Army doubts T-90s cambat worthiness

Written by Huma Siddiqui | New Delhi | Updated: Aug 28 2009, 05:46am hrs
Indias repeated assertion on the need to indigenise may come to a nought with the Indian Army armoured units rejecting the tanks that are being rolled out from heavy vehicles factory in Chennai.

Speaking to FE on condition of anonymity, sources said, Even though the technology involved in the T-90 tanks is the best, the armoured units of the Indian Army have expressed reluctance to induct complete regiments of T-90 tanks built indigenously under licence from Russia due to serious doubts about the combat worthiness of the tank.

Heavy vehicles factory, which after a year-long delay rolled out 10 T-90 tanks each costing around Rs 14-15 crore, renamed as Bheeshma, and handed over to the army. However, sources said the armoured regiments were not ready to induct the tanks.

No unit was ready to induct full regiment of the tanks due to serious doubts about its combat worthiness. However, a compromise formula was devised with each regiment now being told to induct 15 of these locally manufactured tanks, a senior officer of the Indian Army's armoured unit said, wishing to remain anonymous.

The T-90s Bheeshma, an improved version of the T-90s, which developed with Russian and France aid and are equipped with the French-designed thermal sights, and utilises Indias Kanchan explosive reactive armoured plates.

According to sources, Meshing up of all the equipment is a problem in the T-90. The tank is fitted with 125 mm smooth-bore gun, 12.7 mm anti-aircraft machine gun and 7.62 mm co-axial machine gun supported with high accuracy sighting systems, and automatic loader for higher firing rate.