Saturday, March 27, 2010

Arjun wins against the Russian T-90, but may only be deployed in Rajasthan until Arjun Mark II

By : 8ak india news

Another brilliant report from Ajai Shukla on the comparative trials between India's home-made Arjun tanks and the Russian T-90s in field trials conducted by the army at the Mahajan Ranges, near Bikaner in Rajasthan, which lasted for a week. Although the report is secret and will not even be completed for another week Shukla's sources say that the Arjun may have trounced the T-90 is every parameter. He further seems to suggest that a strike role for the T-90 should be considered and the DG Mechanised Forces seems to be resisting it.
On reading the article, the first thing that comes to mind is that corruption is at play in the army continuing to choose the Russian platform vs the indigenous one. However, on further investigation, 8ak sources said that there are problems with the CVRDE chart Shukla refers to. In comparing the Arjun to other tanks the chart leaves out 2 vital parameter that are the basis for the army's reluctance to order the Arjun - its width and its weight. The chart also cunningly leaves out a comparison to the Russian tanks because the weight of the T-72 is only 41 tonnes.
Arjun's width of 3.86m is the widest of all tanks. 8ak sources argue that the extra width makes the Arjun the easiest to target especially by Pakistan's F-16s. Secondly it makes the transportation of the tanks using the Indian rail network very difficult if not completely impractical. For example, the Arjun cannot be transported on a rail track that is adjacent to a platform. Only where there are 3 tracks next to each other, can the train/bogey carrying Arjun use the centre track.
The other problem is the Arjun's extra weight. The CVRDE chart claims that the weight is 58.5 but it is widely believed to be 60 tonnes as compared to 41 tonnes for the T-72 and 46.5 for the T-90. The extra weight and larger width means that the Arjun may not be able to use the army's mobile assault bridges - Sarvatra. The Southern J&K and Punjab area are strewn with ditch-cum-bunds and learning from 1971 war with Pakistan, the Sarvatra bridges were designed to help tanks cross these. If the Arjun cannot cross these then it means that it must be relegated to the deserts of Rajasthan where it will play a defensive role rather than be incorporated in to the strike corps. The strike corps will have to continue to use the Russian tanks.
Many news reports seemed to indicate that the Army had been corrupted by the Russians in continuing to choose the Russian platforms over the indigenous one. One 8ak source said that the army was not against the indigenous platform, rather it's stand is that given the width and weight problems they would rather wait for Arjun Mark II.
The DRDO/CVRDE however maintain that the army must order at least 500 Arjun Mark I to make the production line viable before they talk about Mark II. And how can they be sure that the army will buy the Mark II if they produce it?

1 comment:

  1. Sarvatra bridges are capable of supporting up to 70 tones. So it doesn't seem to create any logistical problems in that sense. For an F16 the extra size is not a big difference with a T-90. Both tanks need to have camouflage to escape the airborne foes. Updates are much more possible on Arjun but are not so viable on T-90. It seems to have the corruption which stops the procurement of Arjun. If we ignore Arjun today, we will be docile to Russia in the coming decades.