Hitesh wrote:In contrast to the Arjun, the production line for the T-90s can simply be an conversion of existing T-72 production lines, which is why the timelines for the T-90 ToT look very tight. Given that India - unlike China - actually does have experience making and fielding T-72s, it would have made more sense for INDIA to have gone the Chinese route and make their own version of the T-tanks rather than doing the Great Leap Forward (irony of ironies) that the Arjun has turned out to be. Of course, as I said myself, India probably just can't afford replacing the models every three years (which the Chinese seem to be doing with some gusto)
Well it was an Indian Army GSQR that led to the Arjun design in the first place! I mean it wasn’t CVRDE that said ok lets go for a 58 ton tank with 1400 hp engine. The IA at that time was scared that PA would acquire the M-1 Abrams and that fear led them to change their original GSQR to the one that led to the configuration we see today. So if there was lack of vision, it wasn’t anyone but the IA’s fault and even then I feel that its more a case of changed threat perception that made the IA feel lukewarm about the Arjun. I can guarantee that if PA had M-1s, the IA would’ve happily taken the Arjun or begged the GoI to get them Leopard 1 or 2s from Germany. Then, the bigger size and higher weight would’ve been accommodated, infrastructure would’ve been set up and they’d have changed their training to suit the new tank.
A year ago when I spoke to a recently retired Brigadier of the IA, who was in charge of a T-72 regiment earlier, he said that there was no doubt in the IA that in a one-to-one fight the T-72 stood no chance against the Arjun. He also said that he knew that crew comfort, armour protection and accuracy wise, the Arjun was far superior to the T-72, but he said that the T-90 was a very good tank. When I asked which is better, he cryptically said both have their advantages.
But what he said is that the IA liked the T-90 because in many ways it didn’t need to change operational tactics for training tank crews. Its silhouette was nearly the same as the T-72, which meant that tactics applied for the T-72 could be used directly for the T-90. Such as, how much minimum distance would you need to maintain from an enemy tank when you hide behind a dune. The Arjun has a higher profile and consequently needs to be farther from an enemy tank in order to remain undetected. But with better thermal sights (80% of IA’s tanks don’t even have this) the Arjun has a natural advantage here in spotting an enemy first. Even if it’s detected and fired at, the Arjun’s Kanchan armour can take direct hits from T-72s and still fight. Can the T-72 or T-90 do that? And the Arjun’s FCS and gun will mean much higher probability of taking out an enemy tank, which in our enemy’s case is as lightly armoured as our T-72 and T-90s. And like any other major product, there will be some defects initially, but those can be taken care of and shouldn’t mean the end of the road unless the system performs abominably.