ramana wrote:My understanding reading the CAG reports on the Tank Gun
- Issues with ammo assembled by OFB from imported components from IMI
- Multiple issues with the shell: shell comes apart from the casing, casing gets partial burnt in the barrel.
- No issues with IMI made ammo
No solution at OFB in sight.
issues with tank gun barrel
- Both Indian and Russian made barrels have problems.
The second problem is highlighted from the first one.
But how does the shell burst in the barrel is not explained. I would think its from the fuze funtioning inadvertently thinking it left the barrel.
No, not that straight forward.
First, the exploding ammo issue happened with 125mm Mk1 Ammo. These were rounds designed by ARDE, penetrator from HAPP trichy with DRDO tot and to be made at OFB. OFB used existing sources of propellant which it had contracted for from East Europe for its previous 125mm ammo of Russian origin which it was intending to make. These rounds when kept in the sun, since they came packaged in paper and wooden boxes, leaked propellant. The cartridge case was not brass but cellulose per latest standards to reduce weight and improve combustion. These hybrid rounds exploded in the tank. Subsequent QA recommended propellant change, improved storage conditions and hybrid rounds to be scrapped, local design rounds with complete local design to be rectified.
In the meanwhile with op vijay looming, IA imported 46000 rounds from IMI. These were found to be better in performance than the existing Mk1 round. In what can only be described as a blunder, IA opted for IMI round license manufacture at OFB while having the local round dropped completely (it should have been kept on as a RandD program at least with IA involvement). IMI round TOT turned out to be a farce. The deal did not even transfer penetrator tech and only envisaged blanks to be given to OFB, to be machined and assembled into rounds. In trials, these ToT rounds flopped. OFB did not even wait for fault rectification but went ahead and got more assemblies in.
The same thing happened with Poland which too first tried out these rounds under a JV and finally dropped them and went to Germany for better tech.
In the meanwhile, ex OFB chairman was indicted in a scandal and all deals under his tenure were scrapped. Now Army was without any source of 125mm KE rounds.
So they ran back to Russia for BM42 an older gen round and immediate import. This due to controversy from VK Singhs letter. Now ARDE had persisted and had developed a Mk2 version of its round. This was languishing for past few years as neither Army nor OFB were interested in it. With imported rounds unavailable, this round was dusted off and for past couple of years is now again an active program, with an improved version now entering user trials. An improved version because program now seeks to match what is available from IMI off the shelf as versus IMI version which was under TOT and hence earlier benchmark for developed Mk2 round.
In the meanwhile biggest winners are the Russians, because the BM42 round is not only in mass production for IA, but recognizing the round itself is old and hence unlikely to be very future proof, the IA has doubled down on INVAR missiles for its T-90 fleet to handle heavy ERA equipped tanks.
About the only good thing from this mess is that a local Mk2 round will now be available.
Coming to barrels- the interesting thing is that R Sundaram writes that the Russians did not provide know why. CAG mentions a reference to some protocol with Russia which did not involve the original designer or manufacturer that OFB cites to explain its chalta hain attitude towards lower temp heat tempering. OFB claims it had to do this since proper machinery in India was unavailable. Net, we know for a fact that the Indian made T-72 barrel issue was due to improper mfg.
We know from two sources that subsequently,the issue was diagnosed and original temp restored.
Now another question is that whether imported barrels also burst and if so, why?
That would indicate both OFB and imported barrels had QA issues.
In 2006, under Project MAPLE OFB also developed its own T-72 barrel, made two prototypes and shipped them off to IMI for Israel to tailor the propellant for the TOT round.
We now hear that even T-72 barrels will be imported. This can be due to two reasons.. Either MAPLE failed or that since we are now importing Russian rounds for the T series fleet, it makes sense to re equip the older fleet with compatible barrels.
Each Russian gun comes with its own sustainable MPA and compatible rounds. Newer guns as on the t-90 can reportedly sustain 30 percent more chamber pressure than earlier ones. Indian T-72s are pretty old. They even lack stabilized FCS and hence would field that gen guns like the 2A46 versus 2A46M1.