Member of the Year 2011
- May 26, 2010
CVRDE Arjun MK2 at various shows ..
Contrary to widespread speculation, the Indian Army (IA) has not forsaken or given up on the Arjun Mk.2 main battle tank (MBT). Instead, for the past four years, the IA’s Directorate General of Mechanised Warfare has been overseeing a collective developmental effort involving the DRDO, and the MoD-owned defence public-sector undertakings and private-sector OEMs that will in the near future result in a fully-loaded 60-tonne MBT armed with a 120mm smoothbore cannon while retaining the existing 1,400hp power pack, wrote Prasun K Sengupta in his blog in March 2017.
http://www.indiandefensenews.in/2017/10/indian-army-has-not-forsaken-arjun-mk2.htmlIn August 2014, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) finally gave the go ahead for 118 Arjun Mk-2 MBTs for an order value of about Rs 6600 crores. The piecemeal order is indicative of the fact that the Indian Army (IA) continues to insist upon the demonstration of a potent missile firing capability from the Arjun Mk-2's gun before it places an indent for a much larger order. And a much larger order, as has been known to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is absolutely needed to make it viable to indigenize various sub-systems in the Arjun Mk-2. Meanwhile, the IA continues to face issues with its pool of T-90S MBTs and is increasingly turning to the DRDO to upgrade these tanks with domestically developed technologies in a manner resembling DRDO's Combat Improved Ajeya (CIA) program for existing T-72s in the IA's inventory. Be that as it may the IA has to support economies of scale in the overall Arjun program as that will have a direct bearing on India's ability to productionize the Future Main Battle Tank (FMBT) that is needed to replace the IA's ageing T-72 park heading into the 2020s, writes Saurav Jha in a report.
Under the supervision and guidance of the DRDO’s Avadi-based Combat Vehicles Research & Development Establishment (CVRDE), and with the help of the MoD’s Directorate General of Quality Assurance (DGQA) and the IA’s Corps of Electronics & Mechanical Engineers (EME), a number of key decisions have been to achieve a weight reduction of 8 tons in the existing design of the 68-tonne Arjun Mk.1A MBTs, 118 of which are now in delivery.
The Arjun Mk-2 variant developed by DRDO's Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE) essentially grew out of the IA's recommended upgrades post the Arjun Mk-I's comparative trials with the T-90S which included among other things the incorporation of an anti-tank missile firing capability, an increase in penetrating power of ammunition used and the mounting of explosive reactive armour (ERA) panels.
In order to comply with these requests besides generally updating the Mk-I design and making its assemblies more production friendly, CVRDE has made some 89 upgrades to the baseline Mk-1, including 19 major improvements such as the incorporation of an improved commander's panoramic sight, a track width mine plough, automatic target tracking,power driven air defence gun, advanced running gear system, final drive with reduction ratio, an improved slip ring, capability to fire new thermobaric ammunition, ERA, a laser warning countermeasure system, and a new auxiliary power unit (APU) generating in excess of 8 KW of power i.e double that of the Mk-1's APU.
The Arjun Mk-2 also features the capability to fire the Israeli LAHAT missile in an anti-tank role through its 120 mm main rifled gun. However the LAHAT has turned out to be a sticking point between the IA and DRDO since besides uneven accuracy, smoke regurgitation from the LAHAT missile into the fighting compartment as it is fired through the main gun has been deemed as too hazardous by the IA. As of now DRDO has dropped the LAHAT from its Arjun Mk-2 MBT plans and is instead pursuing the Canon Launched Guided Missile (CLGM) being developed indigenously at the Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL).
The missile firing capability requirement grew out of the fact that though the Arjun Mk-I with a score of 25.77 beat the T-90S with a score of 24.50 in the firepower criteria during the 2010 comparative trials if the T-90S's missile firing capability were to be kept aside, the T-90 fared marginally better in the overall final score primarily on account of its Invar missile firing capability. The comparative trials were on four parameters viz. fire power, survivability, reliability and miscellaneous issues of the tank with weightages of 40, 35, 15 and 10 respectively. As per the trial report, MBT Arjun performed better than the T-90 tank in accuracy and consistency of firepower. However, the T-90S seems to have performed better in lethality and missile firing capability. Importantly, the IA concluded (April 2010) that "Arjun had performed creditably and it could be employed both for offensive and defensive tasks with same efficacy of T-90 tank'.
Now if the Mk-I itself could do that, then the Mk-2 given its technology, will certainly do far better. In fact in terms of both firepower and survivability the Mk-I will easily surpass Eastern Bloc tanks with or without taking into account a missile firing capability. As such the Arjun Mk-2 is clearly something that the IA should be using to over-match Pakistani tanks, especially in the desert sector where the T-90S's electronics and sights have been known to function erratically.
A larger production run for the Arjun Mk-2 say of the order of about 500 units will allow its developers to indigenize about 70 percent of its systems, from the current 40 percent. This is important because having domestic suppliers for these systems with stabilised quality will make it easier to produce the proposed FMBT at a future date which will use sub-systems of this variety that have been refined and improved.
Some of the replacements will be Arjun Mk-2s themselves, others however will be the FMBT that will have to be kept at around 50 tons by weight as far the IA's broad requirements go. The IA however has still not been able to narrow down precisely what it wants from the FMBT, but broadly speaking this tank will feature either a 125 mm or 120 mm smoothbore gun with missile firing capability, an active protection system, next generation hydro-pneumatic suspension that will be succeeded by fully active suspension and a power pack that generates either 1,500 or 1,800 HP. At the moment it seems that the 1,500 HP Bharat Power Pack under development as a national mission mode project involving DRDO and industry will power the FMBT which the IA may want to be closer to 45-50 tons than not. (Adapted from Saurav Jha's report)
Beautiful schematic of Arjun MBT Mk2 from a recent seminar on 16.9.2017 on Project management national conference in Chennai.
View attachment 21048
source : https://www.slideshare.net/pmichennai/project-management-challenges-8743966
So, has DRDO achieved the weight reduction army has demanded?Necessary changes made to main battle tank Arjun Mark II: DRDO
The DRDO chairman expressed confidence that the tank will be accepted by the Army.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) Chairman S Christopher today said necessary modifications have been made to the advanced version of the indigenous Arjun Mark II main battle tank as recommended by the Army. The DRDO chairman expressed confidence that the tank will be accepted by the Army. The Army had asked for 93 improvements to the tank which includes the capability of firing the anti-tank LAHAT missile, laser protection suite and improved armoured protection for the vehicle.
“We have done the modifications… it will go through the trials and there is a possibility that Arjun MK II (battle tank) will be accepted by Army and two regiments have already agreed to induct the tanks,” said DRDO Chairman, while talking to reporters here. Christopher was here to inaugurate POINTS 21 Batch of Post Induction Training School programme for newly inducted DRDO scientists at the Defence Institute of Advanced Technology here.
As per DRDO, Arjun Mark II can fire missiles, has advanced explosive reactive armour panels, mine plough, automatic target tracking, advanced land navigation system, digital control harness and advanced commander panoramic sight among other features. Arjun will have a better gun barrel with an equivalent firing charge (strength of the barrel to sustain firing) of 500 rounds against the T 72’s 250 rounds. The Chennai-based Combat Vehicle Research and Development Establishment has designed the Mark II version of MBT at its facility there.
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