Why The Army's Arjun Tank May Be Its Best Bet Yet | World Defense

Why The Army's Arjun Tank May Be Its Best Bet Yet

jbgt90

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https://www.ndtv.com/blog/why-the-armys-arjun-tank-may-be-its-best-bet-yet-1797209

For decades, the made-in-India Arjun tank was seen as an also-ran, a noble Indian effort but one that fell short of the Army's expectations. Yes, the Army would acquire the Arjun in limited numbers but by no means would it be a replacement for the Russian-built T-72 or T-90, the mainstay of the Army's armoured formations. The numbers tell the story - more than 1,200 T-90 tanks are in service with the Army presently. By the time the last T-90s roll in, India will end up operating more than 2000 of the tanks. By contrast, the Army employs only 124 Arjun tanks in just two of its 67 Armoured regiments.

Does that mean that the Arjun is a bad tank? It really depends who you ask. For years, cherry-picked data on the Arjun tank's faults seemed to highlight a series of seemingly insurmountable obstacles - the tank was too heavy, it wasn't reliable and it couldn't fire an anti-tank missile. This is all true, but was this reason enough to stifle the growth of the indigenously built tank?


Arjun tanks of the Army's 43 Armoured Regiment are a part of RAPID or Reorganised Army Plains Infantry Division.

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Arjun tank commander's position with gunners position below.
Any enemy tank can be taken out at a range of 3 kilometres through the Arjun's 120 mm main gun, an entirely indigenous effort. The tank fires 2 kinds of shells - APFSDS (Armour Piercing Fin Stabilised Discarding Sabot) which can breach the armour of enemy tanks and HESH (High Explosive Squash Head) rounds meant to take on 'softer' targets including armoured personnel carriers or infantry bunkers. The accuracy of the system is such that 80 per cent of all targets are taken out with the first shell that is fired even when the tank is on the move - this compares favourably with any tank in the world. Key to ensuring this hit-rate is the Arjun suspension. An indigenous hydro-pneumatic unit, the suspension lets the Arjun glide over undulating cross-country terrain at 40 kilometres per hour while ensuring that the gun is stable enough to fire accurately.

What the Arjun Mk 1 lacks is an anti tank guided missile and new generation Explosive Reactive Armour, designed to defeat incoming missiles. It also lacks electronic countermeasures designed to spook enemy missiles once they have been launched.
But here too, there are solutions - there is a new Arjun tank, its called the Arjun Mark 2, and its better than the existing tank in just about every critical parameter. Unveiled a few years ago, the Arjun Mk 2 incorporates 70 changes demanded by the Army. Its laser warning control system detects a missile homing in on the Arjun and fires aerosol grenades to confuse the incoming missile's seeker head. The tank is fitted with new Explosive Reactive Armour that the Mark 1 lacks and features a remote control weapon system - an externally mounted gun designed to take on helicopters and drones. It also has a new integrated fire control system with an automatic target tracker, all systems which are designed to make the Arjun Mk 2's weapon system more accurate than its predecessor. Unfortunately, the Israeli made LAHAT missile meant to be fired through the tank's main gun failed its tests - it could not engage targets at ranges less than 1.2 kilometres with the precision that the Army required, a problem more to do with the operational philosophy of the missile in Israeli service. It turns out that the Israeli Army usually does not use anti-tank missiles at short ranges preferring to use the tank's primary weapon, its kinetic energy shells which are both faster and more lethal than anti-tank missiles in a close-range duel between tanks. India has since decided to built its own anti-tank missile.


The Arjun project had to overcome adverse commentary from groups more impressed by foreign wares.
There are interesting similarities between the Arjun project and the indigenous Tejas Light Combat Aircraft - both the Tejas and the Arjun have had protracted development phases - having to overcoming not just technical challenges in development but also adverse commentary from groups more impressed by foreign wares. Both have now emerged as very competent platforms at a time when Make in India is one of the government's flagship programmes.

Last month, in a clear signal that it had not lost hope in the Tejas, the government paved the way for the manufacture of 83 Tejas Mk-1A fighters in a deal likely to be worth close to Rs.60,000 crores. In September, the new Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman visited 43 Armoured Regiment to get a first hand look at the Arjun tank. A month later, she visited the Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment in Chennai where the tank was developed - signals which some say are an indicator that the Arjun main battle tank's best days are yet to come.
 

Nilgiri

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India actually has to commit to large scale production of its locally developed multi-component systems like tanks.

The good/bad reference mark only really comes into argument when you have made sufficient number and operated them in real time. It is very iterative process.

Also its the only way that "The Chieftain" can at some point do a review hehe:

https://www.youtube.com/user/TheChieftainWoT/videos
 

Signalian

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Not sure if 43 Cavalry Regt and 43 Armored Regt are related.

Although, in 1993 the first six prototype tanks were handed over to the 43rd Cavalry Regiment for troop trials at Rajasthan's Mahajan range, at least one Arjun fielded by the 43rd Armoured Regiment participated in the 48th Republic Day parade in 1997.

The DRDO once blamed the test crew from the 43rd Cavalry, whom they accused of having a mindset left-over from the T-72M1's that Arjun's Fire Control System has a 20-80% First Shot hit ratio.
 
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