Anyone wanting to talk seriously of tank's warfare in a major conventional war against a peer/near peer enemy
The main problem with Arjun is not that the tank is not good or it cant be made much better. The problem is Logistics which has to do with its weight and type of ammo.
and of the best compromises to include in its design
, will ALWAYS develop an argumentation gravitating around volumetric and weight factors.
One more time Gulf War, a conflict characterized by a ridiculous imbalance of forces and a embarassing ineptitude by part of Iraqi operatives, has been a sort of curse for quality and objectivity in military analysis science, because it has contributed to sell (with the great aid of guided media) as correct or even "winning" some system's design or concepts of operation totally disadvantageous under a strict technical or even physical point of view.
In the MBT department the engagements between NATO MBTs and Iraqi T-62 and monkey models of T-72s -employed moreover as entrenched ,redeployable artillery pieces or pillboxs
- manned by some of the most incompetent crew ever and in an environment with total control by part of NATO have contributed to spread the idea that MBT's designs characterized by high internal volume and emormous weight is round or even advantageous
In reality any MBT's designer, US and european included, has obviously as its first requirement the reduction at minimum of internal volume and of the weight
of its product, the seminal idea behind western basis concept of MBT design was developed only after MBT 70/Kpz 70 program failure
in the attempt to lower requirements to reduce development's risks.
An high internal volume
(resulting above others by the presence of a manual loader) in facts :
1) Greatly reduce armoured mass to surface index
(lowering so overall armour density of the tank in question)
2) Render the MBT
,for the related increase of aspect target area and silhouette's projection, a much more easy target for enemy direct fire in the typical mobile engagements characterizing modern ground combined arms warfare
(enemy MBTs included, independetly from theris FCS's sophistication -see my pasted post n. 555 of this thread on that- )
3) Enormously reduce ,togheter with weight increase
(of which it represent an strong catalysing factor
), rate of strategic transportability by land/ship/air assets.
4) Limit tactical mobility
in costrained spaces, secondary mountain/hill roads, some off-road environments and peculiar morphological elements of battlefields .
5) Increase fatally the weight of the vehicle.
6) Increase drammatically acquisition and life cost of the MBT
The high weight
, at its own time, generate:
1) Higher engine power demand
,to mantain constant disposable power/weigh ratio
. That obviously also increase fuel requirement
both at idle and in march with the related increases in costs, lenght and vulnerability of its logistic tail.
2) Increase of stess on suspensions and transmission
,theirs "wear and tear" rate and theirs related mantainment and reduce average off-road speed in terrains characterized by abrupt humps and holes
(energy produced by 65-70 metric tons at gravity accelerations for some meters don't match well with integer suspensions...forget completely to procede at the speed you see in T-90's exibitions)
3) Enormous difficulties in recollecting damaged or entraped tanks, requiring much bigger support vehicles ,at theirs own times requiring more fuel and crew
4) Substantial reduction in strategic mobility and tactical mobility -see my previous post n. 708 and 719 on that- and freedom in movements off-road
....and sometimes also on roads !!!
The dire consequences of that in a major war is the loss of one of the most important element for victory : Force Concentration Overmatch
By the way i want to clarify ,about the subject of tactical mobility, an important fact for remove one time for all a widely spread platitude : Ground Pressure DON'T equate and even less define capability of a MBT to move in difficult, soft or "brittle" terrains
, in facts ground pressure's dilution obtained through track widening
(reducing obviously power transference and lateral grip) manage to increase mobility only on homogeneous/uniform terrains
and only when planar axis of the MBT is perpendicular to gravity's vector.
Majority of soft or brittle pervious terrains ,in facts, have big patchs of surface areas standing on few denser and more solid deeper elements working effectively as theirs weight-bearing structures
and so is for several man-made construtions (from a bridge to under-road crossbeams).
To better clarify this concept i can recurr to this comparison : if your arm is strong enough to sustain at maximum 50 kg ,attempt to put 70 kg on a tray of 50x50 cm will not aid you in any way in sustaining the excessive weight
; in the same way a pylon sustaining a section of a bridge or a rocky formation sustaining a section of a mountainous passsage is capable to sustain at maximum 52 tons will collapse under 62 tons of weight in the same, exact way indipendently if this charge will be put on a single m2 or spread over the entire section laying upon it.
Another element is obviously the degree of inclination of the plane, at the growing of which diminish exponentially the benefit of widened tracks (rather,at equal disposable power/weight ratio, them become even a big disadvantage for big tanks attempting to negotiate with high edges or abrupt slopes , here tangential gravity's component and position of barycenter become prevalents with effects almost always not plaesant for over 60 tons behemoths.
From what said up to this time anyone can realize that Arjun's overall layout ,mutuated by western design, and foreseeing an high internal volume and less stringent weight constarints has been purposely selected to reduce development's risks
for the first Indian domestic MBT development program (exactly in the same way this selection was useful at reduce engineerign risks in the West afetr the ambitious MBT-70's project's failure) ; it show a good FCS and a good vectronic department
, but that has not relation with the value nd efficiency of tank's conceptual basis.The real technological leap will be attempted by India with its FMBT
where most stringent volumetric and weight constraint
(to achieve FAR SUPERIOR performances and efficiency in major wars
) will be added in the technical requirements.