India, Russia plan to build futuristic main battle tank

Vladimir Radyuhin

Russian defence industry team coming

“Will consolidate edge over Pakistan’s T-80 MBT”

It will feature higher speed and better firepower

MOSCOW: Encouraged by the remarkable success of their pilot co-development defence project, the BrahMos missile, India and Russia are planning to design and build a futuristic main battle tank.

Defence industry experts will discuss the new project when a delegation of the Russian Uralvagonzavod (UVZ) tank-building factory visits India this week to participate in an international seminar on the Future Main Battle Tank (FMBT) organised by the Army along with the Confederation of Indian Industry.

The two sides have already had preliminary discussions on the issue, according to UVZ Director General Nikolai Malykh.

Similar proposal

“We put forward this idea [of a joint tank project] at the turn of the 21st century,” he told journalists in Moscow. “The Indian side has now come up with a similar proposal. We will take the first step when our experts go to India to attend a conference on the future tank and prospects for the tank-building industry.”

A leading Russian defence expert says it makes good sense for India and Russia to join hands in building a futuristic tank.

“The new tank will consolidate India’s edge over the Pakistani Army armed with Ukraine’s potent T-80 MBT and the Al-Khalid MBT built jointly with China and Ukraine,” Ruslan Pukhov, Director, Centre for Analysis and Technologies, said.

“Russia’s Uralvagonzavod would be the best partner for India in designing and building the new tank given a long history of its cooperation with the Heavy Vehicles Factory in Avadi in the production of T-72 and T-90S MBTs.”

India has purchased over 1,600 T-90S MBTs built by the UVZ of which 1,000 will be manufactured at the Avadi plant.

The Indo-Russian MBT is likely to incorporate the best features of prototype tanks developed at Russia’s leading tank-building plants — UVZ and Omsk Transport Machine-Building Plant — which are now being merged into a single corporation.

Armour protection

According to the Moscow Defence Brief magazine, the new tank will mark a great step forward in armour technology. It will feature higher speed, better firepower, sophisticated armour protection and a low silhouette. An armour-protected crew compartment will be sealed from the unmanned turret equipped with an automatic loader.

The crew will be provided with a virtual-reality command information system linked to reconnaissance aircraft and will enjoy a smoother ride thanks to a new hydro-pneumatic suspension.

The new tank is likely to have a new main gun of up to 152 mm calibre and a new hunter-killer fire control system with target acquisition in optical, thermal, infrared and radar spectrums that will be accessible both to the gunner and tank commander, the Moscow Defence Brief said.

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