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Goodbye T-90 & T-72: India plans to replace Russian tanks with FCRV project


The Indian Ministry of Defense has published a request for the purchase of promising “tanks of the future” (Future Ready Combat Vehicle – FRCV), reports The Print. Tanks on the new modular platform can replace the vast fleet of Indian T-72 \ T-90. Will the new vehicles be able to become an alternative to Russian tanks and fight on equal terms with the Chinese modern tank loke Type-15, type 99?

The requirements for the FCRV program imply the presence of an artificial intelligence fire control system and a high level of general automation of machine control. This, coupled with the use of an automatic loader, plans to reduce the crew to 2-3 people. Also, the tank should be distinguished by minimal visibility in the IR spectrum. FCRV is planning to take the unprecedented awareness to a new level through augmented reality technology – it will allow the crew to “see through the armor.”

Particular emphasis is placed on driving performance: the desired power-to-weight ratio of the FCRV is 30 hp per ton (for T-90SM with an engine of 1130 hp – 24 hp/t while the power to weight ratio in Arjun mk1A is 21hp/ton) using a hybrid power plant. At the same time, the Tank must remain mobile throughout India – including the thor desert and freezing temp. highlands area.

Indian army tanks at high altitude
Indian army tanks at high altitude

 

At the same time, the weight of the vehicle should remain “average” – given the Indian classification, it will not exceed 50 tons. Also, the FRCV power plant should be hybrid. In other words, in terms of the ratio of mobility and weight, India plans to surpass the results of the T-90SM and T-14 modern tanks. Thus, a 48-ton tank develops a speed of up to 70 km / h on the highway, and about 50 km / h on rough terrain. That is, the power of the FRCV power plant must be at least 1200 hp.

The vehicle’s protection should be provided by combined armor using ceramics, which can be supplemented with a new generation of reactive armor. A separate item of requirements is countering UAVs – a promising machine must suppress them with non-kinetic means of destruction, or destroy them.

Arjun series tank that was supposed to replace the Russian T-90s. The deliveries of the tank continue (latest variant Arjun mk1A), but so far it cannot compete in terms of characteristics and production rates with the T-90. However Arjun MK1A tank meets lots of FRCV requirment like remote control machine gun, modern surveillance equipment, Low IR signature, and many other things but still it facing overweight and power issues.

arjun mk1a tank
Arjun MK1A tank

Currently, Not a single modern tank, including the T-14, T-90MS, Leopard-2 modern tanks meets the India requirements. And the Indian industry is not so good in the development of a revolutionary machine, which is proved by the unsuccessful experience of the Arjun tank. Probably, the development of the machine will be given to any joint venture with Indian company – MOD plan to receive a response from potential manufacturers by September 15th. After that, the Indian Ministry of Defense plans to conclude a contract for the supply of 1,770 vehicles.

Given the tense relations with China and Pakistan, India is more likely to reduce the requirements for a new tank to speed up production, but the presence of such intentions already speaks of the dissatisfaction of the Indians with Russian tanks. Until the Armata gets close to the assembly line, Russia can only offer the T-90SM, which is an evolution of the Indian T-90S. Therefore, the Russian side may lose the largest buyer of the Ural tanks.  Judging by the requirements of the Indian defense department, Indian army is not interested in the experience of “Armata” yet.

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T-90 Bhishma main battle tank of Indian army

Recall that the production of the T-90 tank started in 1992 – due to insufficient funding, only 120 vehicles were produced in six years, curtailing production. Therefore, the contract for the sale of 104 T-90 units to India, concluded in 1999, became the salvation of the Russian tank. The proceeds made it possible to continue production for the needs of the RF Armed Forces and to develop the modernization of the T-90A. In 2006, India launched licensed production of the T-90S tank and the localized version of the T-90 Bhishma. By this year, more than 1,100 T-90 units are in operation in the tank fleet of the Indian Armed Forces.


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