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Indian Army to buy specialised ammunition for T-90 battle tanks

YB WEB DESK. Dated: 1/30/2018 10:34:16 PM

Seeking to do away with shortages and provide the required firepower to tank regiments to destroy enemy armoured forces, the Indian Army is looking to procure around one lakh rounds of specialised ammunition for the T-90 and T-72 battle tanks of the force.

A proposal in this regard would be put up before a high-level meeting of the defence ministry headed by defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman for final approval, government sources told Mail Today.

The ammunition planned to be acquired by the Army is the FSAPDS (Fin Stabilised Armour Piercing Discarding Sabot) used by T-90 and T-72 tanks which can be fired to destroy the enemy tanks and infantry combat vehicles. These are the most important ammunition for a tank as they are used for tank-to-tank battles in war times as heavy rounds can only destroy tanks.

Generally, the particular ammunition is in short supply in the force as it is used for practice and is acquired only through the import route by the force. Attempts have been made to get them manufactured in India as well in one of the ordnance factories but it seems the project has not made much progress.

The one lakh rounds to be procured by the Army after the Defence Acquisition Council approval are expected to help in maintaining the mandatory inventory to be in stock for fighting a 10-day intense war with adversaries. To help in fast acquisition of war fighting equipment, the government has also significantly enhanced the financial powers of the armed forces along with increasing the financial powers of the forces under the Narendra Modi-led NDA government.

After the surgical strikes, India had made major acquisitions for the existing inventory of weapons and equipment in service which may have been required for war-fighting.

The Navy and the Air Force also acquired a large number of ammunition used by them and several contracts were signed with foreign countries including air to air missiles from Russia.

The severe shortage of tank ammunition was first highlighted by then Army Chief Gen V K Singh in a top secret letter to the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in March 2012.

After the blacklisting of supplier of the FSAPDS (Fin Stabilised Armour Piercing Discarding Sabot) used by T-90 and T-72 tanks, Russia was approached for supplying these tank shells To avoid such shortages in future, the defence ministry had then also sought a transfer of technology from the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) to produce the ammunition indigenously.

Singh had pointed out in his letter that only three to four days of this particular ammunition was left in the inventory of the armoured regiments. Later on, the Army had also informed the Standing Committee on Defence about the shortage and how the situation had worsened by the recent blacklisting of its supplier Israeli Military Industry (IMI).

A facility of the Ordnance Factory Board was also reportedly working on improving its infrastructure to produce the ammunition but its current status is not known.


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