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India, Russia plan joint development of 'smart' tank

Vinay Shukla in Moscow | July 21, 2008 19:20 IST

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Buoyed by the remarkable success of the supersonic BrahMos cruise missiles, India and Russia [Images] are now mulling the joint development of a futuristic 'smart' battle tank, featuring higher speed and better firepower.

"We put forward this idea (of developing the tank) at the turn of the 21st century. The Indian side has now come up with a similar proposal," Nikolai Malykh, director general of Russia's biggest tank producer Uralvagonzavod, said.

Malykh said preliminary discussions have already taken place and UVZ experts are now going to India to carry forward the issue on the margins of international seminar on Future Main Battle Tank organised by the Indian Army and CII.

"We will take the first step when our experts go to India to attend a conference on the future tank and prospects for the tank-building industry," Malykh told reporters on the sidelines of a defence expo.

Moscow [Images] Defence Brief magazine said the new tank featuring higher speed, better firepower, sophisticated armour protection and a smoother ride will mark 'a great step forward in armour technology'.

For the survivability of the highly trained human assets, armour-protected crew compartment will be sealed from the unmanned turret equipped with an automatic loader.

The crew will be networked with a virtual-reality command information system linked to reconnaissance aircraft and satellites.

Quoting sources the MDB said the new tank is likely to have a new main gun of up to 152 mm calibre and a new hunter-killer fire control system with target acquisition in optical, thermal, infrared and radar spectrum that will be accessible both to the gunner and tank commander.

Deputy Director of the Centre for Analysis and Technologies Konstantin Makiyenko said the new tank will consolidate India's edge over the Pakistani Army.

"If the projects takes off, the new tank will consolidate India's edge over the Pakistani Army armed with Ukraine's potent T-80 MBT and the Al-Khalid MBT built jointly with China and Ukraine," he told PTI.

Makiyenko noted that with the highest level of political trust and vast experience of interaction between Indian and
Russian defence experts and engineers accumulated since the Soviet times, India is the 'ideal' partner for the post-Communist Russia in developing futuristic weapons.

The expert said logically Russia's Uralvagonzavod would be the best partner for India in designing and building the new tank given a long history of its cooperation with Avadi-based heavy vehicles factory in the production of T-72 and T-90S main battle tanks.




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