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FMBT Part II: India’s future main battle tank now grapples with a weight is

what will be weight of FMBT?

  • 45 to 50 tons

    Votes: 3 15.8%
  • 50 to 52 tons

    Votes: 8 42.1%
  • 52.5 to 55 tons

    Votes: 8 42.1%

  • Total voters
    19

IND151

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Features of the FMBT

Weight: 50-tonnes
Engine: 1800 Horse Power
Transmission: CVRDE-developed
Armour: Active Protection System (APS)
Gun: 120 mm smoothbore
Suspension: Hydro-pneumatic
Active suspension after 2030


by Ajai Shukla
CVRDE, Avadi, Chennai
Business Standard, 3rd Jan 12

As the Defence R&D Organisation (DRDO) begins designing the Future Main Battle Tank (FMBT), the army is sending out typically mixed messages on the vital question of how big and heavy India wants its tanks. While insisting that the DRDO’s 60-tonne Arjun tank weighs too much to move around the riverine terrain of Punjab and J&K, the army has demanded features in the next Arjun model (Arjun Mark II) that will raise its weight to 65 tonnes.

Planning for the FMBT --- the Gen-Next tank that will follow the Arjun Mark II by 2020 --- is even more contradictory. The army wants the FMBT to weigh just 50 tonnes while bettering all the Arjun’s features.


Officials at the Combat Vehicles R&D Establishment (CVRDE), Avadi, who will develop the FMBT, say it is impossible to build the FMBT 15 tonnes lighter while also improving crew protection; fitting a more powerful gun that can slam projectiles through improved enemy tanks; and making the FMBT faster and more powerful.

The CVRDE director, P Sivakumar, told Business Standard during an exclusive briefing on the FMBT, that it would meet weight targets only if the army identified its inescapable needs rather than demanding every feature available. One example is crew protection. The FMBT will have a cutting-edge Active Protection System that detects incoming enemy projectiles (which travel faster than rifle bullets); and then fires a projectile to hit and degrade the incoming warhead. But the army also insists on the conventional armour plate that has traditionally protected tank crews.

“If you want a 50-tonne FMBT you must choose wisely. If your Active Protection System can reliably defeat enemy projectiles, why do you also want the heavy armour plating of passive systems? Whatever you use --- composites, lightweight materials, etc. --- the weight of the tank will rise. Similarly, how can you increase your tank gun’s ability to penetrate enemy tanks without a weight increase?” asks Sivakumar.

Difficult choices like these are delaying the finalisation of the FMBT’s Preliminary Staff Qualitative Requirements (PSQR), the document that will specify its capabilities and major systems. With nothing settled, the DRDO is readying for a heavier-than-planned FMBT. Business Standard reported yesterday that CVRDE is developing an 1800 Horse Power engine, rather than the 1500 HP needed for a 50-tonne FMBT.

While foreign consultancy will drive the engine design, CVRDE will play the central role in building a transmission system, which transfers engine power to the FMBT’s tracks. Sivakumar, himself an accomplished transmission designer, says that the CVRDE’s home-grown design will be vetted by a consultant, who will be chosen from three candidates: Ricardo; AVL; or US-based South West Research Institute.


“CVRDE has a tradition in transmission design. We built a 1500 HP transmission for the Arjun, which was not used because the engine design was changed. We have also built the “aircraft mounted accessory gearbox” that is standard fitment in the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft. It is 35 kg of magnesium alloy, spinning at 16,800 rpm. This gearbox has successfully completed some 3000 flights,” says Sivakumar.

The FMBT will be armed with India’s first smoothbore 120-millimetre tank gun. While the rest of the world has long used smoothbore guns --- which fire anti-tank missiles and high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) rounds --- the DRDO alone has stuck with rifled guns. There is confidence that the changeover will be smooth: the DRDO developed a smoothbore gun for the T-90 tank after Russia illegally blocked gun technologies. The DRDO is also working with Israel Military Industries (IMI), which developed the smoothbore gun for the Merkava tank.

Cushioning the FMBT’s ride will be one of the Arjun’s unique successes, its hydro-pneumatic suspension unit (HSU), which smoothens the jerks from driving fast over uneven cross-country terrain. The Arjun’s smooth ride allows its gun to accurately hit a suitcase two kilometres away while driving at 30 kmph. The initial FMBTs will have improved Arjun HSUs, while CVRDE proposes to develop an “active suspension” by 2030. This has sensors scrutinising the terrain just ahead of the tank and making anticipatory adjustments before the tank’s tracks roll over that area.

“The future is active suspension. The FMBT will initially roll out with hydro-pneumatic suspensions but we are commencing R&D for active suspension. It takes some time to develop a reliable active suspension. No tank has managed it so far,” says Sivakumar.
 

Jon Snow

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DRDO whining..... If a 45 ton T 90 can have a 125mm smoothbore and enough protection to defeat 7 RPGs without stopping ( though armor of russian tanks is slightly low as compared to western tanks we can have 5 tons of armor more)- why cant we make a good enough tank of 50 tons especially when we have 10 yrs to develop it???
 

Omega007

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DRDO whining..... If a 45 ton T 90 can have a 125mm smoothbore and enough protection to defeat 7 RPGs without stopping ( though armor of russian tanks is slightly low as compared to western tanks we can have 5 tons of armor more)- why cant we make a good enough tank of 50 tons especially when we have 10 yrs to develop it???
Do you have even the slightest idea what are you talking about??T 90S-the tin can!!Come on now!!It's armor protection is even lower than the Leopard 2A4 which came in 1986!!
RPG 7!!Who the hell is here talking about RPG7??That outdated think has long been ceased to exist as an anti tank weapon.Here we are talking about next generation DU rounds and heavy ATGMs like Kornet,PARS 3,Helina etc.
Besides,it's the IA that wants enhanced protection than Arjun tank and that too in just 50 ton!!And you sound like it's a damn easy thing!!Then just name one modern NATO tank at 50 ton!!A 50 ton tank can never survive a future battle field infested with heavy ATGMs,RPG 29s,DU rounds.Every nation is moving towards increasingly heavier tanks.For examples:US M1A3,Germany Leopard 2A7+,Turky Altay,PRC-ZTZ 99A2,Pakistan-Al Khalid 2,Israel-Merkava MkIV and the list just goes on and on.Even the Russians have rejected the 48 ton T 90AM infavour of a heavier tank.It's just the IA that is still insisting on light tanks.But don't know why,some facts are more and more indicating that IA would end up with a 66-68 ton FMBT.I mean,a 1800 hp engine for a 50 ton tank!!That will bring the P:W ratio to 36:1!!This is totally unnecessary,infact this can be serious threat to the vehicle itself!!No one needs a 1800 hp for a 50 ton tank,heck even a 1500 hp engine is far over kill.
Lastly,SORRY if I was a bit rude to you.But you need to read a bit about tanks.I have got few books by veteran tankers and designers.If you want,I can post the links.
 

Kinetic

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^^^ well said bro. :tup:

DRDO whining..... If a 45 ton T 90 can have a 125mm smoothbore and enough protection to defeat 7 RPGs without stopping ( though armor of russian tanks is slightly low as compared to western tanks we can have 5 tons of armor more)- why cant we make a good enough tank of 50 tons especially when we have 10 yrs to develop it???
do not compare T-90 with FMBT even in dream. Most of the good tanks has weight more than 60 ton, do you think those Americans, British, Israelis, Japanese do not have technology to make a 45 ton tank?
 

holysaturn

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even the americans feel that a lighter platform wud not give enough protection.............in the GCV program even troop carriers weigh as heavy as 53ton(the bae's proposal) ,,,,,,,,so with 120mm gun, breach, ammo compartment and addons it wud definitely exceed 60ton.............
 

graphican

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Now they are getting close to Alkhalid's configurations. Previously news of 30 Tons was unrealistic.. 50 tons mark makes sense.
 

Omega007

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Now they are getting close to Alkhalid's configurations. Previously news of 30 Tons was unrealistic.. 50 tons mark makes sense.
No chance buddy.Otherwise there wouldn't have been the requirement to start development of a 1800 hp engine.Remember,the Vishal Bharadwaj is not the DGMF any more. . . . . . . . . . . .
 

Omega007

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^^^ well said bro. :tup:



do not compare T-90 with FMBT even in dream. Most of the good tanks has weight more than 60 ton, do you think those Americans, British, Israelis, Japanese do not have technology to make a 45 ton tank?
Spot on Kinetic bhai!!The T 90A became obsolete even before its induction.For example,take Leopard 2A4.It came in 1984 yet it was much more well armored,mobile and had greater firepower.The T 90 is not even a MBT from 90's standards.Why??Due to very bad turret geometry.The side turret of T 90(also AK,AK1,T 80UD,T 84,Type 96,ZTZ 99) is 'protected' by just 80mm or so thin RHA plate and the frontal turret has LOS thickness of just 60cm at most.On the other hand,the Leopard 2A4 is protected by thich armor on front turret with minimum estimated LOS of 86 cm at 0 degree from turret center line axis and atleast 300mm composite armor on sides at 90 degree with a total weight of 54 ton and height of 2.5 meter.Now the Arjun MkI is lower in height at 2.28 meter and of identical shape yet it weighs 5 ton heavier at 59 ton-just imagine the level of protection on Arjun MkI.I know the LOS thickness of Arjun MkI but will not disclose it here.Yet the IA wants more protection(obviously justified) at just 50 ton-how is that possible!!
By the way,
 

farhan_9909

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Spot on Kinetic bhai!!The T 90A became obsolete even before its induction.For example,take Leopard 2A4.It came in 1984 yet it was much more well armored,mobile and had greater firepower.The T 90 is not even a MBT from 90's standards.Why??Due to very bad turret geometry.The side turret of T 90(also AK,AK1,T 80UD,T 84,Type 96,ZTZ 99) is 'protected' by just 80mm or so thin RHA plate.
do you have any idea what are you talking about?
80mm rha plate?

t-90 is one hell of a good tank

soviet legacy tank are lighter,APS necessary,mobility and a good pack of firepower and after ERA the armor problem is solved too

T-90 can challenge any tank in the world

Ak and Ak1 weight more than T-90.the Ak weight 48 ton and the AkI has much more goodies so will weight even more.
the AK2 will have a 1500hp power pack.so the weight will increase atleast to 55 ton as the akII will more likely a typee99a2 like

and the type 99a2 already weight close to 60 ton..

so plzz do some research
 

Omega007

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do you have any idea what are you talking about?
80mm rha plate?

t-90 is one hell of a good tank

soviet legacy tank are lighter,APS necessary,mobility and a good pack of firepower and after ERA the armor problem is solved too

T-90 can challenge any tank in the world

Ak and Ak1 weight more than T-90.the Ak weight 48 ton and the AkI has much more goodies so will weight even more.
the AK2 will have a 1500hp power pack.so the weight will increase atleast to 55 ton as the akII will more likely a typee99a2 like

and the type 99a2 already weight close to 60 ton..

so plzz do some research
Yep,I know exactly what I'm saying.It's you who need to research a bit.I have read numerous books on tanks.
By the way,regarding the turret side of T 90(or AK/AK1/Type 96),seeing is believing dude.Just surf google for top view of T 90 or AK and look at the distance between the edge of the turret side and commander's/gunner's hatch AND compare it with Leopard 2A4/M1A2-you will get your answer.You can't place composite panels in such narrow place.Even our Arjun MkI shares this drawback(to a far lesser extent)..
 

jha

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Why is Army demanding a 50 Ton MBT ..? They simply can not have desired Passive protection with this limitation...
 

IND151

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DRDO whining..... If a 45 ton T 90 can have a 125mm smoothbore and enough protection to defeat 7 RPGs without stopping ( though armor of russian tanks is slightly low as compared to western tanks we can have 5 tons of armor more)- why cant we make a good enough tank of 50 tons especially when we have 10 yrs to develop it???
IF FMBT HS 3 MEN CREW IT MIGHT BE POISSIBLE. D ED
 

Zabaniyah

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do you have any idea what are you talking about?
80mm rha plate?

t-90 is one hell of a good tank

soviet legacy tank are lighter,APS necessary,mobility and a good pack of firepower and after ERA the armor problem is solved too

T-90 can challenge any tank in the world

Ak and Ak1 weight more than T-90.the Ak weight 48 ton and the AkI has much more goodies so will weight even more.
the AK2 will have a 1500hp power pack.so the weight will increase atleast to 55 ton as the akII will more likely a typee99a2 like

and the type 99a2 already weight close to 60 ton..

so plzz do some research
Sad thing is, the export variants of the T-90 do not come with APS. The Russians do not exactly give out the best features and ammo to their export customers.



We won't see those 'red eyes' on export variants.

I still fail to understand why Indians want another tank after Arjun.
 

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