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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Arjun Mk2 MBT Emerges






For all intents and purposes, the Arjun Mk2 main battle tank (MBT)—currently under development since mid-2007--will be more expensive and have a higher imported content than its predecessor, the Arjun Mk1. But in terms of mobility, protection and firepower, the Mk2 variant will come closest to what Indian Army HQ wants: an MBT with highly enhanced crew protection and maximum survivability in high-intensity, fire-saturated combat environments. To achieve this, the Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO) Avadi-based Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE) has roped in both Israel Military Industries (IMI) and Elbit Systems of Israel, with the former being responsible for improving the existing Arjun Mk1’s design plus mobility and fuel consumption, redesigning and modifying the various components of the MBT’s hull and turret, and providing consultancy for improving production-line processes. Elbit Systems, on the other hand, will enhance the MBT’s firepower and its accuracy, and provide survivability systems and air-conditioning hardware. The existing Arjun Mk1 MBT, which was formally inducted into the Army’s 75 Armoured Regiment on March 12, comes powered by a MTU 838Ka-501 diesel engine (rated at 1,400hp) coupled to a RENK RK-304A transmission, and can achieve a maximum speed of 70kph (43mph) and a cross-country speed of 40kph (25mph). A total of 124 Mk1 variants are on order, and will be followed by 124 Mk2 variants, which were ordered by Army HQ on May 17 last year. The Arjun Mk2 will incorporate a total of 93 upgrades, including 13 major improvements. Rollout of the first prototype will take place by this June, and by 2013, the first 30 production-standard Arjun Mk2s will roll out from the Avadi-based, Ministry of Defence-owned Heavy Vehicles Factory (HVF).

Work on developing the Arjun Mk2 began in the second half of 2007 soon after joint R & D contracts were inked between the CVRDE and the consortium of IMI and Elbit Systems. On October 31 that year, the CVRDE floated domestic and global expressions of interest for the co-development of a 1,500hp compact high specific power output diesel engine incorporating a state-of-the-art direct fuel injection system, digital electronic controls, turbo-charging, charge air cooling, safety controls and a pressurised multi-stage air-cleaning system; and for a hydro-kinetic automatic transmission with four forward and two reverse gears. Respondents to the CVRDE included Finland-based Wartsila (offering its V8X-1500 1,500hp hyperbar diesel engine coupled with either SESM of France’s ESM-500 transmission or US-based Detroit Diesel Allison’s X-1100-3B transmission), US-based General Dynamics Land Systems offering the EuroPowerPack comprising MTU of Germany's MT-883 engine along with RENK's HSWL-295TM transmission, UK-based Perkins proposing its CV12 Condor diesel engine coupled to the ESM-500 transmission, and US-based Cummins offering a customised QSK-38 liquid-cooled, direct-injection engine coupled to the ESM-500. In late 2009, a combination of the QSK-38/ESM-500 powerpack was selected as the winner, following which Cummins India began customising this powerpack design. The ESM-500 automatic transmission, with five forward and two reverse gears, contains a planetary gearbox with shifting, steering and braking systems. It is also equipped with a hydrodynamic steering system, which allows different turning radii depending on engine speed and selected gear. The braking system contains of two stages. As a parking brake and for a speed of up to 35kph air cooled disk brakes are used. At higher speeds a retarder is used. In addition, the transmission is equipped with a power takeoff for the cooling fans of the powerpack. Also, a hydrokinetic retarder can slow the MBT down at a decelleration rate of 7 metres/square second (0.7g), which can be very useful at the last moment before it could be hit. Supplementing this powerpack will be an indigenously developed auxiliary power unit (APU), which will provide power when the MBT is on ‘silent watch’ for battery recharging and night observation, with full systems operating while the main engine is shut down.

For ensuring MBT survivability, the Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL)—located in Kanchanabagh, Hyderabad—has developed a Mk2 variant of its Kanchan modular armour, which was made by sandwiching composite panels (ceramic, alumina, fibre-glass and nickel-alloy) between rolled homogenous armour (RHA) plates to defeat APFDS or HEAT rounds. At the same time, the DRDO’s Pune-based Composites Research Centre (CRC) and the Research and Development Establishment, Engineers [R & D E(E)], have developed multi-layered multi-functional fibre-reinforced polymer (FRP) composite hull/turret sub-structures at much lower weights in comparison with metallic counterparts. More than 40 per cent weight savings over steel hull structures have been achieved. Also developed for the Arjun Mk2 is co-cured composites integral armour (CIA), which comprises ceramic tiles and rubber sandwiched between two FRP composites layers. While the outer FRP composite layer acts as a cover and provides confinement, the ceramic layer provides primary protection against ballistic impact, and the inner FRP composite layer acts as the structural part as well as secondary energy absorbing mechanism. The rubber layer isolates stiff and brittle ceramic tiles from structural member.

The CVRDE, with IMI’s help, has also redesigned the Arjun Mk1’s turret to incorporate modular sloped armour fittings, and has developed a slat-armour package to protect the MBT against anti-tank rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) attacks. It functions by placing a rigid barrier around the vehicle, which causes the shaped-charge warhead to explode at a relatively safe distance. For protecting the Arjun Mk2 against tandem-charge RPGs and guided anti-tank missiles, the CVRDE and IMI have co-developed a lightweight non-energetic reactive armour (NERA) package, comprising tiles in which two metal plates sandwich an inert liner, such as rubber. When struck by a shaped-charge’s metal jet, some of the impact energy is dissipated into the inert liner layer, and the resulting high-pressure causes a localised bending or bulging of the plates in the area of the impact. As the plates bulge, the point of jet impact shifts with the plate-bulging, increasing the effective thickness of the armour.

For ensuring fool-proof protection against new-generation anti-armour guided-missiles, the Arjun Mk2 will incorporate both multi-threat warning sensors and an active protection system (APS). The former, supplied by Elbit Systems, comprises four E-LWS sensors that can detect, categorise and pinpoint laser sources, including rangefinders, designators, beam-riders, and infra-red illuminators. E-LWS also enables direction indication for all threats, as well as audio and visual warnings. It is immune to reflection, gunfire, lightning, fire and self-electro-optical operations. The Iron Fist APS, being supplied by IMI, uses two fixed radar sensors to detect potential threats and measures distance and trajectory for providing the APS’ fire-control system (FCS) with data for calculation of engagement plans. The FCS uses two ELTA Systems-built conformal, distributed radars and an infra-red sensor called Tandir, developed by Elbit Systems. When a threat is identified as imminent, an explosive projectile interceptor is launched toward it from either of the two twin-tube rotating launchers housing fin-stabilised launch cannisters. The interceptor, shaped similar to a small mortar bomb, is designed to defeat the threat even when flying in very close proximity. Iron Fist can handle multiple targets simultaneously with different intercept methods, including multiple countermeasures fired at two simultaneous threats at the same sector. Unlike other systems, the Iron Fist uses only the blast effect to defeat the threat, crushing the soft components of a shaped-charge or deflecting and destabilising the guided-missile or kinetic rod in their flight. The interceptor is made of combustible materila, and is fully consumed in the explosion. Without the risk of shrapnel, the Iron Fist APS thus provides an effective, close-in protection for MBTs operating in dense, urban environment. Finally, a mobile camouflage system has been developed and integrated into the Arjun Mk2 in collaboration with Sweden’s Barracuda Camouflage Ltd to reduce the vehicle’s signature against all known sensors and smart munitions.

For enhancing structural survivability and firing accuracy, the Arjun Mk2 will do away with the existing electro-hydraulic turret control system (which is susceptible to impact damage and can cause a fire hazard) and will instead use a totally electronic modular electric gun and turret drive stabilisation (EGTDS) system supplied by Elbit Systems. The EGTDS uses azimuth/elevation motor drives with extremely rapid response time, low-voltage power, stabilised modes of operation, and manual back-up drives in both elevation and traverse. A motor drive-control unit transforms the power supply into two 3-phase systems. These supply and control the servo motors for alignment, stabilisation and slave mode of the turret/wea­pon according to the input signals of the sensors, control handles and active sight. The system assures increased safety since it eliminates the need for the hazardous, highly flammable hydraulic fluids. In addition, it offers smooth tracking at all speeds for very heavy turrets and guns and at extreme turret gun positions, while low power consumption leads to low infra-red signature as well as low-noise levels.

The Arjun Mk2 will also incorporate a brand-new Elbit-designed Commander’s panoramic sight (CAPS)--a dual axis stabilised line-of-sight, remote-operated, periscopic system for independent target acquisition, battlefield surveillance and main gun firing in a ‘hunter-killer’ auto-track mode. The CAPS will use a SAGEM-built Matis-STD thermal imager that operates in the 3-5 micron bandwidth, while the gunner’s sight will employ a THALES-built Catherine-FC thermal imager (operating in the 8-12 micron bandwidth. The Arjun Mk2’s turret will also housed an integrated battle management system (BMS) designed by Elbit Systems (and licence-built by Bharat Electronics Ltd), which provides rapid communications networking between the tactical tank commander and his subordinate units. It will enable the tank commander to plan missions, navigate, and continuously update situational awareness. The system will also record data for operational debriefing by using a digital data recorder, which will record and restore sight images and observation data collected during missions. This data can be shared with other elements, using the same network with the BMS, to report enemy targets. Such a concept is rapidly becoming an essential part of the digitised land forces integrated battlefield concept, combining MBTs, anti-armour teams, and attack helicopters in combined arms operations.

The Arjun Mk2’s loader will be able to load the 120mm rifled-bore main gun from a fully automated, fire-proof magazine, which will accommodate up to 10 ready rounds and deliver up to four types of ammunition types to the loader. In  addition to APFSDS and HESH rounds, the Arjun Mk2 will make use of IMI-built APAM munitions designed to neutralise—especially in urban built-up terrain--tank-killer squads lurking with lethal anti-tank weapons. The APAM uses the proven concept of anti-personnel munitions based on controlled fragmentation. It deploys sub-munition shrapnel at defined intervals, covering a wide lethal area against soft targets. Each fragment is shaped to have enough kinetic energy to penetrate conventional body armour, or other materials. Also going on board the Arjun Mk2 is the laser-guided LAHAT anti-armour/anti-helicopter round, whose Israel Aerospace Industries-built target designator will be integrated with the MBT’s fire-control system. The tandem warhead-equipped LAHAT has a range of 8km when launched from a ground platform, and up to 13km, when deployed from high elevation. The missile has a 0.7 metre CEP when hitting its target at an angle of 30 degrees. Using the semi-active laser homing guidance method, LAHAT can be designated by the MBT’s gunner or through external designation from ground, mobile, or airborne observers. Firing the round requires minimal exposure in the firing position, and can be directed through the CAPS by only maintaining line--of-sight during missile flight. The missile’s trajectory can be preselected for either top attack (against MBT) or direct attack (against helicopter) engagement.

For improving crew comfort, the Arjun Mk2 will incorporate an Elbit Systems-supplied individual crew and equipment cooling system (ICECS), while will provide cooled and dried air from a special air conditioner to air-cooled overalls or vests. The air will naturally cool the upper torso of each crewman. Also being acquired from Elbit through a transfer-of-technology agreement for the MBT crew are regular/fire-resistant air-cooled overalls, NBC protected air-cooled overalls, and air-cooled compact vests. As for tank tracks, the Arjun Mk2 will, just like the Mk1, make use of Germany-based Diehl Remscheid’s DST 570V tracks, whose basic components, like the track links, sprocket wheels, guide wheels, running rollers, support rollers, running pads, traction aids, connectors, bolts, mono block-body with integral centre guide, rubberised track pads, and grouser, are all being licence-built by Larsen & Toubro.

Canada-based CAE’s Bengaluru-based CAE India Pvt Ltd subsidiary is presently designing a comprehensive suite of Arjun Mk2 MBT training systems to enhance its combat effectiveness by offering systematic training in a real-time environment through advanced simulation techniques. Earlier, in 2009 CAE India Pvt Ltd had delivered the initial suite of Arjun Mk1 training systems to efficiently and cost-effectively train the driver, gunner and commander. CAE’s suite of Arjun Mk1 training systems currently offers standalone training for the driver and gunner; turret-level training for the gunner and commander; integrated MBT-level training for the gunner, commander and driver; and troop-level training by networking Arjun Mk1 simulators to rehearse troop tactics, movement and joint operations. The Arjun Mk1’s driver trainer provides ab-initio driving and procedural training to individual drivers. Mounted on a six degree-of-freedom (DoF) motion platform, the driver trainer emulates the MBT’s interior cabin with all driver station controls. CAE is also developing a desktop-based Arjun classroom trainer for procedural and familiarisation training. CAE has also developed a comprehensive suite of Arjun Mk1 gunnery training devices to train personnel as they develop gunnery skills and rehearse for target identification, tracking, lasing, and firing drills. CAE’s suite of gunnery trainers includes two separate types and levels of training devices. The desktop gunnery procedures trainer, also called the Agastya simulator, supports initial training in handling the gunner station and firing procedures. The trainee uses MBT-specific controls just like in the actual MBT for familiarisation and procedural training. The turret simulator replicates the interior of the gunner’ and commander’ stations of the MBT. Mounted on a six-DoF motion platform, the turret simulator features a 220-degree by 40-degree open-hatch visual display to provide trainees with the high-fidelity visual cues required for gunnery training.

All Arjun Mk1 training systems can be networked to provide initial and continuation training to the commanders, gunners and drivers at the individual-, crew-, and troop-levels. Along with developing individual skills, the driver and turret simulators create a team environment to support the development of crew teamwork, coordination and tactical skills, decision-making and planning, and crew communications. Through effective training and rehearsal of these skills, the crew can thus improve its proficiency in working as a team and as part of an entire troop during combat operations. The MBT training systems include CAE’s Medallion-6000 visual system with a detailed and realistic external environment view of actual MBT operations, sound simulation system that produces sounds heard during MBT operations and in synchronisation with the motion and visual cues in the training device, simulation host system for software management and software sub-systems that simulate MBT behaviour in real-time operations, content rich geo-specific databases, instructor stations to conduct training exercises and offer evaluation solutions, interface electronic units (IEU) that provide links between MBT crew controls and simulation software, and networking to connect the Arjun Mk1 driving and turret simulators. The training systems provide instructors with an intuitive, easy-to-use interface that enables the set-up of lesson parameters and trainee exercises, monitoring of the progress of the exercise, and full exercise control. The instructor can select the scenario (including target designation), insert malfunctions, and record and replay the exercise. Furthermore, the instructor is able to access the same views as the trainee, such as control of own and enemy tracks. Gunner’s training exercises can be conducted both in plains and desert terrain to include bore sighting, calibration, static tank to static target, static tank to moving target, moving tank to static target, moving tank to moving target, and moving tank to moving target firing practices. The Arjun Mk1 training systems can also be fitted in air-conditioned ISO containers that can be easily transported to different training locations or in-theatre. They can also be modified with minimum adjustments for use with any infantry combat vehicle (ICV) gun, self-propelled artillery , present day tank guns and normal field artillery. The DRDO, meanwhile, has developed a software package called Visualisation with Enhanced Digital Elevation Model and Soil Profile Analysis for MBT Arjun Simulator (VEDSAR) to simulate the MBT’s performance in different kinds of terrain. It uses data from ISRO’s Cartosat-1A remote-sensing satellite, and is helping in building a new project named Vehicular Interaction with Soil for Trafficability Assessment and Route-decision Aid (VISTAR), which will provide the Army with information on the shortest possible distance between two points, and the kind of obstacles present on the terrain.—Prasun K. Sengupta

39 comments:

Nava said...

It's great to see you posting again, Prasun.

Indranil said...

Hi Prasun! Nice to see u start your blog again.
What is indigenous in the Arjun Mk2 except for the armour and the main gun?

Anonymous said...

Wow!

How it compares with latest models of
Abram or/and Leopard etc.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Nava: It too is great hearing from you again! Was wondering when you would chip in. Am mighty glad you finally did.

To Indranil: Hi! Many thanks. Actually, companies like TATA Power SED and TATA Advanced Materials have made some pioneering contributions in terms of designing and supplying electrical wiring harnesses and composites-based modular armour panels. CAE India's role in developing the software package for the Arjun Mk1's networked gunnery simulator is also noteworthy. The comms package and the BMS architecture too is Indian. Lastly, it was Cummins India that helped the CVRDE redesign the Arjun Mk2's hull-section housing the new powerpack and is actively participating in te on-going powerpack validation/certification programme.

To Anon@1AM: That will be known, I guess, once the Arjun Mk2 and Singapore's visiting Leopard 2A4s take part in the annual joint exercises in Rajasthan in the not-too-distant future.

Anonymous said...

Hi Prasun sir, after long time seeing you. Thanks for the informative articles.

Can you pls shed some light in the new AESA radar 'Medium Power Radar' MPR developed by DRDO and deployed by IAF? May be with a pic. Thanks.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon Above: Who told you that the AESA-based MPR has been developed by the DRDO? What you ought to realise is that whenever the DRDO finishes developing any product that is due to enter production, both the DRDO and the MoD will issue official statements identifying the product and the concerned DPSU that will produce it. Next, on the eve of this product being handed over to the end-user/operator, the MoD or DPSU issues another official statement. Now, as you may be aware, there's been no such announcement as yet from either the DRDO or the MoD/DPSU about any AESA-based MPR. Therefore, one has to therefore conclude that the first four of 18 MPRs being deployed by the IAF is the EL/M-2082 ADAR radar from IAI's ELTA Systems subsidiary. The 19 low-level transportable radar (LLTR) being inducted by the IAF is a combination of the Aslesha and Bharani. In addition, there are 30 Rohini 3-D CAR now being produced by BEL for the IAF. The high-power radar is the ELTA-supplied EL/M-2083 aerostat-mounted radar. For the LRSR reqmt the EL/M-2288 AD-STAR from ELTA and THALES-built Ground Master 400 have been shortlisted.

NJS said...

Return of the dragon, welcome back prasun its nice to see u again in blog .

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

Many thanks, NJS.

Nava said...

Was in too much of a hurry to ask anything substantial yesterday, so I'll have a go now:

When you write that the Iron Fist APS has been selected, do you mean that a contract has been signed and everything? Because if so, that would mark quite a milestone: the first export order (AFAIK) for an Israeli APS. And exporting these systems is essential from an Israeli standpoint. Also, how does this extensive cooperation with IMI
square with the constant reports that it is being\will soon be backlisted? BTW, that's what's holding up the merger with Rafael, if recent media reports are to be believed...

Thnaks

Anonymous said...

Hi Prasun,

Why did DRDO go in for a rifled gun to a smooth bore?. Other than the challenger, isn't it that no other top of the line battle tank uses it?

I am not saying it is a bad idea but what could have been their line of thinking in going for something so vastly different from what the best currently use.

Also will the weight of this tank be brought a bit lowere compared to MK1.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Nava: Yes, a contract has indeed been signed for installation of the Iron Fist APS on the Arjun Mk2 MBT. As for the blacklisting drama, the media in India is getting mixed up between IMI and IWI--it is the latter that was involved in a controversy in India involving procurement and licence-production of the Tavor family of SLRs and SMGs for India's paramilitary forces (that contract has since gone to Berretta).
During the Aero India 2011 expo IMI was in fact highlighting the Iron Fist APS (surprisingly, at an aerospace expo) and tucked away in a corner of the IMI booth right at the bottom of the wall was a small poster highlighting IMI's industrial tie-ups regarding the Arjun MBT. IMI at the expo also showed a scale-model of the T-90S MBT fitted with Iron Fist and is also offering it for upgraded T-72M MBTs of the Indian Army, as per another small poster tucked away insignificantly at the esame expo.
As for IMI's merger with RAFAEL, I'm afraid I'm in the dark about this, although I will welcome such a merger for obvious reasons.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@4.18PM: The 120mm rifled-bore gun stays on the Arjun Mk2. As to why it was chosen over the smoothbore type, there are always pros and cons, but in the Indian context where MBT versus MBT engagements on the battlefield will take place within a visibility range of not more than 2km (purely due to prevailing terrain conditions), the rifled bore gun will more than suffice. The weight of the Arjun Mk2 will also stay the same. There's no need to lower it as the 1,500hp powerpack is now available from Cummins India to compensate for the additional weight of the front hull-mounted mine-ploughs.

Anonymous said...

Hi Prasun, Is there any update on the number of Pinaka mrbl produced till date and how many more numbers are planned. Also is there any project to increase its range or make it more effective.
I read somewhere where you had written that the rockets of pinaka mrbl will be modified for air launced, is there any progress on the same.

Anonymous said...

Also how long will they take to decide on the LUH winner.

Anonymous said...

Hi Prasun, what is your view on the recently missile test which pakistan carried out ( the Nasr missile - 60 km). Do you think this is the derivative of the chinese WS2 system.

Also do we have an effective system to tackle the threat from such missile's.

Can you please provide photos and analysis of india buying beretta mx4 storm. What is the number of units planned to be purchased. Will the technology be transferred to india.

Anonymous said...

Hi Prasun,
US selected trophy and we are going for iron fist. Which one is better ???

Also you said we don't need to reduce weight as power of engine is increased but we have to consider ground pressure, which will be increased...

You said : That will be known, I guess, once the Arjun Mk2 and Singapore's visiting Leopard 2A4s take part in the annual joint exercises in Rajasthan in the not-too-distant future.
Are you saying that during summer trials we will fielding arjun mk2 against Singapore's Leopard 2A4s in June for tests ???/

Also it is said in the article that Arjun mk2 turret has been redesigned with IMI's help??/ Can you tell how it looks like now ?? I mean is their a drastic change like markava or like leopard ?? Also was it really necessary as mk1 turret was assumed to be very strong ??

Is the third pic from top is that of arjun mk2 ?? If not can you please post the pic of arjun mk2 for your fans ???

Lastly, are there reports of any change in the maximum speed of mk2 ?/ ( Mk1 had maximum speed of around 70kmph and a cross-country speed of 40kph)

Anonymous said...

P Sengupta 8:55,

Thanks for the info. Actually its SW command chief stated recently that IAF got the MPR radar and operationalising it. I thought it is the same AESA based MPR that DRDO developing because it has the same 300+ km range.

BTW did you got any pic of Arjun mk II? which tank it is in the third photo?

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@6.26PM: I don't have any specific updates on the Pinaka MBRL programme. The range stays at 37.5km. ARDE is now working on a 120km-range 300mm MBRL whose design is influenced by the Smerch-M MBRL presently in service with the Indian Army. The air-launched anti-armour missile derived from the Pinaka rocket was meant to be used by the re-engined and upgraded MiG-27Ms. Now, with the MiG-27M upgrade being postponed, work on the air-launched anti-armour missile derived from the Pinaka rocket has slowed down, but R & D work continues and is on-going.

To Anon@7.08PM: Your guess is as good as mine, although it will be fair to presume that Eurocopter's AS.550C3 Fennec is the only serious frontrunner.

Anon@8.44PM: The Hatf-9/Nasr is NOT the WS-2 MBRL as speculated at http://china-defense.blogspot.com/
It is actually the P-20 precision-guided surface-to-surface battlefield support missile, developed by China's ALIT. How to defend against it? Indian Army's Corps of Air Defence Artillery should go for the Barak-2/8 LR-SAM. The solution already exists since it was always known that Pakistan will eventually go for ballistic missile systems like the P-20 or B-611M or BP-12A equipped with tactical nuclear warheads. What is also known by India is that Pakistan will soon begin replacing the M-18/Shaheen-2 IRBM (which has not yet been inducted into service) with the DF-21B system. You will be able to read more about all of this in the May 2011 issue of FORCE.
Regretably, small arms is not exactly my forte.

Anonymous said...

I hate to be anonymous. Anyway, why did not you post for a longtime. We really missed your blog for a long time. Welcome back! Do keep posting about the developments in the field. Please don't stop.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon Above: Many thanks. Had to go AWOL from the blogosphere in order to complete a turnkey military-industrial project on time and on schedule. Will attempt to do a write-up about it sometime in future.

Rajat said...

No sir! DRDO working on many other AESA radars including MPR, LLTR, LRTR-2 etc etc. Keep yourself updated.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

I'm more than willing to keep myself updated through any kind of proof you may be able to provide to substrantiate your assertion about "DRDO working on many other AESA radars including MPR, LLTR, LRTR-2 etc etc.". Just don't say 'etc etc' to drive home your point. Instead, provide specific imagery/data. If you could provide photos or reproduce DRDO-produced literature showing photos of such products under development, they will be welcomed by all, not just me.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@3.34AM: Both are good. Iron Fist if I'm not mistaken has already been ordered by the IDF's ground forces, while the LEDS-150 from Saab is now in delivery for the Indian T-90S MBTs.
The Arjun MBT's original mobility performance specs had called for the 1,500hp powerpack to power a MBT weighing 61 tons. The ground pressure figures given by the DRDO for the Arjun Mk1 still stand for the Mk2 as well. Without the mine-plough the weight is 58 tons. There have been some overall weight reductions achieved through the employment of composites-built structures internally, but this has been offset by up-armouring the hull and turret with NERA panels and with the turret's sloped modular armour panels. But overall, there are adverse no weight/mobility penalties.
The Arjun Mk2 will by this June be in the same training range where the Singaporean Leopard 2A4 MBTs will be and in all likelihood an opportunity will likely arise when the mobility and firepower of the two MBTs could be subjected to a certain degree of comparison. What I'm saying is that there no formalised agreement to pit the two MBTs against each other, but rather to seize upon the opportunity of a chance encounter between the two MBTs when they're both at the same location.
The Arjun Mk2's turret has not been drastically redesigned and all it now sports is the kind of sloped frontal and side modular armour panels of the kind seen on the Leopard 2A6. The turret design of the Mk1 had vulnerability issues with regard to 125mm APFSDS rounds using KE penetrators made of DU.
The 3rd pix from the top is not that of the Arjun Mk2. It is an Israeli tracked APC. CVRDE at this point does not want to release any photos of the Arjun Mk2, but will do so once the first prototype completes its first round of mobility trials. The max and cross-country speeds of the Mk2 will be the same as that of the Mk1.

To Anon@6.21AM: To date, the only AESA-based radars with which the DRDO is involved are the EL/M-2080 LRTR (Green Pine), the S-band LSTAR radar for the AEW & CS, and the EL/M-2248 MF-STAR for the Barak-2/8.

Anonymous said...

Last issue of Force magazine.................

And, Great to have you back.....

Anonymous said...

Excellent article.....your detailing/level of information is really good...

Look forward to more "post's" and the May issue to Force....

And, wish you get on with the main-stream Media...both Print and Electronic.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon Above: many thanks.

Anonymous said...

Prasun nice write up. Do you know what is the upgrade path planned for T-90 Bhishma tank ?

How many Bhishma has been procured till date and how many in total do they plan to procure ?

Any update on T-72 upgrade and how many tanks will be upgraded ?

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

Further details on the T-90S MBT can be found here: http://trishulgroup.blogspot.com/2009/01/indias-born-again-t-90m-mbt.html
The T-72CIA upgrade programme has been completed and will be succeeded by a more ambitious upgrade programme, the details of which are still being worked out.

Anonymous said...

Many Thanks Nice reading Prasun.

Would appreciate your response to some of the queries.

Can you describe in the trials that took place between Arjun and T-90Bishma what was found to be lacking in Bhishma viz a viz Arjun and how would T-90M upgrade address some of those ?

Any reason why the Arjun is not being ordered in 1000 like T-90 considering most media reports mentions Arjun was found to be far superior than T-90 in trials ?

On T-72CIA and new upgrade , will the new upgrade will be done on T-72CIA or other T-72 tanks ?

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

The Arjun Mk1 presently scores over the T-90S mostly in terms of crew comfort, more accurate firepower during daytime, and network-centricity (thanks to the BMS). These shortcomings of the T-90S will be overcome with the T-90M's advent. My personal take on future Arjun MBT orders is that once the Arjun Mk2 enters service, the Army will be positively inclined to have a fleet of no less than 400 Arjun Mk2s. That, along with the 900 T-90M MBTs, will be more than sufficient for the Indian Army. In addition, about 600 older T-72Ms will be upgraded far more comprehensively than what has been achieved with the T-72CIA. L & T has teamed up with Raytheon to bid for this programme. IMI too may take part in the competition. Once this is done, then the T-72CIAs could be used for recce-in-force operations in support of motorised infantry formations.

Austin said...

Hi Prasun ,

Looking at your write up on T-90M , it looks like the T-90M is an intermediate upgrade between current T-90S Bhishma and the new T-90AM which is complete upgrade to current Russian T-90A.

The news on Arjun Mk2 induction is quite good , hopefully they can look much beyond 400 unless they are restricting those for the new FMBT else they should order more.

Any reason why they cant replace T-72CIA with more Arjun Mk1 ?

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Austin: The T-90M upgrade package was conceived by the Indian Army at a time when Uralvagonzavod JSC was not yet ready to unveil the T-90AM. While the Indian Army wanted to finalise the T-90M upgrade details so that licenced-production could get underway ASAP, Uralvagonzavod was still a few years away from offering the T-90AM for export. Ultimately, it all boiled down timing and planned service induction schedules on the part of the Indian Army. But as of now, the India-specific upgrades in the T-90M with regard to the digital hunter-killer fire-control system (with French inputs) and greatly enhanced crew comfort (thanks to selective Israeli inputs) have totally satisfied the operator--the Indian Army. In the years to come, one can definitely expect upgraded powerpacks (of the T-90AM) to be incorporated into the T-90M as well.
The Arjun Mk1 can best be characterised as an interim solution pending the availability of the Arjun Mk2 in greater numbers. Induction of up to 700 Arjun Mk2s will be ideal as replacements for the T-72CIAs, for I'm told the planned upgrade of a second batch of T-72Ms will be far more comprehensive than what's been attempted thus far. But at the end of the day, the baseline design of the T-72M does have certain fundamental limitations and therefore one has to be realistic in terms of expectations versus achievements.
The urgency shown two years ago for the FMBT has now waned in favour of an earlier service induction of the FICV. It therefore now appears that the Arjun Mk2 MBT does have a viable future in greater numbers, provided the CVRDE, with IMI's help, can deliver what it has promised. Let's all hope the CVRDE succeeds.

SherKhan said...

Hi Prasun,

Pleased to see you again...i always enjoyed reading & learning from your blog...and long may this continue.

Chandan said...

Seems ISREAL has taken over the TANK ....what exactly is our contribution to the TANK ..All the MAJOR Subsystems are imported !!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Prasun,

Its nice informative but, request you to maintain secrecy for numbers and manufacturers and proposed trials, we'd be leaking vital info to our foes.
Jai Hind

Anonymous said...

SEE THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE BY AJAI SHUKLA. ACCORDING TO SHUKLA ONLY 3 SYSTEMS ARE MADE OF FOREIGN/IMPORTED COMPONENTS WHILE THE REST OF ARJUN MkII MAKING UP OVER 10,000 COMPONENTS ARE MADE IN INDIA TO INDIAN DESIGN!!

http://ajaishukla.blogspot.com/2011/11/improving-arjuns-already-great.html

swpanil000 said...

It is grt to read about Arjun MK2, However I wonder , when IA army wil place big order for it, Without substatial order book , this project may not sustain, We should form pressure groups to do so

amaraneesh said...

well,prasun,LRDE is indeed working on various AESA radars,i have personally attended a few seminars organized by LRDE and have done small intern at BEL ghb last year,
the patented TRMM technology of LRDE is one fo the best in the world,it employs 8 distinct t/r modules on a single IC.DRDO too,is working on a MEDIUM POWERED RADAR system as can be clearly seen from their official websites.
i am from NIT trichy and currently doing my project related to FREQUENCY MODULATED CONTUNOUS WAVE radar for level sensing applications

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