Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Indian Army To Receive Upgraded Schilka Tanks Next Year

By Anantha Krishnan M.
BENGALURU, India          

The Indian army will receive the first batch of upgraded Soviet-made Schilka tanks from next year onward.
Bharat Electronics Ltd. (BEL) has completed giving the first tank a new lease on life at its Military Radar Strategic Business Unit in Bengaluru.
BEL won a global tender to upgrade the tanks, which the Indian army finds difficult to use because of their increasing operational cost and component obsolescence. The army released the tender in 1997, specifically to upgrade the Schilka weapon systems. The tanks are armed with 23-mm. guns featuring four barrels to enable a high rate of fire.
“We will upgrade all the 90 Schilka tanks of the Indian army,” BEL General Manager P.C. Jain tells Aviation Week. “The tanks will now have a 3D phased array radar, new engine, state-of-the-art electronics suite and air-conditioning. We plan to upgrade 48 Schilkas in [the] first phase.
“The tanks used gas turbine engines that consumed over 90 liters of fuel per hour,” Jain says. “Today, we have replaced them with diesel engines that consume just nine liters per hour. We are also putting new cameras on board with . . . thermal imaging capabilities. This will add more teeth to the platform.”
Schilka photo: Bhaktar Babu, Bangalore Beat

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