Indian Army Selects Local Firm To Upgrade Its T-90 & T-72 Main Battle Tanks Under ‘Make In India’ Scheme

The Indian Army is looking to upgrade its T-90 and T-72 Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) and recently selected an Indian firm OshoCorp Global for the development and supply of Auxiliary Power Unit under Make II guidelines of the Ministry of Defence.

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The project will give a boost to achieve the country’s self-reliance aim of APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) manufacturing technology for tanks under the ‘Make in India’ mission.

Khate said: “Initially we are required to develop quantity 4 Nos APU’s (2 each for T-90 and T-72 Tanks) for trial & approval and subsequently produce Quantity 3257 Nos APU’s”.

The project costing more than INR 1325 Crore (USD 190 Million) has huge potential to generate future domestic and export business which can be many times more than the current procurement of APU’s as it is a continuous requirement keeping in mind the present inventory of T-72, T-90, Arjun Tank and BMPs, as per Col PK Juneja, Head Special Projects at OshoCorp.

Auxiliary Power Unit

An auxiliary power unit is a small engine or powered device on a vehicle that provides energy for functions other than propulsion. These unit help not only to conserve the life of the main engine but also reduce thermal and acoustic signatures when deployed in specific situations.

The army’s requirement is for 3,275 APUs, including 1,657 units for the T-90 and 1600 units for the older T-72.

Experts say the APU should be able to concurrently operate the gunner, commander, driver sights, fire control system, radio sets, internal communication systems, navigation aids and charge batteries when the main engines are switched-off.

In comparison to the 45-ton Russian origin T-90 tanks, Beijing has deployed Type 15 tanks which are way lighter giving them an added advantage of navigating through the challenging terrain of the Himalayan region.

The “Acceptance of Necessity” for having APUs fitted on tanks was accorded by the Ministry of Defence in October 2019 after undertaking feasibility studies, as per the army sources. As the APU would be mounted on the exterior, it would also be required to be waterproof up to a depth of five metres to enable deep-fording by the tank.

The Russian designed T-72 and heavyweight T-90 tanks have been deployed in Ladakh amid the stand-off with China. India’s T-90 tanks are considered one of the deadliest tanks in the world with the capability to deal with biological and chemical weapons.

The APU would enable the tanks to function for a stretch of six hours at a time in temperatures ranging from minus 50 °Celsius and at altitudes ranging up to 16,000 feet.

Earlier in the year, the Indian defense ministry had created a budget of $7 billion for domestic capital procurement in the current financial year, under the self-reliant India scheme announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The move had banned the import of 101 defence equipment including simple parts and high technology weapons systems like artillery guns, assault rifles, corvettes, sonar systems, transport aircraft, light combat helicopters, and radar arrays.