Sonia Raj: Congress For Kickback from T-72 and T-90 tanks deal
- From: Moorthy <mortayee@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Mon, 10 Sep 2007 03:41:42 -0700
Arjun tank's comparative trials called off
Sunday, September 9, 2007 (New Delhi)
For three decades, India's Arjun tank project has struggled and has
been scoffed at by experts and dismissed by the army.
The army, in fact, refused to accept the tank into service until
comparative trials were held pitting the Arjun against the army's
Russian T-72 and T-90 tanks.
But now, mysteriously the army has asked the Ministry of Defence to
call off the comparative trials.
The T-72 has proved itself over years, says the army, and the T-90 is
even better - only the Arjun needs to prove itself.
Meanwhile, the army is going ahead with buying 347 more T-90s paying a
billion dollars to Russia. The army chief will be visiting Russia next
week and the defence minister will follow next month.
The MoD itself had insisted on comparative trials before this
turnaround. Now it says that you can't compare a 46-tonne T-90 with a
But the men who built the tank in the Central Vehicles R&D
Establishment in Chennai believe that's just an excuse to avoid
comparative trials which would prove that Arjun is the best tank.
''People have been asking that question, how can you compare a 40
tonne class tank with a 60 tonne class tank, and I think the golden
question is that irrespective of the weight and other features, if one
is given a choice as to which tank he'd like to ride to battle, which
tank would you choose?'' said Major General HM Singh, Additional DG,
This competitiveness is a sign of the Arjun's new confidence. After
three decades of public criticism, the Arjun seems to have ironed out
''Over a period of five years, we have evaluated this tank in the
deserts of Rajasthan. We have evaluated over 70,000 km of cumulative
run with 15 tanks we have fired over 10,000 rounds,'' said R
Jayakumar, Associate Director, CVRDE.
But success came only in 2005 after the Arjun hardened its electronics
to work in the desert heat and fixed chronic suspension leakages.
The army then demanded that the tank be able to drive for 20 minutes
under six feet of water, and that's been done too.
Now as the Arjun races over these rumble strips, it has logged up
In the year 2000, the Indian Kanchan Armour proved itself in trials -
a T-72 couldn't penetrate the Arjun even from point blank range.
Last June firing trials noted that the ''accuracy and consistency of
the Arjun tank was proved beyond doubt.''
While the T-90 plans to install an air conditioner to keep its
electronics working, the Arjun's electronics now work at up to 60
The MoD admitted this year to the Parliament's Committee on Defence
that the ''Arjun's firing accuracy is far superior to other two
And that that ''MBT Arjun is specifically configured for Indian Army
requirements, and the T-90 does not have some of the advanced features
of MBT Arjun.''
But the Arjun's makers don't just want acceptance and a token order of
They want the Arjun to be the backbone of India's 3500 tank fleet, and
the comparative trials, they say, will prove the Arjun deserves that.
The MoD is backpedaling. It says the army could accept another 124
tanks of the improved Arjun and perhaps many more, if the army likes
''We have kept the option of producing another 124 of the better
version of the Arjun tank. And when the army uses this tank, God
knows, they may just fall in love with it and decide that the entire
production line should be Arjuns only,'' said KP Singh, Secretary
The Army's opposition to the Arjun tank is partly the fault of the
Arjun team. It took three decades to develop the tank and the generals
lost faith in the project.
And today, with the Arjun ready to prove its worth the army seems
unwilling to listen.
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