The Indian Army is expected to purchase 464 upgraded T-90 ‘Bhishma’ main battle tanks between 2022 and 2026, the Times of India reporter citing sources within the Defence Ministry. The military hardware acquired under the $1.93 billion contract will be deployed to India’s border with Pakistan to enhance its “shock and awe” capabilities.
The tanks will be assembled at the Avadi Heavy Vehicle Factory (HVF) from prefabricated parts supplied by Russia. Moscow has extended the manufacturing license for New Delhi in early April. The Indian Army already has around 1,070 T-90 tanks as well as 2,400 older T-72 tanks and 124 domestic ‘Arjun’ models in its 67 armour regiments.
Major upgrades to the tanks planned is Automatic Target tracker which once locked will track the target in auto mode with full 360 degree coverage without inputs from gunner; another upgrade planned will be see improved Thermal Imager for better Night Fighting capability. Most of the upgrades planned with enhance tanks fighting in modern warfare.
Meanwhile, the defense ministry has also approved $375 million fund for the purchase of armored fighting vehicle protection and counter measure systems for more than 3000 T-90 tanks. The system will warn & destroy impending attacks from anti-tank guided missiles, rocket propelled grenade/rocket launcher and projectiles fired up to velocity of 1000 m/sec
So, what capabilities do these new tanks have?
1. Control Over Battlefield In Online Mode
One of the core features of the new T-90 variant is its highly sophisticated control system, which allows the crew to regularly get a full picture of the situation on the battlefield.
“The data are immediately transferred between the unmanned aerial vehicles, the command structure and reconnaissance units,” military analyst Sergey Suvorov told RT, adding that all the information about the battlefield is available at the tank commander’s computer.
The new system makes it easier for a tank unit to exchange information online and adapt to the constantly changing environment as well as forms a unified information network. This new systems ideally fits India’s new strategy that involves agile integrated battle groups (IBGs) centred around the T-90 tanks, along with a mix of infantry, artillery, air defence, signals and engineers, backed by attack helicopters.
2. Impenetrable Defence
The Russian developers managed to greatly increase the tank’s Defence characteristics. All manned compartments are equipped with a state-of-the-art anti-spar liner made from special cloth from aramid fibre. Tanks are also capable of surviving a head-on hit by any type of modern munition. At the same time, their radar visibility has been reduced, thus making it harder for the enemy to target T-90s.
The war machines are also outfitted with new universal explosive reactive armour systems ‘Relict’, which increase the tanks’ defence against hollow-charge and sub-calibre munitions. The new adjustments were made as the engineers studied the experience the Russian forces gained during the fighting against terrorists in Syria.
3. Guided Missiles & High manoeuvrability
The tanks also received a brand new 125mm canon, which increase the shooting accuracy by 30 percent and effective shooting distance by 15 percent. The weapon is now capable of using a whole range of modern high-precision munitions, ranging from p reprogrammed remote detonation high-explosive munitions to even guided missiles, according to the manufacturers.
Despite all these upgrades, the tank’s weight remained the same and is not expected to exceed 50 tons, making sure the war machine would still have high speed and manoeuvrability characteristics.
The 10 new regiments of T-90MS tanks, equipped with thermal imaging night sights to allow the tank commander to hit at enemy locations even during night battles, will strengthen army’s fire power along the land border stretch with Pakistan-from Jammu in north till the western flank in Gujarat.
It is equipped with a 125-mm smoothbore gun – 2A46M-5 launcher, guided by missiles with laser-guided sight with thermal imager. The maximum sighting range of the armour-piercing shells is 4,000 m, and high-explosive shells – up to 9,600 m. The maximum range of the direct shot at the target height of 2 m. is 2120 m. The tank is also protected with dynamic protection against chemical and armour-piercing shells. At the customer’s request, the active protection Arena-E system to combat anti-tank guided missiles can be installed in the T-90MS.
A vital linchpin of India’s Cold Start Doctrine, once upgraded to MS Standard hundreds of T-90 Bhishma are going to be installed on the Western front. And if Pakistan dares commit any harakiri, they are indeed going to be a nightmare to the country that has always promoted Jihadi terrorism.