Video: DefExpo 2016

Here are a few videos from the recent DefExpo in India featuring combat vehicles including Arjun Mk I, Arjun Mk II, Kestrel 8×8 armoured vehicle and Tata Motors MPV.

For further details about the vehicles featured in the video, check out this article.

Upgraded Arjun II undergoing trials

Arjun_Mk-2_Mark_II_main_battle_tank_India_Indian_defence_industry_military_technology_007The Times of India is reporting that the upgraded version of the series of Arjun Mark-II tanks are undergoing trial at the Indian Army core level excercise at Pokhran field firing range.  The article mentions two series of tests, the first to examine its missile firing ability, while the second one will look into tank’s automotive aspects.  A defence source said successful testing will pave way for the production of upgraded Arjun. In all, 124 tanks of the first series have been produced so far. Indian Army has two armored regiments, both deployed in western desert sector, which comprise of Arjun-I tanks.  The Arjun program has been beset with numerous delays and setbacks and it has been noted that the Indian army may actually prefer the Russian built T-90.  The article quotes a source who says:

“The major upgrades would be missile-firing capability against long-range targets, panoramic sight with night vision to engage targets effectively at night, containerization of the ammunition, enhanced main weapon penetration; additional ammunition types, explosive reactive armor, an advanced air-defense gun to engage helicopters; a mine plow, an advanced land navigation system and a warning system which can fire smoke grenades to confuse laser guidance. Other upgrades are an enhanced Auxiliary power unit providing 8.5 KW (from 4.5 KW) and an improved gun barrel, changes in the commander’s panoramic sight with eye safe LRF, night vision capability including for driver, digital control harness, new final drive, track and sprocket.”

Indian Army announces new armored vehicle platform

arjun questionThe Tribune of India is reporting that the Indian Army has announced that it plans to replace its existing fleet of Russian origin battle tanks with a family of modular armored-fighting vehicles yet to be developed.  At present the T-72 and the T-90, both procured from Russia and assembled in India, are the mainstay of the Indian Armoured Corps. The T-72 has undergone several upgrades to enhance their capability. The T-90 began entering service in the last decades.  According to a statement from the Indian Army “The Indian Army is planning to design and develop a new generation, state-of-the-art combat vehicle platform for populating its armoured fighting vehicle fleet in the coming decade. This vehicle, which will be called the future ready combat vehicle (FRCV), will form the base platform for the main battle tank which is planned to replace the existing T-72 tanks in the Armoured Corps.”  The article states that this new platform is planned for induction by 2025-27, and will include a number of variants, such as bridge-layers, anti-mine trawlers, command posts, armoured ambulances, engineer vehicles, self-propelled gun platforms and recovery vehicles.  This announcement is does not bode well for the future of the indigenous Arjun tank, which has been plagued by a number of issues and which the Indian Army says does not meet their future needs.

Full article here.

More bad news for Indian Arjun MBT

Arjun-MBT-Handing-OverAccording to an article from Defense News, most of India’s fleet of Arjun Mark-1 tanks are not operational due to technical issues and lack of imported components.  According to an unamed Indian Army official, “Nearly 75 percent of the 124 tanks with the Army are grounded.”  The Army official noted that there are more than 90 issues affecting the tank, primarily with its transmission, targeting and thermal sights.  The Indian Army purchased 124 Arjun tanks, primarily because of political pressure so that Avadi factory could remain open.  The Indian Army primarily relies on the Russian designed T-90 to meet their MBT needs.

Full article here. 

India’s Arjun MBT face serious technical issues

Arjun_TankThe Economic Times is reporting that the Indian Army is facing major technical issues with it’s home-grown Arjun MBT.  According to the article, a significant proportion of its fleet has become inoperable in recent months and are non-sericeable due to maintenance issues.  The Indian Army reluctantly accepted 124 Arjun tanks into service from 2009 to 2013 after the UPA government insisted that a token number be ordered to keep the tank development program viable.  Sources said that the Army’s opinion is that while a large number of tanks are not operational due to technical defects, the fleet as such is not combat worthy due to reliability issues. “A number of tanks are not operational currently as transfer of technology (ToT) of several imported systems fitted onboard has not been done,” an Army official said. The Army has identified 96 problems, including 18 major ones.

The Arjun has had a longer development cycle than any other tank in history.  The program to design the tank started in 1974 and has gone through several versions.  Attempts to develop homegrown components have met with limited success and have forced the Arjun designers to rely on foreign components.  It is estimated that 60% of the tank is foreign produced and many of these foreign components must be repaired abroad, a significant factor in the vehicles low readiness and reliability rates.

Read the full article here

Other articles on long, sad story of the Arjun program:

Arjun MK 1 – India’s MBT-70 or White Elephant? (Nov 1998)

Sabotage suspected in Arjun tank engine (July 2008)

Global Arjun page