India’s state-owned Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) expects to receive an order in early 2018 to licence-build a total of 700 T-90S main battle tanks (MBTs) for the Indian Army (IA) by 2022, R K Khanna, the OFB’s director general, told Jane’s on 15 September at the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) 2017 exhibition in London.
The order will provide the IA with enough tanks to equip two new regiments and replace the retired T-55 MBTs. The move will also allow the OFB to increase its production share of the tank to 96% by manufacturing most of the electronics and mission systems, said Khanna, adding that a few essential elements will remain with external suppliers for the time being.
The OFB has completed a technology transfer from Russia for the tank, which is designated the Bhishma in Indian service, and is already capable of manufacturing 74% of it without external assistance.
The order, which is expected to be placed in April next year, will require a maximum capacity effort to produce 140 tanks a year and meet the completion date in 2022, Khanna added.
Plans are also afoot for the ‘Bhishma 2’, which is a comprehensive upgrade programme proposed for the T-90S and also forms part of the 700 platform order. The upgrade will include the installation of a new panoramic sight and fire-control system for the tank commander, along with the installation of a completely digital architecture to ensure that the tank can be upgraded in the future.
By: IHS Janes
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