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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Choosing Between ‘Greenfield FMBT’ & Arjun Mk3

Why are the Indian Army’s Directorate of Combat Vehicles and Directorate of Mechanised Forces procrastinating over the issuance of the General Staff Qualitative Requirements (GSQR) for the Future Main Battle Tank (FMBT), more than six months after they were scheduled to hand them over to the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)? Why did the Army HQ’s two above-mentioned Directorates only issue a vague Preliminary Specifications Qualitative Requirements (PSQR) document in mid-2010? Why did the DRDO’s Avadi-based Combat Vehicles R & D Establishment (CVRDE) float a ‘domestic and global expression of interest’ (EoI) document on October 31, 2007 for the co-development of a 1,500hp compact high specific power output diesel engine long before it had even received the Army’s PSQR? Why has the CVRDE not yet issued EoIs for the co-development of other sub-systems for the FMBT, including an automatic transmission system and its MIL-STD-1553B databus-based vectronics suite? What does the DRDO now mean when it claims that work on developing the FMBT will begin by 2013 and all related R & D activity will reach fruition by 2020? And why has the Army HQ suddenly lost all interest in the FMBT programme after all the hype generated in early 2007 about this landmark ‘greenfield’ programme involving for the very first time as equal risk-sharing R & D partners, the CVRDE and India’s private-sector military-industrial entities? Does the Army HQ have a detailed joint capability-cum-force-planning vision for its warfighting formations?

Let’s start with the last question first. The three armed services HQ that publicly swear by ‘jointness’, all have different threat scenario perceptions. While the Indian Navy remains focused on the PLA Navy’s growing footprints in the South China Sea and Indian Ocean Region, the Indian Air Force (IAF) remains obsessed with the PLA Air Force’s strategic force projection capabilities and the Pakistan’s growing asymmetric war-waging capacities through ballistic and cruise missiles. As for the Indian Army, the principal military threat to India emanates from the disputed land borders with both China and Pakistan and now from the increased blurring of the militarily held lines, i.e. the Line of Actual Control with China and the Line of Control with Pakistan. Furthermore, till today, neither the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) nor the HQ Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) to the COSC have ever written a combined threat perceptions document—concerning either China or Pakistan—for consideration by either by the Cabinet Commiteee on National Security (CCNS), nor the MoD nor the office of the National Security Adviser. And why should they? After all they were never asked to do so by anyone in the executive branch of the Govt of India. It was only after the Army’s constant badgering on the ever-increasing air-land threat from the People’s Liberation Army that Defence Minister A K Antony issued the MoD’s five-yearly operational directive in February 2010, in which the MoD directed the country’s three armed services to be prepared for waging a two-front war. Consequently, the CCNS authorised the Indian Army to raise four new Infantry Divisions during the 11th (2008-2012) and 12th (2013-2017) Defence Plans.

Secondly, post-Operation Parakram, while a lot of energy has been expended by the three armed services HQs on massaging egos, self-aggrandisements and obfuscations, very little has been done in terms of combining their respective weights to push through urgently required structural reforms, especially when it involves sacrificing their own turfs. While the three armed services HQs have worked harmoniously for the Sixth Pay Commission’s redresses, they have till date been unable to squarely address the operational imperatives so crucial to the evolution of joint air-sea-land warfighting doctrines. A case in point is the Army Aviation Corps’ longstanding request for possessing fleets of heavy attack helicopters, light attack helicopters and armed aeroscout helicopters. After OP Parakram (the 10-month eyeball-to-eyeball standoff with Pakistan starting December 2001), the Army HQ, while in the process of conceptualising its future warfighting doctrines, plus the strategies and tactics required for waging ‘hyperwar’ or multi-dimensional parallel warfare, had projected a requirement for 120 heavy attack helicopters, 114 light attack helicopters and 197 armed aeroscouts, or light observation helicopters (LOH), all of which, if acquired, would have enabled the Army to radically restructure its existing armoured corps assets (comprising 61 Armoured Regiments now deployed with the Mathura-based I Corps, Ambala-based II Corps, Bhopal-based XXI Corps and the eight independent Armoured Brigades attached to the Corps-level ‘Pivot’ formations) and at the same time would have given the Army’s combined arms war-waging capabilities a dramatic boost, especially when it came to shaping the battlespace prior to commencement of the crucial break-out of its Armoured Battle Groups into enemy territory during the contact battle. This, consequently, would have not only enabled the Army to downsize its fleet of MBTs from 3,529 units to 2,400 (by placing a premium on quality over quantity), but would have also made it much easier for the armoured corps to cater for a wider range of threats than just the Pakistan Army. Instead, the reality today is that the IAF continues to zealously guard its turf, refusing to give in to logical reasoning, while the MoD refuses to adjudicate and remains comatose. Consequently, it is the IAF that will receive not only the projected 22 to-be-imported heavy attack helicopters, but also the 76 Dhruv Mk4 armed gunships, and 65 Light Combat Helicopters that will optimised for shooting down UAVs and UCAVs instead of hunting for and attacking armoured vehicles. A similar fate awaits the 197 imported light helicopters, all of which will be configured as utility variants for catering to search-and-rescue and casualty evacuation missions. In sheer frustration, therefore, the Army’s Aviation Corps has decided to relife and upgrade the bulk of its existing inventory of SA.315B Lama/Cheetah LOHs to the ‘Cheetal’ configuration by re-engining them with Turbomeca TM333-2B engines and installing lightweight AMLCD-based glass cockpit avionics, a countermeasures dispenser supplied by Bharat Dynamics Ltd, and a MILDS missile approach warning system supplied by Bharat Electronics Ltd. A contract for 60 upgraded Cheetals was recently inked with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd for relifing the airframes, with ALPHA Design Technologies Pvt Ltd acting as avionics systems integrator.
The senseless turf war between the Army and IAF HQs has had two avoidable and highly regressive consequences. Firstly, it has severely degraded the Indian Army’s efforts to conceptualise the optimum pro-active warfighting strategy (mistakenly referred to as the non-existent Cold Start Doctrine by both Indian and foreign think-tanks) that is designed to both reduce the mobilisation time of its offensive formations and their break-out into Pakistan (within a 72-hour period) in a series of shallow thrusts going no deeper than 30km into enemy territory (therefore those who contend that very early in the war the Indian Army will make deep thrusts inside Pakistan are either being ignorant at best, or mischievous at worst). This is meant to ameliorate the Indian Army’s disadvantage of longer external lines of communications as compared with the Pakistan Army’s advantage of deploying and switching its warfighting formations along interior lines of communications. Given the fact that the next round of all-out war between the two countries will be short, swift and intense, the Indian Army believes that instead of making multiple Corps-level thrusts deep into enemy territory, the objective should be to force the Pakistan Army to commit its operational reserves into battle at the very early stages of the war, following which the Indian Army would employ superior operational art backed up by network-centric war-waging technologies to envelop and overwhelm the hostile forces by waging effects-based ‘parallel’ or ‘hyper’ war, thereby destroying the enemy’s war-waging assets in detail.
Secondly, due to the absence of any kind of firm directives emanating from the comatose MoD regarding either the higher directions for waging war or the beefing up of the Army Aviation Corps, Army HQ has not yet succeeded in articulating its pro-active strategy vis-à-vis its Pakistani counterpart. Several questions remain unanswered till today. For instance, what will be the usefulness of the three armour-heavy offensive Strike Corps and the Armoured Battle Groups, depending on the theatre of war. Should the three existing Strike Corps be placed under a new Strategic Command (as was done for the very first time between March and June 2002 at the height of OP Parakram without any prior wargaming having being conducted on such a redeployment)? What will be the quantum of close air support and battlespace air interdiction provided by the IAF (to compensate for the Army’s inferiority in field artillery) within the first 72 hours of hostilities breaking out, considering that early in the war the IAF’s air campaigns will be monopolised by air superiority and counter-base sorties? Will China activate a second front against India and if so, then how much and in what ways will Beijing militarily support Pakistan? Will this prevent the Indian Army from re-deploying a few of its Mountain Divisions from the Sino-Indian border to the western front? Apart from all these, the internal bureaucratic wrangles within Army HQ have ensured that crucial force modernisation programmes that are designed to make the pro-active warfighting strategy a reality—such as those involving new-generation force multipliers like 155mm/52-cal field artillery assets, battlespace management system (BMS), F-INSAS and the tactical communications system (TCS)—are still years away from deployment.   

Therefore, in light of all of the above, how exactly is the Indian Army expected to articulate the force restructuring-cum-modernisation plans for its armoured corps? The options, frankly speaking, are few. On one hand, the Indian Army has to take cognizance of the Pakistan Army’s plans to introduce into service in the near future the Ukraine-supplied Oplot-M MBT, up to 800 new-build up-armoured Al Khalid MBTs, and possibly the Eurocopter Tiger HAP heavy attack helicopters. On the other hand, it has to contend with the steady build-up of the People’s Liberation Army’s armoured vehicle and attack helicopter assets—comprising Type 96G MBTs and wheeled 8 x 8 tank destroyers, plus the ZW-10 heavy attack helicopters—in China’s Chengdu and Lanzhou military regions. And thirdly, it requires urgent new-build replacements for the existing 1,781 T-55 and T-72M/M1 MBTs (out of the 2,418 T-72s that were bought since 1981). While the short-term measures have included the upgrading of 692 T-72s to ‘Combat-Improved Ajeya’ standards and an on-going competition between Russia’s Rosoboronexport State Corp, ELBIT Systems of Israel, and the Raytheon/Larsen & Toubro combine to upgrade another 700-odd T-72s (with work scheduled for completion by 2018), Proceeding concurrently is the induction of T-90S MBTs and their selective upgradation. It may be recalled that in February 2001, India bought its first batch of 310 T-90S MBTs worth US$795 million, of which 120 were delivered off-the-shelf, 90 in semi-knocked down kits (for licenced-assembly by the MoD-owned Heavy Vehicles Factory, or HVF, in Avadi), and 100 in completely-knocked down kits (all these MBTs have since been retrofitted with Saab’s IDAS radar/laser warning system and LEDS-150 active protection system, or APS). This was followed by a follow-on contract, worth $800 million, being inked on October 26, 2006, for another 330 T-90M MBTs that were to be built with locally-sourced raw materials. The third contract, worth $1.23 billion, was inked in December 2007 for 347 upgraded T-90Ms, the bulk of which are now being licence-assembled by HVF. A competition is now underway between Israel Military Industries (IMI) and Saab to retrofit APS to the remaining 677 T-90S MBTs, with the Iron First system competing with the LEDS-150. Lastly, we have the 124 Arjun Mk1 MBTs now in delivery, with another 124 Mk2 variants to follow.

This then brings us to the most important question: what exactly will be the FMBT? Will it be brand-new design from scratch, or will be a further evolution of the Arjun Mk2? Evidence seems to suggest that it is the latter. For one, all the technological enhancements spelt out in the PSQRs are already available, with some of them (like APS, a 1,500hp diesel engine, and an integrated passive defensive aids suite) already incorporated in the Arjun Mk2. Secondly, the Army, choosing to be realistic this time, knows only too well that designing and developing a FMBT and its powerpack from scratch between 2013 and 2020 at a cost of Rs15 billion is an assured impossibility. However, what is achievable within this time-frame, is an Arjun Mk3 whose evolutionary path is very similar to what IMI has achieved with the Merkava family of MBTs. Consequently, the Indian Army, which has projected a need for about 1,200 FMBTs, has chosen to take the less risky route and is soon expected to specify in its GSQR the following design/performance parameters for the born-again FMBT, which will eventually be known as the Arjun Mk3:

·  The re-engineered Arjun MBT should weigh only 50 tonnes and have a three-man crew complement.
·  Its powerpack should include either a 1,500hp diesel engine equipped with an overdrive mode for facilitating acceleration from zero to full power in 2.8 seconds, or a compact multi-fuel gas turbine with FADEC. The transmission must be of the automatic continuous variable-type.
·  It should incorporate hydropneumatic active suspension.
·  The integral armour package should include modular ceramic composite armour, and NERA (thereby doing away with integrated ERA and ERA tiles in the MBT’s frontal glacis, sides and turret).
·  It should incorporate a turret-mounted autoloader.
·  Its digitised vectronics suite—comprising the hunter-killer fire-control system, radar/laser warning system, IFF transponder, APS, BMS, software-defined radio communications suite, health and usage monitoring system incorporating on-board diagnostics and maintenance log-book modes, multi-spectral decoy/camouflage generation system, and the turret traverse/stabilisation system—should be integrated with a MIL-STD-1553B digital databus. 
·  As in the Arjun Mk2, the gunner’s sight must incorporate a thermal imager operating in the 8-12 micron bandwidth, while the commander’s independent panoramic sight should house a thermal imager operating in the 3-5 micron bandwidth.
·  The principal armament of the FMBT should be a 55-calibre version of the existing 44-calibre 120mm rifled bore cannon firing HEAT, HESH and AP-FSDS rounds, and which should also be able to fire laser-guided or imaging infra-red guided anti-tank/anti-helicopter projectiles.

For the CVRDE and the ARDE, therefore, the principal developmental challenges to be met between now and 2020 lie in the areas of the weight-budgeted hull and turret, integrated vectronics suite, compact powerpack, and the higher-calibre cannon. Of these, the powerpack issue remains the most daunting. For if the existing solution for the Arjun Mk2—a fully Made-in-India Cummins 1,500hp diesel engine coupled to an ESM-500 automatic transmission—is retained for the Arjun Mk3, then accomplishing weight savings will be almost impossible (especially since the metallurgical expertise required for weight savings of the type achieved by Japan’s Type 10 MBT is non-existent in India). On the other hand, if the standing offer by the joint industrial team of GE and Honeywell to supply the new-generation LV-100 gas turbine coupled to the X-1100-3B transmission from Detroit Diesel Allison is accepted and specified by Army HQ, then the Arjun Mk3 has very good chances of not breaching the 50-tonne ‘Lakshman Rekha’. A gas turbine-based powerplant will offer higher power-to-weight ratio, high torque, multi-fuel capability, ease of maintenance, compact packaging, vibration-free operation, ease of starting, smokeless exhaust, and 33% reduction in fuel consumption.—Prasun K. Sengupta


sachin_sathe said...


this is a very welcome news if IA is indeed thinking in such a way & does go through with the plan.The goals in this Arjun mk.3 project seem achievable to DRDO in the given timeframe. The key will be though matching per yr. production no. with requirement & i believe the private sector will have to pitch in if this is to be achieved. your thoughts?

Anonymous said...

A detailed & indepth acticle. This is why Trishul-Trident is the best blog for Indian military related issues.

Austin said...

They would have to redesign the FMBT from scratch if they want to be within T series weight which is a 40 T tank and ~ 50 T is what DRDO is aiming for FMBT.

Arjun Mk1 is a 50 T tank and Mk2 is a 60 T tank from open source news.

They can reuse many Arjun 120 mm gun , suspension and many other components.

Its good to use Israel Trophy APS as standard for Arjun and T-90 since they are widely used on Merkava and have met with success recently defeating a Kornet in actual combat

IA has not much spoken on FMBT but all the news are coming from DRDO and they are quite excited about it , probably as a R&D organisation its comes natural.

Black Hawk said...

the same problem was faced by the US army and the US airforce after the korean war where helos were used in action for the first time. the army wanted to operate the helos but the USAF would not hear about it. the problem went up to the level of secretary defense and other authorities at the pentagon. eventually a compromise was reached. the USAF permitted the US army to raise an army aviation wing and also gave up control of some of its helos. The US army agreed that its aviation corps will operate only helos and no fixed wing aircraft. In return, the US army agreed to give up control of strategic nuclear capable missiles like the Jupiter series and thus the USAF became the sole operator of land based strategic missiles.

A similar arrangement can be worked out here too. the army must relinquish control of the Agni series and all future strategic missiles like Agni 3,5 and Shaurya must be operated by the IAF only. The army must cap its missile range at 300kms with the Brahmos or a Prahaar II. In return the IAF should give up control of a part of its helo fleet and also transfer all Mi-35 to the army aviation corps.

azamat bagatov said...

good article but as a suggestion, would be better if answers follow each question...

Anonymous said...

So now FMBT will be based on Arjun platform ? (In my personnel opinion its the right choice)

What new genration are we expecting in FMBT ? I mean whatever we are hearing is already there in Arjun mk2 except light weight and the resulting lower power to weight ratio. It has no quality of future MBT unless they add star wars features :) but new laser developed by DRDO could reach to a respectable level to be used in our Future MBT but they are not thinking anything like this.

Is there any indication of higher speed, better quality armor and next gen APC ? I mean FMBT could be very effective only if they take care of these features, i mean i would expect our future MBT to travel at a speed of upto 125 kmph and should be capable of firing accurately even upto the speed of 80 kmph.

Also earlier reports of FMBT showed that IA will be purchasing 4000 of these and project will reach cost around 1,00,000 crore INR. How many exactly IA will be purchasing ?

Is army placing order for 248 more mk2 ?

Apart from this, this aticle is really sad for IA...

I understand trouble between IA and IAF but are the HAL LUH plan, LUH (fennec), Druv mk3, Dhruv WSI and LCH not be assigned to IA aviation corps ? Who will get those choppers ?

Also i don't understands why the hell IA top brass is acting like nothing is left ? I mean IA is the only force among the 3 services which require modernization in every field. Our infantrymen soldiers are still wearing the helmets which were used by their predecessors in 1971 and 1962 wars.

Can you summarize the total purchase of new BP helmets, BP jackets, anti-shrapnel goggles, modern carbines and assault rifles, GPS devices (if they operate), night vision goggles being purchased by IA in recent years because there were many orders placed ?

Is there any chance that IA aviation wing will get what they deserve or what they demand ?

Also according to our reports IA is not getting any aircrafts and all are transferred to IAF but this is not what IA senior brass are saying in various interviews, they are even claiming that they will purchase some fixed wing air-crafts also in the category of C130j and smaller and even this year defence budget also indicate differently because according to defence budget separate money is awarded this time for choppers in all the 3 services. Please explain ?

Sorry to ask again but any new development in FINSAS program ?

Why isn't army working on artillery modernization and t72 modernization?

Please do all your fans a favor, please go to Rajasthan and take some pics of new Arjun mk2 and share some reviews with us...

Finally i have to ask why isn't any reporter reporting about arjun mk2 trials ? I mean its almost a month...

Have they faced Singapore's Leopard in the trials, if not then when they will be facing ?

Thanx alot for your articles and reply...

Mr. Ra said...

I think the Arjun Mk3 shall be fitted with 1500 HP indigenous Diesel Engine only, because the imported new-generation LV-100 gas turbine may be too revolutionary to cope with within the specified time period.

However a new research project like Tank-Ex shall be initiated on small scale to incorporate the LV-100 gas turbine with associated transmission for further course of action.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Sachin Sathe: In my estimation it is only a matter of time before the CVRDE publicly admits that the FMBT programme as it used to be known in 2007 will in fact be the Arjun Mk3. If we’re to believe that the CVRDE took 16 years to develop the Arjun Mk1, then by no stretch of the imagination can anyone believe that the FMBT, designed and developed from scratch across several disciplines (like the hull and turret, gun-control system, vectronics, main armament and fire-control system, passive/active protection systems and powerpack) can all be developed between now and 2020 and that too with only six prototypes being built. Logical reasoning demands that in this timescale, only incremental improvements can be achieved over an existing MBT design. In other words, the CVRDE is now trying to do what has already been done, for instance, with the Merkava and Leopard-2 MBT families. In my opinion this is a very sound move and therefore no wonder the Indian Army is soon likely to voice its agreement as well and only then can the CVRDE be expected to spill the beans and admit that the FMBT being talked about now is in fact, the Arjun Mk3.

To Anon@11.11AM: Many thanks.

To AUSTIN: Not necessarily. The key to weight reduction is the employment of new-generation metallurgical solutions of the type achieved for the Type 10 MBT of Japan’s GSDF. If SAIL or MIDHANI can achieve such technological breakthroughs—which I very much doubt—then it is possible to re-engineer the existing Arjun superstructure and achieve some degree of weight savings. But I personally don’t think the CVRDE will be able to keep the weight of the Arjun Mk3 below 50 tonnes. At best, if CVRDE can reduce the weight down to 54 tonnes, then that in itself will be quite an achievement, and the end-user—the Indian Army—will then most probably dilute its GSQRs to induct the Arjun Mk3 into service. It now remains to be seen if the Indian Army prevails upon the CVRDE to adopt the LV-100 gas-turbine solution or stick to the Cummins India-built 1,500hp engine.

To Black Hawk: All elements of India’s nuclear deterrent are under the direct command and control of the tri-services Strategic Forces Command, and not with the individual armed services. The Army HQ’s Directorate of Field Artillery is only the custodian of the land-based nuclear warhead-equipped ballistic missile arsenal simply because it owns the largest quantum of real estate among the three armed services. But a proper codification of the distribution of conventional warhead-equipped missiles is definitely required, under which the land-launched BrahMos and Prahar are under the command and control of the Army, with the IAF retaining control over the Shaurya as well as air-launched BrahMos and the futuristic air-launched long-range supersonic cruise missile now in the works. Also, it is a matter of time before the Army Aviation Corps eventually begins taking over the IAF’s existing attack and utility helicopter assets. That may perhaps explain why the IAF, fearful of eventually losing its rotary-winged assets, has for the past five years been clamouring for the procurement of combat SAR helicopters.

Mr. Ra said...

However a new research project like Tank-Ex shall be initiated on small scale to incorporate the LV-100 gas turbine with associated transmission for further course of action.

This project can be named as Arjun Mk3-GT.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Mr RA: The LV-100 is already a mature design as it was originally developed for the now-cancelled Crusader tracked SPH and to replace the existing AGT-1500 gas-turbines of the M-1 Abrams MBT. The Indian Army would sooner rather than later have to take a call on this, primarily due to the need to achieve the reqd weight savings. While the two tranches of Arjun Mk2 (124 + 124) can retain the Cummins India-built 1,500hp engine, the first tranche of 124 Arjun Mk1s could also be re-engined in future with the 1,500hp engine. But for the projected 1,200 Arjun Mk3s the LV-100 proposal sounds too enticing to discard.

Mr. Ra said...

Thanx and you are correct.

Anonymous said...

What will be futuristic in Arjun mk3 as almost everything except 50ton weight is already in mk2 ?

In the earlier reports FMBT was supposed to cost IA around 20 billion $ for the purchase of 4000 but according to recent reports IA will be purchasing 1200 of these. Is this number likely to raise to 4000 slowly and slowly ?

Is IA aviation corps still getting those 259 LUH (HAL LUH:126 + fennec: 133), 114 LCH, 159 Dhruvs (including WSI version for whose development IA was paying from their pocket) ?

Is IA also going to purchase transport helicopters like Mi17 or heavier ? If yes then how many is their requirement ?

Any new reports on FINSAS ?

What is stopping artillery modernization, FINSAS and t72 modernization ?

Anonymous said...

Is there a chance that IA will be allowed to purchase those 120 heavy attack helicopters which they need ?

Anonymous said...

why do you suggest turbines, when the american tanks in Iraq faced frequent stoppage due to dusty environment and sand ingestion?

However, turbine is a good choice for APU for quiet conditions.

Anonymous said...

In your response to Austin regarding reduction in weight of tank by employment of metallurgical solutions, you have mentioned cos such as SAIL and Midhani.
Can not Tata steel be also considered. The reason is they have taken over Corus and Corus has a division, dedicated to defence catering to European and American cos.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@5.12M: Well, for starters the entire vectronics suite will be integrated via a mission computer and will use MIL-STD-1553B databus. On-line diagnostics will dramatically reduce maintenance headaches and improve availability and reliability. And once the BMS is made operational, the true hunter-killer capability of the Arjun Mk3 will emerge.
The FMBT being talked earlier was a last-ditch effort by Indian sympathisizers of the Russian T-95 FMBT to try to bail out the T-95 programme (like what's happening with the FGFA/PMF), which even the Russians have now ditched. Thank God these nefarious designs got scuttled.
The AAC will get the LUH for CASEVAC, but will not be optimised for the armed aeroscout role. Only the IAF's LUHs will be armed and function as aeroscouts along with the Dhruv Mk4/WSI, which will also go to the IAF, not the AAC.
The AAC wants Mi-17-5 utility helicopters for its proposed Combat Aviation Brigade, but the IAF has been scuttling this plan since 2004.

To Anon@5.14AM: Only if the MoD arises out of its coma and urgently implements the long-awaited and overdue structural reforms.

To Anon@7.38AM: The LV-100 gas-turbine is a far cry from the 1980s-era AGT-1500s now in the M-1 Abrams. All those problems with the AGT-1500 have been taken care of on the LV-100.

To Anon@7.56AM: Yes, the TATAs and JINDALs can and should be considered in a level playing field, but it is highly unlikely in India since the MoD is perpetually biased against the private sector and therefore the R & D gains of MIDHANI will never be shared with such private-sector companies, but only with PSUs like SAIL. Shit happens.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@7.56AM: Let us now wait and see what happens with the 'greenfield' FICV project, whether the MoD allows the private sector to bring in their own metallurgical expertise into play, or whether the MoD once again mandates that all metallurgical materials must be developed and supplied by MIDHANI & SAIL.

Anonymous said...

Ahem, how suitable is Kaveri as an engine for the Arjun Mk3 given there is a still 8 years left for induction? with its current thrust rating as established in Russia, is it fuel efficient vs the 1500hp Cummins engine? even the C-17 deal mentions a testing facility for such aero engines, should we not then invest in the aero turbine R&D?

Anonymous said...

[B]You said :[/B]
[QUOTE]Well, for starters the entire vectronics suite will be integrated via a mission computer and will use MIL-STD-1553B databus. On-line diagnostics will dramatically reduce maintenance headaches and improve availability and reliability. And once the BMS is made operational, the true hunter-killer capability of the Arjun Mk3 will emerge.[/QUOTE]
But isn't all these are the features of Mk2 ? New suite will be their in Mk2 also, i don't know which databus but there is one, the diagnostic which will tell the health of mbt and even point out which area of mbt needs attention and fuel and weapon left all these features are there in mk2 also. Not to mention new BMS will be also be there. Whats new can be there in Arjun mk3 aka FMBT ?

Anonymous said...

Sir the T 95 project of Russians is still Alive

Some new photos have emerged

SO why dont we collabrate like Brahmos and save time

The 155mm gun and 6000 metre firing capability that was planned in T 95; if we can achieve it would be wonderful

Anonymous said...

Dear Sir

The first part of your article suggests that Indian M o D is clueless

That is not the case

On the Other hand it is China which is the focus of all our efforts now

India's problem was not knowing whether to treat China as a threat or not

But Chinese actions of last 2 years cleared all Indian doubts and given a new direction and push to Indian defence preparedness

A two front war is a CERTAINITY rather than a possibility

SKINS said...

sir, what is the current status on drdo developing fuel cell aip for submarines?
what are the problems associated with the hot end parts of kaveri engine?And if kaveri finally under production what will be the mean time between overhaul and failure of the engine will it have life times comparable to western or Russian levels?
Are there any Indian companies manufacturing any high end optronics like tata nova etc ?
What is the advancements of Indian defense industry in the field of composites is it comparable with the current state of the art ?
The deal in which hal is to supply composite materials to isarel ?
What is your opinion about the development of stealth technology for amca and fgfa?
HAL people said that they are responsible for development of stealth for fgfa and many labs are also working on it how far is it true?
Is it possible to work with isarel for amca development?They would bring in a lot of expertise to the project

Anonymous said...

Prasun wrote -

(all these MBTs have since been retrofitted with Saab’s IDAS radar/laser warning system and LEDS-150 active protection system, or APS).


i have not seen any report corraborating this. can you confirm this?? or may be direct me to a link??


Black Hawk said...

sometime back i read a book. i don't remember its title but it was about Curtis LeMay and the SAC and its growth during the cold war. There the author writes that after WW II, the US army was the largest of the three services and had the greatest access to funds, material and also was in possession of large tracts of land in the form of training areas, firing ranges and so on. Also it was the army that arrested von Braun and the other V-2 scientists. These people were absorbed into a specially created US army division and housed in US army facilities in Texas and Alabama. The army gave them funds from its reserves and made them develop MRBMs and IRBMs like Redstone and Jupiter. Using these missiles, the army managed to convince the pentagon that it must have access to a large number of warheads so that the US can have a credible deterrent at once. So by mid 1950s, US army was the custodian of the lion's share of US nukes and missiles. The army drew up a list of targets in the USSR and convinced US govt. to let it deploy IRBM in W. Europe and Turkey. So the US nuke force, apart from bombers, was solely in the army's hands even though the ultimate control was with president.

Curtis LeMay was largely responsible for correcting this mistake. His argument was that in a war the army's responsibility is only to occupy enemy ground and prevent the the enemy from doing the same. The army should not be responsible for targeting Soviet cities that are thousands of miles away from the front. The air force and mainly SAC had rich experience in conducting bombing campaigns and knew how to choose targets, how to plan a bombing campaign and what is the strenght required to take out the target and so on. So LeMay's argument was that missiles would fit very naturally into the USAF ORBAT. As it is, any long range campaign into enemy land was to be executed by USAF. If missiles too are brought under USAF, then the country would benefit by having those people who plan strategic bombing also plan nuke strikes as they can bring their rich experience in choosing the targets and the warhead strength and combinations. Eventually this argument won over and the army transferred all its strategic missiles, overseas missile facilities, silos and missile firing ranges to the USAF. Incidentally the Vandenberg air base was initially an army base. The army gave it to USAF as described above.

So even in our case, we will benefit by handing over strategic missiles to the IAF so that their personnel can train in operating the missiles even though the control for actual use of the missiles need not rest solely with IAF. The army may own a lot of real estate but allowing army to handle nuke missiles is a needless distraction to that force.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@9.19AM: The Kaveri will be suitable only if someone is brainy enough to compress it to the size of an Ardiden-1H/Shakti engine! Which is of course an impossibility so no need to bother about such a scenario. The C-17A deal comes an industrial offsets package which includea setting up a high-altitude turbine testing facility. It will have no use whatsoever for gas turbines for marine/industrial/armoured vehicle applications.

To Anon@9.22AM: There are on-board vectronics on the Arjun Mk2, but not the kind of integrated suite that is envisaged for the Arjun Mk3. The BMS hardware has been installed on the Arjun Mk2 but it will be usable only once the Army's BMS network is operationalised sometime after 2015. The Arjun Mk1 presently has only a usage monitoring system associated with the MTU-built 1,400hp engine.

To Anon@11.21AM: The T-95 programme will in no way benefit either the Indian Army nor India's military-industrial infrastructure. Financially too it is far better to make the Arjun MBT family evolve further. It makes no sense to have a cannon with 6km range or even a gunner's or commander's sight with 6km-range when under the subcontinent's terrain conditions one will be able to spot targets only 2km away.

To Anon@11.37AM: The MoD is not only clueless, but is also comatose. Had the MoD any clue about the prevailing and projected national security scenario, it would have long ago undertaken the kind of structural and administrative reforms which would have seen the AAC having a fleet of attack helicopters and LOH, for starters. It would also have undertaken reforms in the military-industrial infrastructure sector before introducing the DPP guidelines. By not doing so in sequence, it has done what can only be described as putting the cart before the horse.
A two-front war is not a certainty, but a two-and-a-half front war is a certainty, if one includes the current Maoist insurgency and existence of undiscovered terrorist sleeper cells.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Black Hawk: Under the Indian scheme of things, the tri-services Strategic Forces Command (SDC) is working quite well and there's no need to replace it. The IAF component of the SFC is responsible for strategic targetting and is therefore likely to be the custodian of all strategic recce assets, both terrestrial and extra-terrestrial. Only for missiles employing tactical nuclear warheads, all three armed services will have their own respective inventories, but overall command and control will still rest with the SFC.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To SKINS: The fuel cell-based AIP system is ‘still under development’ by the DRDO. No notable breakthroughs have been achieved. The Kaveri as it now exists does not have the kind of hot-section core, parts and components required to produce higher thrust levels. In addition, it is still a turbofan designed by scientists and lacks adequate production engineering inputs. Therefore, weight-budgeting has yet to be catered for. Once the Kaveri is fully developed with SNECMA Moteurs’ help, it will have the same kind of performance parameters as the M88-3. TBOs and TTSLs of Russian turbofans are far lower. Western engines have TTSLs reaching 6,000 hours while Russian TTSLs are still stuck at 2,000 hours. Maybe the AL-41F on the FGFA/PMF will have improved figures. Optronics and metallurgy have not been the strong points of India’s military R & D effort. NOVA Integrated Systems is only licence-assembling IAI-designed and supplied FLIR turrets. Production of composite panels is a labourious process and therefore it makes for a country like Israel to procure composites-built structures from countries like India and Turkey. As for composite materials, HAL is still importing them from abroad. Interestingly, all the Boeing-produced MD-900 NOTAR helicopters have their complete composites-built fuselages built in Turkey and then shipped over to the US for final assembly, simply because Turkish fuselage production costs were far cheaper. The forthcoming MAKS 2011 expo next month will reveal some more info on the FGFA’s stealth capabilities from the Russian side. So far, all that HAL has done regarding the FGFA is teach its design staff (who are due to be posted in Russia) to read, write and speak Russian. That is the only ToT which Russia has implemented thus far. The preliminary design review of the FGFA will be completed only next June. Thus far in India there are no dedicated facilities for measuring aircraft RCS, radar/acoustic signature measurement. All that will have to done in Russia. I’d rather not say anything about the AMCA at this stage, and wait for the Tejas Mk2 and LCA (Navy) Mk2 to first complete their R & D cycles.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@11.52AM: See the photo above of the LEDS-150 installed on the T-90S.

Anonymous said...

The picture of T-90 with Leds-150 you point out is actually Iron-fist.

Non of IA T-90 have been fitted with APS.

Do you have any source for your claims.

joydeep ghosh said...

@ Prasun da

first thing first, few mistakes

1. A typo 'After OP Parakram (the 10-month eyeball-to-eyeball standoff with Pakistan starting December 2011)' its actually Dec 2001

2. As per known sources India's T90 inventory will be 1647 but as per you its 310+330+347+677= 1664, how?

3. you wrote 'The CCNS authorised the Indian Army to raise four new Infantry Divisions during the 11th (2008-2012) and 12th (2013-2017) Defence Plans' I think its 2 Mountain divisions and a Mountain Strike Corps.

you are welcome to correct me if I am wrong


Joydeep Ghosh

joydeep ghosh said...

@ Prasun da

Now the Analysis

1. With the chance of two faced war looming (according to some news reports China will attack India by 2012)wont it be better to utilize the nuclear option, because whether Pakistan or China start war against India its only matter of time when both of them will coordinate there war machine against India. This will not allow India to sustain more than 10 days.

2. Though some reports are saying MoD will order another set of 248 Arjun Mk2, but still India will fall short of fire power not just in number of tanks but also mobility and reach. The only option is improvisation

a. Indigenously develop a 8 cell version of Smerch mounted on a 24 ton Tata TEL with auto loader.

b. Add the 105 mm IFG to the FICV or the BMP2 Sarath

This will increase the firepower as well as enhance the mobilization power of IA especially in mountainous areas even if they fall short on numbers.

3. FMBT or Arjun Mk3 which ever is chosen the best option is to see the viability of the platform that will ready within a sppecified time a lowest cost and with in sppecifi9ed time.

Awaiting your response


Joydeep Ghosh

Anonymous said...

Prasun is known for his speculations which more often than not prove wrong. Eg-
"The statement from Dr V K Saraswat says six missiles can be carried by the TEL, which is a wrong statement as the L & T-fabricated launcher photo shows only three missiles."
It will have six missiles but he got aggressive our everyone who disagrees with him.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@4.25PM: Assumption is always the mother of all fuck-ups and you just proved it. I wonder if you at all bother to read the filenames of the photos. If you had you would have noticed that the photo showing the LEDS-150 with the Mongoose projectile is the mounted on the T-90S.

To Joydeep Ghosh: The figure of the 'planned' fleet of T-90S is what you're referring to when you give the figure of 1,647. The figures I've relate to the numbers ordered so far. It remains to be seen whether or not more will be ordered in future.
Regarding the new formation raisings, the official MoD gazette for these raisings mentions only four infantry divisions. Nowhere is the term 'Mountain Strike Corps' used. This term is the figment of imagination of the mainstream media, just as the term 'Cold Start' has been. And that is precisely why the Chinese govt has been complaining about the increasing jingoism being displayed by Indian mainstream media over the past three years.
Regarding the usage of the nuclear option, one must note that a nuclear dewterrent is a political tool. It is never meant to be used on the battlefield unless only one party has nuclear weapons. Army HQ is not thinking about ordering another 248 Arjun Mk2 MBTs, but is talking of ordering another 124 Arjun Mk2 MBTs that will bring to 248 the total no of such MBTs ordered. There's no need to indigenously develop an 8-cell version of the Smerch-M. Just buy more Smerch-Ms if required. The IFG Mk2 guns on either trucks or on tracked ICVs will not solve the problem of the Army's declining field artillery howitzer assets. What is reqd is the urgent acquisition via competitive bidding of no less than 1,500 motorised 155nn/52-cal howitzers like the Caesar or Archer. The days of towed howitzers are long over and the sooner Army HQ realises this the better. All this nautanki concerning towed howiters and so-called mounted howitzers (whose reqmt was shelved as far back as 2002) must end ASAP. Lastly, a greenfield FMBT will take at least 16 years to be developed, whereas the Arjun Mk3 can be fully developed between now and 2020.

Anonymous said...

i guess the speculations that china will attack in 2012 or 2013 are mere speculations. What exactly lies is a threat perception and whether we are actually ready to handle threat. Many often people tend to beleive the worst is always in offing, but i guess for china and pakistan to synergestically attack it will be an uphill task, even if one forgets that diplomatic difficulties in joining a war started by another country.

what is more possible is china using pak as the front face and trigger a frustrating war to India. this way pak gets a chance to revenge (the only thing what pak cares), china doesnt risk a humiliation of loss if any, and significant weakening of Indias external image. china will use the covert war plus overt diplomacy to help pak get even with us.

but again such scenarios are speculative. we stay as what we are and make sure that an aggression of any kind is not tolerated (just like kargil repeat). we need to improve our posture and our defence

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@6.19PM: You're belching out total ballooney as obviously you've not read this:
Unlike broadcast journos I don't have the need to speculate since I'm not bothered about any kind of TSPs. And that's precisely the reason why it was I who first revealed that SaabTech's sea surveillance system (and not the one supplied by IAI/ELTA and offered by BEL) has been selected by India. And the broadcast journo who claimed that the 'Arudhra' MMR was 'Indian-built' eventually had to retract that headline and substitute it with 'Israel-built'. And so far no none from ADA or HAL or the MoD has contradicted me or denied whatever I've written about the Arjun Mk2 or the Tejas Mk2. It seems the so-called journos who claim to be in the know of things or who engage in frequent site visits to the facilities of DRDO labs and DPSUs have been clueless thus far about the developments concerning the Arjun Mk2 and Tejas Mk2. So who's being speculative or ignorant or excessively aggressive???

Mr. Ra said...

Since Archer has been developed later than Caesar, so can Archer be better than Caesar.

Quote>> What is reqd is the urgent acquisition via competitive bidding of no less than 1,500 motorised 155nn/52-cal howitzers like the Caesar or Archer. The days of towed howitzers are long over and the sooner Army HQ realises this the better. All this nautanki concerning towed howiters and so-called mounted howitzers (whose reqmt was shelved as far back as 2002) must end ASAP. <<Unquote

What is the problem with people not understanding this statement earlier.

Anonymous said...

Prasun da... u r simply the best.!!!
perfect insight.!!

Rohan said...

btw can there be a comparative study about What effectively fits for IAF Typhoon or Rafale.. Which is better.. Offset deas posssible as joint research for future projects sir..?? A Mother of all defence blogs ..?? plzzz Prasun da.. a humble request..

Anonymous said...


Firtly, a big thank you for your effort. Your detailed responses are not only informative, I find them interesting and good to read.
I'm a casual reader, who is curious about defence related stuff. I might sound naive, please be patient.

1. How can IAF stop IA from haveing an air arm of attack helicopter? Are there any law/directive/contarct or anything like that? Who will stop if Army, wants to spend a certain amount of the allocated budget on such platform?

2. Does any of the Indian armed services has any platform like RIVET ( I have read in one of your earlier comments about India possessing some Israili platform (gulfstream?) for snooping, but they are not operated by army/navy/airforce.

3. Which blogs do you follow?

Thanks again.

Best regards,


Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Mr RA: If only the citizens of India had seen with their own eyes the prevailing conditions of the roads in Sikkim, Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh, then they would have concluded long ago the futility of deploying towed 155mm howitzers and their wheeled tow trucks and ammo resupply vehicles in such terrain. I'll try and post some photos of such 'roads' as they now exist.

To Rohan: I think we've already been there in this blog. My personal view is that for India to even consider a US$124 million M-MRCA is a sin. Even the Rafale will be pretty expensive to both procure and maintain. Simple economics and operational reality demands that the IAF should have procured the Super Hornet's International Roadmap variant (shown during Aero India 2011) with its eyes closed, just as the RAAF did. For there's nothing that the Super Hornet can't do which the vRafale or EF-2000 can. Even from an industrial standpoint, the commonality between the F414 turbofans variants for the Super Hornet and Tejas Mk2 would have greatly reduced the service life-cycle costs of both platforms, and the need to create specialised depot-level maintenance facilities for new types of turbofans being introduced into service. But the malaise runs deeper. There seems to be an apparent lack of synchronisation at the highest levels of IAF HQ and the MoD in terms of logically thinking out what I've outlined above. Instead, every procurement programme is processed in a compartmentalised manner, leading to financial wastage and logistical complications.

To Anon@3.47AM: Yes, there are laws, directives, statutes and gazettes issued by the MoD's civilian bureaucracy which prevent any service chief from taking crucial decisions concerning procurements of military hardware or even instituting institutional reforms. Every single major procurement programme has to be approved by the Defence Acquisition Council and the Union Ministry of Finance, before even an RFI is issued. Institutional reforms aimed at rightsizing the armed services is the SOLE prerogative of the civilian component of the MoD in the Indian scheme of things. Each armed service chief exercises only operational control, whereas in countries like China and Pakistan, the military's apex decision-making process is such that the service chiefs are both strategic and operational decision-makers, which leads to faster decision-making along logical lines.
Regarding platforms like RIVET JOINT, the armed forces don't have such platforms at the moment, but R & AW's ARC operates such platforms, which I had covered earlier. Believe it or not, the articulation of India's strategic threat perceptions vis-a-vis its neighbouring countries is not the task of the armed services HQs, but that of R & AW!!! Another example of the 'blinkered' approach adopted by the GoI is with regard to the appointment of the NTRO's Head. The world over, leadership of such organisations is vested in the handsa of retired or serving three- or four-star naval officers who are masters in over-the-horizon strategic SIGINT/ELINT operations/techniques/technologies.In India's case, such postings are the preserve of IPS officials who have no professional or vocational backgrounds when it comes to strategic SIGINT/ELINT or even IMINT.

Rahul said...

Thanks for the article Prasun Sir. Some questions i have related to weight reduction and tactical support.

1) What weight budgeted HULL could mean? A redesigned shorter Hull or simply use of new light weight armor?

2) A Gas Turbine for weight reduction is an attractive choice. But i wish to know, how far it will affect the logistic line in relation with so-called 'Cold Start'?

Problem i see is that a gas turbine engine will require all exclusive support/supply line for fuel and since it will consume more liters/Km thereby putting huge pressure on support line in terms of volume.

Ganeshjee Vinayak said...

I think this whole Arjun 3 / FMBT thing is a waste of our time and money. Instead of all this, I as a patriotic Indian firmly believe that we should just join hands with Pakistan and ourchase some 2000 Al-Khalid tanks. India can also avail other Pakistani defence products like JF-17 Thunder, Bhakter-Shikan ATGM, Shaheen Ballistic missiles and Babur Cruise Missile; and India can export Cars, Motorcycles, Machinery, Merchant Ships and textiles to Pakistan, where it has superior technology. In this case there will equilibrium and better relations between Pakistan and India.

Rohan said...

But da u havent discussed about rafale n typhoon,. moreover since only rafale or typhoon are the only choices left,. We should forget f-18 n focus on threir pros n cons... Australians are buying 24 SH at $6 billion with 10 year support package,. or moreover 24 for $2.9b.. U havent discussed abt rafale n typhoon as such... Only these are the feasible solutin now.. so please a blog only over Typhoon HAL rafale EADS dassault france uk consoritum iaf needs two front war scenario capbilities... i have read all ur blogs bt havent got any satisfacory answer on this prospect.
Btw are not the europeans going for any development of 5th gen fighter..?? Have BAE n Dassault not got backing from their governments for 5th gen fighters... This can be a boon for India..a real lifeline for AMCA.. Or the europeans think that UCAV will be soon making 5th gen Obsolete..?? Aura or Amca... What should be our priority..??

Anonymous said...

Prasun, you typically answer from only military point of view. I beleive that the decision not to buy an American fighter is nothing short of a political one. going to the arms of US overtly would have been unacceptable to many of the signficant political parties such as left and the muslims. of course one can counter saying the P-8 deal or c-17 deal, but they are minnows infront of mmrca publicity...
of course going for an american fighter would also have annoyed china (recently India had shown some rudimentary interest in SCO even) and pakistan.
We cannot and should not think in lines with china or pakistan which are quasi dictator ship even havingt their merits of logical thinking.
As a democracy our biggest concern would and should be keeping all party inclusive, even though it might be at a premium. why you discount the price we have to pay for internal disturbance from leftists or fundamentalists for going to the arms of USA which is their sworn enemy.
so i guess infact we had in reality 2 options, either mig35 (which we didnt want i guess) or a european fighter...and i guess we made the choice. it works out cheap politically.

it is the balance and checks that works in democracy where civilians control things which they may not seemingly be good at. best example is US in the Nixon era, where the intelligence agencies had the run of the country...but see how they balanced it. The democracy can be as good as its civilians only even in strategic matters unlike dictatorships which runs by strategic brains.

Anonymous said...

i am taking the liberty of answering to anon@11.23

Unfortunately the destiny has bestowed us with such a wonderful neighbour!. had there been friendship of that sorts we first of all need not have any weapon at all!
the materials listed by you are not made in pakistan...they are just products of china or Ukraine (al-khalid0).you read through prasun's blogs to get an idea about what is 'real' around the world than going through the jingoism.

and if pakistan was 1% willing to collaborate 99% of the problems of both countries are nonexistent. lets us hope for peace and for a day when our armed forces need to have batons only as the weapon, but ultimately that remains a hope.

Anonymous said...

Hey check this out

Jane states the Barak 8 is under full production and Delivery's are under way...

Anonymous said...

that's interesting news ANON, shall we start a page on Wiki about the Gandhu missile?? Prasun, pls do a write up.
Ram Modi

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Rahul: What I mean is re-engineering/redesigning the hull’s engine compartment for not only accommodationg a smaller gas turbine-based powerpack, but also reducing the thermal signature signature. And yes, incorporation of new-generation lightweight armour is imperative in order to do away the other option of with 1.5 tonnes of ERA tiles. The LV-100 gas turbine does away with several of the liabilities associated with the earlier AGT-1500 and its support reqmts will be no more than those reqd for the Arjun Mk1/2’s existing hydropneumatic suspensions. One must also note that the Indian Army’s no longer wants to make deep thrusts with its armoured divisions inside Pakistan, but is more inclined to go no more than 30km inside in a series of shallow thrusts in a stretch starting from Chicken’s Neck area all the way down to Sialkot or Fort Abbas.

To Ganeshjee Vinayak: There are two problems with your scenario. Firstly, China and not Pakistan owns the IPR of the weapon systems you’ve mentioned. Secondly, Pakistan will never agree to unrestricted bilateral trade until the J & K issue is resolved. Why? Elementary, my dear fellow, for Pakistan, unlike India, does not want to create a business lobby inside itself that will force the country’s leadership to accept a political compromise that runs counter to the country’s supreme national interest. In India today the way here businessmen are procuring China-made goods and hardware just because they’re the cheapest is day by day leading to the creation of a very strong business lobby that is not at all bothered about the gaping bilateral trade deficit with China and instead, could in future force the Govt of India to enter into a compromise with China regarding the boundary/LAC issue that will be detrimental to India’s supreme national interests. That is why China on one hand is quite happy to leave the boundary issue unresolved, while Pakistan on the other hand is desperate to solve the J & K issue. That explains the totally contrasting attitude of India’s two immediate contiguous neighbours when it comes to settlement of the boundary issues.

To Rohan: In any competitive bidding process there are two phases: one is the technical evaluation stage, which is over for the M-MRCA competition. The other is the final selection, which will be done NOT by the operator, but by the end-user, i.e. the Govt of India. And that is precisely why the present IAF Chief has off late been giving interviews in which he said that all six M-MRCA performed as advertised. What this means is that should the GoI, citing supreme nationbal enlightened interests, decides in favour of something like the Super Hornet International Roadmap, that would not mean overlooking the IAF technicasl evaluation parameters or com promising the IAF. Don't forget that in the early 1980s when the IAF had recommended to the then GoI that India go in for the Mirage 2000/4000 combination, this proposal was shot down and instead the Govt of India went in for the MiG-23MF, MiG-23BN, MiG-27M and MiG-29B-12. So, there have been precedents in the past when the IAF's serious-minded and well-meaning technical evaluations and recommendations were totally overlooked.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@1.18PM: "As a democracy our biggest concern would and should be keeping all party inclusive, even though it might be at a premium."
Kindly give this excuse to the relatives of all those Indiand who have thus far died or perished while either combatting or as victims of communal violence or separatist movements or Maoist insurgencies. Decisive and purposeful governance is never possible when one seeks political accommodation. Statistically, it is a fact that 90% of the prevailing sperartist movements in India's northeast are devoid of any genuine grevience and are instead stoked by local politicians seeking to create their own political/economic space/powerbase. The same goes for tendencies prevailing in the Maoist heartland. And you want this beasts against humanity to be part of an all-inclusive society??? No wonder the country is becoming a soft and cushy state where individual human life has no value. At least in countries like Israel and Russia the top political leadership has consistently adopted a no-nonsense policy, and undertaken audacious counter-terrorist operations (like the ones at Entebbe and Beslan), while chose to relent furing the IC-814 incident in December 1999. If the present-day Indian political leadership doesn't re-orient its attitudnal outlook towards national security planning, the country will only sinker deeper into the abyss and many more 26/11s will happen.

joydeep ghosh said...

@ Prasun da

what you said about 1,500 motorised 155nn/52-cal howitzers like the Caesar or Archer, but these essentially SPH, what we need is highly mobile APC with heavy firing capability.

I believe the 8 cell Smerch on 24 ton truck can fill the gap between 12 cell Smerch and Pinaka but the advantage will derived are numerous inclusive of ability to move faster, lighter than smerch and can reach more inaccessible areas.

Just one question does the T90S/M of India include the Shotra defense system


Joydeep Ghosh

Anonymous said...

Dear Prasunda ,

Why cant the IA cancel the T-90 deal and order more Arjun Mk1 and Mk2 instead ?

T-90 is inferior to Arjun Mk1 and T-90M will be inferior to Arjun Mk2 whats the point in investing in such tanks ?

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Joydeep Ghosh: For border domination fire-assaults one requires high-precision field artillery assets like the Caesar or Archer. 105mm guns are not as precise as 155mm howitzers, while MBRLs are at best area saturation weapons. Secondly, motorised 155mm/52-cal howitzers like the Caesar are easily air-transportable by C-130J-30 Hercules transports, while Smerch M-like MBRLs are not. The highly mobile APC with heavy firing capability you're referring to is interpreted by the Army to mean light tanks (tracked and wheeled) of the type now proliferating within China's PLA. The Indian T-90S MBTs do not have the Shtora.

To Anon@4.47PM: The T-90S was ordered when the Arjun Mk1 was nowhere in sight. It was only after 2007 that the Indian Army became firmly convinced about the reliability and future growth potential of the Arjun and consequently, we today have the Arjun Mk1 and Mk2. I'm sure the Mk3 will follow inm far larger numbers and therefore the Indian Army is most unlikely to order a fourth tranche of T-90S MBTs.

Anonymous said...

Dear Gandhupta, JF-17 is made in Kamra using China technology, just like how Tejas and Dhruv is made in India using Israel/USA/France/Italy/Russia ... ... technology.

Shaheen is 100% made in Pakistan and so is babur, what u say is PROVEN wrong. Read:

Bhakter Shikan uses A few Chinese components but as of 2010, even China buys many of the key technologies from Pakistan, eg. the rocket forging, the cear 2'oclock alloy flap, the fuel cut-off switch (bought from Hamdan mills), the 4 axis burn-out tubes and the central chord.

U want me to prove this to u??

Anonymous said...

Dear Sir

If Everything was SO BAD with Indian Armed forces then we would have been OVERRUN by China and Pakistan

Obviously we ARE a strong country

Pakistan and China are NOT DOING any favours to India by not attacking us

It is quite possible that India's REAL STRENGTH is known to the enemies BUT ; Govt Of India DOES NOT tell it to the people of India

Anonymous said...

am Anon@1.18PM

what you are mentioning are the problems, but what are the solutions?
you cite Israel and Russia. but are they good example, both are struggling at their best to keep disturbances to minimum. Unlike the high praiseworthy commando operations the aftereffects are not always in desired ways. the intifadas were the worst examples. i agree Israel has very less option to choose. But it is not the case with India.

i donot beleive that a military effort can alone keep up a country, then pakistan, north korea, myanmar etc would have been successful. A powerful military along with an even powerful civilian leadership only can keep up the example is USA...i think we should emulate them...iron fist with a soft glove.

Agree that by being soft we are asking militants to target us, but sometimes being soft is also a wise diplomacy. No wonder many treat retreat as one of the fine art.

Prabhakar said...

@Anon 7:23 But that doesn't mean we shall not increase, improve our operational readiness. DRDO, HAL are awesome but they have some defects too and we must strive to remove those defects. If you ever want to be great you must realise shortcomings and fix them.

@Anon 7:03 Why are you insulting Prasun? And why you are claiming that Pakistan gives technology to China! Seriously, wake the hell up.

Tarun Pratap said...

@Anon 7:03PM If we are talking of Jf-17 then it is as Paki as Su-30 Mki is Indian. While Su-30 Mki has some indigenous components we say its Russian. Jf-17 is less Pakistani than that.
Second, talking of missile program go and Check what happened to Ghauri-III missile that Pakistan was developing for last 11 years. To make it easy for you let me tell you what happened to that- Funding stopped in 2004. This was made public only in 2011.
And last but not least, dont poison our forums with hatred and insults. We openly discuss matters, there is no place for your swearing here.

Atul said...

Anon 7.03, scared to reveal urself reflects on u and ur country guts. Gud. .as usual scared. May be frm BR or Pak. Both r fanatics! !

Giridhar said...

@Atul He most likely is an Pak Def forum user but we cant be certain as it has become an common thing for Pakis to blame others. Right now they are claiming that New York Times is 'defaming' the ISI, before that they claimed that being given position among 'Most failed countries' was an conspiracy.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@7.03PM: You’re more than welcome to prove anything you want to anybody at a place and time of your own choosing, but here are the ‘facts’:
1) No one from either Pakistan or China has so far shown a film/video of the JF-17 Thunder being ‘built’ from raw materials or even fuselage sections being machined at either PAC Kamra. All the posters revealed thus far by both the ISPR and APP show the JF-17 to be licence-assembled with components being imported in CKD condition from CAC Chengdu. Therefore, in essence, the facility of PAC Kamra is a Rebuild Factory just like those for the Mirage III/V.
2) Leave alone the Shaheens being made 100% in Pakistan, even the TELs are of foreign origin from both North Korea and China. Can you guide us to the Missile Brigade that is equipped with the Shaheen-2? I ask this because to date the ISPR has publicly identified the concerned Missile Brigades for the Shaheen-1, Ghaznavi and Ghauri-1, but none for the Shaheen-2. What does that indicate? Regarding Babur, the less said the better for I’ve been to CPMIEC’s factories in Sichuan and Chengdu and I’ve had since 2005 video presentations of not only the C-602, but also the CJ-10.
3) FYI Baktar Shikan or its parent, the HJ-8 Red Arrow are no longer in use by the PLA as the AKD-10 ATGM has already replaced the Red Arrow. Go through the images of ALIT’s exhibits during the IDEX 2011, LAAD 2011 and Paris Air Show 2011 expos and you will see this for yourself.
I don’t think you’re doing justice to me by calling me Gandhupta since I was never born in Taxiola and so I don’t have any “Gandhara’ blood or DNA in me.

To Anon@7.23PM: What we have is a notion of being a strong country, whereas the reality is quite the opposite. A few examples here will suffice. Firstly, a country need not be overrun militarily. It can be done economically, which is exactly what China is now doing. Way back in the early 1990s the Chinese duped India into agreeing to convert the political boundary known as the McMahon Line into a ceasefire line called the LAC. What this means is that the LAC’s existence is determined by a temporary military ceasefire, meaning it can be altered anytime by either party using military means. This cardinal effort was committed by the late PM P V Narasimha Rao and was failure was further reinforced by former PM A B Vajpayee. Secondly, by now blurring the red line between the LAC and LoC (thereby raising the possibility of fighting a two-front war in J & K), both Pakistan and China have joined forces to unilaterally reduce the length of the LAC and as a result, Beijing today considers the entire J & K as disputed territory. And India can’t do anything to reverse this since the present Indian PM had said way back in 2005 that the India-Pakistan peace process is irreversible, thereby totally ruling out the use of any kind of military force against Pakistan. In conclusion, the REAL TRUTH is that the biggest enemy of enemy is not China or Pakistan, but the successive Govts of India since the early 1990s.

To Anon@7.33PM: The solutions are simple and were highlighted way back in 1999/2000 when the Kargil Committee’s report was fortunately declassified by the govt headed by A B Vajpayee. All the urgently required structural reforms concerning higher strategic decision-making need to be implemented in toto. Only then can India’s armed forces engage in rightsizing processes. Military-industrial reforms are also necessary, for otherwise the MoD-owned DPSUs will continue to milk the country of precious resources. Implementation of these steps is what decisive and purposeful governance is all about.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Prabhakar: Precisely. Make HAL and BEL and all the Indian defence shipyards public-listed, give them the same kind of strategic financial/corporate autonomy as those enjoyed by the TATAs, L & T, Mahindra Defence, etc, and one will see a sea change in both attitudes, performance and corporate governance. Right now ADA post-Tejas Mk2 wants to preserve its status and is thus clamouring for the AMCA, while HAL cares two hoots about the AMCA and is gung-ho about the FGFA, MRTA and LCH, while NAL continues to daydream about the regional turbofan-powered airliners and regional twin-turboprops. If this attitude continues, how can there be national-level military-industrial consolidation? And why should the IAF continue to maintain the such infrastructrure of Base repair Depots when all over the world such depots are run by the private sector or joint sector companies? Why can’t all the existing BRDs therefore be merged into a single military-industrial entity and be publicly listed, and made to specialize on civil/military aircraft maintenance/repair/overhaul (MRO)? Why can’t ADA, ADE, DARE and NAL be merged into a single corporate entity and be made to become a centre of excellence regarding R & D on new-generation aircraft and avionics? Only if such new corporate entities are created will it be possible to fully absorb the kind of direct/industrial offsets that come with major military hardware procurements. Right now, as I see it, it will be next to impossible to absorb the offsets accrusing from programmes like the M-MRCA simply because the military-industrial might of India remains dwarfed and trunciated due to the sheer lack of the far-reaching structural economic reforms.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@7.03PM: If you're really interested in knowing more about the Babur clone of the C-602 missile, then kindly proceed to ( where I had uploaded photos in 2008 of all components of the missile, and also to ( where I had posted diagrams/charts of the Babur's fire-control and command-and-control systems. There you more secrets.

Mr. Ra said...

Now please tell us about the specifications of the US drones, which are driving out some people away to these forums.

joydeep ghosh said...

@ all

this is a blog and discussions are carried on serious matters relating to security and national interest.

So i request no profanity or vulgarity please


Joydeep Ghosh

joydeep ghosh said...

Prasun Da thanks for this article
Main aapko shahtang pranam karta hu
Atlast there is someone who has the vision that if we cant develop things on our own, atleast we can reverse engineer the products. Sorry for being a repetitive, but reverse engineering some smaller defense systems like mentioned below can help us work on bigger systems on our own.
1. Develop on the upcoming FICVs with improvisation like outfitting them with 105 mm IFG that will give the APC heavy firing capability, a big advantage in mountainous areas of Sikkim, Arunachal, Himachal or J&K where Arjun, T-72, T90S/M cant operate properly since the roads or terrain are unsuitable.
2. DRDO labs can do simple reverse engineering work such as developing the Smerch 12 cell battery into a 8 cell battery on a 24 ton Tata TEL autoloader.

3. IAF is looking for Cluster Bombs and Bunker Busters, either we ask for TOT or we can work on them or develop a similar by involving pvt co or engineering colleges.
4. We must stop going to international market to buy small spare parts, and promote companies like IPCL of Bhavnagar which manufactured India’s first Multi Mode Radar for Tejas aircraft and ask them to develop more products indigenously.
5. We must allow pvt co or even DPSU to source men, materials from around the world (Russian, German, Americans) to develop weapon systems.

6. Above all we must stop buying weapons grade steel from foreign countries.

If we can succeed atleast in these there will be a start, and then we can reverse engineer bigger and more complex systems what do you say

Awaiting your reponse


Joydeep Ghosh

Anonymous said...

Indian Navy to Order Carrier Capable Rafale Fighter Jet