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MBT-EX / Tank-Ex / Karna

By 2002 the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) had developed a new prototype battle tank with a code name 'Tank-Ex' or "MBT-EX". This tank has been developed by integrating a modified low silhouette chassis of in-service T-72 tank and re-engineered turret of MBT-Arjun. The weight of this tank will be around 47 tons and the maximum road speed of about 60 Km/hr. The tank has undergone limited technical trials by DRDO only. It was to be offered for trials to Army at an appropriate stage.

It was developed in 2002 and was intended to provide a solution for upgrading the Indian Army's ageing T-72M1 fleet under Project Rhino. Unfortunately Karan MBT was out of project Project Rhino because OEM ( Rosoboronexport ) didn't let required changes on existing T-72 chassis but on new imported chassis, due to such Tank-EX upgrade was no longer a upgrade but a new tank, hence it no longer suited to compete in competition.

Tank-Ex was a significant development and was the second attempt (after the successful Combat Improved Ajeya /upgraded T-72M1) by the Arjun MBT developers to harness its technology spin-offs. The Tank Ex appeared to be a solution for upgrading the Indian Army's vast and aging T-72M1 fleet. Having undergone six months of trials in Rajasthan till now, it needed to be fine tuned per Army requirements. However, it must be noted that the two crucial "parts" of the Tank Ex - namely the Arjun turret with its weapon system and the T-72M1 (Ajeya) platform/chassis were well tested and already certified by the Army.

The Tank Ex utilized the Arjun MBT's 120mm rifled gun firing unitary APFSDS and HESH semi combustible cartridge case ammunition. A total of 32 rounds were carried as compared to 39 in the Arjun and 45 two piece ones in the T-72.The Arjun's armament system was the most powerful one available to Indian developers. The choice of calibre, weapon design and ammunition made it superior to the in-service 125mm 2A46 guns on the T-72M1. The Tank Ex retained the Arjun's third generation director type integrated FCS (Fire Control System) including a sophisticated digital ballistic computer. The Arjun FCS was updated with digital components replacing the original analog elements, compared to the original, which faced numerous technical problems. Firepower trials validated the efficacy of the updated Arjun FCS and led to its acceptance by the Army.

Capable of firing on the move, the Tank Ex also was fully "night ready" with the gunner having a thermal imager integrated with his main sight. A standby articulated sight was provided as backup for the main sight. The tank commander (as in the Arjun MBT) had his own fully stabilized sight with relevant controls for surveillance, target acquisition and engagement, giving excellent hunter-killer ability. The gun control system was electro-hydraulic. Gun elevation/depression was +16.5 deg/-10 degrees, better than the T-72M1's + 14 deg/-6 deg. As in the Arjun MBT and the T-72M1, a co-axial 7.62mm PKT machine gun and a 12.7mm NVST Heavy Machine gun (air defense) were standard. The tank also incorporated an Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) to operate the weapons systems in silent watch mode.

The Tank Ex utilized the state of the Art composite armor-"kanchan" - especially over its frontal arc (Turret as well as glacis) giving excellent protection against both Kinetic and Chemical rounds. The usage of the Arjun turret design indicated that the Tank-Ex may also have its "ready" ammunition stored in the bustle (as in the Arjun), separated from the crew and provided with blow off panels. This would be a significant protective feature in line with "western" design practices. Kanchan is an extensively tested and successful armor, which is available for retrofit to other IFV programs. The Tank Ex also had fully integrated Nuclear Biological and Chemical (NBC) protection The usual turret mounted 81mm antithermal smoke grenade launchers were also standard on the Tank-Ex.

The Tank Ex retained the T-72 attributes of speed and agility with a maximum speed of 60 km/hr (on road) and 40 km/hr (cross country).While the gradient climbing at 30 degrees it remains in line with all variants of the T-72 like the B(M). The Tank Ex is better at trench crossing.(2.6 meters as compared to the T-72M1's 2.28 meters). Vertical Obstacles 0.85 meters tall can be surmounted, same as the T-72M1.Shallow fording was quoted as 1.2 meters. A global positioning system was provided for accurate navigation. This was a feature common to both the Arjun MBT as well as the Combat Improved Ajeya.

KarnaThe upgrade effort mating the Arjun's turret with the T-72's chassis was christened the 'Karna', after the mortal god, the firstborn of Kunti. Karna, the unknown eldest son of the Pandavs, was born of divinity but raised as the son of a lowly chariot rider. Karna is among the most popular and complex characters in the Mahabharata, showing both nobility and nastiness over the course of the story.

At every step, fate deals Karna a rotten hand, but also entices him to seek his destiny, his rightful place as the Warrior of the Sun. Karna (also known as Karnan) is one of the central figures in Hindu epic Mahabharata. He was the first son of Kunti, and was thus half brother to the Pandavas, and the eldest of them. Although Duryodhana of the Kauravas anoints him king of Anga, his role in the legend far exceeds the importance of a king. He fought for the Kauravas in the great battle at Kurukshetra.

In the Mahabharat, Karna promises Gandhari that till he is alive, Duryodhan will never be alone. But since he will be facing Arjun in battle, he cannot promise who will be by Duryodhan's side after his death. Karna and Arjun finally come face to face and start shooting arrows at each other. But the two warriors are evenly matched and their fight fails to present a clear victor until they start using their divine weapons. Parshuram's curse takes effect, when Karna summons a divine weapon, but nothing happens.

Karna was the one of the greatest warrior of Mahabharata. In an incident which took place during the war between Karna and Arjuna, Arjuna’s chariot was hit by Karna’s arrows and was displaced a few meters backwards from the impact of the arrows. At that time Lord Krishna, who was driving Arjuna’s chariot, praised Karna for his feat. Arjuna, whose arrows had displaced Karna’s chariot by several hundred meters, was shocked at Krishna’s praise for Karna and questioned him. Krishna said “Arjuna, I myself who own the whole weight of the entire Universe am sitting on your chariot and your chariot is covered by the blessing of Lord Hanuman. Without these two factors, Karna’s arrows would have hurled your chariot off the Earth.”

Karna refuses to surrender and continues fighting when his second curse takes effect and the wheel of his chariot gets stuck in the earth. Karna tries to free the wheel of his chariot and reminds Arjun that he cannot attack him since he is on foot. But Krishna instigates Arjun by saying that even Karna has broken rules of the war and he was the man who had called Draupadi a prostitute and led the attack against Abhimanyu. Arjun changes his mind after listening to Krishna and shoots an arrow. Karna faced the arrow that was about to kill him without fear and died after the arrow severs his head from his body.

All his life, he was humiliated by different characters. For education, position in society etc. Kripacharya humiliated Karna about being from lower cast and wanting to compete against the prince. He was a charioteer’s son who became a king. He should have been really happy. A child who is found floating on the water grows up to become a king. He was destroyed by the one thing that mattered to him the most – he wanted to be somebody that he was not.

Page last modified: 13-09-2021 14:50:32 ZULU