Dissimilar Combat: Arjun MBT Vs T-90S specs

New Delhi: June 2007 will see the Indian Army pitching Arjun MBT against T-90S and T-72 for a dissimilar combat. Whatever the reason for the exercise, Indian Army is on record stating that, the Arjun MBT production will be decided by outcome of this event. Frontier India Defence and Strategic News Service (FIDSNS) have collated the features of Arjun MBT and T-90S for the reader’s judgment of the capabilities of the tank. T-72 M1 specifications have not been added as T-90S is an advanced version of T-72 M1 which Indian Army operates. The two tanks have similar features in most of the mobility features and T-90S has add-on enhancements in terms of firepower and protection.

General Characteristics of MBT Arjun and T-90S
General Characteristics of MBT Arjun and T-90S

Battle tank design is an optimization of the three basic characteristics viz. firepower, mobility and protection. All tanks are designed in accordance with the war doctrine of the country and to ensure operation over a range of environmental conditions. Arjun MBT is a state of art tank, developed to suite specific needs of Indian Army. Arjun MBT is on par with contemporary tanks in its class like M1 Abrams, Leopard 2, Leclerc and Challenger II. T-90S is a lighter tank and does not fall in the class of Arjun MBT. T-90S is designed in accordance to specifications of the Russian Army and Russian cold climate. Both Arjun MBT and T-90S can be transported to Indian border areas by rail throughout the National Broad Gauge network.

Mobility performance

Mobility Performance

Arjun MBT’s Hydro Pneumatic Suspension system provides a stable weapon platform which enhances the fire on move capability and excellent riding comfort during cross country move. The Indian borders in north and west are very rugged. Arjun MBT has less Nominal Ground Pressure (NGP) compared to T-90S. Arjun MBT has better acceleration and maximum road speed due to high peak torque output of the engine coupled with fully automatic transmission not withstanding “slightly” lower power to weight ratio. Automatic transmission provides neutral turn capability which adds to the maneuverability during shoot and scoot. Arjun MBT features Auxiliary Power Units (APU) which T-90S does not have. APU’s provide continuous operation in silent watch mode. It also saves main engine life. Rubberized double pin tracks provide increased life, reduced track noise and better maintainability. Arjun MBT’s mission reliability has been proved with 500 kms being covered in 48 hours. Arjun MBT successfully crossed the RAVI River at Lassian without support systems due to lower ground pressure. Trench crossing capability of Arjun MBT is on par with T-90S as Arjun MBT has seven bogie stations compared to six bogie stations of T-90S.

Fire Power Performance

Weapon Performance

Firing performance of Arjun MBT is superior to T-90S in terms of accuracy (both static and dynamic situations) due to gun ammunition combination and high order of weapon stabilization coupled with auto collimated MRS. Auto collimated MRS compensates for the barrel bend. Firing performance of Arjun MBT and T-90S is same in terms of defeat capability and rate of firing. Two axis stabilized commander’s panoramic sight integrated with gunners main sight provides “hunter killer” capability both in static as dynamic mode (moving to moving mode). Higher order of stabilization accuracy enables accurate fire on the move at a moving target while maintaining the stipulated fire rate. The commander of Arjun MBT can engage targets in case of emergency, capable of firing at various slopes and tilt angles. First round hits probability has been demonstrated for MBT Arjun on a 1 mil target and greater than 60% hit percentage when firing from a moving Arjun tank to a moving target, both at 25 km/h.

LAHAT (semi automatic homing) Missile firing from Arjun MBT has been already demonstrated using a stand alone Laser Target Designator (LTD). This designator can be integrated into Gunner’s Main Sight (GMS). T-90S can fire Laser bean riding missile..

Arjun MBT armament system including gun barrel has been proved to be robust and reliable No case of barrel burst was reported even after firing 10000 rounds. The Arjun MBT prototypes and pre production tanks fired more than 100 rounds from the same barrel in a day. Life of barrel of Arjun MBT is twice that of T-90S, estimate equivalent in Effective Full Charge (EFC) of 500.

Protection Performance

Protection Performance

Protection of MBT Arjun against FSAPDS and HESH ammunitions has been demonstrated. In January 2000 at Proof & Experimental Establishment (PXE), Balasore, Arjun tank armor defeated all available HESH and FSAPDS rounds including Israeli FSAPDS rounds. ERA is effective only against HEAT ammunition and not FSAPDS which is the primary threat to a battle tank. Arjun Tank has ERA protection as add on feature, while T-90S has it as a regular feature. A tank with ERA has a weight penalty.


Indian Army has not expressed the purpose of this exercise. It can be various reasons like a genuine requirement of validating its GSQR which resulted in creation of a heavy tank or the Indian Army internal rivalry or the pressure from the import lobby to kill the indigenous Arjun MBT project. It will be the test of Indian Army’s own integrity as Arjun MBT was made as per the Indian Army General Staff Qualitative Requirement (GSQR), tested by Indian Army and approved for production by Indian Army.

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  1. K. Prasad

    Sir, I’m interesting in knowing the source of your information, especially the specifications. I wonder if it is from the Army or DRDO, and whether it is reliable.


  2. P. Chacko Joseph


    This is as much reliable. There seems to be some issues with a small portion of the specification and it is due to be corrected by a person in authority. This correction will happen before or after my pending visit to see the Arjun Tank. However, the correction is minor. I can assure 98% accuracy.

    Once the correctio is made, I will announce it.


  3. K. Prasad

    Thanks a lot, Chackoji. I was wondering for the simple reason that a lot of information is not reliable, esp. wrt tanks, when there can be many variants.

    I’m trying to compile data about all the modern tanks into a single excelsheet, and you can’t imagine the trouble it takes to get good reliable data…. Most of the times, even the mfr. site gives very little data. I’ve found that Military Periscope gives good specs, though unfortunately, I do not have access, and its too expensive.

    Are these specs given by the manufacturers (DRDO) themselves or is it from a 3rd party source like FAS, Global Security, etc?

    Thanks for the info.

  4. K. Prasad

    I have a question chackoji (Sorry for the trouble again… I’m sure you’re extremely busy).

    I was wondering which sources you find accurate and reliable?

    – FAS.org
    – EnemyForces.com
    – Army Technology.com
    – Global Security
    – Army Guide
    – Manufacturer. Site
    – fprado
    – History of War
    – Wikipedia

  5. P. Chacko Joseph


    We have not used any third party site, you have already arrived at the conclusion why: reliability. In FIDSNS , you will not find data that has been taken from third party sources. We have collected it the concerned authorities. Obviously in India the authority is either the research agency, the user or the production unit. Please do not ask us to pinpoint the source. Another issue is, India now operates both T-90S and Arjun tanks. So, the data with third party sources is not valid, as, these data may be true for the respective country. Look at the T-90S, data advertised by the manufacturer and the actual performance in Indian conditions as mentioned in this article.

    On the list you have mentioned for reliability of data, it will be unprofessional for FIDSNS to comment on competing media. I will answer that question in another way.

    Please figure our which parameters you want to use. We feel the parameters that would be apt for you will be manufacturers data. These data is evaluated under normal test conditions. There is another way, you can keep ranges for a data, i.e, estimated length is between x meters and y meters.


  6. anuit

    The DRDO is developing futuristic infantry combat vehicle (ICV) Abhay (“Fearlessâ” in Sanskrit) as a technology demonstrator for replacement of BMP-II vehicle, which are presently in service. Abhay ICV has taken best of BMP and western equipment and will be designed for more firepower. Various systems of this vehicle are in advanced stage of development.

    REF : http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/india/abhay.htm


    AND I AM ALSO EAGER TO KNOW ABOUT “TANK-EX” (A new tank obtained by coupling a T-72 chassis and an Arjun turret.)”

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  8. rahul

    i have read the data if that is true then why arju tank is not numbered in top tanks why t-90 has its place and fear also why????????

  9. Bhadran

    I am sorry to say, despite your insistance, some of the data are absolutely incorrect and misleading. I happen to have first hand knowledge of both the equipment. Incidentally how can a tank be designed to be much heavier than specified and then justify dimensional increase by saying that they are comparable to other tanks in the same weight category?

  10. amit

    Instead of general statements which politicians make, you could have actually listed down your “so called” right data?

    And your question….
    Incidentally how can a tank be designed to be much heavier than specified and then justify dimensional increase by saying that they are comparable to other tanks in the same weight category?
    Does it make any sense?

    I have been all over internet and can find even one sensible person who can tell me if the comparission has been right or wrong with facts.

    People like Bardhan make me sick.

  11. Chandra shekar

    P. Chacko Joseph is right in many ways and I was from the EME in the Indian Army and have worked on these machines. I was on the first batch of the Arjuns when the 43rd Armoured regiment was raised in Ahmad Nagar. It has a versatile Hit and Run capability and that is that and does have a lot of drawbacks. But yet if the DRDO sets aside its Ego then it would be a great machine and will do a great service to the Nation.

  12. Darryll Wilcox

    In the past Russian Tanks like the t-62 and T-72 were described as super and superior to western armor. However, when in actual combat they proved extremely vulnerable and prone to burn. Just ask any Israeli who fought them. The T-90 appears to be just a souped up T-72. Be careful India, your own tank seems to be the best choice after you fix the problems it has had.

    Darryll V. Wilcox

  13. Dipack Hattengdi

    Thank you Mr. Chacko. While technical specifications are indeed important for any comparative evaluation, we must remember that this is our own attempt to ‘stop buyimg’ and ‘start making’. Instead of nit-picking we must get on with that job, by also providing the necessary appreciation and applying course corrections. The real commencement of Russian tank development took place from 1936 onwards. Remember, it has taken them 70 odd years to reach the T-95. We have “Arjun’d” our way in within 20 years. Generically speaking, India needs reasonably ‘accurate’, ‘durable’ under combat and ‘large’ quantities of weaponry. This will provide the economies of scale and develop the ancillary industries as well. development will be attained by its own momentum, as in western countries. Also, antagonists of the ‘Arjun'(well meaning ones – our boys must have the best) should not forget that when large-scale production of a prototype is undertaken it throws up its own ‘first’ production problems. These are sorted out on an ongoing basis. This is what we have to do with the ‘Arjun’. Remember, when T-72’s assembled / manufactured at HVF, Avadi were first introduced they also faced severe serviceability issues. In fact the 88 Armoured Regiment which was equipped with T-72’s, assembled / manufactured at HVF, Avadi was declared ‘unfit for combat”!! Who benefits if we ‘buy’ and who benefits if we ‘make’. The answer to this rather simplistic question will determine where our hearts are!! It has to be the ‘Arjun’ in the long run & therefore we must defeat the ‘dalals’ and support our product. Bash on regardless.

  14. Frontier India Strategic and Defence

    Thank You. We presented the other side of Arjun and Army through a series of articles that included attitudes, technical s and ran a live commentary on Arjun Tanks selection processes. There have been no genuine counters to our presentations. We are happy that we did contribute to the perceptions on Arjun Tank which we felt is unnecessarily negative.

    We could interact here


  15. Dipack Hattengdi

    Thank you, but I’m not an expert in Military Technology. But yes, I would like to interact as and when the opportunity arises.

  16. Harvind

    In the last few months, I heard that ARJUN defeated T-90 in the field trails one against another. Is it true?
    if it is true, what might be the reason that the Indian Army not interested in Arjun?

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  18. bose d

    No country can afford to be depend on other, weather for material or for man. what other country perfected (? ) last 90 years, our people must take some time. dont forget our rasian friend stop supply rocket engin….to our space program ( boris yalstin). For defence requirment no country can afford to depend on other country for MATERIAL AND MAN.
    it is always best and safe to be self safficiant as mach possible.Dont forget that we lost our freedom for almost few HUNDREDS of years, just not taking it seriously.

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