Army proposes to scrap Future Main Battle Tank

Discussion in 'Indian Army' started by Hemant Gaikwad, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. Hemant Gaikwad

    Hemant Gaikwad Regular Member

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    The indigenous project to build a Future Main Battle Tank (FMBT) is being quietly buried by the army. Instead, the army’s tank directorate has proposed keeping faith with the home grown Arjun tank, while incrementally improving it into the future backbone of the army’s strike forces.

    Senior army sources tell Business Standard that the Directorate General of Mechanised Forces (DGMF), which oversees the army’s tank force, has formally proposed that the Arjun be gradually improved through successive models --- Mark II, Mark III, Mark IV and so on --- rather than attempting a major technological leap into the unknown, which is what the FMBT would be.

    On Dec 06, 2010, Defence Minister AK Antony had informed parliament that the “FMBT is likely to be developed by the year 2020.” He said the army had already conceptualised its requirements and the DRDO was carrying out a feasibility study.

    Now, by consensus between the DRDO and the DGMF, the future of indigenous tank building is to flow from the Arjun. Two Arjun regiments, consisting of 128 tanks, are already in frontline service. And a Mark II version of the Arjun is undergoing trials in Rajasthan. The army has committed to buying 118 Arjun Mark II tanks after trials are successfully concluded.

    These orders for just 246 Arjuns are insignificant, complains a senior DRDO official, given that the army fields about 4000 tanks. To evolve the Arjun through successive models, the army would have to operate the tank in larger numbers and cooperate closely with the DRDO. This, says the DRDO official, would require a mindshift amongst senior army generals who tend to favour imports.

    Three important realizations drive the DGMF’s new proposal. Firstly, there is growing acceptance of the Arjun, after its strong performance in field trials. Secondly, the need for an industrial “eco-structure” for providing spares and maintenance backup for the Arjuns that are already operating. This would come up only if a viable number of tanks are in service. Finally, the DGMF believes that there are no recent breakthrough technologies in armoured vehicle design, which eliminates the logic for building an entirely new tank.

    This DGMF decision not to develop an FMBT stems from the difficulty it faced in drawing up specifications for the new tank. A key hurdle was in reconciling the need for a four-man tank crew (like the Arjun, and unlike Russian tanks that have a three-man crew) with the simultaneous wish for a lighter tank that weighed not more than 50-tonnes. The 60-tonne-plus Arjun has been criticised as too heavy.

    Says a key general: “All contemporary three-man-crew tanks weigh 50-tonnes, like those being built by South Korea, Turkey and Japan. Adding a fourth crew member also adds roughly 10-tonnes of weight, due to increase in the tank size and weight of armour. But we were asking for a 50-tonne FMBT that would have a four-man crew. It just didn’t add up.”

    Meanwhile, Israel Military Industries (IMI), which provides consultancy to the DRDO on tank design, has advised that the Arjun could be gradually pared down to below 60 tonnes, from the 65 tonnes of the current Arjun Mark II.

    In a 2008 seminar, organized by the DGMF, Israeli Major General Yossi Ben-Hanan --- an acclaimed tank designer who fathered Israel’s successful Merkava tank --- told an attentive audience that tank design is evolutionary, each design building upon the previous one. The Israelis began designing their Merkava Mark-1 MBT in 1970; today they have the world class Merkava Mark-4.

    The DGMF’s proposal to scrap the FMBT indicates that it has bought into the concept of evolutionary development. The Arjun Mark II, which is currently undergoing field trials in Rajasthan, has 79 improvements over the Mark I that is in service. These include: the ability to fire an anti-tank guided missile (ATGM); a panoramic electro-optical sight for the commander; an improved suspension; and an auxiliary generator for powering the Arjun’s electricals when the main engine is not running.

    The army has not responded to an emailed request for comments for this article.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013
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  3. Hemant Gaikwad

    Hemant Gaikwad Regular Member

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    I think it is clear that the problem is not with the DRDO, the problem is with the Indian Army .... they give specifications that are unrealistic. the DRDO has made good products in the past like LCH and the LCA ....but our army genrals are bonkers I dont understand whats their facination with a 4 member crew ??? Is the army suppose to be a PSU to guarantee MAX employment for people?
     
  4. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

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    @Hemant Gaikwad, the 4 crew member tank was from DRDO. Army tanks of Russian origin are all 3 crew member tanks.

    In fact the earlier Challenger tank ( Vijayanta) was a 4 member crew.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
  5. A chauhan

    A chauhan "अहिंसा परमो धर्मः धर्म हिंसा तथैव च: l" Senior Member

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    Evolutionary development is good to avoid unnecessary delays and designing problems, Mark III, IV,then V and so on will be a good way.
     
  6. arya

    arya Senior Member Senior Member

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    well we all dont want desi we want vdesi
     
  7. Defcon 1

    Defcon 1 Senior Member Senior Member

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    link please
     
  8. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    As a side note:

    Tue, 12 Feb 2013, 18:57 IST

    Arjun vs T 90: Tank trials to kick off next month

    On the face of it, both DRDO and the Army say that the comparative trials are not actually a competition between the tanks but are aimed at defining and finding a role for the Arjun in India's armoured fleet. However, the Army is feeling the heat from DRDO which is aggressively marketing the trials as a testing point that could pave the way for more orders for the Arjun from the present cap of 124 units.

    This, after the Army has virtually ruled out the Arjun for further orders and instead wants DRDO to use it as a base for a new tank that would find a place in its war plans. For the Army, the last nail in the Arjun coffin came after the accelerated user trials in 2008 that resulted in a massive setback after the power pack failed four times during just 1,000 km of running.

    More at
    Arjun vs T 90: Tank trials to kick off next month - Indian Express
     
  9. Hemant Gaikwad

    Hemant Gaikwad Regular Member

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    well this tank looks like a winner, the Arjun was a misadventure to begin with ..... I think it would be better to start from scratch rather then wasting more time money and effort on the Arjun. And DRDO seems to have evolved as well , they are making better equipt each day like the LCH . Just comparing the design of the Arjun and the future tank would bring you to the conclusion that the furture tank is a much better design..... for instance the shape of the turret, is angular and will deflect any incoming shell. the tank also seems to be placed low providing a lesser surface area and the IR /electro optic pod is also placed separately, unlike in the arjun, which would otherwise weaken the Armour.

    Besides the Arjun has already got so much negative publicity, no matter how good the MK-2, MK-3 and MK-4 get its not gonna get any international buyers. When I first saw the Arjun, years ago ... it looked like a faliure back then as well, unlike the LCH which was a winner from the start!. I fell the same way about this tank!
     
  10. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    There are five roles in a tank that need to be filled by the tank's crew to operate the tank, namely

    1. Commander
    2. Driver.
    3. Gunner
    4. Loader.
    5. Radio Operator.

    To ensure a low silhouette, which is absolutely essential, the tank is designed as a low and compact vehicle so that it present a small target.

    The larger the crew, the larger is the tank dimension.

    Soviet origin tanks are compact and so they have 3 crew members. It is also cramped.

    The Western tanks are more spacious and comfortable but it has 4 crew member.

    T 90

    Weight 47.5 tonnes (46.7 long tons; 52.4 short tons)
    Length 9.63 m (31 ft 7 in)
    Width 3.78 m (12 ft 5 in)
    Height 2.22 m (7 ft 3 in)
    Crew 3 (commander, gunner, and driver)

    Leopard 2

    Weight 2A6: 62.3 tonnes (61.3 long tons; 68.7 short tons)
    Length 2A6: 9.97 m (393 in) (gun forward)
    Width 2A6: 3.75 m (148 in)
    Height 2A6: 3.0 m (120 in)
    Crew 4

    M1 Abrams

    Weight 67.6 short tons (60.4 long tons; 61.3 t)
    Length Gun forward: 32.04 ft (9.77 m)[4]
    Hull length: 26.02 ft (7.93 m)
    Width 12 ft (3.66 m)[4]
    Height 8 ft (2.44 m)[4]
    Crew 4 (commander, gunner, loader, driver)
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013
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  11. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Autoloaders are often implemented in an attempt to save on tank size. The T-64 is an example of this. The current generation of tanks using autoloaders (Russian T-90, Japanese Type 90 and Type 10, Chinese Type 98, French Leclerc) all weigh between 45–55 tons. Tanks that do not use autoloaders tend to weigh in the 55–70 ton range (American M1A2 Abrams, German Leopard 2, British Challenger 2).

    The most common autoloaders store their ammunition in the turret basket, increasing the possibility of a catastrophic explosion should the armor around the hull or turret be penetrated. More armor protection, and isolation/separation of the ammunition from the crew compartment has traditionally been available in tanks with a human loader, which can decrease the possibility of cook-off, or protect the crew in case of an ammunition explosion.

    For example the M1 Abrams was designed to protect the crew from cook-off, and this is accomplished by storing the main gun ammunition in a compartment at the rear of the turret, which is separated from the crew by a rapidly power operated armored door, which is only opened for a couple of seconds each time the loader needs to grab another round, and the top of this compartment has special roof panels that are armored against outside attack, but are much less resistant to pressure from inside, so that if this compartment is penetrated by enemy fire, these panels will vent the explosion generated by the ammunition burning, while protecting the crew. Other western designs from the later cold war era to the present with manual loading have similar protective features. In contrast, the Soviet tanks of the Cold War which employ autoloaders store the ammunition on a carousel in the middle of the crew compartment, where any penetration by enemy fire is likely to incinerate the crew and blow the turret right off the top of the tank (known as the jack-in-the-box effect).

    However, some newer autoloader designs also store the ammunition in an isolated compartment in the turret bustle, with blow off panels on top and the ramming mechanism underneath or in the middle. This allows for much better crew protection, but is disadvantaged because the loading mechanism located in the ammunition compartment reduces the available space and number of rounds that can be carried considerably compared to a similar sized compartment without machinery. With such a design, the loader crew member can be eliminated, but only half the ammunition can be carried ready, in the compartment with the autoloader. Therefore, such a tank usually stores additional ammo in compartmentalized storage at the bottom of the fighting compartment, like older manual loading tank designs. This storage can be surrounded by water, and compartmentalized to some extent, but the reduced crew must still transfer this ammunition to the autoloader at some point. However, such a design can also allow for the rapid replacement of the autoloader and reloading of the ready ammunition by making the compartment at the rear of the turret a modular component that can be easily replaced with appropriate support equipment, similar to how the US MLRS system is reloaded, but possibly even faster. Another possible advantage is that the door that separates the turret can only be large enough for one round of ammunition to slide through, rather than extending across the entire rear of the turret as in the case of the M1 Abrams - this could save additional mass and reduce the power necessary to operate the door, by using less massive armor for the same level of protection, since it would be part of the turret instead of a sliding component in a heavy frame.

    Autoloader - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
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  12. Hemant Gaikwad

    Hemant Gaikwad Regular Member

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  13. Hemant Gaikwad

    Hemant Gaikwad Regular Member

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    well are there any real disadvantages of not having a loader ? I mean if the process can be automated it should be ?
     
  14. Bhadra

    Bhadra Defence Professionals Defence Professionals Senior Member

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    Why do we need tanks?

    Are not those which India holds sufficeient and good enough?

    Self generated needs !!

    Stop that hoopla about Arjun or Bhisma ... T-90 and Markava etc... We do not have to go to Iraq or North Africa !!

    All the time Indian rulers got defeated around Darya Sindh, Jhelum or Chenab was due to their elephants and horses..

    Nothing learned from history ... modernise the rest of the Army and live aside those horses which can not cross even a Nullaha.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013
  15. Hemant Gaikwad

    Hemant Gaikwad Regular Member

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  16. all problems of arjun has been solved by drdo by 2008 and its is inducted in 2 armoured regiments. it came to be a decisive winner against comparitive trials against t-90.the mk2 version is surely going to be among the best in the world comparable to abrams m1a2,leopard2a7,challenger2,merkava4.also the correct way to proceed forward from now is to follow the israeli models and build succesive versions of arjun's rather than going for a all new design which could take at least 15 years to perfect.
     
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  17. Dejawolf

    Dejawolf Regular Member

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    autoloaders tend to be slow, often 1-2 seconds slower than a human loader.
    so with an autoloader you usually trade rate of fire with a compact, lighter design.
     
  18. Dejawolf

    Dejawolf Regular Member

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    leclerc stores 22 rounds in it's autoloader bustle carousel, same number as in T-72, 22 rounds.
    18 additional rounds are stored in the hull. for protection, the rounds are stored behind the front fuel tank(!)
    when full, the fuel tank will reduce the speed of the penetrator after penetrating the main armour, hopefully stopping it...
    for comparison, non-autoloader leopard 2A4 stores 15 rounds in it's protected bustle, abrams stores all of it's rounds in the bustle, minus 3 emergency rounds in the hull.
    and Arjun stores 10 rounds in the bustle, and 3 rounds under commanders seat.
     
  19. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    The problem of an autoloader, as I was told, is that once the ammunition is over in the system, it has to be refilled!

    That takes a great amount of time.

    In a mobile battle that has serious disadvantages wherein a window of opportunity where a relentless push is the answer is paused and the adversary gets a chance to readjust and consolidate.

    Any opinions?
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2013
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  20. arya

    arya Senior Member Senior Member

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    they want to scrap the deal because they want money

    they can get money by kickback

    [​IMG]
     
  21. Dejawolf

    Dejawolf Regular Member

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    it's the same for all AFVs, whether it's autoloader or manual loader.
    each vehicle has a ready rack and stored ammunition. the ready rack you reload very quickly from, but when it's empty, you have to refill it.
    various tanks has different ways to store ammunition.
    in the abrams there's a ready rack, and a "semi-ready" rack. both in the turret bustle holding 17 rounds each. the ready rack is behind the loader, and semi-ready behind the commander.
    to reload the ready rack, the semi.ready rack needs to be opened, the round taken out, semi-ready rack closed, ready rack opened, and the round put into the
    ready rack. the speed of this is further reduced due to the semi-ready rack not being powered.
    it can take up to 15-20 seconds to transfer a single round from the semi-ready to ready rack due to this.

    on the leopard 1 and 2 the stored ammunition is in the hull. when the ready rack is empty, the turret is traversed over the right side, and the loader pulls the rounds out of the hull, and puts them into the ready rack. it goes much faster on the leopards, only ~6 seconds for each round.
    on the T-72, the rounds are stored all over the place, so the turret needs to traverse all over in order to reload the 22 round carousel, and due to the rounds being 2-piece, that further increases carousel reload time. in order for the commander to reload a single autoloader casette, he needs to unfasten the rounds, raise the casette, put the rounds in the right spots in the casette, set the round type, lower it, and traverse the carousel to the next spot.

    on the Leclerc, it's more automatized. the rounds has a "bar code" which automatically detects the round type.
    the rounds in the hull are stored in a "revolver" type magazine, and the gunner operates this by cranking it around, and pulling out the rounds.
    the commander gets out of the tank, and grabs the rounds the gunner hands to him, and puts them into the autoloader through a hatch in the rear of the turret.
    this way the loading time is reduced.
     

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