pakistan tried to attack in 1965 and 1971. So army replacing woth new system.

Either that or the ''business charges'' paid to yesterday's kingmakers have all either been exhausted or those Kingmakers are now sitting pretty in the house in Shimla, retired. So new cashrolling is needed for our Babus to have something to do at office. Hence, FCS found to be no good and needs replacement.

Dear President of the Republic of India, even our own Army Chief and many leaders including Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi need to be urgently replaced as they are found to be useless by the nation of a billion. You may wanna issue RFI from countries that have competantly led forces including USA, UK, France, Germany, Japan etc.

But please don't consider Italy (Sonia Gandhi). Their junk has too long a service life until it won't get lost even after being kicked. And it's really hopeless. Works like crap.

Anyone expecting kickbacks...??


(Hope all can take it with a pinch of salt... but honestly, i don't seem to know the *actual* reason for the replacement)


Cheers :-)

Nava said...

Naturally, I have no idea :)

Which systems are being evaluated as replacements?

Anonymous said...

ok t90s was bought 10 years ago so only after 10 years since first t90 was bought only recently they come to know that gunner main sight and FCS is faulty

but one thing is there our army has used t90s in 55 centi temprature so they know ins and outs and other problems with t90s but i am pretty sure that even if there is another tanks instead of t90s that tank too have problems cuz there is no tank in the world which is fault free

Anonymous said...

They could have put a 360 degree hunter killer sight. Making the modification, should not be difficult for the designers of t90. Does it have a "Battlefield management system"?

Anonymous said...

FC-20 M-MRCA Emerges

The first single-seat FC-20 prototype was rolled out by CAC last December
By Prasun K. Sengupta

The FC-20’s performance parameters include a maximum combat radius of 2,540km



How is it possible even F-16 Block 52+ with CFT and 600 gal EFT have combat radius of 1800km in air to air mode

Anonymous said...

any information about POF made PK-8, PK-9 ,PK-10 guns

Anonymous said...

@ 1st Anon,

"Dear President of the Republic of India, even our own Army Chief and many leaders including Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi need to be urgently replaced as they are found to be useless by the nation of a billion. You may wanna issue RFI from countries that have competantly led forces including USA, UK, France, Germany, Japan etc.

But please don't consider Italy (Sonia Gandhi). Their junk has too long a service life until it won't get lost even after being kicked. And it's really hopeless. Works like crap.

Anyone expecting kickbacks...??


(Hope all can take it with a pinch of salt... but honestly, i don't seem to know the *actual* reason for the replacement) "

I presume that you were gone mad or atleast out of mind for now.
if it a country on earth with got all the stupid and bumbass and wholly useless netas (I seriously include the one you excluded -i.e who belongs to the top most chair.)is none other than INDIA itself.

we got politicians who rule the country as if its their dads or grandfas property.At the same time we got the same bitches who rule the country even tho their husbands were fuuckedup.Do India really lack of leaders who are more educated and more capable than these useless assholess?

dont we at all have any leaders to replace this Ages old Widow?????

As per hindu context and superstitions they usually say is,

If u are going out on an important work dont let any widow come infront of you.but on the contrary we are letting this bitch to rule the whole country and sell the stakes to her christian bros and sis.if Grippen wins in the competition for sure she is gonna buy 10000000 Lamborghini`s .(sadly she said that she dont even own an ambassador in her election affidavit)

Anonymous said...

one reason i see is that the axis of stabilization for the sight is only on two axis, so most proabably that might decrease the % of hits the tank can make on enemy tank while on move.
-raj

Prabhu said...

Hi
As army is poised to take a trail against arjun tank they have found a faulty system.They are going to say T-90 is a super duper piece except the problem with FCS and thermal imager.
Poor indian scientist in the hands of very good journous

Cheers

Prabhu.G

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To All: There are a number of reasons why the radical modification of the T-90S (mind you, not the latest T-90M which the Army is also acquiring), especially the turret interior, could well be impossible. The foremost challenge lies in having adequate space for accommodating a panoramic commander's sight (with its built-in thermal imager) along with the battlespace management system, and then doing the impossible: catering to the extra battery power reqmts (by figuring out how exactly to accommodate such batteries and where) andinstalling the related wiring and harnesses. In fact, this was the most difficult issue to solve when it came to fitting the THALES-supplied Catherine-FC thermal imagers as part of the gunner's sight. Therefore, unless the turret volume of the T-90S is increased (like what has been done with the T-90M), the installation of a functional commander's panoramic sight in an existing T-90S is a VERY BAD & UNACHIEVABLE IDEA.
There are other operational shortcomings of the existing T-90S as well, all of which tend to dramatically reduce the MBT's first-round hit probability. Firstly, it does not have a muzzle reference system. Secondly, its gun-control system is more or less the same as that of the T-72 and T-80. The most critical element is the gun-control system's turret traverse and turret stabilisation units. These ought to be electrically-powered (instead of the existing electro-hydraulic system in place). While the DRDO has already demonstrated such current-generation systems with the Abhay ICV and is on course to introduce them in the Arjun Mk2 MBT as well, in the case of the T-90S, the absence of such systems once again affects the MBT's first-round hit-probability.
As opposed to all this, the Arjun Mk1 MBT's internal turret volume has adequate space for future growth enhancements (by the way the same goes for the Al Khalid MBT's turret as well). The hull has enought space to cater to the enhanced electrical power requirements for both the gunner's sight and commander's panoramic sight, and the turret has enough space to accommodate the battlespace management system and its related radio/comms units, plus two thermal imaging cameras and their related cryogenic cooling elements for the gunner's sight and commander's panoramic sight. As to who the potential suppliers for such thermal imagers will be, there are only two vendors: THALES and SAGEM, both from France, and both of whom have already supplied such thermal imagers for both the Al Khalid MBT and the Arjun Mk1 MBT.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Raj@10:44PM: In hunter-killer fire-control systems as those on board the Merkava-4, Challenger 2, M-1A2 Abrams, Leopard 2A6 and the Leclerc, it is the commander's panoramic sight that is responsoble for target acquisition, target tracking and target designation. Only after the MBT commander completes these three tasks is the engagement phase undertaken by the gunner. In other words, while the commander's sight does three separate but sequential functions, the gunner's sight performs only one function. While all four processes are smoothly conducted by the Arjun Mk1 MBT's hunter-killer fire-control system, this is not the case with the upgraded T-72M1 CIA and T-90S MBTs for the simple reason that neither of these two MBTs have a panoramic commander's sight (they have a 'semi-panoramic' sight). This in turn prevents the MBT commander from looking around the MBT's periphery searching for targets. Instead, the entire turret has to be traversed (moved around) to look for targets and once they're acquired, the turret stays fixated in the direct of the target so that the fixed gunner's sight can complete the target engagement process. This results is valuable time being lost, with the MBT commander unable to search for new targets that may be lurking outsight the field-of-view of the gunner's sight. While it is true that installation of two separate thermal imagers on the commander's panoramic sight and gunner's sight dramatically increases the cost of the fire-control system, it is nevertheless regarded as an imperative in today's battlespace as it enables one to achieve the vital 'first to acquire & first to kill' capability, not to mention increased survivability of MBTs equipped with dual thermal imagers.

sachin_sathe said...

prasun

i think this is the real reason IA doesn't want to pit T-90S against Arjun Mk.1.

Arjun Mk.1 being a contemparary tank tht is equipped with all nessesary system can & will shred T-90S's reputation if it goes against T-90S in a large scale combat simulation excersizes.Also i think Arjun has a much better data linking system which is a game-changer in todays tank battles.
wht do u think?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Sachin Sathe: As things now stand, the Arjun Mk1, even without the BMS terminal, enjoys a decisive superiority over the T-90S and T-90M in terms of both first round hit probability and target acquisition. Once the BMS terminal is in place, the Arjun Mk1 or even Arjun Mk2 will be able to decide its engagement tactics and zones far in advance of the T-90S, even without physically siting the target/s. The only way to correct this imbalance is to redesign the turrets of the T-72M1 and T-90S, which is easier said than done. But the Degman and T-84 MBTs on offer from Croatia and Ukraine have already undertaken such a vital step in turret redesign.

Raghav said...

I have noticed that in all your comments about the T-90 vs Arjun issue your reply indicates that the Arjun is far superior to the T-90 in most respects and if used by trained crew, the Arjun can be as deadly as the Abrams. But you have never mentioned even one simple reason why the Army still insists on inducting 1000+ T-90s and just 124 Arjuns. We all know that it was the repeated under performance of the Arjun that made the Army go for the T-90. But around 2004-2005, when it was quite clear that the Arjun was turning the corner the Army could have stopped the T-90 order at 310 and gone for the Arjun. But that did not happen. So is there any as yet unexplained reason for the army to persist in inducting 1000+ T-90. For all these years the army was belittling the CVRDE's efforts and now since the CVRDE has built a tank better than the T-90, is the army reluctant to concede this fact, is there a clash of egos between the army and CVRDE?
Please give a direct answer.

Vasiliy Fofanov said...

Hello all,

I'd like to challenge some statements that are either incorrect or at best misleading.

First, the T-90 *is* equipped with a panoramic commander's sight, I am unsure what is the term "semi-panoramic" used here supposed to mean. Yes, the TKN-4S has all kinds of limitations, including the limited traverse, lack of an independent thermal channel, etc. But if we are talking of a replacement for it - why the talk of a lack of space or power? The space and power is already provided for this unit, so what's the problem? If you take it out you'll get the space and power you need. Multiple upgrade solutions for a drop-in commander's station for T-72 tanks exist on the market, so claiming this is "very bad", nevermind "unachieavable", strikes me as rather strange.

Second, you say that the tank is not equipped with a muzzle reference system. Perhaps you meant *automatic* muzzle reference system, because the manual does exist. Automating it just gives you one maintenance task less to perform, but claiming that lack of this automation "dramatically reduce the MBT's first-round hit probability" is preposterous. Poorly maintained tank manned by incompetent crew - perhaps. Otherwise - there won't be any difference whatsoever. I am not even mentioning that if one is so attached to this gizmo - just install it as part of FCS upgrade, as before, out-of-the-box solutions exist on the market.

Third, what was that about accuracy handicap imposed by an electro-hydraulic stabilizer? Are you aware that virtually every modern MBT is equipped with one, and purely electric stabilizers are decidedly a minority? Where is this notion that it is intrinsically less accurate than electrical coming from? One can argue it is more fire-prone, but less accurate? That's news to virtually every tank building nation out there!

Fourth, you say that Arjun has "adequate space for future growth enhancements". Hmmm let me get it right, Arjun is dragging around empty space inside that serves no purpose but to provide room for these hypothetical enhancements, and for that pays the price in logistical overhead today? Funny way to approach a tank design (or design of anything else for that matter).

To conclude, sadly all too often do I see in Indian publications these kinds of misinformation or misrepresentation, not sure if it is deliberate or not but it sure doesn't help sensible debate any. If the goal is to convince the public to jump on Arjun bandwagon at any cost, the end justifies the means I suppose. If the goal is to make Indian armored forces better able to confront modern challenges - it would behoove the people to look for ways to address specific shortcomings rather than claiming that these shortcomings are unfixable except by trashing the existing programme and starting from scratch.

Anonymous said...

Prasun K Sengupta said...
The KLC-6 is likely to be installed on board the WZ-2000 UAV that Chengdu Aerospace Corp is developing for TWO prospective end-users: Pakistan Air Force and the Turkish Air Force.

how many WZ-2000 UAV will be sold to to paf? and from when these will be operational?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Vasiliy Fofanov: Kindly allow me to be more specific. The T-90S brochure from Uralvagonzavod states that the commander's sight offers a "semi-panoramic view of the terrain through sight by the commander". In addition, a quick glance of the T-90S MBT's photo clearly shows the limited independent traverse of the commander's sight (burdened as it is by the anti-aircraft gun. Consequently, the sight cannnot be rotated 360 degrees, unlike a panoramic sight that can be.
Secondly, to say that a replacement commander's panoramic sight be retrofitted within the T-90S as a simple 'drop-in installation' without any kind of structural/electrical modifications is, to say the least, oversimplifying the challenges involved in carry out such retrofits. Had you taken a first-hand look inside the turret and spoken to personnel from the Russian Army's Armoured Warfare Directorate (who usually accompany Uralvagonzavod JSC marketing officials in defence expos around the world), you would not have undulged in such oversimplifications.
Thirdly, you're right, I meant it as the automatic muzzle reference system. But here again, the T-90S' system is officially stated as being a "built-in boresighting device, which allows to boresight the gun with the sight with the crew not leaving the tank, enhances fire-accuracy and reduces boresighting time to one minute".
Fourthly, the gun-control system's stabiliser element--comprising a two-axis system with electro-mechanical power traverse and electro-hydraulic power elevation—isn’t quite the same as those to be found on the likes of the Leopard 2A6, Merkava Mk4 or Leclerc—all of which feature a digital servo gun turret drive stabilisation system, employed for isolating the gun platform from the effects of vehicle pitch, roll, yaw and jolt as the MBT manouevres and fires at the same time. Additionally, the gun-laying drives are electric powered for high precision first-round hit probability. By the way, all these upgradations will be incorporated into the Singaporean Leopard 2A4 MBTs as part of a pre-planned product improvement plan.
Fifthly, making provision for according space for future pre-planned (or pre-envisaged) product improvements does not translate into “dragging around empty space inside that serves no purpose but to provide room for these hypothetical enhancements”. All leading MBTs of non-Soviet/non-Russian origin have incorporated such design features since the mid-1970s. It may have been a ‘funny’ design philosophy when viewed by post-World War II Soviet MBT designers, but it most definitely was not for Western MBT designers of the same era.
In conclusion, I entirely agree with you about the need to look for ways to address specific shortcomings, and as far as I’m concerned, the best way to do this is make a distinct choice between either acquiring an MBT that wholeheartedly embraces a hit survivability design philosophy (as is the case with the Arjun Mk1, Leopard 2, M-1 Abrams, Merkava 4, Challenger 2 and Leclerc), or procuring MBTs that wholeheartedly embrace a hit avoidance design philosophy (as is the case with the T-72, T-80 and T-90 MBT families). For me, the former is a far better option, no matter what the cost.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Raghav: I've already answered this very very directly several times before. It is not about ego at all. It is all about not facing the prospect of ever admitting that the Army's armoured corps force modernisation programmes have been fundamentally flawed since the early 1980s. IF the Indian Army were to order the Arjun MBT in large numbers (which has a hit-survivable design), how then will it justify why exactly it also inducted into service more than 1,800 T-72s and several hundred T-90s that were optimised for hit-avoidance, instead of being able to survive hits by hostile MBTs? So, the direct answer is: the Indian Army's armoured corps, by inducting into service two types of MBTs with distinctly opposing design philosophies, is a laughing contradiction. It is unable to draft a single unified GSQR for procuring a single type of weapon system--the MBT. Instead, it drew up a GSQR for the Arjun MBT, while for the T-72M/M1 and T-90S/T-90M there was no such drafted document even remotely resembling a GSQR. Such is the duplicity!

To Vasiliy Fofanov: FYI I've come across several technical documentations on the T-80, T-84 and T-90 MBTs brought out since the 1990s by Oboronexport, Promexport, Rosvoorouzhenie and now Rosoboronexport, and NOT ONE of them has ever used terms like 'hunter-killer fire-control system' or 'hit-survivable' MBT design features when describing the design/performance characteristics of MBTs of Soviet/Russian origin. I wonder why, since such terms are explained in great detail when it comes to similar literature emanating from MBT manufacturers of non-Soviet/Russian origin.

Aaditya said...

To Prasun Sir: Do you think there could be a chance of the army ordering more Arjuns (in very large numbers) once the incoming comparative trials are over? Be brutally honest on this one.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Aaditya: No. Left to itself, the Army in its all-knowing wisdom will strongly push for the DRDO's funds to be invested in the FMBT and FICV projects, instead of encouraging the fielding of the Arjun Mk2.

Vasiliy Fofanov said...

I apologize if my answer is far too long, but there is lot of ground to cover.

You say, "burdened as it is by the anti-aircraft gun"

Burdened? Interesting choice of words. So you believe ability to fire a heavy machine gun under armor, through a stabilized, independently traversable sight, across entire frontal arc and across all elevation angles is a "burden"? Which you would willingly sacrifice in favor of a dubiously useful 360 degrees view? Myself I say it's an *excellent* trade-off, in fact no tank should be even seriously considered these days if it doesn't have an automated HMG station (which Arjun, strangely, doesn't). As far as 360 degrees view is concerned, no man can really take advantage of it anyway. If a tank commander needs to concentrate on what's happening in his rear he is probably screwed anyway. No amount of fancy equipment can correct tactical blunders.

You say, "Consequently, the sight cannnot be rotated 360 degrees, unlike a panoramic sight that can be."

I am sorry, "panoramic" just means "wide-angle" (as opposed to "360 degrees panoramic"). 150 degrees that TKN-4S has sure qualifies.

You say, "Secondly, to say that a replacement commander's panoramic sight be retrofitted within the T-90S as a simple 'drop-in installation' without any kind of structural/electrical modifications"

I never said it is "simple" anywhere in my message, it certainly is not, but I maintain that it is doable and has in fact been done. The sense of doing this, as per above, is another story. Installing a TKN-4 variant with an independent thermal camera and keeping the rest of the complex as is, on the other hand, is absolutely trivial. The result will be much more capable than a TC station that can scan 360 degrees but can't fire an HMG in any circumstance where this counts.

You say, "but here again, the T-90S' system is officially stated as being a "built-in boresighting device, which allows to boresight the gun with the sight with the crew not leaving the tank, enhances fire-accuracy and reduces boresighting time to one minute"".

Yes, and this statement is absolutely correct, so what problem do you have with this kit?

You say, "Fourthly, the gun-control system's stabiliser element--comprising a two-axis system with electro-mechanical power traverse and electro-hydraulic power elevation—isn’t quite the same as those to be found on the likes of... etc"

So what's the fundamental difference?

Vasiliy Fofanov said...

You say, "Fifthly, making provision for according space for future pre-planned (or pre-envisaged) product improvements does not translate into “dragging around empty space inside that serves no purpose but to provide room for these hypothetical enhancements”. All leading MBTs of non-Soviet/non-Russian origin have incorporated such design features since the mid-1970s."

Actually... yes it's exactly what it translates into. If you put into a tank the empty volume you have no use for, this means you need to make the tank either heavier or less protected than you need. I am sorry but there is never free lunch. And no MBTs designs ever done this on purpose (not installing a pre-planned equipment for cost-cutting reasons or similar is another story, and everyone indeed done it *including* Soviet Union/Russia... hey in fact Indian T-90 is a good example - the tank was designed to carry Shtora but India refused, here's your "empty space" that wasn't supposed to be there :))

You say, "In conclusion, I entirely agree with you about the need to look for ways to address specific shortcomings, and as far as I’m concerned, the best way to do this is make a distinct choice between either acquiring an MBT that wholeheartedly embraces a hit survivability design philosophy (as is the case with the Arjun Mk1, Leopard 2, M-1 Abrams, Merkava 4, Challenger 2 and Leclerc), or procuring MBTs that wholeheartedly embrace a hit avoidance design philosophy (as is the case with the T-72, T-80 and T-90 MBT families). For me, the former is a far better option, no matter what the cost."

I am sorry, the above statement is, first, completely false and second, has nothing to do with your wrong statements regarding T-90's FCS and TC equipment. If you wish to discuss design philosophies we can do that, I assure you that there is no difference between the two schools in that respect, but we can't discuss every single issue in a single thread!

You say, "FYI I've come across several technical documentations on the T-80, T-84 and T-90 MBTs brought out since the 1990s by Oboronexport, Promexport, Rosvoorouzhenie and now Rosoboronexport, and NOT ONE of them has ever used terms like 'hunter-killer fire-control system' or 'hit-survivable' MBT design features when describing the design/performance characteristics of MBTs of Soviet/Russian origin. I wonder why, since such terms are explained in great detail when it comes to similar literature emanating from MBT manufacturers of non-Soviet/Russian origin."

Ummm perhaps because that would be stating the obvious?... The Russians *invented* the hunter-killer capability long before the term was coined. We had provisions for the commander to hand off a target to the gunner and continue scanning back on T-55. On T-90, commander can not only designate the target to the gunner but even fire the gun himself, what more do you ask of te tank? Similarly, there are plenty of hit survivability features, like spall liner, like fire-fighting equipment, like placement of ammunition below the turret ring, like protecting the autoloader with an armor cover that is thicker than the turret roof, like providing a belly escape hatch (not many tanks have it)... Yes even more can be done, and I am sure Indian engineers can help with that, but pretending no consideration has gone into penetration effects mitigation at all is blatant falsehood.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Vasiliy Fofanov: I'll try to keep the response as short as possible this time. In terms of turret design optimisation by accommodating both a 360-degree commander's panoramic sight & the anti-aircraft gun without any hindrance or compromises, just take a look at the configurations of the PT-91M MBT and the Al Khalid MBT. The answer will then become obvious.
Regarding the difference between 'panoramic', 360-degree panoramic and 'semi-panoramic' kindly refer to the official literature URALVAGONZAVOD itself has produced on the T-90S MBT and you will know exactly what the MBT's designer/manufacturer has to say about them and what it officially communicates to its potential customers. What you or me may rightly say or explain or claim is not what is reflected in the official OEM documentation.
I fully agree that installing a TKN-4 variant with an independent thermal camera and keeping the rest of the complex as it is, is totally unnecessary. The entire system has to be replaced and that's what the Indian Army is scouting for. Regarding the built-in boresighting device, it is the Indian Army as the end-user that's got problems with it.
Regarding the fourth point, the differences are fundamentally distinct. Comparing the gun-control system of the T-90S with that of the likes of the Leopard 2A6 or Merkava 4 is like comparing a MiG-29B-12 with the MiG-29SMT.
India's refusal to acquire the Shtora was primarily due to the system's demonstrated ineffectiveness under Indian operating conditions, however, in its place the IDAS is being acquired as the integrated defensive aids suite.
Lastly, regarding the issue of hit-survivability, I'm of the firm belief that post-World War-II MBT designs emanating from the Soviet Union (and now Russia) have been fundamentally flawed. The sheer numbers of T-72Ms, T-80s and T-90s destroyed in combat since the late 1960s in the Middle East and the Caucasus is testimony to the ineffectiveness of the hit-survivability features of Soviet/Russian MBTs. I'm afraid I can't agree with the MBT writeoff figures (suffered in combat) that have been exhaustively documented globally. I totally agree with you that even more can be done, and I am sure the right lessons will be applied to the FMBT that will in future emerge from Uralvagonzavod JSC.

Vasiliy Fofanov said...

"In terms of turret design optimisation by accommodating both a 360-degree commander's panoramic sight & the anti-aircraft gun without any hindrance or compromises, just take a look at the configurations of the PT-91M MBT and the Al Khalid MBT. The answer will then become obvious."

What is indeed kinda obvious is that all else being equal having 360-degree traverse is better than not having it. But are you proposing that T-90 be replaced in Indian service by PT-91M or Al Khalid? I thought it's Arjun you are proposing to replace it with? I am not saying that T-90 is the pinnacle of world's tank design, but it clearly is better in the implementation of CWS than Arjun.

"Regarding the difference between 'panoramic', 360-degree panoramic and 'semi-panoramic' kindly refer to the official literature URALVAGONZAVOD itself"

Why? English is not native language for them, in fact their English is notoriously bad. There is no term "semi-panoramic" in the original Russian literature which I am sure you'll have to admit is the primary source.

"I fully agree that installing a TKN-4 variant with an independent thermal camera and keeping the rest of the complex as it is, is totally unnecessary. The entire system has to be replaced and that's what the Indian Army is scouting for."

This is actually exactly opposite to what I said. Quite the contrary I think Indian Army should consider only performing the limited upgrade of the sight and not go on a pointless chase for the capability that isn't going to be useful most of the time.

"Regarding the built-in boresighting device, it is the Indian Army as the end-user that's got problems with it."

Well, perhaps you could cover it in more detail, because so far I have a hard imagining what can be a problem with something as trivial as this...

"Regarding the fourth point, the differences are fundamentally distinct. Comparing the gun-control system of the T-90S with that of the likes of the Leopard 2A6 or Merkava 4 is like comparing a MiG-29B-12 with the MiG-29SMT."

Judging by your resorting to flowery misleading metaphors I take it you are unable to describe the difference in technical terms?

"India's refusal to acquire the Shtora was primarily due to the system's demonstrated ineffectiveness under Indian operating conditions, however, in its place the IDAS is being acquired as the integrated defensive aids suite."

Nevermind, I have no problem with India not choosing Shtora for whatever reason, this served merely as illustration of the *only* good reason to have a useless empty space in a tank.

"Lastly, regarding the issue of hit-survivability, I'm of the firm belief that post-World War-II MBT designs emanating from the Soviet Union (and now Russia) have been fundamentally flawed. The sheer numbers of T-72Ms, T-80s and T-90s destroyed in combat since the late 1960s in the Middle East and the Caucasus is testimony to the ineffectiveness of the hit-survivability features of Soviet/Russian MBTs. I'm afraid I can't agree with the MBT writeoff figures (suffered in combat) that have been exhaustively documented globally."

Oh my, "sheer numbers of (...) T-90s destroyed in combat". Have India and Pakistan had at it recently and I missed it? Or was it Algeria vs Morocco. But let's ignore this slip up for the moment. Generally speaking, why do you feel the need to use such hopelessly flawed declarations in a technical debate? Do you really want me to take this passage apart from the points of view of its correctness, relevance to the current issue, and appropriateness of such generalizations? This will be embarassing to everyone.

Prem Kumar said...

Vasiliy: thanks for the interesting discussion. Do publish your thoughts on the hit survivability versus hit avoidance doctrine. And any data you have to show the effectiveness of T-series in battle. This is a topic that interests many of us and we have seen this design philosophy debate several times. Its not about embarrassing someone but about rational, informed debate and people can draw their own conclusions from it.

Prasun: hope you dont mind

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Vasiliy Fofanov: No, I'm not saying that. But what is obvious is that surely the T-90's designers ought to look at the turret designs of both the Al Khalid and PT-91M and learn how exactly the turret design optimisation was done in order to accommodate both the 360-degree commander's panoramic sight and the 12.7mm machine gun. The idea of locating the machine gun in such close proximity to the commander's panoramic sight (leading to the sight having only a 150-degree field-of-view) is a sub-optimal design compromise, to say the least.
A partial upgrade of the existing commander's sight is totally uncalled-for, since the problem was never with the existing thermal imager, but with the entire sighting system that presently does not offer 360-degree panoramic view. From an engineering risk mitigation standpoint, it is far simpler to do away with the entire commander's sight complex and install a new replacement. That's the conclusion reached by not only the Indians, but also by the Malaysians, Pakistanis, Slovakians, South Africans and Croatians when it comes to turret design optimisation for the T-72 and T-90 MBT families.
Factually documented figures of combat losses suffered by operators of the T-72s, T-90s and T-90s can hardly be labelled as 'hopelessly flawed declarations'. While the bulk of the losses suffered can be attributed to the T-72, there have nevertheless been sizeable losses of T-80s as well in the Caucasus throughout the 1990s. The T-90s that faced catastrophic destruction were those during the Georgia-Russia border conflict a year ago, albeit not in any sizeable numbers of the kind when it comes to the T-72 and T-80.
As for what exactly is meant by all-electric gun-control systems, kindly proceed to the weblink below for an exhaustuive explanation of what it is all about: http://www.drdo.com/pub/techfocus/2009/aug09.pdf

To Prem Kumar: I don't mind at all. On the contrary, I very much welcome it.

Aadi said...

regarding the all electric weapon control system the following link is more appropriate than the above.
http://www.drdo.org/all.html

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Vasiliy Fofanov: You can further satisfy your thirst for more technical information on 'All Electric Gun and Turret Drive Systems' (which have yet to emerge from Russia) here: http://www.elbitsystems.com/data/BakatsPros.pdf
And as for your earlier oversimplified reference to “dragging around empty space inside that serves no purpose but to provide room for these hypothetical enhancements”, please be informed that the T-90S had not only to incorporate the Catherine-FC thermal imnager within the gunner's sight, but also an air ventilation/air cooling system (see: http://www.kinetics.co.il/product/hvac-ecs-individual). Next came the IDAS integrated defensive aids suite and to follow this will be the 360-degree commander's panoramic sight. Needless to say, when it came to the Arjun Mk1, the integrated defensive aids suite and the air ventilation/air cooling system plus the Individual Crew and Equipment Cooling System (ICECS), all sourced from the same company (see: http://www.kinetics.co.il/article/individual-cooling), have all been effortlessly installed and integrated within the Arjun Mk1 MBT without any major redesigning of the turret and hull. It is the exact opposite for the T-90S and we're not even talking yet of the yet-to-be-installed battlespace management terminal and its associated radio within the T-90S, whereas this work has already been successfully completed on board the Arjun Mk1.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Thanks Aadi.

Aadi said...

And here is the basics.
http://www.argospress.com/jbt/Volume1/1-2-2.pdf

Bis said...

Finally very glad to have Fofanov's contribution.makes the blog interesting and allows to see two sides otherwise it appears Russian stuff is useless whereas everything western is superior!
By the way Prasun you mentioned Degman on offer by Croatia - did you mean to anyone who wants or to India?

Pierre Zorin said...

Perhaps Comrade Vasily Fofanov could help Uralvagonzavod to translate their literature because dodgy English may cost them customers - if they wish to open up more markets that is.Vasily Fofanov sure speaks it well, loud and clear.

sachin_sathe said...

prasun

I think IA simply doesn,t want to admit tht it fcuked up big time when it ordered T-90S without giveing a real thought to wht is going on in the country.They whine abt Arjun Mk.1 using a foreign engine & such but if they had intervened and brought Kirloskar or TATA into building a tank engine for the changed gsqr(late 1990's). We could have not only developed an Indian Tank engine but also would hav been able to reduce arjun's cost by now.

Regarding FMBT & FICV i think IA is going to get its ar$e kicked when DRDO comes out with design and is also going to be cornered as the russian design itself is expected to weigh 50+ tonnes wht do u think?

Anonymous said...

Prasun K Sengupta said...
The KLC-6 is likely to be installed on board the WZ-2000 UAV that Chengdu Aerospace Corp is developing for TWO prospective end-users: Pakistan Air Force and the Turkish Air Force.

how many WZ-2000 UAV will be sold to to paf? and from when these will be operational?

Vasiliy Fofanov said...

"what is obvious is that surely the T-90's designers ought to look at the turret designs of both the Al Khalid and PT-91M and learn how exactly the turret design optimisation was done in order to accommodate both the 360-degree commander's panoramic sight and the 12.7mm machine gun."

Perhaps. But it's too late for that now that the design has been productized. Like I said, the design could be better, but in my opinion it is nevertheless good enough.

" The idea of locating the machine gun in such close proximity to the commander's panoramic sight (leading to the sight having only a 150-degree field-of-view) is a sub-optimal design compromise, to say the least."

The main reason for this design compromise, is the requirement to allow the commander to operate MG manually in the event of drive malfunction.

"From an engineering risk mitigation standpoint, it is far simpler to do away with the entire commander's sight complex and install a new replacement. That's the conclusion reached by (list of countries)"

Yes, but all those countries were proceeding from a far more limited TKN-3 station, which indeed isn't something that would merit keeping. TKN-4, despite the shortcomings, is IMO "good enough".

"Factually documented figures of combat losses suffered by operators of the T-72s, T-80s and T-90s"

Why do you keep talking of combat losses of T-90s? No T-90 was ever lost for exactly the same reason no Arjun ever was - because it has never seen combat. Not saying it is invulnerable, but let's not distort history like that. As far as losses of other tank types are concerned, I can show without any difficulty that all conflicts that resulted in heavy Soviet-made armor losses had more to do with flawed tactics and/or extreme generational overmatch of opposing designs than with design shortcomings. In spite of this, tanks did normally withstand multiple penetrations in the sides, rears, roofs without brewing up, I can list multiple episodes like that in Chechnya. Besides, since then, different other conflicts have emerged that saw other designs suffer massive losses too. Just take the war in Iraq, in the course of which the US lost hundreds of tanks, many of them - of the latest generation of design, and mostly - to really archaic weapons. Do we then conclude that US approach to design is flawed too?

"The T-90s that faced catastrophic destruction were those during the Georgia-Russia border conflict a year ago"

There were no T-90s in that conflict, only T-62 and T-72. Moreover, the Russian military only lost three tanks, including one destroyed by the crew after running out of ammunition. Massive losses of Georgian T-72s were, yet again, more to do with flawed tactics than with design.

"As for what exactly is meant by all-electric gun-control systems, kindly proceed to the weblink below for an exhaustuive explanation of what it is all about"

Look, all I am saying is that it's not the issue of the drive principle, either can be made as (in)accurate as the other. I don't know if Arjun's drive is more accurate than that of a T-90, nevermind if this really matters on the actual battlefield given that 2E42-4 is pretty accurate already. I just object to the view that one is intrinsically less accurate than the other, this is not correct. By the way the links point to the drives for an ICV, that's a pretty different kettle of fish. We are using electric stabilizers on our IFVs too, I think everyone does in fact.

Vasiliy Fofanov said...

Re upgrade needs:

1. AC unit has been integrated on a T-90 without any problems, this variant is being supplied to Algeria, and I hear negotiations with Lybia are underway for the same model. This upgrade was incidentally offered to India too, but as my sources tell me it has been declined for the completely Kafkaian reason that crews will get too comfortable and keep it running all the time, so only equipment cooling would be pursued. Not making this up!

2. DAS - well I am sure you know that baseline design does include a DAS, so it strikes me as bizarre that T-90 is blamed for not having an item that was explicitly striked from the list. Whether the actual model installed on T-90 is any good is another story, but again, Algerians are getting it in their kits.

3. Finally, BMS - this too has been long integrated on the Russian tanks of T-90 type of envelope (albeit not fielded yet, but not for technical reasons). The Aqueduct radio set used by the system has the same form factor as the regular R-163-50 radio and so causes no integration difficulties. The screen placement is a bit awkward but generally not too bad. All in all - again the problems are far less blocking than you say, and certainly don't merit inducting a new tank just to have them fixed...

3rd ~ EyE said...

Hey Prasun,

Having said all these... , can u plz tell us what is a better platform for Indian Army (T90s or Arjun) when it comes down to a head on battle with Al-Khalid or Type 98/99 regiments

Sven Ortmann said...

It's about crews and leaders, not about the hardware itself.
The T-90 is fine enough if maintenance and leadership is fine.

It could face any tank of the world and could win if the opponent is inferior in leadership and training.

I wouldn't look much at electronics at this state. Instead, look at wearing parts and how to reduce the cost of actual field exercises in order to afford more of those.

Anonymous said...

Type 99 latest version under testing, in my opinion the best tank in Asia when it enters active service. Even the current versions are very good.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Bis@7:46PM: The issue of whether Soviet/Russian weapon systems are inferior to their European/North American/Scandinavian/Israeli counterparts is not the issue here. What has to be borne in mind is that Post World War II Soviet/Russian weapons were designed purely for one reason: to enable the Warsaw Pact to win a full-scale conventional or nuclear war within a very finite period (not exceeding one week). This in turn meant that all Soviet weapons design bureaux were not obliged to develop superlative systems, instead they were required to develop the weapons to certain performance standards that were totally in sync with the Warsaw Pact's operational requirements. Therefore, while in Soviet parlance the battlefield lifespan of the MBT was not meant to be more than 48 hours at most (with the lowest being 11 minutes when located in the Fulda Gap in Germany) and was considered sufficient enough to enable the Soviet General Staff to comfortably attain the operational campaign objectives on the ground, this is not the case when it comes to India. In other words, what was perfectly applicable for the Warsaw Pact-specific operational requirements does not automatically mean that the same applies to India. India's unique armoured warfare philosophy, the peculiarity of the terrain of operations and the overall battlespace environment, coupled with the need for undertaking ground campaigns for far more extended periods, all call for the need to procure MBTs that are hit-survivable, can be returned back to service after repairs conducted locally (instead of writing them off completely), and which will be supported by an adequate number of peacetime training aids for ensuring a high level of gunnery proficiency, for example. Regretably, all these parameters cannot be met by MBTs of Soviet/Russian origin. The most fundamental flaw remains the peculiar installation of the autoloader mechanism, something the Ukrainians realised in the early 1990s itself, which consequently led to the development of the T-72-120 and now the T-84, both featuring ammo stowage in the turret rear to ensure a fair degree of MBT hit survivability. Another weakness associated with MBTs of Soviet/Russian origin is the total lack of training aids like either simulators for individual gunnery proficiency, or platoon gunnery simulators. On the other hand, all these training aids have already been developed for MBTs like the Arjun. Therefore, as an overall package inclusive of both the quality of the weapon system and its supporting human resource training aids, the Arjun MBT is a superior and more mature solution for the Indian Army's unique operational reqmts.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Sven Ortmann: Your'e absolutely right, warfare, especially armoured warfare, is all about crews and leaders. And you will also perhaps agree that for superior training to prevail one must have access to superior individual proficiency gunnery trainers and platoon gunnery simulators. Can you name even one such entity located anywhere in this world that produces such training hardware.

To 3rd ~ EyE: As I have just explained above, the Arjun MBT comes along with an integrated training systems package, unlike the T-90S/M. That alone will tell you which MBT is superior at the moment. Further reinforcing this superiority is the battlespace management system (BMS) terminal combined with the BEL-built fibre-optic gyro-based autonomous land navigation system, which in turn is connected with the Army network-centric battlespace surveillance system and which can also communicate, if reqd, with the 'Shakti' field artillery fire direction system. All in all, thanks to the BMS on board an MBT, the Arjun MBT commander can now have an 'over-the-horizon' view of his intended battlespace in near real-time, and avoid nasty surprises. This is how future armoured campaigns will be waged--in a network-centric environment. Now, the T-90S too can be an effective player in waging knowledge-based warfare, provided the Elbit Systems-built/BEL-assembled BMS terminal can be 'sqeezed' inside the T-90S.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Vasiliy Fofanov: Russian MBT designers, it would seem, have already realised the merits of having 360-degree commander's panoramic sights, as exemplified by the existence of such a sight on Uralvagonzavod's Tank Support Combat Vehicle. Additionally, the hull-based autoloader mechanism (the most vulnerable component of the T-90S) is likely to be radically redesigned for the FMBT. These two significant design innovations alone vindicate my earlier assertions about the 'fundamental design flaws' within the T-72, T-80 and T-90 MBT families.
The positioning of the 360-degree commander's panoramic sight in close proximity to the 12.7mm heavy machine gun on the PT-91M's turret demonstrates that it is not necessary to impose swivelling limitations on the T-90S' commander's panoramic sight.
As for T-80 or T-90S MBTs lost to hostile fire in the Georgian conflict or 'hundreds' of M-1A1/2 Abrams lost in Iraq it is my word against your's and therefore I don't feel the need to debate this and will consequently rest my case on this point.
Regarding "heavy Soviet-made armor losses had more to do with flawed tactics and/or extreme generational overmatch of opposing designs than with design shortcomings", here too I will respectfully disagree with you. During the Yom Kippur Arab-Israeli war of October 1973 the deployed Syrian and Egyptian armoured warfare forces were both qualitatively and numerically far superior to what the Israel Defence Force-Army had, especially in night-vision technology. Yet, the IDF-Army's inferior Centurions and M-48 Pattons prevailed for two reasons: far superior human resource discipline and training (due to availability of suitable training aids/simulators) and superior operational art.
One of the weblinks I posted was for the 'all-electric' drives/stabilisation developed by Elbit Systems of Israel for MBTs like the Merkava 4(similar all-electric drives/stabilisation are also on board the Leopard 2A6). If such 'all-electric' drives/stabilisation systems have already been installed on operational Russian IFVs, I fail to understand why such technological innovations have yet to be introduced on Russia-origin MBTs for replacing their existing electro-hydraulic & electro-mechanical counterparts.
As for the AC for both the T-90S and T-90M MBTs for India, the Russian solution was found to be unsuitable to what what was being offered by Elbit Systems (and what has since been selected for retrofit). Unsuitability of the Russian AC solution does not mean that it is inferior, instead it means what may be suitable for desert warfare in Algeria or Libya may not necessarily be good for the Thar Desert in western India (there are 12 different types of deserts in the world, each with its unique characteristics).
With regard to the unique BMS requirements of the Indian Army, I've already outlined them in an earlier reply above.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

This is what I had written almost a year ago at: http://ajaishukla.blogspot.com/2008/08/t-72-vulnerability-again-illustrated-in.html
It is probably the Indian Army’s worst-kept secret since 1979, but political imperatives have prevented it from being discussed in the open till now. The bulk of the Armoured Corps’ existing inventory of main battle tanks (MBT) — comprising 35 Regiments of T-72M/M1s (totalling 1,572 units) and six Regiments of T-90S (totaling 310 units)--all of which were acquired from Russia’s Nizhny Tagil-based Uralvagonzavod JSC--suffer from fundamental design vulnerabilities. When the former USSR gave its first detailed briefings to Army HQ in the late 1970s, the Armoured Corps had then expressed grave reservations about the T-72’s design philosophy, centred around hit avoidance. What alarmed Army HQ most was the prospect of a detonation of a mine or improved explosive device (IED) beneath the hull, which in turn would result in a secondary detonation or a catastrophic ignition of the T-72’s ammunition reserve (this being stored in a carousel autoloader on the turret’s floor), resulting in the turret being blown off. In the end, Cold War-based geo-strategic considerations and financial constraints prevailed, resulting in the large-scale induction of the T-72 since 1982. The Corps did not have to wait that long to realise its worst fears and in October 1987 a powerful IED detonated by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam beneath a T-72M en route to the Jaffna fortress resulted in the MBT’s ammo (stored in the carousel autoloader) igniting and blowing off the turret at least 15 feet high! History repeated itself 39 months later, this time in the Middle East when Iraqi T-72s were destroyed with ease through a combination of advanced technologies such as thermal imagers and digital hunter-killer tank fire-control systems (TFCS) and kinetic-energy ammunition like the fin-stabilised armour-piercing discarding sabot (FSAPDS). In fact, Operation Desert Storm in 1991 convincingly proved two critical points: That the traditional Soviet/Russian approach of keeping its MBTs small and low so as to profile the smallest possible target, putting more emphasis on not being hit rather than on survivable most hits, was obsolete. Until the Gulf War, it was possible to regard the Soviet and Western solutions as different approaches to the same problem, each being justifiable and logical in the light of the different requirements and operational doctrines (as well as technological levels and financial possibilities) of the countries involved. By the early 1990s, however, one was faced with the quite surprising conclusion that the Soviet/Russian MBT designers and planners were wrong all along—and dramatically so.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Basically, the overall Soviet/Russian approach to MBT design was found to be flawed on two major counts: namely, the gamble on not being hit rather than on surviving hits, and the refusal to perceive survivability of the crew as a quite distinct issue from survivability of the MBT, with the former having priority over the latter.
The combination of these two shortcomings produced design solutions such as the T-72’s and T-90’s carousel autoloader and ammunition reserve being accommodated on the turret floor. While this indeed allows for a very compact configuration and ensures that the ammunition is less likely to take a direct hit—it also entails a very high risk of ignition or sympathetic detonation should the fighting compartment be penetrated, in which case there goes the MBT and the crew with it. This should be compared with the ammunition reserve of a hit-survivable MBT (like the Arjun Mk1) being accommodated in the turret bustle, with blow-off panels plus an higher, the MBT (or at least the armoured bulkhead separating it from the fighting compartment. Though the likelihood of the ammo reserve being hit is indeed much crew!) would survive even a catastrophic detonation. Small wonder, therefore, that when Army HQ first began drafting its General Staff Qualitative Requirements (GSQR) for the DRDO-developed Arjun MBT in May 1974 and redrafted it successively in 1980, 1985 and 1996, it rightly always insisted upon the indigenous MBT being able to survive hits from FSAPDS rounds, instead of trying to avoid being hit. Thus, when the Arjun Mk1 MBT enters service, the Indian Army will have the unique distinction worldwide of being the only one to have two types of MBTs: the T-72s and T-90s on one hand that are designed to avoid, but not survive hits from FSAPDS rounds; and the Arjun Mk1 featuring a design optimised for hit survivability".

Anonymous said...

Prasun,

Nor T-90 nor T-80 participated in Georgian conflict. It is not a matter of opinion, it's a fact.

Moreover, you are going far away from the heart of the original point. Historical references are good and valid for general discussions, but that is not relevant at all to the technical point Vasiliy presented. Every one, who is trying to demonstrate the superiority of western weapon design is always turning to Israel-Arab wars. If doing so, one can continue this faulty analogy, and show that Russian fighter jets are completely inferior to western ones. So, for example, Pakistani F-16s should not have any problems defeating Indian MiG-23/25/27/29 and so on. This kind of argumentation brings discussions to nowhere. Please continue with technical stuff only - otherwise it will be just a waste of time and good spirit.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@3:23PM: I gave historical references only as a rebutall to the ones raised earlier. I never initiated them. Furthermore, it is an internationally accepted and acknowledged fact that when it comes to principal surface combatants, main battle tanks, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, C4I networks, and armoured fighting vehicles, Soviet/Russian platforms/systems have been and continue to be inferior to their Western counterparts. This was even acknowledged two months ago by no less a person than Dr Anderi Kokoshin, the person who's now leading the Russian MoD-sanctioned exercise of formulating plans for the creation of the all-professional Russian Armed Forces. And he said this in a BBC documentary for the whole world to hear and see! Surely you can't contest his statement of facts, can you? Folks like you need to understand that it is never just about technical characteristics of weapon systems. Don't oversimplify the issues and expect others to follow suit. Instead, take the trouble to understand under what kind of environment a weapon system is developed, what goes into the formulation of GSQRs, what is the environment in which a particular weapon system will be operated, what will be the warfare commander's operational art, and how does one train to fight and win in peacetime.

Anonymous said...

I want to thank VASILIY for making qualitative improvement to this blog discussion. I, and I think I speak for a lot of folks out there, are Fed-Up with this non-sensicle and mostly baseless browbeating of Russian equipment in general and the T-90 tank in particular. It is surprising that suddenly past the year 2000 all Russian equipment is made out to be crap!

This trend has only been strengthened by the entry of UNCLE SAM in big ticket military sales. Of course such talk is only lapped up by Hollywood fed, wide eyed NRIs settled in America.

How tough it is to beleive that Indian defence forces actually know what they are doing, when they place their trust in Russian weapons and go to war with them?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Sachin Sathe: Army HQ has not even drawn up the GSQRs for the FMBT and FICV, so how on Earth can the DRDO be expected to even begin doing the reqd operations analaysis prior to identifying the various technologies reqd for these futuristic vehicles and initiating R & D work? On the other hand, the DRDO and DAE ran the ATV project 100% without any operational inputs from the Navy, since successive Govts of India have been totally unwilling to bring in the armed forces within the nuclear chain of command-and-control. Consequently, the ATV tech demonstrator has only a 10-year reactor lifespan (which will have to be junked after that period) instead of lifelong reactors powering submarines of contemporary design, and the only sub-launched missile developed so far has a measly range of 700km, and which will be succeeded only by the 3,000km-range SLBM as this is within the DRDO's technological reach as of now. In reality, the Navy has been making unsolicited remarks in the media about an operational requirement for two types of SLBMs: a Pakistan-centric one with a range of 5,000km and a China-centric one with a range of 8,500km. And all this fuck-ups continue to be perpetuated because the Govt of India refuses to bring in the armed forces within the decision-making process, and is deadset against entrusting the armed forces with fully weaponised nuclear deterrent arsenals and making them integral players in the launch authorisation process! Which means in the event of an SLBM launch, the Govt of India will insist that only a civilian from either DRDO or DAE on board the SSBN will be authorised to arm and implement the launch clearance procedure for the SLBM! That's how fucked-up the decision-making process is at present.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@4:34PM: Exactly how many times has India gone to war with weapons of Soviet/Russian origin since 1971? OP Pawan in Sri Lanka was not classified as 'war' by any Govt of India, instead it was officially a peace enforcement operation. OP Vijay was not even called a limited war by the Govt of India at that time, and was called a limited border conflict. OP Parakram as you well know, never even climbed up the escalatory ladder to reach the stage of all-out war. And after 26/11 no one even thought about precipitating a limited border conflict. Why? What exactly did the armed service chiefs recommend to the Cabinet Committee on National Security? The fact remains that India's conventional war-waging potential vis-a-vis Pakistan has diminished considerably, and near-parity prevails at present. I personally have nothing against weapon systems of Russian origin. But what I do expect is that the concerned Indian end-user pay adequate attention to having a to-be-imported weapon system (be it from Russia or Israel or anywhere else)being customised to suit its unique operational reqmts, instead of blindly importing systems available off-the-shelf and only after that, begin scratching their heads trying to figure out how to engage in troubleshooting and performance optimisation. You may not like it, but a prime example of such systems optimisation is Pakistan's Al Khalid MBT project. I only wish India's MoD had done the same and worked with Uralvagonzavod to develop a T-90MKI, instead of the T-90S.

indranil said...

1) News reports suggest that the 1st assembled T 90 tanks are to roll out from HVF avadi on 24 Aug.
Are these the S or M variants?
2) What are the shortcomngs of the S variant that have been rectified in the M variant?

Anonymous said...

Prasun K Sengupta said..... prime example of such systems optimisation is Pakistan's Al Khalid MBT project. I only wish India's MoD had done the same and worked with Uralvagonzavod to develop a T-90MKI, instead of the T-90S.

simple question

So can Pakistan's Al Khalid MBT be considered as good as T-90S/M???????

Raghav said...

I don't think there is much of a difference between Soviet war aims and Indian Army's aims in Pakistan. Even Indian Army believes that a full scale war with Pakistan should be over in 1 week to 10 days as there will be immense international pressure and Pakistan will threaten us with nukes. Any war with Pakistan(not cold start) will revolve around a full scale offensive towards Rahimyar Khan. This means our armour regiments will have to attack across the open desert and not a built up area. So there is no credible threat from IED and the danger from landmines arise only in the areas close to the border and once our tanks have penetrated a sufficient distance into Pakistan, there is not much danger from anti-tank mines. So the only danger to our T-72/90 comes from enemy tank fire, infantry with RPG/ATGM or from CAS. In the first two cases the tank faces the threats frontally and so if frontal armour is strong, the tank can survive hits. So it does make sense for the Army to deploy T-72/90 in the desert provided we can keep enemy air-support at bay. As it is most of the T-72/80/90 in many wars world over were all destroyed by aircrafts and attack helis and not by enemy armour. Plus the T-series of tanks weigh less and can be deployed in large numbers and quickly as they are cheap and easily transportable. So in my opinion the army was justified in going for the T-72 in 1980s. But now we have cold start and so it becomes important that we do not threaten Pakistan with a large number of tanks in any one point but spread our offensive capabilities to include Punjab and southern parts of PoK. Here the requirements for tanks in entirely different from that required in the desert. Here we need tanks that can survive hits even if hit in the belly or on the top as these areas are well defended and dangerous for tanks. So for the cold start doctrine, the army can have different tanks for different regions. We can use T-90 for the desert operations but use Arjun and T-72 upgraded to Tank-Ex for Punjab & Southern Kashmir. So the army should ideally have stopped T-90 order at 310 and filled up its requirements with Arjun and Tank-Ex. What do u think.

Pierre Zorin said...

Prasun: you didn't answer if the Croatian Degman offer was meant to be in general to the world or specific to India. How does a Degman compare to PT91?Is India upgrading T-72 to PT91 or Degman standard as T-72 is now fairly outdated.Whatever happened also to the LCH or even the weaponised Dhruv?

Vasiliy Fofanov said...

Prasun,

"What has to be borne in mind is that Post World War II Soviet/Russian weapons were designed purely for one reason: to enable the Warsaw Pact to win a full-scale conventional or nuclear war within a very finite period (not exceeding one week)."

There was never such a short-sighted design goal, and indeed you will be hardpressed to find any design feature that would justify such an opinion. Quite the opposite can be seen in many aspects of the design. Above all you are stating as fact something that is nothing by your opinion, so putting "I think that", "it seems to me" etc would be nice every once in a while.

"This in turn meant that all Soviet weapons design bureaux were not obliged to develop superlative systems, instead they were required to develop the weapons to certain performance standards"

Umm that's the way every piece of equipment is designed actually. "Superlative systems" have no place outside the show room anywhere in the world. I can point to many examples of "non-superlative" designs aspects of any tank you want, just give me a name and I'll give you a dozen. All designs are a compromise. But what is these "certain performance standards", that's the question. Serving for 11 minutes in Fulda Gap? Huh, what kind of standard is that.

"The most fundamental flaw remains the peculiar installation of the autoloader mechanism, something the Ukrainians realised in the early 1990s itself, which consequently led to the development of the T-72-120 and now the T-84, both featuring ammo stowage in the turret rear to ensure a fair degree of MBT hit survivability."

Everything in this passage is wrong. T-84 uses traditional autoloader of T-80 family. T-72-120 had no choice because it was equiped with a gun using unitary ammo. Moreover, "peculiar ammo storage" of the same kind can be seen on most tanks one way or the other. Leopard, Abrams, Challenger, Leclerc - all have part of ammo storage in the hull! In case of Leopard for example (which you appear to admire as benchmark of tank protection) the bigger part of ammunition is stored forward in the hull and is not protected by any hit mitigation features whatsoever. What were they thinking?! Just staying in Fulda Gap for 11 minutes I suppose :) Oh, and how about the US MCS design, from the FCS family, with a rotary under-turret autoloader so familiar one may think Russian designers infiltrated the facility? Where does THAT fit in your one-dimentional view?

"Another weakness associated with MBTs of Soviet/Russian origin is the total lack of training aids like either simulators for individual gunnery proficiency, or platoon gunnery simulators. On the other hand, all these training aids have already been developed for MBTs like the Arjun."

You are several years late with this. All of the above is now available for Russian tanks too, and is being acquired by both Russian army and export customers like Algeria. Besides, if India was so concerned about this, how comes it hasn't been resolved since T-72 was inducted decades ago? Will you pretend that it is harder to develop training aids for a Soviet-designed tank than for Arjun?

"And you will also perhaps agree that for superior training to prevail one must have access to superior individual proficiency gunnery trainers and platoon gunnery simulators. Can you name even one such entity located anywhere in this world that produces such training hardware."

Kindly proceed here: http://logos.mephi.ru/ or here: http://www.msembedded.ru/catalogue/Platforms.aspx?productId=57 (sorry, Russian only, here is a reasonable auto-translation of the second http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.msembedded.ru%2Fcatalogue%2FPlatforms.aspx%3FproductId%3D57 ). Honestly, for such strong opinions more careful prior research wouldn't hurt!

Vasiliy Fofanov said...

"Russian MBT designers, it would seem, have already realised the merits of having 360-degree commander's panoramic sights, as exemplified by the existence of such a sight on Uralvagonzavod's Tank Support Combat Vehicle. Additionally, the hull-based autoloader mechanism (the most vulnerable component of the T-90S) is likely to be radically redesigned for the FMBT. These two significant design innovations alone vindicate my earlier assertions about the 'fundamental design flaws' within the T-72, T-80 and T-90 MBT families."

Yes, but future Russian MBT also puts entire crew in the hull, increases gun caliber, uses a two-stage fully isolated autoloader system, an adaptive suspension, a combined multi-channel visual/low-light/thermal/radar sight with target tracking capabilities, and other significant innovations. What does lack of any of the above tell you of 'fundamental design flaws' of Arjun? Let me tell you what - with Arjun India is merely trying to replicate the Western Cold War designs, with minor upgrades like BMS or DAS slapped on for good measure. Why would you want to do that when India already has one Cold War design, the T-90, which will serve you just fine? We can bicker over particular design compromises all day, but the fact remains that Arjun brings no quantum leap to India's armor forces capability. Suggestions that India should turn a page and concentrate on a really innovative MBT, to be fielded a decade from now, rather than induct an obsolete-on-arrival design seem entirely justified!

"As for T-80 or T-90S MBTs lost to hostile fire in the Georgian conflict or 'hundreds' of M-1A1/2 Abrams lost in Iraq it is my word against your's and therefore I don't feel the need to debate this and will consequently rest my case on this point."

Well, that's too bad because this is not a matter of opinion, but fact. I know the circumstances of every tank we lost in this conflict, and I know the equipment of every unit that went to this conflict. Similarly, US losses of MBTs are not exactly a mystery. By early 2005, the US already had to ship to theater over 100 MBTs to replace losses from hostile fire, accidents and mishaps. By 2007 this figure more than doubled. If I start posting pictures of burnt-out or badly mangled hulks of Abrams tanks from Iraq war, we will not see the end of it too soon.

"Regarding "heavy Soviet-made armor losses had more to do with flawed tactics and/or extreme generational overmatch of opposing designs than with design shortcomings", here too I will respectfully disagree with you. During the Yom Kippur Arab-Israeli war of October 1973 the deployed Syrian and Egyptian armoured warfare forces were both qualitatively and numerically far superior to what the Israel Defence Force-Army had, especially in night-vision technology. Yet, the IDF-Army's inferior Centurions and M-48 Pattons prevailed for two reasons: far superior human resource discipline and training (due to availability of suitable training aids/simulators) and superior operational art."

Actually you say EXACTLY what I say, that it wasn't due to equipment - so why do you obsess about what you yourself admit isn't the contributing factor?

"As for the AC for both the T-90S and T-90M MBTs for India, the Russian solution was found to be unsuitable to what what was being offered by Elbit Systems (and what has since been selected for retrofit). Unsuitability of the Russian AC solution does not mean that it is inferior, instead it means what may be suitable for desert warfare in Algeria or Libya may not necessarily be good for the Thar Desert in western India (there are 12 different types of deserts in the world, each with its unique characteristics)."

This may well be the case, and India is free to make her choices, but your argument that there is no room on T-90 for an AC, or at least that such a solution is unavailable, still remains wrong.

Vasiliy Fofanov said...

"Basically, the overall Soviet/Russian approach to MBT design was found to be flawed on two major counts: namely, the gamble on not being hit rather than on surviving hits, and the refusal to perceive survivability of the crew as a quite distinct issue from survivability of the MBT, with the former having priority over the latter."

You keep recycling this argument, but it remains untrue. Armor on Russian tanks is close to 60% by weight, this value is HIGHER than on opposing designs, how can anyone in his right mind say that Russian designers didn't mean for a tank to get hit in the first place?! This is just absurd. Quite the contrary, the Russian tanks have been designed to take the hits and keep going, this was actually a fundamental shift when T-64 appeared, "hit avoidance" is what designs like M60 rely on, because any opposing weapon system that hits this tank will go through. So you are not just distorting the facts, you are turning them into their exact opposite.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To indranil: You will get your answers at: http://trishulgroup.blogspot.com/2009/01/indias-born-again-t-90m-mbt.html

To Anon@11:20PM: The Al Khalid will be able to outsmart the T-90S with its superior hunter-killer tank fire-control system. No doubt about that. Hence the Indian Army drafted its requirement for the much improved T-90M.

To Raghav: Even if the duration of hostilities were to be constant in the case of Indian and Soviet-era warfighting scenarios, the key and critical factor that becomes a game-changer is the state and number of armoured fighting formations available intact in the post-hostilities scenario. It takes at least seven to 10 years for an armoured division to become fighting fit and in India's case, one has to ensure that hardware lost due to wartime attrition is replaced or repaired ASAP. While it would have been much easier for the USSR to replace such losses due to its sprawling MBT manufacturing facilities, this is not the case with India, unless the MBT is built totally in-country using locally-sourced raw materials. Viewed from this angle, it definitely makes sense for the MBT's hull and turret, gun-control system and preferably its automotives to be of home-grown origin, rather than being imported or licence-built.
AS for the prospects of fielding different MBTs (three types, like the T-72M1, T-90S and Arjun Mk1)for different regions, I'm afraid it will only greatly complicate the Army's operational logistics networks and resources. The solution, therefore, is to progressively replace the T-72M1s and T-90S with the much improved T-90M, Arjun Mk1 and the proposed Arjun Mk2 variant.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Pierre Zorin: The Croatian Degman MBT offer was meant to be in general to the world. Even if the T-72M1 were to be upgraded to the PT-91M or Degman standard, it would still stand no chance against the likes of M-1A1/2, Challenger 2, Leopard 2A6, Merkava 4. But the Degman's turret design appears to be superior to that of the PT-91M. In terms of design evolution, the T-72M1 was outdated by 1982 itself, and the MBT that was derived from the T-72--the T-90S--isn't that good either. This is a fact of life and no matter whosoever chooses to contest it, the fact remains that the OEM of the T-90S--Uralvagonzavod JSC--itself admitted to this way back in 2000 in its in-house 'MBT Combat Effectiveness Flowchart', a copy of which is in my possession. Once again, this is not my view or opinion, but a fact of life supported by hardcopy documentation. Therefore, needless to say, whatever I've stated in earlier posts is not speculative.

Anonymous said...

How many t-90m has the army ordered?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@11:47AM: You will get your answers at: http://trishulgroup.blogspot.com/2009/01/indias-born-again-t-90m-mbt.html

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Vasiliy Fofanov: Irregardless of your assertions about the non-existence of short-sighted design goals for Soviet-era weapon systems it remains a fact that there did exist an extreme generational overmatch in favour of weapon systems of Western origin, despite the Soviet appetite for churning out several variants of the basic weapons design to close the performance gaps. The examples are many, in terms of the severely limited technical service lives and time-between-overhauls of the systems concerned. An this trend continues till this day, with upgraded T-72 variants being offered as systems that vainly attempt to bridge the performance gaps. As for the operational lifespan of opposing weapon systems deployed in Europe during the Cold War, these have been adequately documented and and the oppposing OP-PLANs analysed in detail in the post-Col War era, and are ‘must reads’ for any military command and staff college student. In case you haven’t yet had access to such literature then all I can suggest is you make it a point of doing so by paying a visit to any command and staff college that is within your reach.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Continued from above: Now, coming to the autoloader issue, here it seems you are totally unaware of the T-84 variant developed for Pakistan. Both the autoloading mechanism and ammo stowage design of this T-84 variant bear a close resemblance to those for the T-72-120. This system is by no means the same as the traditional autoloader of the T-80. And as to your preposterous claim of the hull-located ammo stowage area of the Leopard 2 not being protected by any hit mitigation features, I’ll leave it at just that: a preposterous and ill-informed opinion. In addition, I can’t figure out how you could possibly compare the safety features of rotary under-turret vertical autoloader of the US MCS with the hull-based autoloader of the T-72/T-90S.
Regarding MBT-related training aids, the link you’ve provided describes only a rudimentary 2nd generation crew gunnery-cum-driving simulator. Or perhaps, you’re unaware of what a platoon gunnery simulator is all about (as it was an alien concept in the Soviet-era). And to help you bridge your knowledge deficit in this area, especially concerning India, way back in 1993 itself India’s Bharat Electronics Ltd had, in collaboration with UK-based Lockheed Martin Solarton Systems, developed and mass-produced the T-72CGS Indoor Tank Crew Gunnery Simulator. All this was done at a time when such training aids were not even thought of in Russia. Also, the traditional weaknesses in developing integrated training aids is exemplified by the fact that till this day, not one full-motion tactical flying simulator for aircraft like the MiG-29 or Su-30 has been developed by any Russian OEM. Historically speaking, it was this traditional absence of such vital training aids that resulted in the adoption of flawed operational doctrines and weapons employment tactics by Middle East-based operators of post-World War II Soviet-era weapon systems. A weapon system is what it is, a system that is inclusive of training, logistics and maintenance tools, and when viewed from this perspective, Soviet/Russia-origin weapon systems are markedly inferior till this day, as they’re not being offered as a total systems solution, but as piecemeal components. Small wonder that the UAE Land Forces had to approach RUAG in Switzerlans to procure the BMP-3 gunnery simulators in the late 1990s!

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Continued from above: Should you wish to compare legacy designs like the Arjun Mk1 and T-90S, by all means to do, but don’t try to compare apples with oranges. The T-90S was designed in the early 1980s and entered mass-production in the early 1990s, whereas the Arjun Mk1’s R & D phase was concluded only in 2006, and even when the design was frozen, a pre-planned product improvement roadmap was already in place for what you’ve erroneously labelled as “dragging around empty space inside that serves no purpose but to provide room for these hypothetical enhancements”. In Russia, warfighting concepts like network-centric warfare or knowledge-based warfare or effects-based operations may still be a few more years away, but not in the Indian subcontinent. That you‘re totally ignorant of such issues is exemplified by your characterisation of BMS installation as a ‘minor upgrade’. I guess then, following your flawed logic, it will also be another futile exercise to install vectronics diagnostics systems on current-generation armoured vehicles!
And as for Soviet/Russian MBT design deficiencies, it is not my opinion but rather the opinion of no less a person than Dr Andrei Kokoshin, the person who's now leading the Russian MoD-sanctioned exercise of formulating plans for the creation of the all-professional Russian Armed Forces. And he said this in a BBC documentary for the whole world to hear and see! And if you’re so sure that Russian tanks have been designed to take the hits and keep going, and that this was actually a fundamental shift when the T-64 appeared, why did the USSR not carry on with this pathbreaking evolution with follow-on variants of the T-80? Why was the T-72 mass-produced even after the arrival of the T-64? Why were the East European Warsaw Pact ground forces armed only with the T-72, and only the Red Army and the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany equipped with the T-64 and T-80? Is it because the Warsaw Pact OP-PLAN for offensive ground campaigns called for two distinct types of MBTs to be employed for the contact battles and deep battles? And finally, why was the T-90S a follow-on to the T-72, instead of the T-80UD?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ Saturday, August 08, 2009 11:20:00 PM

Al Khalid - 1 is more of a Ukranian product because of the extent of modifications it has performed. It does match T-90S.

Even T-90M modifications will not help as Al Khalid moves to mark -II stage as Al Khalid is ultimately moving to Arjun standards. What I mean to say is that Al- Khalid will become a 50 ton weight category battle tank. Arjun Tank has shown that a 50 + ton MBT can operate in Sub continent conditions. Earlier IA thought that only light tanks can because of various reasons including the NGP.

Meanwhile the induction of Arjuns has unnerved Pakistanis and are looking for a western equivalent, probably German.

Anonymous said...

Opps! I did not mean that Al Khalid - Ii will be 50 ton, i meant was al khalid is moving to 50 + ton tank in a period of time. They are trying to integrate gizmos and protection that will eventually take it to 50 ton category.

Vasiliy Fofanov said...

"it remains a fact that there did exist an extreme generational overmatch in favour of weapon systems of Western origin"

No. Until the collapse of the USSR, design iterations in the West and in the East reasonably matched each other in capability. This is very obvious to anyone who has the ability to track and match dates of introduction of significant technological advances. The only aspect where Soviet designs lagged behind is the thermal imaging equipment (and not for lack of trying mind you), but now that the French technology is used this gap is completely eliminated. There are no, repeat "no", fundamental gaps left.

"The examples are many, in terms of the severely limited technical service lives and time-between-overhauls of the systems concerned."

Now you are just making things up.

" Continued from above: Now, coming to the autoloader issue, here it seems you are totally unaware of the T-84 variant developed for Pakistan. Both the autoloading mechanism and ammo stowage design of this T-84 variant bear a close resemblance to those for the T-72-120."

Well. That's a bit embarassing to one of us, all that remains to determine is to whom. You appear to be confusing T-84 as shipped to Pakistan with T-84-120, aka Yatagan, which is not inducted in anyone's service. Here is a picture of a Pakistani T-84, kindly show me where a bustle mounted ammo storage hides?

http://img217.imageshack.us/img217/1884/t84.jpg

"And as to your preposterous claim of the hull-located ammo stowage area of the Leopard 2 not being protected by any hit mitigation features, I’ll leave it at just that: a preposterous and ill-informed opinion."

Let me back the preposterous claim with an equally preposterous photo.

http://img504.imageshack.us/img504/2654/leopard2hullammorack.jpg

You are free to make a different opinion by looking at this pipe organ :)

"In addition, I can’t figure out how you could possibly compare the safety features of rotary under-turret vertical autoloader of the US MCS with the hull-based autoloader of the T-72/T-90S."

Umm... because I know what I am talking about?

"Regarding MBT-related training aids, the link you’ve provided describes only a rudimentary 2nd generation crew gunnery-cum-driving simulator. Or perhaps, you’re unaware of what a platoon gunnery simulator is all about (as it was an alien concept in the Soviet-era)."

Oh my. You are just digging yourself deeper and deeper are you?

Crew simulator...
http://logos.mephi.ru/htmls/main/products/armored/pr_a_tank_crew_kt.htm

Platoon tactical simulator...
http://logos.mephi.ru/htmls/main/products/tactical/pr_cctt_tank.htm

List of features of a tactical simulator...
http://logos.mephi.ru/htmls/main/products/pr_tactical.htm
(translation - http://babelfish.yahoo.com/translate_url?doit=done&tt=url&intl=1&fr=bf-home&trurl=http%3A%2F%2Flogos.mephi.ru%2Fhtmls%2Fmain%2Fproducts%2Fpr_tactical.htm&lp=ru_en&btnTrUrl=Translate )
ORBAT view of a tactical simulator...
http://logos.mephi.ru/pics/main/products/tactical/pr_cctt_element.jpg

Seriously, just give it up :)

"All this was done at a time when such training aids were not even thought of in Russia."

I understand we Russians haven't got a clue about anything, don't let me interfere with stupid facts.

Vasiliy Fofanov said...

"Also, the traditional weaknesses in developing integrated training aids is exemplified by the fact that till this day, not one full-motion tactical flying simulator for aircraft like the MiG-29 or Su-30 has been developed by any Russian OEM."

Darn, now we are talking of planes. And to think we started with FCS of tanks. I am sorry, I am not knowledgeable of planes. Knowing tanks occupies my entire spare time.


"That you‘re totally ignorant of such issues is exemplified by your characterisation of BMS installation as a ‘minor upgrade’."

Well I am sorry but from the point of view of putting a black box with a screen on a tank it *is* a minor upgrade. A T-55 can be made just as network-centric as any modern tank. The paradigm shift here is not in the amount of changes needed in a tank itself.

"I guess then, following your flawed logic, it will also be another futile exercise to install vectronics diagnostics systems on current-generation armoured vehicles!"

Ahhh, but installing vetronics *does* require basically taking the tank apart and putting it back together again. So it's your flawed analogies (examples of which we have already seen far too many in this discussion) not my flawed logic.

"And if you’re so sure that Russian tanks have been designed to take the hits and keep going, and that this was actually a fundamental shift when the T-64 appeared, why did the USSR not carry on with this pathbreaking evolution with follow-on variants of the T-80?"

Ummm it did...

"Why was the T-72 mass-produced even after the arrival of the T-64?"

T-72 shares this property of the design. At the time of introduction, 1974, it was pretty much invulnerable to most opposing armor. Of course, by 1991 and ODS this was no longer true. But by 1991 this tank was 3 generations too old. If the Iraqis were equipped with a range of M47...M60 instead of a range of T-55...T-72 and Americans had T-80U or T-90 and not Abrams - this would hahve been just as much a slaughter as it were in reality.

"Why were the East European Warsaw Pact ground forces armed only with the T-72, and only the Red Army and the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany equipped with the T-64 and T-80?"

Soviet forces in Europe had T-64 and T-80, but they also had T-72. Hint: Soviet forces were not only in Germany. As to why T-64/T-80 had an edge over T-72 of the same generation - the answer is simple: FCS, not protection. Why wasn't it equipped with a more advanced FCS? Because Soviet plants couldn't produce enough. Was it a fundamental limitation of T-72? No, this difference has been eliminated in T-90. Which is basically an evolution of T-72 with an FCS of T-80U. There is no longer a difference in capability between two model lines.

"And finally, why was the T-90S a follow-on to the T-72, instead of the T-80UD?"

Because the plant that produced both the tank and the engine remained in the Ukraine when USSR collapsed. But there is no problem in that, as per above T-90 completely fulfills the need.

Anonymous said...

fantastic conversation!
Ok, Vasiliy, which are the best tanks in the world. Could you list them from Top to Bottom.
What about new Chinese Tanks Type-95? (correct me if I am wrong). In the recent China-Russia military exercise, China deployed Type-95 tanks? Did Russia deploy their tanks?
In case of a scenario for Indian Army against China and Pakistan, what modifications are required in their tanks (whether it is T90S, T90M or Arjun) to win the battle?

I really appreciate your comments.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Vasiliy Fofanov: I clearly expected far better counter-points from you, instead of erroneous. For instance, the picture that you claim as being of a Pakistan Army T-84 is in fact a T-80UD. What the Pakistan Army will be receiving (yes, they haven't yet been delivered) is the Oplot-M derivative of the T-84. You can get additional info on all this at: http://www.army-guide.com/eng/product4221.html
Secondly, when referring me to any Russia-based OEM designing or producing any kind of simulator, it will increase your credibility enormously if you could give the OEM's weblinks, instead of posting weblinks that give no idea to anyone (even without translation) as which company/JSC is the OEM for such products. The kind of links you've given only show representative diagrams that can easily be cut-and-paste jobs. I'm pretty sure that if any Russian OEM is indeed producing such platoon gunnery simulators then there will surely be brochures of such systems available, and will not feel the need for producing only conceptual graphics.
When it comes to installing additional vectronics on board a MBT, if such work were to be undertaken on a T-55 or even T-90S, then yes, the tank would have to be taken apart. But not in the case of MBTs like the Arjun Mk1, whose design has already catered for such enhancements TO BE IMPLEMENTED IN FUTURE. This is what is known as pre-planned product implementation roadmap, a concept which is in the process of being understood and appreciated by the Russians. Therefore, your inability to grasp such concepts at the moment is understandable.
Lastly, what's all this speculation about Russia's inability or unwillingness to continue producing or even further developing the T-80? If memory serves me right then Russia could have done it at Omsk, with Uralvagonzavod in Nizhny Tagil concentrating on the T-90. And if the T-90 completely fulfills Russia's national security reqmts and production of the T-80 is no longer reqd, then how come the T-80 continues to be promoted for export by Rosoboronexport worldwide till this day?

To Anon@4:55AM: Just lay your hands on the Uralvagonzavod JSC-prepared 'MBT Combat Effectiveness Flowchart'. Or you can perhaps ask Vasiliy to giev you a 'weblink' for viewing this flowchart. Good luck.

Vasiliy Fofanov said...

Anon, it is my firm opinion that any "best" classification is fundamentally misguided. Tanks are complicated vehicles that are a collection of compromises. If you agree with a given compromise, you'll favor tanks that have a given feature, and punish those that don't. If you don't agree, you'll punish the tanks for having sacrificed something you consider more important. Either way you'll end up with a biased list. And there is such a large number of comparison aspects that you just *have* to arrange them in terms of order of importance to you. That's why I never do lists.

Deepak said...

To Parsu..

"But not in the case of MBTs like the Arjun Mk1, whose design has already catered for such enhancements TO BE IMPLEMENTED IN FUTURE. This is what is known as pre-planned product implementation roadmap"

well lets not get to that... pls ask Avdhi pll if they have a functional BMS why is it not on Arjun MK1 why is it planned for MK2 ......... because they have to rewire lots of stuff inside the MBT to achieve that... thats why MK1 does not have it.... do u get it.... these are not plug-n-play systems... to do any upgrade on Arjun MK1 they have to be sent back to Avdhi... and MK1 will always remain MK1 maybe during their overhauls they may get an upgrade.. but it will take considerable effort to put any new system in an MBT if it is not present when it was produced in factory.

Vasiliy Fofanov said...

"To Vasiliy Fofanov: I clearly expected far better counter-points from you, instead of erroneous. For instance, the picture that you claim as being of a Pakistan Army T-84 is in fact a T-80UD."

Indeed, I admit my mistake. But given that you admit yourself that Pakistan doesn't have any tanks of the kind you are trying to scare the public with, the point that I misidentified the tank in the picture is rendered kinda moot, isn't it? I'll refrain then from posting a picture of an actual T-84 in Pak service since you know yourself what we will see (or rather NOT see) there.

"What the Pakistan Army will be receiving (yes, they haven't yet been delivered) is the Oplot-M derivative of the T-84. You can get additional info on all this at: http://www.army-guide.com/eng/product4221.html"

Oplot-M also has a regular rotary autoloader.

"Secondly, when referring me to any Russia-based OEM designing or producing any kind of simulator, it will increase your credibility enormously if you could give the OEM's weblinks, instead of posting weblinks that give no idea to anyone (even without translation) as which company/JSC is the OEM for such products. The kind of links you've given only show representative diagrams that can easily be cut-and-paste jobs."

LOGOS *is* the OEM. Yeah, their web site is bad. The only redeeming thing is that they don't do websites for a living :) By the way, did you see UVZ website? It's even worse :)

" I'm pretty sure that if any Russian OEM is indeed producing such platoon gunnery simulators then there will surely be brochures of such systems available, and will not feel the need for producing only conceptual graphics."

There probably are brochures somewhere, I am not in the market for these kits so excuse me if I don't look for them. Given that these things are going out to several militaries already, they are clearly way past concept phase don't you think?

"When it comes to installing additional vectronics on board a MBT, if such work were to be undertaken on a T-55 or even T-90S, then yes, the tank would have to be taken apart. But not in the case of MBTs like the Arjun Mk1, whose design has already catered for such enhancements TO BE IMPLEMENTED IN FUTURE."

There is a term for that: vaporware. Get back to me (and in particular, the Indian public) when the future comes :) In the meantime, T-90 will do just fine.

"This is what is known as pre-planned product implementation roadmap, a concept which is in the process of being understood and appreciated by the Russians. Therefore, your inability to grasp such concepts at the moment is understandable."

I am able to grasp concepts all right, no need to insult. I've seen a digital T-90, in metal, not "in future", so I know it's not impossible. The question is, again, whether it's worth obsessing about every cool toy on the market.

"Lastly, what's all this speculation about Russia's inability or unwillingness to continue producing or even further developing the T-80? If memory serves me right then Russia could have done it at Omsk, with Uralvagonzavod in Nizhny Tagil concentrating on the T-90."

Omsk is bankrupt and has long lost the ability to mass-produce tanks. Back in 1995 things could have worked out for T-80, but today the only thing on the table is refit and upgrade of existing T-80s in Russian inventory. Mass production of T-80s is not possible.

" And if the T-90 completely fulfills Russia's national security reqmts and production of the T-80 is no longer reqd, then how come the T-80 continues to be promoted for export by Rosoboronexport worldwide till this day?"

Existing stocks.

Vasiliy Fofanov said...

"The kind of links you've given only show representative diagrams that can easily be cut-and-paste jobs. I'm pretty sure that if any Russian OEM is indeed producing such platoon gunnery simulators then there will surely be brochures of such systems available, and will not feel the need for producing only conceptual graphics."

Several more cut-and-paste jobs and conceptual graphics from the same site...


Fake classroom...

Same fake classroom but with 3d CGI actors pasted into the picture...

Even more CGI actors... damn these guys are good!

The company stand on MBCB-2008 exhibition... (hey, they've got some booklets!...)

A vaguely familiar guy trying out the equipment produced by this bunch of crooks...

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Deepak: Why ask Avadi (you mean CVRDE, or the HVF, can you differentiate between the two at all)? It's time to update your database and you can cross-check matters anytime directly with the CVRDE or even with BEL (the production agency for the BMS) and BOTH will confirm that BMS terminals are ALREADY in SERIES-PRODUCTION not only for the Arjun Mk1, but also for the T-90M.

To Vasiliy Fofanov: ALL the photo links you've posted show only individual tank driving and gunnery simulators. No platoon gunnery simulators whatsoever. Like I said earlier, you do need to get updated about what platoon gunnery simulators are all about and what exactly is the classroom architecture where such networked simulators are located.
The Oplot-M MBT, which was publicised way back last year at both the IDEAS 2008 and DSA 2008 expos in Karachi and Kuala Lumpur, clearly shows the turret-based ammo bustle-cum-autoloader. I understand you may be unaware of what's happening between Ukraine and Pakistan as you may be unable to access data directly from the Ukrainian OEMs due to obvious reasons. And as for "my (your) firm opinion that any "best" classification is fundamentally misguided..", kindly share your well-intentioned thoughts with the likes of Uralvagonzavod JSC, since this OEM continues to peddle its 'MBT Combat Effectiveness Flowchart' worldwide.
As for your stated claim of "Pakistan doesn't have any tanks of the kind you are trying to scare the public with," I'm not in the business of embarking on any kind of crusade to scare anyone. Facts are facts, scary or otherwise. Likewise, you too need to come clean and clearly spell out the fundemental design flaws and vulnerabilities of the T-72M that became glaringly evident after the first Syrian T-72s were destroyed by the IDF-Army in the Bekaa Valley in June 1982. If you do that, then I too promise to share with you the Indian Army's experience (and horror) in 1986 when it found out how easy it was for an upgunned T-55 (with the L7 105mm rifled-bore cannon) to easily punch through the T-72's RHA.
Could you also thorw some light on the 'inherent superiority' of the FCS of the T-64/T-80 over the T-72's FCS? That should be pretty interesting read and enable all of us to compare the 'Soviet best' of that time with what was being offered to India (the AMX-40) as an alternative to the T-72 way back in the early 1980s.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Deepak: Another item already on-board the Arjun Mk1 MBT is the systems trend monitoring-cum-diagnostics suite, offering capabilities similar to the HUMS on board the Su-30MKI. Again, do cross-check all this with CVRDE and with SLN Technologies Ltd, the OEM for this suite.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Vasiliy Fofanov: No one, not even me, ever said that a 'digital T-90' is not a possibility. In fact, the T-90M varaint designed specifically for the follow-on Indian Army requirements is exactly that. However, one has to differentiate between the T-90S and the T-90M. Throughout this blog, I've always maintained this difference.

Anonymous said...

Prasun, you might want to engage more politely with Vasily Fofanov.

He is one of the few acknowledged experts on Russian armour to be found on the internet.

How you treat him and his arguements will reflect on you as well - just pointing out, as he has wide credibility across many fora & research houses.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon Above: And you ahould be objective in your suggestions as well. When someone makes a baseless accusation against me of using 'scare' tactics by revealing the facts, it is considered polite by the likes of you, is it? When someone remarks that "now you are just making things up" that too is polite, is it? When somneone claims that the T-90S MBTs are good enough for India just because they were good for Algeria or Libya one then is automatically obliged to follow this line of reasoning, is it? If someone claims that with French technological inputs all fire-control system-related problems/deficiencies have since been resolved on the T-90S, are we all supposed to blindly endorse it? Are we all supposed to believe that ALL innovations regarding the upgrading options for the T-90S/M have originated only in Russia? Are all these 'widely respected' commentators and self-styled experts even aware of what has already been attempted and achieved by the Indians and Israelis with regard to T-90S/M modernisation? Anyone claim can claim anything, from the sublime to the ridiculous, like making the T-55 into a network-centric platform. But has any T-55 been upgraded in this manner? Your 'respected' commentator keeps on jumping from 'can be' to 'has been'. He cannot distinguish between 'can be' and pre-planned product improvement roadmap and when I point all these out, it is considered impolite, is it? When instead of explaining what exactly were the flawed tactics that resulted in T-72s and T-80s being lost during combat, one blandly claims that flawed tactics rather than fundamental design flaws were the reasons attributed to T-72 and T-80 losses, such reasoning and 'logic' is considered par excellence, is it?
Finally, can you or anyone of your 'esteemed & informed' commentators explain what this destroyed MBT is (refer to the link below)?
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_zUe7sq7m3h0/SKRPNbLHi6I/AAAAAAAAAWg/BMItQQDLLyI/s1600-h/Destroyed+T-90S+MBT+in+Georgia.jpg
If someone wishes to make an observation or meaningful by all means they're most welcome to do so by creating their own blogs or uploading OEM-produced technical data/presentations. Such data, being indisputable, will not create any further speculation. Therefore, once again, I challenge anyone and everyone to reproduce the Uralvagonzavod JSC-produced and researched 'MBT Combat Effectiveness Flowchart', which contains 15 major slides depicting how exactly the T-90S compares with its Western counterparts.

Anonymous said...

Prasun,

Let me be clear- if I as an objective evaluator read this discussion, it is not Vasiliy who comes across as one who is being rude or is hectoring others, but unfortunately it is you. That is what anyone would think, not just me.

We all know it is your blog, we all know you tend to have strong opinons on subjects, but by keeping on making statements such as "it is understandable you cannot understand this" etc- you do your arguments no credit.

You are hectoring him in every other statement. Attack the argument, not the man.

Second, I would daresay, that Vasiliy Fofanov knows more about the T-90S than that "flowchart" which you keep referring to. This is the same person whom CAST.RU has a featured article from, the same person who first broke the "story" of the overall performance of the T-95 tank on the internet.

Being a native Russian and a Russian speaker, with many contacts in the Russian armed forces, it is also reasonable to state he knows more about Russian armour, than you, a non Russian speaker, does. As you'd know, there is a huge amount of information available on Russian systems - in Russian. Very little is translated or presented to the outside world.

There is no insult in this, but the truth.

I would also point out that the T-90M which you have pointed out does not exist, as far as Indian procurement goes. Perhaps it was a concept, a proposal, but its not there in reality. The real T-90S being put together at OFB facilities, use a bit of Indian technology (let us leave what, aside) but are not some heavy Merkava style - T-90's. Such tanks, simply, do not exist.

Anonymous said...

Prasun,

I'm the anon who asked you to keep the discussion to technical stuff. Thank you for doing so.

In regard to the photo of destroyed tank with "Kontakt-5" ERA - it isn't T-90S like the link says it is, but rather T-72.

Also, I wish both you and Vasiliy would keep this interesting and enlightening discussion on good terms. Not pointing accusing finger at anyone, just asking you both humbly. I'm sure the rest of blog's readers would also want this.

Anonymous said...

Is Mr Vasiliy Fofanov, the same gentleman who maintains the following site ?

http://www.russianarmor.info/

Vasiliy Fofanov said...

"ALL the photo links you've posted show only individual tank driving and gunnery simulators. No platoon gunnery simulators whatsoever."

Well this is getting annoying. In the second picture above, the BMP simulator to the right is labeled "motor-rifle platoon commander" and the simulator to the left is labeled "BMP #102" (which means, 2nd BMP of the first platoon of first company). I am sorry, it *is* a platoon simulator. Not just gunnery simulator mind you, but all maneuver tasks of a platoon. You can see driving simulators next to battlestation simulators, and they are all in the same network.

"Like I said earlier, you do need to get updated about what platoon gunnery simulators are all about and what exactly is the classroom architecture where such networked simulators are located."

The visual appearance of the "classroom architecture" is just a bunch of cables connecting the components. Just as an arbitrarily complex architecture of an intranet of a big corporation looks like a bunch of wires and boxes with mysterious blinking lights.

"The Oplot-M MBT, which was publicised way back last year at both the IDEAS 2008 and DSA 2008 expos in Karachi and Kuala Lumpur, clearly shows the turret-based ammo bustle-cum-autoloader."

Well, I've not so far seen an Oplot-M variant with a bustle loader. It may well exist, it's not rocket science, there is a T-90 variant of the same too (code "Burlak"). The tank that is being fielded with Ukraine under designation Oplot-M doesn't have it, that's for sure. I'd like to see the picture though, can you post it if you have one?

"And as for "my (your) firm opinion that any "best" classification is fundamentally misguided..", kindly share your well-intentioned thoughts with the likes of Uralvagonzavod JSC, since this OEM continues to peddle its 'MBT Combat Effectiveness Flowchart' worldwide."

Why? People love charts. Despite my distaste for the whole idea, I'd rather see charts biased both in our and not in our favor, than charts only biased one way :)

Vasiliy Fofanov said...

"Likewise, you too need to come clean and clearly spell out the fundemental design flaws and vulnerabilities of the T-72M that became glaringly evident after the first Syrian T-72s were destroyed by the IDF-Army in the Bekaa Valley in June 1982."

I suspect you are writing under impression of the old incorrect reports about T-72 encounters in 1982. Recent (Israeli) research shows that there were no known engagements of T-72s by Israeli tanks. On the other hand, there are accounts of Israeli crews that were unnerved by the new Syrian tanks trying to engage them and getting close misses at extreme ranges and prefered to break contact rather than move in to engage. The only losses ever sustained by the Syrian T-72s were from an ambush by a TOW company. TOW missile of course far overmatches the base T-72 protection, this will hardly come as a surprise to anyone. Nevertheless, worth pointing out that although around a company of T-72s were knocked out, only two suffered catastrophic explosions. Bottomline, T-72s didn't demonstrate any particular vulnerabilities or big losses in this conflict. If anything, the design showed its merit.

"If you do that, then I too promise to share with you the Indian Army's experience (and horror) in 1986 when it found out how easy it was for an upgunned T-55 (with the L7 105mm rifled-bore cannon) to easily punch through the T-72's RHA."

Yes, we discovered the same thing in 1983 using the captured M48 provided to us by Syria. However "easily" is quite an overstatement. The M111 round could penetrate the glacis, but not the turret, of the T-72A. Note that the US M735 round couldn't. M111 was just pretty damn good. Still, the required counter was fairly trivial - a 16mm steel plate was added to the glacis, this was sufficient. Hardly end of the world. Certainly no "fundamental design flaw", just a minor field armor upgrade!

"Could you also thorw some light on the 'inherent superiority' of the FCS of the T-64/T-80 over the T-72's FCS?"

Simple, T-72A doesn't actually *have* an FCS, just a sight and a ballistic corrector. T-64B and T-80B have a full integrated FCS 1A33 which has all the usual components associated with the system, i.e. integrated sight, weather sensors, ballistic computer, cant indicator and lead corrector.

"That should be pretty interesting read and enable all of us to compare the 'Soviet best' of that time with what was being offered to India (the AMX-40) as an alternative to the T-72 way back in the early 1980s."

You keep thinking in terms of "best", that's your biggest problem.

Vasiliy Fofanov said...

"When someone remarks that "now you are just making things up" that too is polite, is it?"

I take it to mean, you are ready to back your claim of abysmal mean life between failures levels of armor equipment in GSFG circa 1980 with figures?

" When somneone claims that the T-90S MBTs are good enough for India just because they were good for Algeria or Libya"

"Someone" actually claims that what goes to Algeria is a different kit, that has certain systems that the Indian variant lacks, and that you claim can't be installed on a T-90 for lack of room. As far as good enough - yes this tank is good enough for India, not because it's sold elsewhere but on its own merits.

"Are we all supposed to believe that ALL innovations regarding the upgrading options for the T-90S/M have originated only in Russia? Are all these 'widely respected' commentators and self-styled experts even aware of what has already been attempted and achieved by the Indians and Israelis with regard to T-90S/M modernisation?"

The argument is completely different, yes T-90 has shortcomings, but many of them can be resolved within the design (which you yourself concede) and so a completely different design is not needed.

"Anyone claim can claim anything, from the sublime to the ridiculous, like making the T-55 into a network-centric platform. But has any T-55 been upgraded in this manner?"

No, because why would one want to do that. Doesn't mean it can't be done.

"When instead of explaining what exactly were the flawed tactics that resulted in T-72s and T-80s being lost during combat, one blandly claims that flawed tactics rather than fundamental design flaws were the reasons attributed to T-72 and T-80 losses"

Look, I can write whole books on that, but won't it be bizarre in a blog post about a T-90 FCS. Nevermind the stupid 4096 char limit and rudimentary formatting capabilities. This site is not best place for such debates.

"Finally, can you or anyone of your 'esteemed & informed' commentators explain what this destroyed MBT is (refer to the link below)?"

This is a T-72B model 1988 MBT of 141 separate tank bn of 19MRD which broke through to the besieged peacekeepers barracks (next to which it stands) and provided cover by fire for their withdrawal until it ran out of ammunition and been destroyed by its crew. The crew survived.

Vasiliy Fofanov said...

I'm the russianarmor.info guy indeed.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@4:12PM: Hey look, I'm now more certain than ever that you too, like some others, have a hard time being objective in your opinions and assessments. Why? Simply because, for instance, it is perfectly normal for entities like you to find nothing wrong with remarks like: "This (AC) upgrade was incidentally offered to India too, but as my sources tell me it has been declined for the completely Kafkaian reason that crews will get too comfortable and keep it running all the time, so only equipment cooling would be pursued. Not making this up!" Anyone 'closely' monitoring India's T-90S/M MBT procurement programmes would never even dream of making such remarks as they would surely which AC system was chosen by Army HQ and why. You want another example? Check up the reply below your last posting and it appears that the technical discourse has jumped for no plausible reason from platoon gunnery simulators for the T-90 MBT to 'BMP platoon gunnery simulators'. So who's moving the goalposts? Therefore, enough said about who knows more about Russian armoured vehicles. And lastly, don't make false and patently wrong claimd that "there is a huge amount of information available on Russian systems--in Russian. Very little is translated or presented to the outside world". Since 1996 itself, be it for the T-72S or the T-80UD or the T-84 or the T-90S, ALL technical, operational and maintenance manuals for each of these MBTs have been drafted in English for sure, as I do have all of them in my possession. Therefore, the lack of adequate info due to the language issue is not the problem here. So, don't go around spreading your false and delusional assumptions, especially in this blog, as it will backfire miserably. Now, whether or not you portray the above-mentioned 'facts' as heckling or impoliteness doesn't bother me at all. Discerning bloggers involved in cogent and coherent discourses will draw the correct conclusions, unlike you.

Vasiliy Fofanov said...

"This (AC) upgrade was incidentally offered to India too, but as my sources tell me it has been declined for the completely Kafkaian reason that crews will get too comfortable and keep it running all the time, so only equipment cooling would be pursued. Not making this up!"

Here, I bolded the relevant portion for you.

"Check up the reply below your last posting and it appears that the technical discourse has jumped for no plausible reason from platoon gunnery simulators for the T-90 MBT to 'BMP platoon gunnery simulators'."

Given that you jumped early on from T-90 to MiG-29, I wouldn't throw stones if I were you :) I remind you that your argument went that there are no platoon gunnery simulators in Russia. I've given you the link to OEM that supplies same to Russian and foreign forces. They do tank simulators, BMP simulators, BTR simulators. The one on the picture is a BMP platoon simulator, yes, but important keyword here is "platoon", not "BMP". Anyone in this field will tell you that this is all the same stuff, the differences in hardware are very superficial. Your denials are getting increasingly desperate.

"Since 1996 itself, be it for the T-72S or the T-80UD or the T-84 or the T-90S, ALL technical, operational and maintenance manuals for each of these MBTs have been drafted in English for sure, as I do have all of them in my possession."

If you don't mind my asking, how do you know what you have in your possession is everything ever published. Just curious as to the train of thought here, that this statement defies common sense hardly needs explaining.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Vasiliy Fofanov: Let's keep this really simple: show me any photos or brochures of 'MBT platoon gunnery simulators' and I'll believe you. Secondly, I've never claimed I got everything in my possession. I was specific when I said: Be it the T-72S or the T-80UD or the T-84 or the T-90S, ALL technical, operational and maintenance manuals for each of these MBTs have been drafted in English for sure, as I do have all of them in my possession". Maybe you find this hard to believe, but there are others other than your goodself who do take the trouble to acquire the resources reqd before reaching verifiable conclusions. And once again, I challenge you and everyone else to reproduce the Uralvagonzavod JSC-produced and researched 'MBT Combat Effectiveness Flowchart', which contains 15 major slides depicting how exactly the T-90S compares with its Western counterparts. Let us all see whether or not such information resources are biaised or not. It isn't that difficult, is it? Unless you haven't yet been able to lay your hands on this flowchart. Hmmmmmm....in which case you're just speculating in the dark, perhaps....

Vasiliy Fofanov said...

"Let's keep this really simple: show me any photos or brochures of 'MBT platoon gunnery simulators' and I'll believe you."

Well. I gave you the link to the manufacturer, including a page where they state flat out that they ARE producing such kits, I've seen their name in the government tenders, and their stands on the exhibitions - I am sorry but I am really disinclined to produce even more evidence at the moment. I consider my case made.

" Secondly, I've never claimed I got everything in my possession. I was specific when I said: Be it the T-72S or the T-80UD or the T-84 or the T-90S, ALL technical, operational and maintenance manuals for each of these MBTs have been drafted in English for sure, as I do have all of them in my possession"."

So, you did say "ALL", so once again how do you know? You have a Russian MoD year-by-year publication plan with every line crossed out, or what?

"Maybe you find this hard to believe, but there are others other than your goodself who do take the trouble to acquire the resources reqd before reaching verifiable conclusions."

Manuals are useful, but conclusions you are reaching are far beyond what any manual may say.

"And once again, I challenge you and everyone else to reproduce the Uralvagonzavod JSC-produced and researched 'MBT Combat Effectiveness Flowchart', which contains 15 major slides depicting how exactly the T-90S compares with its Western counterparts."

No, I don't have this one, though I've seen plenty like that in my life, so it's not exactly "speculating in the dark". But in any case,

" Let us all see whether or not such information resources are biaised or not. It isn't that difficult, is it? Unless you haven't yet been able to lay your hands on this flowchart. Hmmmmmm....in which case you're just speculating in the dark, perhaps...."

...so enlighten us already. What kind of attitude is that.

Anonymous said...

>> To Anon@4:12PM: Therefore, the lack of adequate info due to the language issue is not the problem here. So, don't go around spreading your false and delusional assumptions, especially in this blog, as it will backfire miserably. Now, whether or not you portray the above-mentioned 'facts' as heckling or impoliteness doesn't bother me at all. Discerning bloggers involved in cogent and coherent discourses will draw the correct conclusions, unlike you.


Prasun, this kind of combative, rude, unecessary attack is exactly why informed professionals like Vasiliy Fofanov and others may be turned away from your blog.

I am not insulting you but merely pointing out the truth which is you need to dial down your aggression, its counterproductive.

As adults we can debate in a civilized manner and register our disagreements with decorum.

Second, Vasiliy, is absolutely correct about some decisions made by the Indian Army being Kafkaesque - he used the term Kafka-ian. Ie surreal, out of Kafka. Many Indian Army officers will reel out a litany of such decisions made for no good reason, reversed by others and so on and so forth. Bureaucratic decision making is the bane of all large organizations.

Third,you keep saying T-90M MBT- unfortunately this designation is yet to appear in India. We are having so many issues productionizing the basis T-90S MBT itself thanks (partly) due to UVZ reneging on original contract, that a T-90M is a dream for now.

Fourth, translated manuals in English dont equate to the vast amount of material that comes out in Russian texts, articles, interviews and multimedia about their weapon systems. For what its worth, I wish I knew fluent Russian because it puts what we have in English far behind.

Its the issue here. Vasiliy is very well informed about Russian tank design, armour and even armament systems.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Vasiliy Fofanov: Now it is my turn to say that your posts are becoming annoyingly incoherent. Therefore, to make matters crystal clear, allow me to state the following:
1) Should you have any brochures or posters detailing the performance features, even briefly and in English, on MBT Platoon Gunnery Simulators (be it for the T-72 or T-80 or T-90) that have ALREADY been delivered or are in the process of delivery to either the Russian Army or other export customers, I will believe that within Russia there is an industrial base with a proven track record of having delivered such MBT-specific Platoon Gunnery Simulators.
2) Be it the T-72S or the T-80UD or the T-84 or the T-90S, ALL technical, operational and maintenance manuals directly related to these MBTs and produced during the period from 1995 to 2004 are in my possession. All such documentation was routinely and freely distributed by the joint marketing teams of Uralvagonzavod JSC and Rosoboronexport (preceded by Oboronexport and Rosvoorouzhenie) to prospective export customers in Southeast Asia (especially in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand) whenever they came calling to these countries for making marketing presentations on the 'techno-economic matrix' that would reportedly make the Russia-origin MBTs on offer the 'logical choice'. That was and continues to be the official marketing slogan for Rosoboronexport and Uralvagonzavod. And thanks to my extensive business dealings (in other business/product areas) I was and am in a position to lay my hands on such documentation. It's that simple and hopefully this will satisfy your curiosity. And to be very, very clear, I don't have any kind of access or need to have any kind of Russian MoD year-by-year publication plan with every line crossed out, as I prefer English language technical literature to their Russian language counterparts.
3) Lastly, I will upload the Uralvagonzavod JSC/Rosoboronexport-produced flowchart in the near future in my blog, you can rest assured. Then you could perhaps add this flowchart to yout list of several other flowcharts that you claim to have seen before, but mysteriously, are unable to reproduce even one of them. I wonder why! Could it be they would finally expose several of the dubious Russia-origin MBT-related design/performance claims that you've been making for the past few days? Never mind that, your answer can come AFTER I've uploaded the 15 flowchart slides.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@6:47AM: I fully agree with your sentiments and point-of-view regarding the need to keep emotions under control. No problems with that. But tell me this: what kind of informed professional will classify the BMS as 'just another black box'? What kind of informed professional will make outrageous statements equating the Arjun Mk1 with the T-90S and to make things worse, assert that (since) the designs of both the T-90S and Arjun are legacy (or Cold War era) designs. one might as well as go with the T-90S instead of the Arjun Mk1? What kind of informed professional is one who can't distinguish between knowledge-based warfare (whose almost total lack within the present-day Russian armed forces was openly and globally admitted to by no less a person than Dr Andrei Kokoshin) and estimates-based warfare of the type waged a year ago between Russia and Georgia? It is not just enough to make pronouncements on MBT designs and performance parameters in isolation, for one has to take into account an informed appreciation of an opponent's armoured war-waging capabilities as well as the area of operations, and this is exactly why the Indian Army has taken the path of introducing incremental enhancements for both the T-72 and the T-90S. I'll be the first to admit that over the past two decades several decisions made by the Indian Army have been Kafkaesque, but certainly not the type concerning the Russia-built AC for the T-90S. Any informed professional will think ten times before even relating or repeating such statements in the open domain for fear of the subsequent ridicule to follow.
As for translated manuals in English, these are the PRIMARY materials presented by Russia (and even by the erstwhile USSR) to any prospective customer three months before a face-to-face interraction (lasting for up to three days) between the exporter/OEM and the prospective end-user. These are not mere marketing brochures, and each such manual runs into more than 700 pages. Therefore, it will be unwise for anyone to grossly underestimate the wealth of data contained within such manuals. I hope you got the drift.

Vasiliy Fofanov said...

"but mysteriously, are unable to reproduce even one of them."

Given that I have already stated that in my opinion this is garbage, why would I want to keep even one of them? :)

"Never mind that, your answer can come AFTER I've uploaded the 15 flowchart slides."

Y'know, don't hold your breath...

"what kind of informed professional will classify the BMS as 'just another black box'?"

Every kind that's informed. From the point of view of vehicle upgrade that's what it is - a black box with a screen and keyboard, and a suite for secure high-bandwidth wireless communications that replaces the regular radio. I will even go as far as to say that a black box in question is usually just a PC running Windows. Which is the beauty of the concept. You can put the end node on everything. Or at least that's the BMS implementations that I know. Maybe what you have in mind is some kind of over-engineered dog that requires decades of planning to put anywhere...

"What kind of informed professional will make outrageous statements equating the Arjun Mk1 with the T-90S and to make things worse, assert that (since) the designs of both the T-90S and Arjun are legacy (or Cold War era) designs. one might as well as go with the T-90S instead of the Arjun Mk1?"

Ummm where did you read any of the above? All I remember saying is that Arjun won't give T-90-equiped IA the quantum leap (which in my book is not nearly the same as equating the two), and hence not worth fielding to compete with the tank that's *already* being fielded.

We Russians learned the hard way the questionable wisdom of mass parallel fielding of several incompatible MBT designs (even if the later is a bit better than the former), but if you want India to step on this rake too - hell, go ahead, who am I to stop you guys.

"What kind of informed professional is one who can't distinguish between knowledge-based warfare (whose almost total lack within the present-day Russian armed forces was openly and globally admitted to by no less a person than Dr Andrei Kokoshin) and estimates-based warfare of the type waged a year ago between Russia and Georgia?"

I hate to repeat myself but... Ummm where did you read any of the above? At which point in our incoherent discussion was I required to distinguish between the two and failed the test. I am bewildered. Searching the entire page for the word "Georgia" I only see it in the context of your bizarre claims as to the use of T-90s in that conflict.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

"a black box with a screen and keyboard, and a suite for secure high-bandwidth wireless communications that replaces the regular radio. I will even go as far as to say that a black box in question is usually just a PC running Windows. Which is the beauty of the concept. You can put the end node on everything. Or at least that's the BMS implementations that I know".
--------------------------
Dr Kokoshin was spot on...folks, especially the likes of you, do have a lot of catching up to do. Keep visiting this blog at your own peril and in-the-not-too-distant future you will learn how exactly the comparative tactical trials between the T-90S and Arjun Mk1 were conducted and what were the key performance goals of such trials. Until then, do take the trouble to do more research on BMS and network-centric warfare. And you were most definitely NOT required by anyone, including me, to distinguish between knowledge-based warfare and estimates-based warfare. How on earth could I even think of asking you to make the distinction when you don't even have a clue as to what the former constitutes, being as adept as you are in the latter (LoL!). Therefore, no surprises at all when you say: Arjun won't give T-90-equipped IA the quantum leap.

Vasiliy Fofanov said...

"Keep visiting this blog at your own peril"

I couldn't put it better if I wanted. You should put this as your motto.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Vasiliy Fofanov: It is, indeed. Lucky guess! That will in future deter those blessed with 'all-knowing wisdom'.

Anonymous said...

it looks to me from discussion here that india is in bad shape as PA has T-80UD ,AlKhalid,and is buying T-84 india is stuck with t-90S which is inferior to them. IA really needs arjun in thousands if they want any chance to do damage in quick succession

Anonymous said...

To An at 11:44^^^^

Dont worry mate and certainly dont get carried away from the heated discussions here. The T-90s is a much better match for Pakistan's reworked T-84s.

See Prasun really cannot bring himself ever to admit he is wrong hence he goes on compounding his mistakes. Dont worry be happy.

Anonymous said...

To Prasun K Sengupta

I'm afraid (well, not so afraid as completely sure) you keep on confusing different types of modern Ukrainian tanks and their design features.
1.All Ukrainian tanks armed with 125mm cannon and deriving more or less from T-80UD are equipped with T-80 type autoloader. This includes following models: T-80UD, T-84, T-84U (AKA T-84M, Kern, Oplot) and finally Oplot-M. It must be firmly pointed out, that despite its look, Oplot-M turret does not have internal ammo storage in the rear bustle. These are just externally mounted extra storages arranged in a way which gives this distinctive appearance to Oplot-M turret.
2.Ukrainians also developed T-84 version armed with 120mm gun firing standard NATO ammunition. This tank called T-84-120 (AKA Kern2-120 and Yatagan) participated in a Turkish new tanks procurement contest. Indeed T-84-120 has redesigned turret incorporating autoloader similar to Leclerc one and ammo storage in the turret rear bustle (22 rounds). The rest 18 rounds are placed in the chassis.
3.Ukrainians offer(ed) also different upgrade packages for T-72 consisting of new sets of additional ERA, new FCS, engines, etc. These are/were:
T-72AG – ERA, gun, FCS, powerpack same as of T-80UD/T-84
T-72MP (joint-venture with Czech company) – new feature is FCS Sagem SAVAN-15 including commander’s panoramic MVS-580 sight.
T-72-120 – new 120mm gun firing standard NATO rounds, new autoloader fed from the ammo storage in a turret rear bustle. This modernization was the result of cooperation between KMDB and GIAT and was intended as a pure export offer addressed mainly to NATO countries armed with T-72 tanks. Experience gained with T-72-120 became the basis for a T-84-120 development.

I also find your statement about Al-Khalid superiority over Indian T-90S strange. Al-Khalid commander’s sight - although panoramic - has no thermal channel. It has only NVD (image intensifier) built-in which has significantly shorter target detection range than gunner’s thermal sight. Because commander’s sight is integrated with gunner’s one, commander may have view from gunner’s thermal imager displayed on his monitor if he wants to increase his targets detection ability at night. Therefore Al-Khalid ‘hunter-killer’ capabilities are limited although they are typical for today tanks with just few exceptions. AFAIK Arjun is not one of them, is it?
There is also no solid base for thinking that Al-Khalid is better armoured than T-90S. It’s quite opposite in my opinion. Al-Khalid has the same autoloader as T-72, its Chinese copy to be exact.

As for PT-91M for Malaysia it has Sagem VIGY-15 panoramic commander’s sight but Browning M2 HMG is not remotely controlled. Commander has to lean out to fire it. Overall, PT-91M FCS is quite similar to that of T-72MP.

You have asked about possible improvements on Indian T-90S. Well, Object/Item 187SA (T-90SA) is the answer, but Vasiliy Fofanov has already written that.

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Anonymous said...

I'm a rather eager minnow in this entire debate, which, though heated, has been very informative. I took the chance to visit Mr. Fofanov's site as well and would like to ask the foll.:

@Mr. Fofanov: Your site says "It seems reasonable to assume that Omsk will face an uphill battle in bringing the tank to production. This is unfortunate as it is certainly an innovative design that brings some fresh air into the stagnating Russian tank design school.

The tank has the following important innovations compared to Soviet-school tanks:

* Stretched hull with 7 road-wheels per side, allowing to increase the thickness of the glacis armor array and move the driver's hatch farther to the rear thereby eliminating the weakened area around driver's optics present on Soviet tanks.
* The bustle-mounted high-capacity ammo magazine/autoloader that allows high rate of fire, fast automated ammo replenishment, eliminates main survivability issue with Soviet tanks, and reduces the height of the tank by 400mm compared to T-80U (allowing increased front armor density).
* Placement of the armament in a separate compartment with provisions for the installation of a wide range of different mainguns (up to 152mm) without the need for heavy redesign.
* Placement of each crewmember in a separate compartment, thereby limiting the crew casualties in case of penetration.
* Very sloped frontal armor with high degree of protection uniformity over a variety of angles.
* Thick turret roof with multilayered armor to counter top-attack threats.
(http://www.russianarmor.info/, section on the Black Eagle)

Given your admittance of the auto-loader's vulnerability, why are you not conceding the deficiency of the T-90?

Anonymous said...

@Vasily:

"The bustle-mounted high-capacity ammo magazine/autoloader that allows high rate of fire, fast automated ammo replenishment, eliminates main survivability issue with Soviet tanks, and reduces the height of the tank by 400mm compared to T-80U (allowing increased front armor density)."
(http://www.russianarmor.info/, Black Eagle section).

Do you agree that the autoloader is a weak spot of the T-90?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@1:49PM: It may well be strange, but it is true. You need to update your information-base on the existence of the number of thermal imagers on board the Al Khalid, all of which were clearly highlight at the IDEAS 2009 expo. After you examine the Al Khalid MBT up, close and personally you will undoubtedly change your view about that MBT. Seeing is believing, as they say.

Anonymous said...

To Anon-
Do you agree that the autoloader is a weak spot of the T-90?

The autoloader per se is not the week spot, the general ammo layout in T-90 is. Mechanized loadout is actually the least of problems, it's mostly the rest of ammo that is a concern. Steps required: placement of non-mechanized ammo in protected storage bins; fire-fighting equipment with reduced response time; and, last but not least, switch to insensitive propellant compositions. All this can (and should) be carried out on the existing design.

As far as bustle-mounted autoloader for T-90, like I said such a solution already exists, but it doesn't obviate any of the steps above. In fact its main attraction is getting rid of NON-mechanized storage in the fighting compartment, the rotary autoloader remains in use and is perfectly fine by itself.