India orders 469 new Russian T90 main battle tanks

Relations between New Delhi and Moscow are in good shape. Indeed, after having approved the order of 4 Talwar-class Grigorovich-type frigates a year ago, started negotiations for quickly order new Mig29s and assemble new Su30MKI, and validated the order of 5 S400 system regiments, Indian authorities signed an order for 469 T90 battle tanks, probably to T90MS standard which will be built on site, according to the “Make in India” principle. This new order will bring the number of T90s in service in the Indian armed forces beyond 1600 units, forming 21 regiments each equipped with 45 battle tanks, and 18 training and support tanks. As a reminder, the Indian army also uses more than 2400 T72 battle tanks, of which 1000 have already been modernized to the M1 standard, and a consultation for the modernization to the M2 standard of 1000 additional units was launched in 2017.

T72m1 India Defense News | MBT battle tanks | Construction of armored vehicles
Nearly 1000 Indian T72s have been modernized to M1 standard by Russia and Israel

This order is, however, surprisingly comparable to the one that Pakistan wished to place at the start of the year, relating to 340 T90MS and 240 Chinese VT4, and which was subsequently canceled, it seems, by Moscow, which undertook to do not sell defense equipment to Pakistan other than systems related to anti-terrorism. For New Delhi, it may therefore be a question of partly compensating for the damage suffered by Russian industry, and in particular Rosoboronexport, which builds the T90 battle tanks, following the cancellation of this contract. The Indian order is estimated at nearly $2 billion.

With this new order, Indian forces will have nearly 4000 combat tanks, of which more than 3500 will be modern versions of the T72 and T90. For comparison, the Pakistani forces have nearly 1500 tanks of which less than 1000 can be considered modern, such as the Al-Khalid, the T80UD and the VT4, while the Chinese forces put 3500 modern tanks online. Type 99 and Type 96. On the other hand, this positive balance of power is not as marked regarding infantry fighting vehicles with only 2500 BMP-2s and 1500 Indian armored personnel carriers compared to more than 3500 in Pakistan, and 5000 in China. The situation is even more unbalanced when it comes to self-propelled artillery, with fewer than 400 systems in Indian forces, compared to 450 in Pakistan, and more than 1200 in China. The Indian Army appears to continue to favor towed systems with more than 4200 systems of all types, despite their vulnerability to modern counter-battery systems.

bmp2 india Defense News | MBT battle tanks | Construction of armored vehicles
Indian forces still employ 2500 BMP-2s, which will be replaced by the Abhay infantry fighting vehicle from the “Make in India” program.

Indian industry, through Prime Minister N.Modi's "Made in India", is involved in several new generation armored vehicles programs, such as the Future Ready Combat Vehicle program, a 45-50 ton class combat tank. intended to replace the T72, and the Abhay infantry fighting vehicle, a 23-ton armored vehicle capable of transporting 7 soldiers and equipped with a 40 mm cannon, intended to replace the 2500 BMP-2s in service. Work is also being carried out to design a wheel-mounted 155 mm self-propelled gun, in an approach comparable to that of Nexter's CAESAR.

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