SOURCE: SATYAJEET KUMAR/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
According to Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Russia has lost 353 tanks, as well as 60 tanker trucks and 1,165 armored vehicles but conservative estimates made by neutral observers estimate that Russian forces might have lost nearly 20-25% of the 1,200 tanks that were seen before the invasion in various sectors across the border with Ukraine.
Russian Military is relying mostly on older T-72 main tanks especially A, B, B3 variants that make up for the majority of the chuck of tank losses suffered by the Russian forces in the Ukraine invasion, there are some two dozen losses recorded also of the more modern T-90A tanks but neutral observers have also sported them quite less as part of strike corps which could be one of the reasons why little less has been seen of them.
Indian Generals might not be happy seeing their favorite T-72 tanks being taken out by the single-shot, fire-and-forget, NLAW, and man-portable Javelin anti-tank missile, this also exposes the weakness of the T-72 tank fleet that since their induction in the early ’70s is not only part of the Indian Army strike corps but also makeup 50% of its Main Battle Tank fleet composition.
Indian-built Arjun Mk1 and Mk1A tanks even with the recent orders won’t make up for 6% of its Main Battle Tank fleet composition, even though it has been proved in one o one tank battle between T-90 and Arjun, the Arjun tank was the one that walked away with minimal damages due to its superior armor. Indian generals for long have resisted induction of Arjun tanks in the fleet to keep the production line of T-90s in India busy and after getting near perfected Arjun tank they walked away into the next desire of theirs which could be the Russian T-14 Armata to enter series production by end of 2022.
Indian Generals since the Gulf war have known that the T-72 fleet is now absolute and won’t survive the modern-day war, especially after the rise of anti-armor technology that has made them tin can for the crew. Now Indian Army is eyeing the “Future Tank” platform which it intends to induct by 2030 and replace the present fleet of T-72 tanks by 2040.
Indian Army under a program dubbed the Future Ready Combat Vehicle (FRCV) is looking to procure about 1,770 new tanks what’s funny is that DRDO has been after the Indian Army since 2010 to realize the Preliminary Specifications Qualitative Requirements (PSQR), which is often seen as a sanction to kick-start development activities on the new tank. PSQR is a precursor to the General Staff Qualitative Requirement (GSQR) document, which in turn, details its exact features but it took them over a decade to frame it, and now they have issued a fresh Request for Information (RFI) after canceling last RFI issued in 2017 that has been responded by at least 12 OEMs. It is still not clear if DRDO has been asked to bid and submit its design and specification but the program is planned to be executed through the Strategic Partnership (SP) route.
Indian Army procurement process is still a mess that they have failed to streamline even after being in 7 years in power by a so-called Nationalist Government. Will Indian generals get their act together and favor locally made Indian tanks that can win them the next war or certain import friendly lobbies made of retired senior ranked officers will ensure that the country moves either to the next Russian tank on offer or another imported tank will get ” Made in India ” tag with little of the Indian technologies involved.
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