India to purchase latest T-90s from Russia


NEW Delhi, Nov 4 APP: India will soon purchase around 300 T-90 tanks from Russia for around Rs 10.50 crores each, for deployment in offensive formations in Rajasthan and Punjab by next year. T-90 tank will swiftly" kill" Arjun, the main battle tank developed locally after 25 years, India national daily 'The Asian Age' reports. The T-90 purchase will also render India vulnerable to an unreliable supplier of spares and backup support; the paper quoted military sources. Military sources said the decision for the outright purchase of T-90s to equip four to five armoured regiments, despite its lukewarm performance" during the summer trials at Pokhran, have been "pushed forcefully" by "influential sections "within the army. They also said the T-90s- broadly compatible with T-72s, the army's current MBT-that are being finalised for purchase by India, are reportedly being offered minus at least six critical assemblies, including night vision and navigation systems that give it the decisive edge. The possibility of locally building T-90s under licence at the Heavy Vehicles Factory at Avadi, near Chenai, will also be part of the deal expected to be finalised over the next few months, the paper reported. The Indian army considers the T-90, capable of firing laser-guided missiles, the T-90 is capable of firing upto eight 125 mm rounds per minute at land-based and low flying targets while its automated fire control system allows the commander and gunner to continue firing while an electronic suppression system jams the laser range-finders and target designators of anti-tank weapon systems.

But the paper quoting military sources said the T-90 missile system performed "poorly" during summer trials in the desert where it will eventually be deployed. Initially, the tank engines worked well, as the trials were being conducted at night. Problems, however, emerged once daytime trials began, with the power packs de-rating and at least one of three tank engines suffering extensive damage in high desert temperatures. Official sources said officials at army headquarters, inexplicably desperate to acquire the T-90s, reportedly dismissed the overheating as "teething problems." The Indian army is at present involved in upgrading around 1500 of its T-72 MIs by enhancing their power packs, fire control systems, night fighting capability and the tank's ability to fire fin stabilising discarding Sabot rounds. Thirty seven of India's 58 armoured regiments are equipped with around 1700 T-72s and T-72 M1s built locally under licence,12 with some 540 vijayantas and nine with over 400 T-55s locally retrofitted with a 105 mm gun. BY 2010,the army plans on phasing out the Vijayantas and T-55s, replacing them with upgraded T-72 M1s and now T-90s, the paper reported.