A History You Must Need To Know: India’s Main Battle Tanks

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The Indian Army exists to serve the Indian people, to defend the Nation, to protect vital national interests, and to fulfill national military responsibilities. Their mission is enduring: to provide necessary forces and capabilities to the Combatant Commanders in support of the National Security and Defense Strategies. Through its large, sustained troop commitments Indian Army has been praised for taking part in difficult operations for prolonged periods. The Indian Army is large enough to devote several corps to the strike role. The army is also looking at enhancing its special forces capabilities.

Engaged in a conflict with its neighbouring countries for almost several years, the Indian Army’s armoured regiments are ready to take over any army of the world. The Indian Army Armoured Corps is one of the combat arms of the Indian Army.  It currently consists of 67 armoured regiments, including the President’s bodyguards. The Indian Army’s 3,000 plus tanks are divided among some 60 armoured regiments; each one with about 50 tanks and other vehicles. The regiments are divided into three sabre squadrons and one headquarters squadron. Each of these sabre squadrons—Alpha, Bravo and Charlie—is equipped with 14 tanks.

TANKS played very decisive roles for the Indian Army from the beginning. Since the 1930s, there were several types of armoured cars & light tanks modified for colonial service, known as the “Indian pattern” and are tropicalized. World War 2 saw the only model of armoured vehicle built in India.

At least until the 1960s, the bulk of Armoured vehicles & tanks came from Britain. Early equipment included Armoured cars like FERRET (Not in service now), but no modern tanks before the arrival of the Centurion Mark 7main battle tanks in the early 1960s(which displayed a high level of combat against Pakistani Patton tanks)

Centurions were later replaced by the VIJAYANTA MBT in the mid 1980s.

Some of the historical tanks serviced in the Indian Army are :-

The VickersMK VI (Light tank-1936),The Centurions(MBT-1945),T-54(Medium tank -1949),AMX-13(Light Tank -1952),PT-76(Amphibious light tank vehicle-1952),T-55(MBT-1958),VickersMBT(1965).

After the Kargil War with Pakistan, the Army needed a strong requirement of MBTs. Shortly after, the development of a new MBT started, known today as the ARJUN(Indigenously developed by DRDO). Although it took around 30years & the first production of tanks were out in 2004 .

Indeed, 800 T-55s were acquieed in the 1960s,followed By PT-76 Light tanks,BTR-50,152,60 & 80APCs,BMD-1/2s,PRP-3,Czech OT-64 SKOT, Polish OT-62 TOPAS,BRDM-2s.

Currently there a number of tanks in the service & are showing valor on the battlefields for the Indian Army. Some of these are:-

  • T-90s” BHISHMA”– In 2001, India purchased 310 T-90s from Russia out of which 124 were completely delievered& 186 were to be assembled in India itself. The T-90 was selected because it is a direct development of the T-72 that India already manufactures with 60% parts commonality with T-90, simplifying training and maintenance. A follow-on contract, worth $800 million, was signed on October 26, 2006, for another 330 T-90S “Bhishma” MBTs that were to be manufactured in India at Avadi, Tamil Nadu. The tanks are equipped with the French Thales-built Catherine-FC thermal sights and use Russian Kontakt-5 K-5 explosive reactive armoured plates.
  • T-72M”AJEYA”- The bulk of the Indian MBT force today is provided by the 2400+ T-72M AJEYA tanks co-produced with Poland & Russia.T-72 M Ajeya uses the chassis of the T-72M1 (Ajeya) and turret and weapon system of the Arjun. The Tank Ex retains the T-72’s mobility, with a road speed of 60 km/h and a cross-country speed of 40 km/h& with a maximum gradient climb of 30 degrees.
  • ARJUN – The tank Arjun entered into service with the Indian Army in 2004. The tanks were first inducted into the 43rd Armoured Regiment. The latest regiment to be completely equipped by the Arjun tank is the 75 Armoured Regiment which was the last regiment in the Indian Army to hold the T-55 tank. The Arjun only counts for a few in this total due to a much higher price tag is only given to elite divisions.
  • BMP-2” SARATH” – It is an Indian license-produced variant of BMP-2 built indigenously by Ordnance Factory Medak. On June 2, 2020, India’s Ministry of Defence announced the placement of an order of 156 BMP-2 Sarath vehicles (Infantry Combat Vehicles) for the Indian Army’s infantry units. There are several versions of Sarath developed by India such as ; BMP-2 Light Tank, BMP-2K “Sarath”, Armoured Ambulance, Armoured Vehicle Tracked Light Repair, Armoured Amphibious Dozer, Armoured Engineer Reconnaissance Vehicle, NBC Reconnaissance Vehicle, Carrier Mortar Tracked Vehicle, NAMICA, Akash , Trishul Combat Vehicle, Trishul Combat Vehicle, BMP-2 UGV “MUNTRA”, 105 mm Self-Propelled Gun.
ICV BMP II (Sarsth) System passes through the Rajpath during the 65th Republic Day Parade 2014, in New Delhi on January 26, 2014.
  • TARMOUR APC –The Indian Tarmour Tracked Heavy Armoured Personnel Carrier is a converted Russian T-55 Tank. Though the T-55 is obsolete in comparison to other tanks, its hull still offers higher levels of protection in comparison to standard APC’s and has a reworkable internal space when the turret is removed.TheTarmour can be fitted with a Remote Weapon Station capable of operating a .50 MG, which is controlled by the vehicle’s commander.
  • NAMICA TD- NAMICA (NAG MISSILE CARRIER) is a tracked, amphibious, armored missile carrier vehicle based on the BMP chassis . It is classified as a tank destroyer. It is equipped with various electro-optical systems including a thermal imager (TI) and a laser rangefinder (LRF) for target acquisition. The NAMICA carries a total of twelve missiles, with eight in ready-to-fire mode and four in storage.

NAMICA can fire missiles at a target located around 7.5 kilometers with the extreme capability and carries 4 military personals.

  • DRDO TANK EX(KARNA)- After the failure of “Arjun” DRDO embarked upon the new generation “Karna” tank which can withstand a nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) attack. The TankExutilizes the “Kanchan” composite armour, especially over its frontal arc (turret as well as glacis), giving it protection against both Kinetic and HEAT rounds.

There are a lot more number of tanks in the arsenal of Indian Army which when used can easily show the vigour of the Indian Army .The Armoured Core of the Army is putting his efforts high & will always make everyone proud.

JAI HIND.

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