The Indian Army is planning to induct a third-generation missile system for its battle mainstay, the Russian make T-90 tank, with a view to enhance its capability of hitting targets at a range of 8,000 metres as against the existing range of 5,500 metres. A senior officer of the Armoured Corps Centre and School (ACC&S), here, on Monday said: “Upgradation of the existing T-90 tank missile system is in the pipeline and is in different stages of trial evaluation. The upgrade will give us an edge over enemies and better operational preparedness.”
As of now, the T-90 tanks are equipped with laser-guided INVAR missile system which has a target hitting range of 5,500 metres. “The upgraded system will achieve more depth of penetration as well as hit target at a range of 8,000 metres, which would be a big advantage for us,” another officer of the armoured corps said.
Army sources said the new missile system should be able to engage mobile as well as static targets effectively. “Since the tanks are now also deployed in high altitude regions, the mobility and strike capability is of great importance. Hence, there is another plan to install a modular engine for the T-90 tanks,” sources added.
Lieutenant General Dalip Bhardwaj (retd), former director general of mechanised forces, said, “All tanks have to be upgraded with latest equipment and missile system as the threat perception keeps changing. If it is possible to induct a third-generation missile system on T-90 tanks, it would definitely give a big advantage to the Indian Army on the battlefield.”
Meanwhile, a section of armoured corps officers are of the opinion that there is a very slim chance wherein a tank will have to engage a target at a range of 8 km on battlefield. “Considering past references and terrains, tanks will have to engage targets at a maximum distance of 2.5 km. Therefore, the missile upgradation will be deliberated in detail before carrying out changes on the tank,” an army source said.
However, Bhardwaj said, “Although, the chances are very slim of engaging a target of this long range (8 km), but at the same time, one needs to understand that the third generation missile system would be quite effective against a shorter range target than the existing system. Therefore, I am of the firm believer that the missile system of the T -90 tank should be upgraded by the force.”