Thursday, December 15, 2011

DRDO Projects-Combat vehicles


Combat vehicles & engineering

Tanks and armoured vehicles

T-72 Ajeya of the Indian Army
  • Ajeya upgrade: upgrade for the T-72 fleet, incorporating a mix of locally made and imported subsystems.250 have been ordered. Local systems include the DRDO developed ERA, the DRDO developed, laser warning system, and the combat net radio, the Bharat Electronics Limited advanced land navigation system consisting of fibre optic gyros and GPS, NBC protection, DRDO's fire detection and suppression system amongst other items. Imported systems include a compact thermal imager and fire control system, as well as a new 1000 hp engine.
  • Anti-tank ammunition: DRDO develops the FSAPDS for the 125 mm calibre, meant for India's T-72 tanks.The 120 mmFSAPDS and HESH rounds for the Arjun tank, and 105 mm FSAPDS rounds for the Army's Vijayanta and T-55 tanks.Significant amounts of 125 mm anti-tank rounds manufactured by the Ordnance Factory Board were rejected.The problems were traced to improper packaging of the charges by the OFB, leading to propellant leakage during storage at high temperatures.The locally developed rounds were rectified, and requalified. Production of these local rounds was then restarted. Since 2001, over 1,30,000 rounds have been manufactured by the OFB.The DRDO said in 2005 it had developed a Mk2 version of the 125 mm round, with higher power propellant for greater penetration. In parallel,the OFB announced in 2006 that it was also manufacturing 125 mm IMI (Israel Military Industries) rounds. It is believed that this might assist in improving the OFB's APFSDS manufacturing capability. These rounds and presumably the Mk2 round, will be used by both the T-72 and T-90 formations in the Indian Army.
  • Various armour technologies and associated subsystems from composite armour and explosive reactive armour, to Radios (Combat Net Radio, frequency hopping, with encryption), to Battle Management systems. Fire-control systems, currently in production at BEL for the Arjun tanks. The first batch in production have a hybrid Sagem-DRDO system, with Sagem sights and local fire control computer.
  • Arjun tank: in production at HVF Avadi, the Arjuns penultimate design has been accepted by the Indian Army,The Arjun is now in series production. 
    The Arjun follows a template similar to the tanks developed by western nations, with containerised ammunition storage, with blast off panels, heavy Composite armour, a 120 mm gun (rifled as compared to smoothbore on most other tanks), a modern FCS with high hit probability, and a 1,400 horsepower (1,000 kW) engine and a 4 man crew.
    Originally designed in response to a possible Pakistani acquisition of the M1 Abrams, the project fell into disfavour once it became clear that Pakistan was instead standardising on cheaper (and less capable) T type tanks. In such a milieu, acquiring the Arjun in huge numbers is simply unnecessary for the Indian Army,given the additional logistic costs of standardising on an entirely new type.The Indian Army ordered 124 units in 2000 and an additional 124 units in 2010 and work on Mark-II version of the tank has commenced.

Modification of BMP-2 series

India licenses manufactures the BMP-2 with local components. The vehicle has been used as the basis for several locally designed modifications, ranging from missile launchers to engineering support vehicles. The DRDO and it's various labs have been instrumental in developing these mission specific variants for the Indian Army.
  • Armoured Engineering Reconnaissance Vehicle for enabling the combat engineers to acquire and record terrain survey data. The instruments mounted on the amphibious vehicle viz. BMP-II are capable of measuring width of obstacle, bed profile, water depth and bearing capacity of soil of the obstacle in real time which are helpful in taking decisions regarding laying of tracks or building of bridges.
  • Armoured Amphibious Dozer with amphibious capability for earth moving operations in different terrain for preparation of bridging sites, clearing obstacles and debris and to fill craters. Self-recovery of the vehicle is also a built-in feature using a rocket-propelled anchor.
  • Carrier Mortar Tracked: designed to mount and fire an 81 mm mortar from within vehicle. Capacity to fire from 40° to 85° and traverse 24° on either side; 108 rounds of mortar ammunition stowed.
  • Armoured Ambulance based on the BMP-2 vehicle.
  • NBC Reconnaissance Vehicle: this variant has instrumentation for determining NBC contamination, as well as bringing back samples. The vehicle includes a plow for scooping up soil samples, to instrumentation such as a radiation dosimeter amongst other key items.

Other engineering vehicles

  • Bridge Layer Tank: claimed by DRDO to be the amongst the best bridging systems available on a medium class tank. It has an option to carry a 20 m or a 22 m class 70 MLC bridge, which can be negotiated by all tanks in service with Indian Army.
  • Amphibious Floating Bridge and Ferry System intended for transporting heavy armour, troops and engineering equipment across large and deep water obstacles.The vehicle can convert to a fully decked bridge configuration of length 28.4 metres, in 9 minutes. Two more vehicles can be joined in tandem to form a floating bridge of length 105 m, in 30 minutes. The bridge superstructure is integrated with floats (shown inflated) to provide stability and additional buoyancy.The vehicle is also capable of retracting its wheels for use as a grounded bridge/ramp for high banks.
  • Arjun Bridge Layer Tank: the BLT-Arjun is an all-new design with a scissor type bridge laying method, which helps it avoid detection from afar. It uses the chassis of the Arjun tank and can take higher weights than the BLT-72.
  • Sarvatra Bridge layer: the bridge can be deployed over water and land obstacles to provide 75 meters of bridge-length for battle tanks, supply convoys and troops. The system consists of a light aluminum alloy scissors bridge and was approved for production in March 2000 trials. One complete set of the multi span mobile bridging system includes five truck-mounted units with a bridge-span of 15 meters each. The system is designed to take the weight of the Arjun, by far the heaviest vehicle in the Army’s inventory.Microprocessor based control system reduces the number of personnel required to deploy and operationalize the bridge. The bridging equipment is carried on a Tatra Kolos chassis and the system is built by Bharat Earth Movers Ltd (BEML).
  • Mobile Decontamination System: with the NBC aspect of the battlefield in mind, the DRDO developed a Tatra vehicle based Mobile Decontamination system, for decontamination of personnel, clothing, equipment, vehicles & terrain during war. The main sub-systems of mobile decontamination system are: pre-wash, chemical wash and post wash systems respectively. The pre-wash system consists of a 3000 litre stainless steel water tank and a fast suction pump. A high-pressure jet with a capacity of 3400 l/hour and a low-pressure jet with a capacity of 900 l/hour and 1600 l/hour are included. The chemical wash system is capable of mixing two powders and two liquids with variable feed rates and has a five litre per minute slurry emulsion flow rate. The post wash system consists of a high-pressure hot water jet, a hot water shower for personnel and provision of steam for decontamination of clothing.The decontamination systems have been introduced into the services. The system is under production for the Army at DRDO's partnering firms, with the DRDO itself manufacturing the pilot batch.

In development

  • Abhay IFV: an IFV design in prototype form. Named the "Abhay" (Fearless), this IFV will have a 40 mm gun based on the proven Bofors L70 (Armour piercing and explosive rounds), a firecontrol system derived from the Arjun MBT project with a thermal imager, all-electric turret and gun stabilization, a locally designed FLAME launcher for locally manufactured Konkurs-M anti-tank missiles, and an Indian diesel engine. The armour will be lightweight composite.
  • Tank-Ex: a project to mount Arjun's turret on a T-72 chassis to combine high firepower with a low silhouette.This is a DRDO initiative and not per a specific Army demand.Reports emerged in 2008 that the Indian Army has rejected the tank with two prototypes built.
  • Armoured vehicle for Paramilitary forces: a wheeled armoured vehicle, the AVP was displayed at Defexpo-2006. The AVP has armoured glass windows and firing ports, as well as provision for heavier caliber small arms, and crowd control equipment.Currently a prototype stage.
  • Mining and De-mining equipment: the Self Propelled Mine Burier has been developed by the DRDO for a requirement projected by the Indian Army, its an automated mine laying system developed on a high mobility vehicle and is currently in trials. The Counter-Mine flail, is a vehicle built upon the T-72 chassis, and has a series of fast moving flails to destroy mines. A prototype has been displayed.
  • Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV): DRDO Daksh tracked robotic vehicle with staircase climbing ability has been developed and is particularly intended for remote explosion of explosive devices. The ROV is carried in a specially designed carrier vehicle with additional armament and firing ports. The ROV itself is fairly sophisticated, with provision to carry various optronic payloads, an articulated gripper to pick up objects, an ability to traverse difficult terrain including staircases, as well as an integral waterjet projector to blow up explosive packages.After the ROV completed user trials, it would be inducted by the Indian Army for explosives handling and defusing.

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