Indian Arjun tank Mk.2
Chennai, Avadi. After 3 decades of design, Indian MBT "Arjun" practically reborn like a phoenix from the ashes, surprising even the most skeptical observers. In the past year, Arjun walked the T-72 and T-90 was in service with the Indian army, in tests in which participated the best crews and technicians.
FORCE magazine visited the Office of product research and development of combat vehicles (CVRDE) for the exclusive detailed review of the project. We've learned that Arjun Mk.2 significantly improved and more than a combat-capable tank than Arjun Mk-1, but once this is very heavy, and thus limits the makarom regions where it can be deployed Army. And that makes it inapplicable following the operational requirements of the Indian Army to the MBT. According P.Sivakumar, Director CVRDE, "Arjun weight prevents it from being deployed in all regions, required the Army."
With that in mind, enhanced ability to Arjun Mk.2 still seems to have put the Army in a problem situation. What to do with a tank that frisky, shoot on the move, relatively well protected, but very heavy to be deployed in the desert near the border with Pakistan as a substitute for the T-72 or T-90? How paradoxically, while the tank itself showed a higher speed and mobility, its weight does not allow him to serve where it will want Army. Arjun Mk.2 will weigh about 67 tons, and it is fatal restricts the operational efficiency of the tank in the Indian Army.
The tank is very heavy, to be deployed along the border with Pakistan. He was not able to pass on good terrain filled with natural and / or artificial obstacles or regions crossed by rivers and canals. This eliminates most of the places in Rajasthan, Punjab and the mountainous sector of J & K.
This forced the Army to find areas where Arjun may be harmless deployed and the area where the operational side will be able to be based. This may mean that Arjun will not fight with the T-90 and T-72. He also, of course, will not be part of the drum corps Indian Army, because he can just get caught up in unfamiliar terrain. This is contrary to the philosophy of tank units that are planned for mobile offensive operations deep in enemy terrain. Unlike the T-shek, who was airlifted to a great height, for example Leh, and even abroad, Arjun could not be airlifted transport aircraft Il-76 and C-130 J Indian Air Force. C-17 Globemaster, which will be introduced in the Indian Air Force (IAF) has the highest load capacity of 75 tons, which is insufficient to carry 67-tonne Arjun Mk.2 with associated accessories.
During the visit, a correspondent in CVRDE in Avadi in Tamil Nadu, it was evident that despite the best efforts of a very dedicated team of engineers and scientists, Arjun is unlikely ever to be ordered in significant quantities by the Indian army — which for operational plans need about 3,500 tanks. General orders Arjuna today are 240 cars (Mk.1 124 and 116 Mk.2). Bigger order will indicate the need for additional resources — which, apparently, of the Army do not want to.
As of cases to date, the first Arjun Mk.2 will go with the flow of the assembly at the factory languid Tc (NVF) in Avadi, after two and a half years (30 months) after placing your order. Himself order, may be issued by the end of the year and first Mk.2 tanks entered the service in 2016. HVF Avadi plans to create 30 tanks per year. So Makar, all 116 tanks will be delivered by 2020. If work on the production of MBT to Come (FMBT) will start right at the moment, the first tanks would be ready for service in about 2025. Until that time, Army, will do their tasks of T-90 tanks and upgraded T-72, which in any case have the necessary infrastructure for training, production and maintenance.
The main improvement in the Arjun Mk.2, is its ability to launch missiles from the gun barrel. This was demonstrated in 2004, LAHAT anti-tank company of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). But tank at that time did not have a built-in laser target tracking — Laser Target Tracker (LTT). This system is the current time in the terminating stage inspections and displayed to the operator. The Army also asked for more types of ammunition for Mk.2. Range includes missiles with thermobaric warhead, which will be developed in India. Thermobaric warhead make consistently superior and intense pressure and can be used against bunkers and fortifications, at the same time, causing little damage to the surrounding areas. The Army also asked the two types of practice rounds, as well as blank ammunition for ceremonial purposes. These shells will reduce barrel wear during exercise. In terms of protection, Mk.2 will have the full front of reactive armor (ERA), and because the consistency was desirable, the RS will have the same structure as the T-shkah. The organization of defense research and development, (DRDO) for a new explosive reactive armor pieces of equipment instead of Russian, which is done in order to get the best performance security. Newcomer to the interior parts of the DMZ is developed at the Research Laboratory of High-energetic Materials (HEMRL). These explosives will be used in the RS for Arjun tanks, T-90 and T-72. Active Protection System (APS), which posodeystvuyut avoid attacks as a method of cheating the enemy sensors (soft-kill), and by the physical destruction of warheads flying up (hard-kill) — will also be integrated into the Arjun Mk.2.
In this direction, for placement on the Arjun Mk.2 considered the Israeli system "Trophy". Also, the tank will be equipped with a plow (trawling means-GKh) to undermine the push-minute cantata and act. Driver seat Arjun Mk.2 the currently suspended from the roof. Compared to the fixed to the floor as Mk.1 — it provides the best anti-mine protection. Together with the DZ, with Mine plow weighing 3 tons and other anticipated additions MK.2 weight increase from 62 to 67 tons. The suspension has been newly redesigned to withstand loads up to 70 tons. To appease complaints Hassle wear track pads, new revised truck will have a larger toe length (19 mm), and the rollers are slightly larger. Truckee imported from Germany, but everything else in Russia. The engine on the Mk.2 will remain unchanged. With a unique propulsion system with Mk.1, obtained the maximum speed of 72 km / h For Mk.2 final drive has been changed due to the growth of gear from 4.4 to 5.3, and the highest rate is now down to 58.5 km / h, but the torque and traction available between the track and the surface was increased and can now be operated with inflated weight. Despite the increased weight, CVRDE that the speedup is better than Mk.1, with a similar fuel consumption.
Project Arjun Mk.2 also suffered a severe blow due to the unfortunate death of the Head Designer GK Kumaravel a few months back. Kumaravel died in a traffic accident in which he was Pokhran test Arjun Mk.2. He managed the project Arjun was planned that in the future he takes over as director of CVRDE. He played a major role in the development and integration of systems for MBT Arjun Mk II. The project is now Arjun will lead V. Balamurugan. The greatest discrepancy facing Arjun and virtually all other Russian projects, is an order for a small amount — which prevents investment in building and necessary machining equipment. Sivakumar said FORCE, that: "More crucial to the drop in prices, the establishment of the process, not the bad control device properties and consistency in production." It is also a prerequisite because of which, he says, the orders must necessarily exist. NVF plant did not create the MBT Arjun for 2-years and a lot of know-how were simply lost.
While officials in CVRDE they say that the Army is satisfied abilities Mk.1, FORCE magazine learned that the lack of spare parts is the same problem — the costs and requirements for spare parts were bolshennymi than expected. There have been complaints about the shoe wear, although officials CVRDE claim that it was caused by inexperienced drivers who are accustomed to the T-72 and T-90. 120-mm tank gun to substantiate its reliability in tanks series Mk.1, and now Arjun barrel has a larger share in comparison with T-shkami. There were some prepyadstviya with trunks on several tanks, according to officials CVRDE, committee reviews the case.
The process of obtaining spare parts takes a lot of time, because some agencies connected. Creating a more moderate amounts worsens the problem of. Sivakumar said the director of the magazine FORCE, what steps are being taken to address this prepyadstviya and "unlike Mk.1, with orders for the tanks themselves and Engineering Support Packages (ESP) have been treated separately, Arjun Mk.2 it will be made immediately. This will allow to reduce the time required to deliver the right parts. " According to him, the establishment was significantly better, and the Israeli company is currently working on the computerization of the production of the strip.
Meanwhile, the Indian Army is trying to keep an aging fleet of T-72. While the T-72 has been recognized as one of the best designs Russian tanks, aging tank fleet is now more and more difficult to maintain. The small size and cramped tower T-72 makes the integration of new technologies — such as for example the fire control system, night vision devices and other electronics — a very complex undertaking. Unfortunately, for the army, the T-90 was not such a brilliant star, as its predecessor. A huge number of failures came to the first plan, and HVF was boosted by the creation of a very leisurely pace to full scale production. Our homeland has also refused to transfer HVF metallurgical technologies associated with creating trunks and armor for T-90.
Despite all this, Arjun win over the T-90 and T-72 in comparative trials, akin to winning the light fighter "Tejas" over the F-16 in a dogfight! The parts that took part in the trial, presented their best tanks and crews. Arjun was able to show themselves very well. Army sources freely magazines they say FORCE, that those who serve in the T-shkah have sereotipy towards Arjun. But they also recognize that Arjun is noticeably more modern in comparison with the T-72 and T-90, in almost all respects. For example, the Arjun can shoot almost twice the number of shells own brain caliber than the T-patches.
Arjun Mk.2 almost everything is what Arjun Mk.1, might have been supposed to be. It is tragic that the total number of orders for Arjun over the next decade, hardly exceed 400 — 500 units, including 240 already on order, also other options such as armored recovery vehicles (ARRV), 130 mm self-propelled gun "Catapult" and a self-propelled chassis SP-155. The latest project is a tracked chassis, which had to be crossed with the Slovak instrument, in collaboration with Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML). This offer is already faced with his ninth shaft. It only remains to determine whether the Army will accept such Russian proposals or prefer to go over the limit for the purchase of a proven system that can be put into operation quickly and in significant quantities to halt an alarming decline in their own armored and artillery capabilities.
Which, however, clear is that the creation and development of the Arjun should be continued, but in this case, mission-critical design and manufacturing know-how will not be squandered. In principle, also keep a functioning production line by orders for repair, complete renovation and modernization, while the project MBT Coming (FMBT) is gaining momentum. With this in mind, it is entirely possible that the DRDO will be able to convince the Army to place multiple orders that will allow the creation of small-scale to continue. Very basically, that DRDO and the Army of the project spurred FMBT, to ensure that the fruits ripen at the time of the substitution of the T-72.
In general, armored forces Indian Army during 2015-2020 may consist of approximately 1,700 T-90S tanks, 1800-2000 modernized T-72M1 and Arjun 250-500. Naturally, the potential orders for FMBT, which at least could be 1000-1500 tanks are sufficient incentive in order to accept Arjun as a state project. This futuristic tank is unlikely to be less than 10.3 million dollars apiece — and the total number of orders would be worth 10 to 15 billion dollars.
Fists of Iron: Indian Main Battle Tank of the Future
If we want the project to develop the Russian MBT Coming (FMBT) of DRDO has been crowned with success, it must be given the status of state of the project. The success can be expressed in the smallest order for 1,000 tanks to start the substitution of T-72 of Indian Army in 2022.
Although more than possible that the FMBT will be ready to serve only about 2025. DRDO will be more than 10 years to make the first standards for testing, and then deploy the establishment of working versions of a couple of years later. While the estimated cost of 1 billion dollars may sound like a lot, the investment will okupleny repeatedly. Order by 1000 FMBT would cost 10 billion dollars (10.3 million with prices for one tank) for 2-3 decades. This will give a strong impetus to Russian companies 1st and 2nd level of cooperation involved in the program.
At the current time it is expected that it will be very mobile FMBT MBT in a class of 50-55 tons. It will include new technologies and modern materials to reduce weight, 120 mm smoothbore gun capable of firing rockets and most advanced ammunition, highest power engine (1800 hp) with a modern gearbox, suspension and chassis. It will include a high level of protection for the crew, through the use of the latest generation of active protection systems (APS) in addition to its armor protection. Will also provide the highest level of situational awareness of the crew, thanks to sensors, data links and the ability to operate in a networked battlefield.
Despite the fact that the Army asked the CVRDE to refrain from discussions about the project, it became clear that the work has already begun on the development of engines. And this is a good symbol for the entire project. It is interesting that companies like AVL Renk and refused to provide advice on the development of the engine. Development of 120mm smoothbore gun also provide their own prepyadstviya, from the standpoint of design and weight. Referring to the Israeli role in the Arjun project, it is entirely possible that the Israeli companies will play a major role
in the development of FMBT.
CVRDE acquired significant experience in the design and development thanks to Arjun tanks and modernization Mk.2. Design of 50-ton tank with features demanded ones Army, will be a very difficult task. But many of the pieces FMBT likely to be Russian, such as power plant, suspension and chassis, 120 mm smoothbore gun, panels integrated dynamic protection, communication equipment and data. Prerequisites or co-production, or production license for night sights, target acquisition and fire control systems, etc. will also have been made at the time.
Interview with the Director of CVRDE, physician Sivakumar
"In real time, the Army decided to purchase 118 Arjun tanks instead of 124 Mk.2"
— What is the status of the project Arjun Mk.2 in the current time?
Arjun Mk.1 received a total of 89 improvements and challenges the Army decided to call him Arjun Mk.2. 89 These improvements were made not only with the problems that we encountered on the Arjun tank Mk.1, and to please the future needs of the Army. At the current time, the army decided to purchase 118 Arjun Mk.2 tank, not 124. This is the result of a policy that provides for the future reduction Bronetankov Regiments provision for three tanks. So Makar, two shelf Arjun Mk.2 will have on less than 6 tanks. The final decision about 118 tanks is almost terminating stage. Army stated that it will accept a solution that satisfies their Arjun Mk.2 whether or not, only after the tests, which began last month and is expected will last two to three months to be completed. OFB plant will need 30 months (2.5 years) from the date of placing the order, to the first batch of Arjun Mk.2, which will be delivered to the Army. Mk.2 introduce an all that we have learned, fighting neuvvyazkami by Arjun Mk.1, to manufacture, combat effectiveness, properties, etc. CVRDE seeks to provide a solution to all problems encountered in the Mk.1 and declares that they will not be repeated in the Mk.2. On the basis of the project Mk.2, we formed a committee under the title of the Central Committee of Arjun, which will be every month to see the progress of the project Arjun Mk.2. All intrigued by hand, starting with the DRDO, Directorate General Assurance Properties (DGQA), Corps of Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME), and nick are in the Committee, and we got the best support of all stakeholders.
-What are the major changes in the Arjun Mk.2?
Arjun Mk.2 as a result of the new additional requirements on the part of the customer, will be increased from 62 to 67 tons of weight. This will happen in the main due to the growth of the width of the tracks, picking Mine plow installation on the front of the chassis and on the Dynamic Tower Defense. Once these two requirements have added to the weight of three tons of Arjun Mk.1. Together with other additions expected Mk.2 reaches 67 tons. After researching the power plant (with MTU engine Transmissions RENK), we decided that it is perfectly suited to test the Indian desert. Along with the improvement of air cleaning and cooling system, we made this evenly engine and box all the more strong and more than in recent years. So Makar, we assured the customer that the same power plant, with a high gear ratio in the box, and can be applied to Arjun Mk.2. This was confirmed by the Army in the last year when we drove 1350km with a modified engine and modeling of weight up to 66 tons. To demonstrate to the customer, the method of modernization and the introduction of 53 improvements we have made P-1 — Arjun Mk.2 layout. This tank has participated in trials in the summer of last year, which lasted almost two weeks, in 46 degree heat criteria. We have improved and suspension — that provide such a resource for all components, regardless of the increased weight of the tank. For the introduction of this latest suspension, we have designed a new building for the Arjun Mk.2.
Mk.2 version now can fire missiles, it was not likely to Mk.1. We have substantiated the possibility of upgrading tanks Lahat missiles. At this point, we integrate it in the Mk.2. In addition, the Mk.2 will own remote-controlled weapons in the tower. In Mk.1, to control this weapon is required to charge left the armored place. Mk.2 will have improved commander's panoramic sight with night vision, the ability to "hunter-killer" the ability of the commander, gunner and loader. Just Mk.2 will have an auxiliary power unit (APU), which is absent in T-shek. Its capacity was increased from 4.5 kW to 8 kW to more Mk.2. So we have a digital communication system, modern navigation systems etc. We increment the track width to make sure that the ground pressure will remain the same, despite the increase in mass.
-What is the status of the Arjun Mk.1 at the current time?
Arjun Mk.1 received an order for 124 cars. Two Shelf equipped 45 Arjun tanks each. This is the 43rd Armored Regiment and the 75th Armoured Regiment in Jaisalmer. Arjun is now in service in full in terms of these 2-regiments. The balance of 34 tanks will be used to please the demands of the Armies BRIC and they are spread out between the Corps of Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME), the Military Reserve, Training Centers, DRDO / DGQA etc. HVF Avadi plant sent 116 Arjun Mk.1 tanks. The other eight tanks will be delivered within the next five to six months. Most of the parts for the MBT Arjun have been spent in the different tests. At the current time, we are working to ensure the availability of new parts. There is another part of the Engineering Support Package (ESP) for the Arjun, which contains spare parts, training and tutorials. This is done concurrently. If we talk about the project Arjun Mk.1, we can say that it is complete by about 90 percent.
-What is the price applets to this day?
Each Arjun Mk.1 is a little more than 4.1 million dollars. Each Arjun Mk.2 with all the improvements will cost about 7 million dollars. The price of all programs from Arjun Mk.1 is estimated at 74 million dollars. With these funds, we made 11 prototypes and 15 series tanks, the most experienced and necessary spare parts. This includes the costs for the creation of a production of the strip. Also, we are considering several options on the platform Arjun, such as for example armored recovery vehicles (ARRV), which is close to the end. We are also considering the idea of using the chassis Arjuna for the installation of a Russian 130mm guns "Catapult", which was previously mounted on the chassis Vijayanta. We will also fight in the tender Indian Army on the self-propelled, tracked guns. Coupled with the company Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML), we want to offer the installation of the Slovak 155mm howitzer on the chassis of Arjuna. Yet we did bridgelayer based on the tank Arjun (BLT), but the Army says that it may not be necessary. Price of the tank will certainly go down if we get more orders. It will also help reduce imported from other countries make up. Mk.1 is almost 60 per cent of the imported devices and although much has been made to increase the properties of the tank, the share of imports in the Mk.2 version remains so well. Since the order is small, no foreign company is not ready to propose the transfer of technology (ToT). I feel that if Mk.2 receive an order for 4 Shelf, the percentage of imported devices can be reduced up to 43 percent and then can go down and up to 25 percent if the orders in general difficulties will be located on the staffing of 6 Regiments. The cost of the actual cycle Arjun tank will be much cheaper than other tanks. The project will also offer numerous improvements as the rest of the Russian modernization programs armored vehicles for the army.
(Journalist Atul Chandra is a correspondent of the magazine FORCE in Bangalore in defense and aerospace fields. This material will appear in August 2012 and is used with the permission of the publication. All texts and photos razlyubezno Pro