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Future Main Battle Tank (FMBT) (Hth)

The Future Main Battle Tank (FMBT) is under indigenous design and development. For mobility, in order to achieve extraordinary acceleration, the Army believed a compact power pack in the form of a gas turbine would be necessary. The Army wanted an active suspension system with sensors, control units, and a hydraulic power source in combination, to automatically alter the suspension characteristics to more closely match the speed of the vehicle and the terrain profile, especially in Indian terrain conditions. The Indian Army wante the FMBT to have an Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system "to obviate chances of own tanks firing at each other in battle", and a reliable and secure mobile communication system to support data transmission, voice and video conference.

Protection in the form of soft-kill system would require IR detectors, laser warning, radar warning and devices to instantaneously integrate these signals to control a countermeasure suite. Such systems are threat specific so all would have to be carried on a vehicle to gain protection against the full threat spectrum. The Army wanted a high-performance armor system with advanced materials featuring reduced penetration by most lethal weapons, elimination of parasitic mass for weight reduction, excellent corrosion resistance, and inherent thermal and acoustic insulation properties.

The Combat Vehicles Research & Development Establishment (CVRDE), Avadi, organised a Shri sampath releasing proceedings of the seminar brainstorming session on Integrated Survivability Characteristics of Future Main Battle Tank (FMBT) during 8-9 August 2001. The integrated survivability is one of the vital operational characteristics of the FMBT. The deliberations of the first day of the seminar included two sessions: (i) Detection Avoidance Techniques and (ii) Hit Avoidance Techniques. The deliberations of the second day of the seminar were also carried out in two sessions: (i) Direct Protection System and (ii) Secondary Protection System.

Defence Minister Shri A K Antony at the inauguration of the International Technology Seminar on Future Infantry Combat Vehicle and Future Main Battle Tank 22 July 2008 said: "Technology is advancing at an exceptionally fast pace and is emerging as a dominant factor in warfare. Countries that can exploit emerging technologies and synergize the same with innovative operational doctrine and organizational structures will achieve a higher level of military effectiveness.... It should be our endeavour to achieve maximum synergy between the Defence, Public, and Private Sectors, in order to create a competitive defence technology edge and strengthen the defence industry base in our country.... the core competencies and capabilities of our private sector in R&D, design, development and manufacture of defence equipment and would take the country a step closer towards achieving self-reliance in producing a Future Main Battle Tank and a Future Infantry Combat Vehicle..."

Speaking at a December 2008 seminar on the Future Main Battle Tank (FMBT), Lt General Dalip Bharadwaj, director general, Mechanised Forces said the army will not place orders for Arjun beyond the 124 already on order because it is "now looking 20 years ahead and wants a futuristic MBT". His predecessor, Lt General (retd.) K.D.S. Shekhawat is blunter. "The DRDO does not want to own up, the Arjun is based on the German Army's Leopard-1 design which entered service in the mid-1960s. It outlived its life over a decade ago. Today, every tank in the world, including the Leopard-2 and T-90, have sloped turrets (to reduce the impact of a hit) but the Arjun still continues with the rectangular turret."

On 06 December 2010 Defence Minister Shri AK Antony informed Lok Sabha by a written reply to Shri GV Harsha Kumar and Shri KRG Reddy that the Preliminary Staff Qualitative Requirement (PSQR) of Future Main Battle Tank (FMBT) had been formulated by the Army. Feasibility study on FMBT was being carried out by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). "FMBT was likely to be developed by the year 2020."

Russia's principal Uralvagonzavod main battle tank (MBT) production facility in Nizhny Tagil offered to co-operate with India on the development and production of a future main battle tank (FMBT) to meet the long-term requirements of the Indian Army. The projected Indian/Russian FMBT would leverage from recent Russian developments.

Ajai Shukla of Business Standard reported 27 Novemver 2012 that the indigenous Future Main Battle Tank was being quietly buried by the army. Instead, the armys tank directorate proposed keeping faith with the home grown Arjun tank, while incrementally improving it into the future backbone of the armys strike forces. Senior army sources tell Business Standard that the Directorate General of Mechanised Forces (DGMF), which oversees the armys tank force, has formally proposed that the Arjun be gradually improved through successive models --- Mark II, Mark III, Mark IV and so on --- rather than attempting a major technological leap into the unknown, which is what the FMBT would be.

It was stated 29 April 2013 that the Government had assessed the requirement of Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) that would be required for defense preparedness. The requirement for Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) for defence preparedness has been assessed and laid down in the Long Term Integrated Perspective Plan (LTIPP) document for the period 2012- 2027. Disclosure of further information on the subject was said not in the national interest. The Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) ARJUN Mark I have been manufactured indigenously and ARJUN Mark II is under development. The T-90 tanks are manufactured indigenously by Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) under licensed production from Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM).




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