Unveiling the T-90 Mark III

On the 13th of May, 2024, HVF Avadi proudly hosted the rolling-out ceremony of a batch of T-90 Mark III tanks, marking a significant milestone in India’s defense capabilities. This event came as a surprise to many, raising questions about what the T-90 Mark III entails and when this process began.

Understanding the T-90 Mark III

The T-90 Mark III represents a leap forward in India’s armored warfare technology. Approved by the Defence Acquisition Council in December 2023, this upgraded version of the T-90 boasts several key enhancements that enhance its combat effectiveness and operational capabilities.

What We Know for Certain

  1. Next-Generation Sighting Systems: The T-90 Mark III features new, advanced sighting systems that provide enhanced target acquisition and tracking capabilities, improving the tank’s overall accuracy and lethality on the battlefield. The Commander Sight of Battle Tank T-90, is currently fitted with Image Converter (IC) tube-based sight for night viewing. “Based on the requirement projected by the Indian Army, DRDO and BEL have jointly designed and developed an advanced Mid Wave Thermal Image (MWIR) based sight as a replacement for the existing IC-based sight. The new Commander Sight, employs a thermal imager capable of detecting the targets at 8km during day and night and a Laser Ranger Finder to find the ranges accurately up to 5km, thereby enhancing its capability to engage target at longer ranges. The complete sighting system complex with the corrections from ballistic software and LRF, will enable the commander of T-90 to detect, engage and neutralise the targets with phenomenal accuracy.
  2. Digital Ballistic Computer (DBC): A crucial addition to the T-90 Mark III is the Digital Ballistic Computer, which optimizes ammunition trajectory calculations. This technology considers various atmospheric conditions, ensuring precise hits even in challenging environments. The Digital Ballistic Computer (DBC) integrated into the T-90 Mark III represents a pivotal advancement in modern armored warfare technology. This sophisticated system revolutionizes ammunition trajectory calculations by taking into account various environmental factors such as wind speed, humidity, and temperature. By precisely calculating the trajectory of ammunition, the DBC ensures accurate and lethal hits on targets, even in dynamic and challenging battlefield conditions. This capability not only enhances the tank’s combat effectiveness but also reduces the margin of error, increasing the overall operational efficiency of the T-90 Mark III.
  3. Automatic Target Tracker (ATT): The inclusion of the Automatic Target Tracker significantly enhances the tank’s ability to detect and engage enemy targets swiftly and accurately. This feature streamlines the engagement process, reducing manual workload and increasing combat efficiency. Using advanced sensor technologies and algorithms, the ATT automatically identifies and tracks potential threats, including enemy vehicles and personnel. This real-time tracking functionality enables the tank crew to engage targets swiftly and accurately, significantly reducing the time between target detection and engagement. By streamlining the targeting process and minimizing manual intervention, the ATT enhances the tank’s lethality and situational awareness on the battlefield, ensuring a decisive advantage in combat scenarios.

Expected Enhancements

While the confirmed upgrades are impressive, there are expectations for additional enhancements in the T-90 Mark III:

  1. New APFSDS Round: Derived from the Arjun FSAPDS Mk2, the T-90 Mark III is expected to incorporate a new Armor-Piercing Fin-Stabilized Discarding Sabot (APFSDS) round. This ammunition promises enhanced penetration capabilities, further bolstering the tank’s anti-armor capabilities.
  2. Next-Generation Canon Launched Anti Tank Guided Missile: A cutting-edge addition to the T-90 Mark III is the integration of a Next-Generation Canon Launched Anti Tank Guided Missile system. Although T90 can fire Invar ATGM but the missiles is maxed out on the capabilities. DRDO’s CLATGM is a more capable and newer missile available for the upgrade. This advanced missile technology enhances the tank’s long-range engagement capabilities against armored threats.

Indian Content and Safety Features

In line with India’s Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative, the T-90 Mark III emphasizes indigenous content and technological capabilities. One significant aspect is the engine upgrade, where the tank will be equipped with a more powerful and fuel-efficient engine. This upgrade not only enhances mobility and performance but also showcases India’s self-reliance in defense manufacturing. However, this not yet clear.

Advancements in Combat Capability

The introduction of the T-90 Mark III signifies a substantial improvement in India’s armored warfare capabilities. This upgrade not only improves accuracy and lethality but also streamlines operational processes, empowering the Indian Army to effectively engage and neutralize enemy threats on the battlefield.

Future Considerations

Looking ahead, India will need to address several key aspects to further enhance the T-90 Mark III’s capabilities:

  1. Active Protection System (APS): Integrating an Active Protection System into the T-90 Mark III could provide enhanced survivability against incoming threats, further enhancing the tank’s defensive capabilities.
  2. Loitering Munitions : The Indian army is already working on getting an integrated loitering Munitions with light tank Zorawar and same can be inherited by T90 MKIII or even further upgrade as MK IV.
  3. More capable Rounds : The current FSAPDS with DoP of 600 MM is enough for current chinese tanks but Indian needs to look at the future.
  4. Continued Indigenous Development: Emphasizing indigenous development and technological advancements will be crucial for sustaining India’s defense capabilities and reducing dependency on foreign suppliers.

In conclusion, the unveiling of the T-90 Mark III represents a significant step forward in India’s quest for modernized and technologically advanced armored assets. With a host of enhancements, including Indian content and safety features, the T-90 Mark III is poised to bolster India’s defense capabilities and maintain its edge on the modern battlefield.

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