The Indian army has recently taken several steps to curb dependence on imports to increase the operational capability of the Russian origin tanks including the production of primary ammunition at local factories.
Indian Army has begun the process to procure thousands of auxiliary power units for the T-72 and T-90 battle tanks currently in service.
The Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) is an alternate source of power for the Fire Control System of the Tank and ancillaries to cater for power requirements during lull in the battle. The unit would enhance the capability as well as life of main engine of the tanks.
“There is a requirement to indigenously develop an APU for both T-72 as well as T-90 Tank in service in the Indian Army. APU for Tank T-72 and T-90 has been identified as a ‘Make II’ project under the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the Govt,” an expression of interest issued by the Indian Army reads. Make II of the India’s defence procurement policy implies that the project would be completely funded by industry to develop prototypes of the system.
As per the document, the army would purchase at least 3257 APU for the tanks which include 1657 for T-90 and 1600 for T-72. Presently regular running of the main engine of both T-72 and T-90 during deployment in surveillance mode depreciates the life of the main engine. With the induction of auxiliary power source, this could be overcome.
The auxiliary unit would power gunner and commander sights, fire control system, stabiliser system, thermal imaging sight, radio set, intercommunication system, navigation aid equipment, environment control system and battlefield management system of the tank.
Earlier in January, the Indian Army has also started the process to purchase primary ammunition for the tanks from local vendors in spite of importing the 125mm ammunition from Russia. India imports such kinetic energy penetrators for approximately 3257 T-90 and T-72 tanks, worth over $70 million annually.