The T-90 tank: Piercing the army's armour of deception - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Wednesday 3 February 2010

The T-90 tank: Piercing the army's armour of deception

Photos of the Indian T-90 tank. The Indian Army will eventually operate 1657 T-90s.

Vital facts on the Russian T-90 tank deal were suppressed and its performance on the field has been poor.

by Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 4th Feb, 2010

On August 24 last year, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) dressed up failure as achievement when — almost nine years after India bought the T-90 tank from Russia — the first 10 built-in-India T-90s were ceremonially rolled out of the Heavy Vehicles Factory (HVF) near Chennai.

No reasons were given for that delay. Nor did the Ministry of Defence (MoD) reveal the T-90’s ballooning cost, now a whopping Rs 17.5 crore. On November 30, 2006, the MoD told the Lok Sabha that the T-90 tank cost Rs 12 crore apiece. Parliament does not yet know about the 50 per cent rise in cost.

The story of the T-90 has been coloured by deception and obfuscation from even before the tank was procured. Business Standard has pieced together, from internal documents and multiple interviews with MoD sources, an account of how the Indian Army has saddled itself with an underperforming, yet overpriced, version of the Russian T-90.

The deception stemmed from the army’s determination to push through the T-90 contract despite vocal opposition from sections of Parliament. Former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda argued — allegedly because a close associate had a commercial interest in continuing with T-72 production — that fitting the T-72 with modern fire control systems and night vision devices would be cheaper than buying the T-90. Deve Gowda correctly pointed out that even Russia’s army had spurned the T-90.

To bypass his opposition, the MoD and the army reached an understanding with Rosvoorouzhenie, Russia’s arms export agency. The T-90 would be priced only marginally higher than the T-72 by removing key T-90 systems; India would procure those through supplementary contracts after the T-90 entered service. Excluded from India’s T-90s was the Shtora active protection system, which protects the T-90 from incoming enemy missiles. This was done knowing well that Pakistan’s anti-tank defences are based heavily on missiles.

Other important systems were also pared. The MoD opted to buy reduced numbers of the INVAR missile, which the T-90 fires. Maintenance vehicles, which are vital to keep the T-90s running, were not included in the contract. All this allowed the government to declare before Parliament that the Russian T-90s cost just Rs 11 crore, while the assembled-in-India T-90s were Rs 12 crore apiece.

The MoD did not mention that these prices would rise when the supplementary contracts were negotiated. Nor did it reveal that India’s pared-down T-90s barely matched the performance of the Pakistan Army’s recently acquired T-80 UD tank, which India had cited as the threat that demanded the T-90.

Worse was to follow when the initial batch of 310 T-90s entered service (124 bought off-the-shelf and 186 as knocked-down kits). It quickly became evident — and that too during Operation Parakram, with India poised for battle against Pakistan — that the T-90s were not battleworthy. The T-90’s thermal imaging (TI) sights, through which the tank aims its 125mm gun, proved unable to function in Indian summer temperatures. And, the INVAR missiles assembled in India simply didn’t work. Since nobody knew why, they were sent back to Russia.

Even more alarmingly, the army discovered that the T-90 sighting systems could not fire Indian tank ammunition, which was falling short of the targets. So, even as a panicked MoD appealed to the DRDO and other research institutions to re-orient the T-90’s fire control computer for firing Indian ammunition, Russian ammunition was bought.

With Russia playing hardball, none of the supplementary contracts have yet gone through. The TI sights remain a problem. The army has decided to fit each T-90 with an Environment Control System, to cool the delicate electronics with a stream of chilled air. None of the world’s current tanks, other than France’s LeClerc, has such a system. The American Abrams and the British Challenger tanks fought in the Iraq desert without air-conditioning. India’s Arjun tank, too, has “hardened” electronics that function perfectly even in the Rajasthan summer.

Nor has the MoD managed to procure the Shtora anti-missile system. The Directorate General of Mechanised Forces now plans to equip India’s eventual 1,657-tank T-90 fleet with the advanced ARENA active protection system, for which it has budgeted Rs 2,500 crore in the Army Acquisition Plan for 2009-11.

The greatest concern arose when Russia held back on its contractual obligation to transfer the technology needed to build 1,000 T-90s in India. But, instead of pressuring Russia, the MoD rewarded it in 2007 with a contract for 347 more T-90s. In an astonishing Catch-22, the MoD argued that the new purchase was needed because indigenous production had not begun.

Next month, when the T-90 is measured against the Arjun in comparative trials, the T-90s’ drawbacks will not be evident. But, as officers who have operated the T-90 admit, these could be crucial handicaps in battle.

“It is for these reasons that I have consistently argued for supporting the Indian Arjun tank,” says General Shankar Roy Chowdhury, former army chief and himself a tankman. “Another country can hold India hostage in many ways. We need to place an order for several hundred Arjun tanks so that economies of scale can kick in and we can bring down the price even further.”

If the Arjun performs strongly in next month’s comparative trials around Suratgarh and Pokhran, that order could be in the offing.


* Key operational systems were kept out to bring the price down
* Parliament wasn’t told about this, nor of the plan for supplementary contracts
* The performance on the ground showed that the T-90 was an appalling mistake
* This has set in train even more costly cover-ups
* All this, while the indigenous Arjun is free of many of these minuses


  1. Excellent job! Thanks Ajai.

  2. My heartiest congratulations Mr Shukla on exposing the fraud involving T-90.

    India needs to scrap the purchase of any more T-90s. Just stop at the number of T-90s we currently have. Upgrade them to protect the jawans but STOP inducting any more T-90s.

    Heads must roll. Accountability is the key to Transparency and Meritocracy. Set an example for others.

  3. WHY?

    Who are the people responsible for this?

    The average braveheart, patriot Indian soldier has to put up with treachery of people in high positions in India.

    Anjame gulistan kya hoga?

    Their should be death penalty for traitors who did this. And they should be made to suffer before they die.

  4. I am stunned! This amounts to treason. WTF do these guys think of themselves?

  5. This is called shooting on ones own feet.

    Why do India need enemies? Our Babus are enough.

    Cancer of corruption has now caught IA as well. God save my nation!

  6. Excellent. Mr Shukla, take a bow

  7. May be the MoD were not interested in the Kit Protection systems (like people not interested in kit lens when they buy SLR cameras).

  8. Ajai sir

    I dont understand how MoD overrules a prime minister.

    As per ur accounts the T-90s are sure to fail in next months trail.

    As for the tech transfer, I think I was right in saying that the T-90s will soon become bullock carts, much faster than T-72s.

  9. Indian army was supposed to be an island in the sea of corruption, but I see that island is sinking now, it was certain that corruption do exists in army but not at the cost of nation, they very purpose of having an army, if t-90's are that bad then why the hell army is pushing so hard for it, i feel army should reply to the nation, and if they this much trust on Russia, why can't they outsource entire defense to Russians, import solders too who knows they might be better than ours, after this article the least that i expect from army is to clear it's stand. and I hope t-90 and t-72 won't prove bradley of India.
    Jai Hind

  10. Thanks a lot Ajai Sir. Its just so demoralising, that people at helm are not bothered. My regard for the army top brass is going down day by day.

    At least for the sake of the country... be serious.

    This is true Journalism... venturing into Unchartered waters.

  11. Excellent Eye opening stuff Ajai ji . I hope the mainstream electronic media takes up this issue in national interest like ruchika or jessica case. I think this is more serious. The Electronic media unnecesarily highlights stupid things.

    Please urge u r fellow mediamen to help in this cause.

    - Tushar R

  12. Excellent Ajai sir!!!

    The last thing we need is "chalta hai" attitude in army.

    Fix the responsibility.

    Keep up the good work!!!!!


  13. Ajai,

    There is one area where this 15-tank scenario will play to Arjun's advantage - BMS. The Arjun has one, while the T-90 doesnt. The Arjun, as a pack, will be more effective hunters than the T-90s. However, whether the crew is trained in the tactics of using BMS or whether this can be used during the trials is an open question.

    Do you have any insights into this?

  14. The T-90's new environmental control system itself went kaput a year back. As a result it is said you just need to visit a T-90 regiment to see the number of junked ballistics computers. Without its electronics, the T-90 is just a T-72 ith a bigger engine.

  15. great article. something fishy was realized after army's denial to field T-90S against Arjun in past.

    my only question to the army as a citizen of india and taxpayer....

    why you bought T-90S while more advanced Arjun don't fill your requirements? why just don't buy the Leopard2A6?

  16. Brilliant, in true journalistic spirit.

    People like you play a role in keeping the system clean, a service we need to run our nation as a democracy.

    I hope more people realise the huge amounts of money our representatives spend on defence, money that is ours, and deny any accountability, there is a time for change, and this is it.

  17. I forgot to mention the real issue here is not the choice of tanks, the bigger issue is a effort to deceive the representatives we choose to run our affairs, to deceive the very people of India that this ministry is tasked to protect.

  18. The superiority of the Arjun was never in doubt.

    The criminal inferiority of the T 90 is now evident.

    The only question now is "Why". Why is the establishment so willing to stand up for the T90 in the face of such overwhelming arguments?

    Is it money? How does the money get transferred? To whom? How much?

    I mean even if the Arjun were inferior by a bit, then also it wouldnt make sense to buy T90s, because we have to set up our own military industrial capability. And here is a scenario where the Arjun is far superior to the T90 and yet...

    The motivation must be very very strong indeed.

  19. sorry to say so sir, but u come out biased and extremely one sided. those who are in the know how about the t90s and the arjun clearly prefer the t90s over d arjun for a myriad of reazons tat i may nt knw. i cum frm an army background and incidentally my dad is posted in d DGMF, i hapnd 2 ask him y d Indian army doesn't preffer the Arjun nd he told me dat d Arjun was 2 l8 2 cum. u being a former army office i find your blatant and vicious attack on the army vicious and disheratening bcoz i knw my father is nt corrupt and questeioning the judgement of d army n collin it careless an superflous abt d intrest of d jawans amounts to accusing tem of corruption. i would go so far as to accuse u of blasphemy against d army.

  20. It is obvious that the only organisation that needs to be blacklisted is the MoD!!

    Why is Antony taking the easy way out and blacklisting foreigners when the problem originates within his own dept. It is like taking action against the symptom and not the disease.

  21. Excellent job! Thanks Ajai.
    but there was talks about the swedish LEDS-150 active protection system being selected for the APS role of the t-90 and the arjun can you say some thing about that
    does the indian build t-90 has kaktus era?

  22. MOD - Ministry of Deamons
    MOD - Man or Dogs ?
    MOD - Ministry of Danger

    Shame on MOD. Russians are very corrupt. And they are making use of INDIANS. Why don't we again open all the dealing in last 20 years of Russia ? I am sure we will find bigger scams than the land scam. And yes last but not least sorry to say. Shame on INDIAN Army

  23. well if you dig deep, you'll find we have always been bribed into buying lots of Russian junk and it isnt shocking when we hear stories of bvr missiles like r-27 and r-77 malfunctioning way before they reach the end of thein service life also the kh-31 a/p arm missile. the sad state of affairs plagues our military thanx to the greedy pockets of our politicians. yet when we talk of going to other less corrupt suppliers like the US through FMS, all the babus suddenly protest talking about how we will loose soverienty if we buy american yet they see no problem when we hear reports of more half our defense inventory being useless. The facts remain almost every single deal with Russia has been marred by corruption which is why the FMS is being preffered dont be shocked if the US SH wins the mrca and other deals like attack helos and heavy lift helos. they order them simply because its govt to govt deal and hence is corrupt free and large production scales allow for quicker delivery of battle proven hardware.

    They need to quickly finish work on arjun mk-2 and in the meanwhile order more arjun mk-1, as it is, the Arjun mk-1 is way better than the t-72, upgrade limited numbers of t-72 and ramp up production of arjun mk-1, meanwhile mk-2 should be getting ready and if mk-1 productin lines are big enough convert it into mk-2 lines once its ready. we need to order the home made Abhay IFV, DRDO 105mm tank as well, in the long run arjun mk-1, t-90, arjun mk-2, Abhay IFV and DRDO 105mm tanks should be the mainstay of our armored forces. We can also order the stryker since we are actively look for wheeled armour.

  24. Nice reporting Ajai! The saga of corruption in the armed forces is truly saddening. But I still feel that the armed forces should continued to be allowed to purchase equipment without public scrutiny or accountability.

    Parts of your article reveal that it WAS public scrutiny (opposition in parliment/Deve Gowda's dramatics) which in the first place forced the MOD/Army to manipulate the T-90 contract to make it more appealing to the public.

    In other words if the 'public' had kept it's mouth shut, our army would've got the T-90 with all it's original bells and whistles. So inspite of all that's rotting out there in the world of arm's purchases, my humble request to the 'aam janatha' and the armchair enthusiasts will be - "Kindly mind your own business and leave the armed forces alone!! Your activism will only result in delayed/hasty purchases and more corruption."

    As it is, there is not much which anybody can do about this sad saga now. The powers that be have already decided and things will go according to their plan no matter how many articles or blogs are written.

  25. Good Article Ajai, I hope Arjun will win this test and will be awarded more nos .

    In future if MoD has been pressurized to select any future tank from abroad , we need to go for advanced version of Leopard class(MBT) of germany / no orders to T-95 .

  26. Reading stuff like this makes me sadly agree with few of my friends in the defence industry- defence deals are very very murky and highly corrupt...sad

  27. Perennial choker4 February 2010 at 03:01

    In 2001 When the army bought T-90 .... The arjun was a piece of junk. If they had not done what they did we would have been stuck with T-72's or incompetent Arjun's of 2001
    They would never have been allowed to buy the T-90 It would have been deemed too costly , times were different back then our economy was reeling from the economic burst of the IT bubble , our fiscal deficit was sky rocketing and politicians had enough reasons to send our army and subsequestly our country to hell...maybe you might want to add that in your report too.The DGMF made a Brave move.I just hope Your report Doesn't stop the Procurement Process...otherwise in my view you should be held accountable for putting the nation's security in jeopardy.

  28. To abs @12:45.....
    Blasphemy? Oh dear!
    By considering the army a god or god-like, you totally invalidated any argument you might have had (not that you had one to begin with).
    Come, come, are you really as naive as you come across?

  29. To Perennial Choker....
    "otherwise in my view you should be held accountable for putting the nation's security in jeopardy"
    Really? Did you actually read Ajai's article? Did you read the parts that establish that the T-90 is at worst a piece of junk, or at best as good/bad as the obsolete T-72? Did you read the part about the lies and hidden costs?
    Normally, stuff like that gets you tried for treason. Tried any "basic reasoning" lately?

  30. Col. Ajai Shukla, I salute you for this mind-blowing article !! This indeed is service to the nation.

    This should shut up the mouths of vile newspapers like Times of India and The Indian Express, that have run concerted, malicious campaigns praising the T-90 and villifying the Arjun tank.

  31. Col Shukla, bravo sir!
    My compliments on an excellent trilogy.

  32. The problem is, we all can cry out loud over 'corruption', but the fact is that the public almost NEVER gets to hear the Army's views! I believe that our army is professional enough still to have some very good reasons to not go with Arjun. There is too much at stake to trust a completely new armoured platform and god forbid soemthing goes wrong we all know who would be blamed- certainly not the babus! In my opinion, the IA is fighting against its bosses, and we should support them instead of criticizing. For all we know, it could be only the MOD etc that pushed for T-90, not the IA - maybe someone does not want the long-established cozy line of $$ established with the Russians?

  33. Congrats sir, but i dont think DGMF will give any reply to this, he is aware about Arjun Vs T 90 contest, which has been rigged from the word go.

    Not to forget the lollipop regarding FMBT (T95).

  34. There is NO need to create any futuristic MBT as of now. Just buy more Arjuns MK1 and MK2. Improve upon the existing Arjun and fine tune it.

    If the order is big enough like more than a 1000 or 2000 tanks then they will create a high production rate facility. There is no point in seeing a current production rate because the order itself was low in first place.

  35. The Arjun being late is not a good enough excuse to reject it. The tank is here, and now it's a really good tank, better than the T-90 and easily able to give us the 20+ years of service that the IA needs. The IA can't be holding on to the excuses of 10 years ago.

    I wonder though, if there may be some advantage to having a mixed stable of tanks. The T-90 being lighter can be advantageous in some terrain and conditions. Like mixing your leftie and rightie bowlers to make life difficult for the batsman.

  36. Good post Ajai.
    yet another deal compromising our country's safety...heads must roll..including the politicians who were involved

  37. ABS, "d Arjun was 2 l8 2 cum. "

    Arjun is to late? Thats why the Army bought a Tin cane? Arjun may be bad... worse.... Indian.... desi.... bla...bla... but T-90 is not better. I personally gone inside and have experienced with M1A2, Challenger, Arjun and T-90S..... If I have I am not blind and I have nimum common sense than T-90S is no comparison with the rest of three....

    Ajai Sir great article. The nation must know about Arjun.... If it is bad, no problem Army should reject it.. but the should not bring 'outdated', 'old' kinda things..... because they still bought 1600 Tin canes!

  38. In India, the services don't have a concept of trying out indigenous stuff and progressively bring it up to required standards.

    In US/UK/Russia/Sweden etc, the armed forces are very tightly involved in the product design and development, and they are willing to accept initial versions and work on it, give feedback and finally have a matured product. In India, only the Navy is hands-on involved right from design to production stage. Unfortunately, army and IAF adopt a hands-off approach. Give DRDO their QR specs, and expect them to come back in stipulated time with the product. While that works with completely developed products, for ones which are yet to be designed and developed, the end-user needs to be involved right from the start. I hope this changes soon.

    As for abs who commented about his father being in DGMF, what is too late? Even today, the Arjun is much better than T-90. And if Indian army doesn't accept Arjun with its drawbacks and work to get it better in MK-II, who will? We will always be dependent on Russia for our tanks.

    Our army needs to define a tank for our operational needs and scenarios, and those which suit average Indian person. Why should we buy a tank designed for cooler climates of Europe and ergonomically suited for europeans and then pay extra money to them to modify it to our needs? We have built up initial capability by building first version of Arjun. If the Army has proper foresight, it will build on that expertise by going in for the next version. Else, in 8-10 years from now, most of the designers etc who have gone through the life cycle of Arjun and understands tank design will retire, and we will be back to square one, with raw inexperienced hands if we try to build one later on.

    And please don't post in SMS style. It may be fine when chatting with friends, but on serious forums, it comes across as pretty immature. Please use proper english.

  39. to anonymous
    dude u have no idea wat d army symbolizes 2 me n u can nevwer gauge it cuz u were nt born into it n didn't spend ur lyf livin in it. i'm nt sayin we r nt rong, but stating tat we r rong wen we pik the T 90z ova d Arjun bcoz d arjun hapnz 2 be indigenous is plain rng. in 1962 Nehru was pushin d indegenous ditribe. guess were it got us against China? Nehru died a dissilussioned man. lst yr i hapnd 2 b posted in lalgarh near suratgarh n i went 2 a live firin of T 72 tanks wich were usin Indian ammo. wanna knw wat hapnd? d earlier Israeli tanks were firin smoothily but only 4 out of 10 Indian shells would fire or blast on Impact. tatz indegenization. we r d onez hu r savin d jawans d DRDO is jst pushin itz prsonal intrst.

  40. I wrote a feature by feature comparison in my blog almost a year back ( about the two tanks & it seems i was dead right in my analysis. This is really shameful for us to compromise our nation's security for a few greenbacks, and all the more when it is done by men in uniform. Coming from a family of military personnel I really feel uneasy with the growing corruption in our forces.

    Only if IA cud learn from the Indian Navy...

  41. Mr. Shukla, thank you for the article. I just realized that T-90 is called "Bhishma", I guess you know where I am going. Wasn't Arjun who shot Bhishma.... I wonder if this will happen again in March. Waiting to hear more in a few more weeks. Thanks.

  42. Any update on Tank X said to be slightly lighter than the Arjun is it the next Arjun Mk2

  43. Karupaswamy,
    good question. What happened to Columbia's RFP for the Arjun?

    I think we all know the answer.

    The MOD, this means the defense minister, the defense secretary, the army chief, the entire gang is one.
    They scuttled the arjun because the russian mafia is very strong. If the arjun gets an export order while they have all stonewalled the arjun, they are the ones who'll be having egg on their faces.

    Gen Deepak Kapoor has very intelligently timed the trials after his retirement, so that he can escape the storm that is sure to follow. As it is he doesn't like Gen VK Singh, and tried his level best to prevent him from becoming the army chief.

    The russian mafia and their arms agents in delhi have wined and dined a whole line of army and ministry officials for decades. They are not going to let the arjun in unless there is an open trail by media.

    The comparitive trials might just provide the media with the requisite ammo

  44. Perennial Choker:

    "otherwise in my view you should be held accountable for putting the nation's security in jeopardy."

    AJAI will be held?!

    You mean the b@st@rds who put our men in trouble and would get them killed in time of war had this NOT come out, are not?

    You're either an idiot or a troll. Or both.

  45. No reasons were given for that delay

    No one asked it seems, you know there is a something called parliament.

    The story of the T-90 has been coloured by deception and obfuscation from even before the tank was procured.

    You know why??? for the greater good of the country, when the enemy has new and creme de la of Soviet tank T-80, which soviet did not export to even its greatest friend.

    that fitting the T-72 with modern fire control systems and night vision devices would be cheaper than buying the T-90. Deve Gowda correctly pointed

    SO Devegowda know what makes a good tank and Army officers don't??

    To bypass his opposition, the MoD and the army reached an understanding with Rosvoorouzheni

    So every time an MP Objects to any purchase, it should be blacklist until he give an NOC??

    Excluded from India’s T-90s was the Shtora active protection system

    Do you think it was a bad move?? That system is still not matured. By the way how many countries which bought T-90 ordered Shotra???

    This was done knowing well that Pakistan’s anti-tank defences are based heavily on missiles.

    Ha ha ha, you are funny. wait a minute did they retired their tank fleet??

    The greatest concern arose when Russia held back on its contractual obligation to transfer the technology needed to build 1,000 T-90s in India.

    How did the T-90 MATIRIALIZED from avadi?? DODO and JUJU!!!

    Next month, when the T-90 is measured against the Arjun in comparative trials, the T-90s’ drawbacks will not be evident

    You are very sure of performance of T-90 compared to lot of doubt, apprehension and sabotaged concern for Arjun!!!

    If the Arjun performs strongly in next month’s comparative trials

    You are not sure here, after 35 years "development" and countless trails.

    That alone should tell the story of Arjun and the three part propaganda.

  46. Why the hell are some people bashing Russia she as a nation who has stood by us in the time of difficulty u people bash Russia because of her inferior products just because the American or European products are available now.Who was the one that gave us the weapons in the time of need.If there are problems with T90S it is the fault of MOD and Army's for choosing it just don't insult a time tested friend just because we are finding new ones.

  47. In 2001 When the army bought T-90 .... The arjun was a piece of junk. If they had not done what they did we would have been stuck with T-72's or incompetent Arjun's of 2001

    Agreed. This was the right call then. But 9 years have passed since then, so the question is what to do going forward now that the Arjun is available. Given the continuing problems with the T90, should the T90 be gradually phased out in favour of the Arjun?

  48. Everyone wake up.
    Just as the Arjun saga, there is another similar plan afoot up in Raisina hill.

    The Army and the MOD is negotiating hard to obtain the US Stryker infantry combat vehicle, after DRDO's own ICV has been shelved.

    The T-90 is going to lose onlee.

    Great article Ajai. But the Arjun is not the only case where army-MOD-sales agents have played truant. For your efforts ajai, they will be gunning for you now.

    Be careful.

  49. Great work Ajaiji! I am sure you are a role model for other aspiring defense journalists.

    Even though there are several people who have claimed the superiority of Arjun Vs T90s on other defense forums (mostly under some hidden names), you are the first one to go into detail and put your name on the line in this impressive work. It takes a lot of courage and I salute you for that.

  50. Ajai sir

    to improve T-90s performace and enhance Arjuns induction. There are few things we need to do.


    1. Shut T-90s production line after 1200

    2. Use the money that was to be used for the remaining 457 to acquire Shtora active protection system and the T-90’s thermal imaging (TI) sights.

    3. Indegenously develop a variant of the INVAR missles.


    1. Expand production line to 1200.

    2. Find ways to reduce Arjun Mk-2 weight below 50.

    3. Enhance its night fighting ability with indegenous TI systems.


    1. Sell 500 of them to Afganistan.

    2. Put 1000 refurbished ones in reserve


    1. Establish a new tank production line, preferably with pvt co.

    2. Establish atleast 4 more refurbish and repair falities for tanks , infantry vehicles across India

  51. Our Political Establishment is totally flawed, rotten and corrupt till the grass roots. When Abdul Kalam identified it and suggested a changes like
    1. Politicians with Criminal Background cannot participate in elections.
    2. Change our Democracy from Multi party system to 2 party system

    On both instances his mouth was shut, He was kicked of his 2nd term and replaced with a useless puppet. Clearly she is the most incompetent and worst ever President that our country has ever had. The only thing she is good at is being as a puppet in the hands of Italian Mafia.

    Chinese Govt gets its legitimacy by way of its good governance & Performance.

    Our Politicians get their legitimacy just because of the word democracy. We don't need such democracy when the our govt's elected by the people does not work for People.

    * The successive govt's have done nothing good to the armed forces or to the nation.

    * The Govt Machinery has been cheating us with a false hope of security. Unlike in US where commanders free to express their negative opinion against the Govt policies and decisions our Army Chief's dont have the authority or freedom to talk even a single word deviating from the diplomatic official statements given to them by MoD.

    * When Dr.Santanam exposed the Thermonuclear Fizzle to our people & media, which is an open secret to the rest of the world he was branded as a traitor, Reason - Not towing the Govt's diplomatic line.

    * All these weapons purchase are totally useless and are never going to be used even against a country like Pakistan. Even before our bureaucratic decision making body can think of a decision most of major cities would have got evaporated by a tested and proven 3 Mega Ton nuclear devices which are already pointing on our heads as revealed by the US media and our forces neither have the capability nor the intelligence to even track the intruders entrenched well inside our chicken neck area (Kargill).

    * No one, not even the Army knows about the capabilities of our nuclear deterrence. Whoever who have knowledge about it are ready to fly out of the country to their vacation homes in foreign land in special VVIP aircraft's purchased in our Tax Money. Probably these jets might be the only purchases made on behalf of the Air force without any kickbacks.

    * Given the track record of our MoD right from Bofors & Tehelka days till date. Why do our Defense deals need any kind of secrecy is it worth in hands of such unreliable MoD officials? Why not we make the govt to disclose every line of the Defense Contracts signed including the contracts of Gorshkov, T90 & FGFA to the media and public. At least it will have deterrence effect to our neighbors that our weapons might be reliable and potent.

  52. Ajai,

    You are far away from poona horse. I admire your ability to follow through with this and break this story. I admire your reporting. Glad to have the argument when we did.

  53. Both Leopard 2 and Arjun have Lahat Anti tank missile , which seems to be highly superior which is made by Israel .
    Nextly Arjun is getting 1400 hp Engine , in future it will be replaced by 1500 hp engine .

    T-90s seems to 1000 hp engine, will be upgraded / replaced by 1250 hp (919 kW) for V-96 12-cyl. diesel engine.

    in current situation Arjun is better than T-90s , and better than Type-99 of china in tank quality .

  54. Arjun tank comparative trial, with T 90S and T 72 has been rigged from the very start, these are the reasons for the same.
    1. T 72 is out of comparative trials.
    2. Trials are not conducted in June in Rajasthan desert. To save T 90 tank
    3. Statement that T 90 is not on trial by the Indian Army
    4. To use 14 tanks instead of one or two of each tank.

    It would have been better if Indian Navy would have been the independent observer for the tank trials.

  55. KR said...

    "In 2001 When the army bought T-90 .... The arjun was a piece of junk. If they had not done what they did we would have been stuck with T-72's or incompetent Arjun's of 2001"

    -->If Arjun was a junk than what was T-90S? If Arjun is not upto the level than how could T-90S jon the Army? Does any one through a horse to buy a donkey?

    Here some people defending Army's move with some bubble agendas but not answering the questions...

    1) If Arjun does not meet the req how it is possible for inferior T-90S to meet them?

    2) Why the Army constantly rejected comparative trials?

    3) Why the Army always came up with shortcomings of Arjun while T-90S's shortcomings were hidden?

    The Army is much behind Indian Navy and Indian Air Force in terms of modernization because of these. They need to learn from IN and the IAF.

  56. isn't there any other commentator on the entire Arjun-T 90 controversy? someone who either refutes or conforms with the views expressed here?

  57. Thanks Ajaiji...I hope someone questions it in parliament

  58. Now what Ajai? Isn't it too late to stop the yet-remain-to-be-inducted T-90s from being purchased and inducted?

    This is scary and so depressing considering the fact that we always look forward towards having the best military abilities.

  59. To Perennial choker,
    I did not conveniently forgot to mention ERA or ECM.
    You believe Arjun does not have ERA.

    Sigh, it is common knowledge that ERA was developed. Where do you think DRDO got the ERA for T-72 CIA upgrade?
    But then why does Arjun needs ERA? because M1A2 upgrades have them? Are you sure it's composite armour will not be able to handle the two piece rounds currently been deployed in the continent?

    Regarding defensive suites’s-defensive-systems-to-undergo-trials/

    I am not considering others as idiots. I was mentioning the fact that we Indians have a fetish for foreign items.
    I dont understand why Western/Russian systems be suitable for Indian doctrine/conditions? It is unfortunately our forces have to form doctrine based on hardware rather than the other way around.
    If IA decides to buy M1A2 with all the bells and whistle I would term it the worse decision ever.
    The fact that Indian forces are a "museum" of weapons system from the entire world is because we dont support local development. They induct one system. the OEM increases prices, the finance ministry tells defence to buy from cheaper source and we have a mumbo jumbo of systems.

    Any sane person can understand that a nation producing a local tank will take a long time in the learning curve. Am I to assume that the leaders in IA who are responsible for the defence of the nation don't understand this fact?

    Hence I believe this whole fiasco is nothing but bad planning right at the top. The T-72 upgrade mess is another example. Arjun is now where related in this T-72 upgrade but IA still got it wrong.

  60. Joydeep Ghosh:

    the MoD did not overrule a Prime Minister, they overruled a former Prime Minister.

    Where on earth have I said that the T-90s are sure to fail in next month's trials? The trials have been structured in a manner that the T-90 will do well. The T-90 crews know that their TI overheats, so they will keep it switched off until they have to fire. Simple.

    And the absence of an Active Protection System will not hurt because there are no incoming missiles.

    It will be a carefully selected bunch of T-90 crewmen who participate in the trials, as good as anywhere in the armoured corps. They have eight or nine regiments to select from, while the Arjun squadron will come from good old 43 Armoured Regiment. But that's life... the Arjun squadron will just have to go out there and make it happen.


    I don't know where you got the information that the T-90 ballistic computers have gone kaput. It would be surprising if they had, because they haven't come yet.


    Who's saying that your father is corrupt? He's probably a fine officer. It's just that, like 99% of all army officers, he's not physically dealt with the Arjun for the last several years when the tank made the transition from dud to a functional system.


    The answer, of course, is to continue with the T-90, and keep the Arjun line running to continuously replace the T-72s.

  61. Karupaswamy excellent post!

    We have made a system of corrupted people. Dr. Kalam just said the words I thought!

    Thanks you Ajai Sir!

  62. @12:47

    ""Both Leopard 2 and Arjun have Lahat Anti tank missile , which seems to be highly superior which is made by Israel .
    Nextly Arjun is getting 1400 hp Engine , in future it will be replaced by 1500 hp engine .

    T-90s seems to 1000 hp engine, will be upgraded / replaced by 1250 hp (919 kW) for V-96 12-cyl. diesel engine.

    in current situation Arjun is better than T-90s , and better than Type-99 of china in tank quality .""

    Relying on stereotypes will not get you anywhere. Type 99 is fully functional and does not habve quality issues. The PERUVIANS are buying MBT 2000 a tank from makers of Type 99. That says more then your words.

  63. Ajai you did a wonderful job in exposing the Arjun Fiasco to the public domain, You have put these MoD babus and IA in a corner and in open light by questioning their procurement process and have also angered the arms dealers and lobbyists.

    Now you need to be careful and have to watch your back too! you never know when CBI might be sent behind you for reasons that you can never guess.

    They may even try to implicate you in Arushi murder case or Sathyam Scam, Just Watch out.

    A request on behalf of your Fan's, Do groom as many Defense Reporters as possible to your caliber both inside and outside your newspaper, That would be the best possible service and contribution that you can do to the Nation.

  64. How good is the Arjun or the Bhishma vs. the Type 99? That is the most crucial question. Could someone help me understand this?

    PS: Why don't we benchmark the Arjun's performance parameters in the same climate that the others are judged? (as in, if T90S/M does better in Russian/European climates, why not apply the same environment parameters and have the Arjun also rated in a similar climate?

  65. This trial is rigged from the start, so dont expect any thing or miracles that will change the mind set of IA officers.
    IA dont want to be proved wrong therefore wrong parameter were chosen for the trial.
    Not to forget the timing of the trial, which should have been conducted in Jun heat of Rajasthan's desert.
    Why the IA just accept that let the best tank win, even otherwise their is enough space for both T 90 and Arjun tank in 3800 modern tanks doctrine.

    Just hope that DRDO has install black box this time.

    BTW Arjun tank is up against 14 of the best T 90 Tank crews of IA to defeat it.

  66. to all the fans of T90 tank, check the video
    frame No.0.22 says it all.
    It is modified T 72 tank.

  67. Like Ajai said the contract for the T-90 was highly flawed. But the decision to go for the russian tank at that time, was in my humble opinion, not a wrong one. At that time the Arjun was far away from being a good fighting machine. So I think that the decision was correct at that time, only the implementation of that decision was done in a very unfortunate manner.

  68. Saw a PTI report that says "trails later this year". Are the trials happening this March or will they be postponed again?

  69. The only hope for the Arjun is that it is sold to russia and imported at double the cost with a T name attached to it at the cost of indian taxpayers and jobs in india.Thanks to our honest politicians who are ready to upgrade even the vintage T-72 and kill our own Top of the line Arjun.

  70. Firstly, thanks Ajai ji for exposure of fraud in procuring T-90s from Russia. Sadly, this is another reason why indigenous projects like Arjun or Tejas is important to us. They will take time to mature. Meanwhile, it is better to put up with MIG21 and T72 which work in battle conditions rather than exotic T90 "floats" or pay exhorbitant prices for warbirds on showcase for the MMRCA deal. As long as we depend on another country for defending ourselves, we will have a price to pay. I dont know from where i will find strength to take pride in being an Indian. Our country's enemy is not Pakistan or China or any Alliance or Maoists or famines. It is corruption. Alas! courage of men and women in our armed forces cannot stop bullets.

  71. I guess somebody should leave this message at the doorsteps of the post-Sukhna land scam Indian Army


  72. Legalize corruption!

    Maybe the big shots of the army and the MoD are against indigenous projects because they cant get kickbacks from DRDO and related organisations. Maybe it is time that our government established a legalized kickbacks department know like legalised porn/prostitution.

    When DRDO puts up project proposals, they could ask this ministry ask for an amount earmarked annually for buying carrots for our corrupt babus and decision makers in the defence.

    But for now whether IA and IAF like it or not, the have to take a leaf out of the Navy's page and stick to indigenization.


    Jyothi TM

  73. I will eagerly wait for the results from the trials where Arjun will represent 'our technology' 'our expertise' 'our hard work' and even 'our flaws' when it will be pitted against the brand name of T90 which represents 'dependence' and 'creative slavery'.

    In the battle for Arjun's survival, its crew will have what the T90 wont.

    Local support !!!!!

  74. Hi Ajai, this racistic attitude of army against indigenous products should be seriously protested and it is good to find your argument bolstering the cause.. Further propagation of this fraud should be done, not only to save Arjun but also to save indigenisation of defense forces and India developing as a major manufacturer..

  75. Pls Update on the recent trials being held of Arjun vs T90 ...

  76. Any updates pls ........

    A new article if possible ....

  77. Please Update on the trials between T-90 and Arjun.

    Cant we do something about it?

  78. I can suggest to visit to you a site on which there is a lot of information on this question.


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