New Delhi: As part of efforts to enhance its strike capability, the Army is now working on a project to add more teeth to its T-90 main battle tanks by arming them with a third generation missile system. Currently, the T-90 tanks are equipped with a laser guided INVAR missile system and the Army has decided to replace them with a third generation gun-launched missile, army sources said.
“As the design of the existing INVAR missile has been maximised, both in terms of range and depth of penetration (DoP), it is imperative to upgrade it to next generation missiles with enhanced capability,” according to a document related to the project. The Russian-origin T-90 tanks are mainstays of the Indian Army’s offensive formations.
The sources said the third generation missile should achieve a DoP of 800-850 mm and will be capable of hitting targets up to a range of 8 KM in day as well as night. The missiles, to be fired from the 125mm gun barrels of T-90 tanks, will be able to hit targets by taking a pre-flight programmed manoeuvres.
The missiles should be capable of firing against mobile as well as static targets, the sources said. The Army is also working on a separate project to install a modular engine for the T-90 tanks so as to enhance their strike capability in high-altitude battle field.
The sources said the proposed modular engine for T-90 tanks is envisaged to have a variable power output of 1200-1500 HP to cater to high battle field agility. Considering the evolving security scenario in the region, the government has taken a series of measures in the last few months to enhance strike capability of the Army.
Last month, the government had empowered the Army to directly procure critical ammunition and spares of major military platforms to maintain combat readiness for short duration “intense wars”. According to the decision, the Vice Chief of Army has been given the “full” financial powers to procure ammunition and spares for 10 types of weapons systems and equipment.
The government has also decided to speed up procurement of key weapons systems and platforms for the Army. In a major decision, the defence ministry on Thursday approved procurement of six Apache helicopters along with weapons systems from American giant Boeing at a cost of Rs 4,168 crore for the Army which will be its first fleet of attack choppers.