It is beneath contempt to respond to those who accuse me of 'lies" and spreading "falsehoods'".This is something I have never done on BR ever since its inception.The vast majority of members know that.I do not wish to descend to their deplorable levels of manners of some of my critics and their infantile and juvenile discussions.However,for the seriously inclined who have an open mind here are some facts.
We from the inception of BR,well over a decade now, have been tracking the development of Arjun.Many of the issues being debated here now were debated long ago .The hard facts are that Arjun's development took 3 decades to mature mand I repeat,was not perfected when the IA had to respond to the Paki acquisition of the T-80s from Ukraine and a knee-jerk order of large qtys. of T-90s was made.There are those who say that "Arjun had no technical problems,only "managent issues".Here's just one quote from the report:
a mismatch had arisen between engine and transmission which had resulted in bulging of sidewalls of the hull.As a consequence, six transmission units failed before the stipulated life of 6000 Kms
This absurd myopic attitude refuses to look for the truth as I'm posting here,the Parmialentary PAC's reports,13th and 14th Lok Sabhas well illustrate.There are other links to articles tracing the history of Arjun and the dilemma that faced the IA.http://22.214.171.124/ls/committeeR/PAC/5th.htm
PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE
FIFTHREPORT THIRTEENTH LOKSABHA
DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT OF MAIN BATTLE TANK - ARJUN
MINISTRY OF DEFENCE
[quote9.It is further pointed out by Audit that two PPS tanks were demonstrated in February 1993.The results of the demonstration which includedgunnery and automotive capabilities were stated to be satisfactory. Thereafter, between June 1993 and July 1996, 14PPS tanks were handed over to a Field Regiment for trials.These PPS tankswere thereafter subjected to extensive User and troop trials in the desert/semi desert terrain, plains and river ineterrain. According to Audit,the trials carried out subsequent to June 1993revealed major deficiencies and failed to meet the requirement projected in the GSQR.The weapon system’s performance was also well below the acceptable level and the mission reliability of the tank was alarmingly low and the tank was accordingly not acceptable to the User.Thereafter, in May 1994 the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) spelt out the minimum `Bottom Line’ parameters acceptable for the MBT. Following the summer 1994 trials, Army HQ. in consultation with DRDO laid down ten imperatives for acceptance of MBT, which were as follows:
·Improved accuracy of the gun at battle ranges;
·Establish accuracy in the dynamic mode to acceptable levels;
·Enhancement of overall mission reliability;
·Fielding of Nuclear, Biological, Chemical (NBC) and Medium Fording Capability;
·Containerisation of ammunition bin with blow-off panel,(new requirement added for the first time in 1994);
·ergonomics needs substantial attention;
·cruising range to be enhanced;
·firing in the rear arc at zero degree is a must;
·provision of an emergency power traverse and Auxiliary Power Unit(APU) ; and
·an all electric power traverse to obviate the problem of leaks that occur in the present system in our environmental conditions (new requirement added in 1994).
10.It is learnt from Audit Paragraph that the bottom line parameters, according to Army, represented a dilution of GSQR to a point below which no parameters could be allowed to fall and were considered to be of an interim nature based on a firm belief that the final product would meet the GSQR in full.
11.According to Audit, the 14 PPS tanks with modifications/improvements were again subjected to User trials during 1995 and 1996.The User trials carried out by the Army in 1996 established that except in a few areas, the performance of the PPS tanks fell far short of even the ten bottom line imperatives. Major deficiencies pointed out by the Army were:
-the accuracy level of the main gun in all modes of firing at different battle ranges was far below the levels laid down in GSQR,
-the lethality of ammunition was neither specified nor demonstrated,
-overheating of engines in desert conditions,
-mission reliability was far below the bottom line requirement,
-firing over engine deck with zero degree elevation could not be achieved,
-arrangement for emergency traverse was not satisfactory.
12.According to the Audit Paragraph, the summer trials carried out in April 1997on PPS-15, reference tank for bulk production indicated that though there was improvement over the previous years, it was still below the acceptable standards.The major deficiencies pointed out in the summer trials of 1996 i.e. accuracy of gun at battleranges, mission reliability, lethality of ammunition bin, emergency traverse etc. continued to persist.The Army reportedly indicated in July 1997 that in its present form, the overall reliability of MBT Arjun was far from satisfactory.
Fire Control System
14.According to Audit, the MBT was designed around an imported Fire Control System (FCS).The firing results of the User trials carried out upto summer 1997 indicated that firing accuracy was erratic and unpredictable.The Army were of the view that the design was no longer responsive to any technical inputs and its performance was at its saturation level.The DRDO reportedly stated in November 1997 that by 1995 they had removed the causes for erratic firing accuracy and taken measures to control and improve it.However, according to Audit, the Army even in the joint approach meeting held from 20 October 1997 to 13 November 1997 reiterated their earlier stand that the imported FCS had reached its development limit.
Powerpack/Transmission system and Gun control system
19.According to the Audit Paragraph, as the indigenous efforts to develop a suitable engine and transmission system for the MBTwere be setwith problems, 42 power packs with transmission units were imported between November 1983and 1988 from Germany for use on the prototypes and PPS tanks.However, as the imported transmission system was designed to cater upto 60 tonne load as against all-up weight of 61.5 tonne for the MBT, a mismatch had arisen between engine and transmission which had resulted in bulging of sidewalls of the hull.As a consequence, six transmission units failed before the stipulated life of 6000 Kms.Frequent overheating of transmission oil, noticed during User trials, clearly indicated that the transmission was working outside its design parameters. The DRDO intimated Audit in November 1997 that the weight will not be allowed to go beyond 60 tonne and that the failures of transmission units were traced as failure of externally mounted brazed tubes for pressure sensing and the same had since been corrected.The Army, however, reportedly pointed out in November 1997 that the transmission was working at its optimum peak when the weight of MBT Arjun was 58.5 tonne.
20.On being asked as to how apower pack for 60 tonne was selected for a 61.50 tank, the Ministry in a note stated:
“The power pack delivers a range of torque necessary to prope lthe 60 tonnes tank over the terrains envisaged.Since the all up weight of MBT Arjun is only 58.5 tonnes, under 60 tonnes, fully kited up, the performance cannot be contested.The all up weight of 61.5 tonnes is a projection of one of the User’s requirement, when the tank if it gets fitted with mine trawl of vintage design weighing 3 tonnes.By its very nature the demining operation is carried out at a very slow speed, the requisite torque for which can be delivered by the transmission.This comparison is true of all tanks world over.This explains our selection.”
41.A significant objective of MBT Project was to completely eliminate the requirement of foreign exchange in production.As per the estimatesmade in early 1987, the import content of MBT Arjun was 27 per cent and the expenditure in FE was 45per cent.Three major systems of MBT Arjun i.e. Power Pack, Gun Control and Fire Control systems are based on imported technology.According to Audit, the cost estimate made for 15 LSPs in December 1995 indicated that nearly60 per cent of the total cost estimate related to imported supplies.
In our experience, typically in a mechanical system, the import content will be of the order of min. 20% and in hydraulic electronic and Opto-electronic systems the import content will be of order of minimum 40%.This is due to infrastructure constraints in the country.The percentage of import content is therefore bound to be around 60% overall for the prototypes and for small volume production.”
*Import content "60%",so much for 30 years of "indigenous" R&D effort!
71.The Committee note with dismay the steep increase in the estimated cost of the Project for design and development of MBT – Arjun.Theinitial cost of the MBT Project which was estimated at Rs. 15.50 crorein 1974 was revised to Rs. 56.55 crorein 1980 and to Rs. 280.80 crore in 1987.The actual expenditure was, however, Rs. 307.48 crorein March 1995, despite the fact that there was a shortfall in the production of 10 prototypes/PPS tanks. Thus, there has been an escalation of cost by twenty times compared to the initial estimated cost of the Project
74.The Committee are constrained to point out that even though 26 years elapsed since the sanction of the Project and the schedule for commercial production has already overshot the original by 16 years, the bulk production of MBT-Arjun is yet to commence. The various reasons adduced by the Ministry in this regard included, non-availability of power pack from import sources and inherent challenges in development of other technology intensive systems and modules, inadequate infrastructure for manufacture and testing, changes in GSQR etc. The Committee believe that in the case of a time taking developmental Project involving a fast developing technology, updating of requirements by the User from time to time is unavoidable to some extent and should have been aptly taken care of while planning the schedule of completion.However, such prudence on the part of the Ministry was conspicuous by its absence. In the hindsight, while the Ministry were well aware of the fact that it takes around 15 to 20 years for manufacture of an armour of MBT-Arjun class even by the industrially advanced countries,it is inconceivable that the Ministry initially set a target, hard to achieve without fully realising the technological complexities of MBT as well as the infrastructural inadequacies in our defence production units.
75.As per envisaged plan, MBT- Arjun was to be inducted into service during1985-2000 in replacement of existing tanks which were expected to be outdated beyond 1985. In this context, the Committee examined at some length the statusof Vijayanta tanks in terms of their battle worthiness. The Committee have been informed that overhauling of Vijayanta tanks was being discontinued from the production year 1999-2000 onwards as a result of approved deinduction plan. Based on repeated evaluation of Vijayanta fleet which proved that these tanks were no more an operational asset, it has been decided by the Ministry to phase them out and hold the equipment only till replacements are available. Distressingly, complete phasing out could not be carried out as scheduled, due to slippages in production/procurement of T-72 tanks.The Main Battle Tank today is stated to be T-72 or Ajay which is supposed to replace the obsolete Vijayanta. Evidently, the delay in production of MBT-Arjun has created such a precarious situation where there is no option but to retain obsolete Vijayanta tanks. While expressing their grave concern over the prevailing situation, the Committee recommend that immediate and effective measures be taken by the Ministry to ensure that obsolete Vijayanta tanks are replaced expeditiously to strengthen our tank fleet.
76.The Committee are concerned that the balance of combat equation has been disturbed in recent times with the acquisition of T-80 tanks by our adversary. What adds to the anxiety of the Committee is the fact that the Vijayanta tanks are in the process of being phased out while it would take a couple of years before MBT- Arjun is made available.The Committee were given to understand that there was a move to procure T-90 tanks in the interregnum.Theywould like to be apprised of the factualposition about the import of tanks in question as also the safeguards being taken to ensure that indigenous R&D programme is not affected adversely.On the contrary efforts should be made to absorb latest technology and to build our R&D pool.
77.The Committee regret to point out that this is a story of developmental Project, where R&D benefit has not been derived even after 26 years of its sanction.The Committee need hardly emphasise that the efficiency of any developmental Project can be judged only in terms of real and concrete achievement, which still remains to be fulfilled in the present case.It would not be without basis therefore to conclude that the delay in development and productionisation of MBT-Arjun was attributable, to a considerable extent, to deficient Project management and monitoring. Underlining the need to review the existing institutional mechanism for management and monitoring of the Project, the Committee recommend appointment of a high level Committee with the following objectives..
Main Battle Tank Arjun
MBT Arjun "Officially handed over" to the army in August 2004 after 30 years and Rs 307.48 crore. Time overrun forced army to import T-90s from Russia. Also unsuitable for prime tank country.
Two months ago, defence minister Pranab Mukherjee "officially" handed over the first set of MBT Arjuns to the army. As the minister and his retinue left the venue, the tanks were promptly rolled back into the factory at Avadi, Tamil Nadu. The army said it was not ready to deploy it in a war theatre. This is the story of one of DRDO's biggest 'successes', a project sanctioned in 1974, expected to go into production in 1984, handed over to the prime minister in 1995 and exhibited at Republic Day parades since 1996.
The director-general of quality assurance has still not given the tank the clearance, a mandatory requirement before any weapon system is inducted into the armed forces. From the initial sanctioned budget of Rs 15.5 crore, the DRDO ended up spending Rs 307.48 crore for a tank which is useless to the army. A former project manager of MBT Arjun had in 1997 said he would never take the tank to war. The DRDO's failure obviously resulted in the country importing Russian T-90s at a cost of over Rs 3,000 crore. For all practical purposes, T-90 will remain India's main tank for more than a decade.
Arjun, senior army officers say, cannot be used in classic 'tank country'. At 58.5 tonnes, it cannot be ferried across bridges which lead to Hanumangarh and Suratgarh in Rajasthan, considered prime tank battlefields by military planners. Concedes Dr V.K. Atre, who retired last month as DRDO chief and scientific advisor to the defence minister, "Sure, it is a heavy tank and we will have to reinforce the bridges." But he defends the tank stating that "it can go over terrain few tanks can because of its power-to-weight ratio". But weight alone is not the tank's failure. In listing its major deficiencies in 1998, the CAG cited the lack of "accuracy of gun at battle ranges, mission reliability, lethality of ammunition bin, emergency traverse, etc".
So much so that Parliament's public accounts committee which looked into the CAG report was categorical that no R&D benefit was derived out of the Arjun project even 26 years after it was sanctioned. In 2000, the committee had said that "the delay in development and productionisation of MBT Arjun was attributable, to a considerable extent, to deficient project management and monitoring.Underlining the need to review the existing institutional mechanism for management and monitoring of the project".Needless to say, vital components like engine, fire control system, transmission unit, tracks, thermal sight and night sight were all imported and that too in the early 1980s.
Now, the army is only prepared to use the tank to train its personnel. The limited series production of 124 tanks would thus imply a colossal waste of money. But Dr Atre believes the project has "given us the capability and the confidence to develop better tanks.We have made major strides in self-reliance in defence technology". Sure. The next-generation tanks have already been imported.