Vijayanta

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Vijayanta
AB133 - Vijayanta MBT.JPG
Vijayanta MBT outside the Indian National War Memorial (Maharashtra).
Type Main battle tank
Place of origin  India/ United Kingdom
Service history
In service 1965-2008
Used by  India
Wars Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
Production history
Manufacturer Vickers-Armstrongs
Produced 1963 (Vickers Mk.I prototype)
1965-1986 (Vijayanta production)
Number built 2200
Specifications
Weight 39,000 kg (43 short tons)
Length 9.788 m (32.11 ft)
Width 3.168 m (10.39 ft)
Height 2.711 m (8.89 ft)
Crew 4

Armour 80 mm (3.1 in) steel (hull and turret front)
Main
armament
1 x 105 mm L7A2
(44 rounds)
Secondary
armament
1 x 12.7 mm MG (ranging gun)
(1000 rounds)
1 x 12.7 mm MG (pintle mount)
(2000 rounds)
1 x 7.62 mm MG(Co-Ax)
(500 rounds)
Engine Leyland L60 Diesel
535 bhp (399 kW)
Transmission David Brown Ltd. (formerly Self-Changing Gears Ltd.) TN12 semi-automatic gearbox
Suspension Torsion bar
Operational
range
530 km (330 mi)
Speed 50 km/h (31 mph)

The Vijayanta (en: "Victorious")[1] main battle tank was built in India based on a licensed design of the Vickers Mk.1. The Vijayanta was the first indigenous tank of the Indian Army. The prototype was completed in 1963 and the tank entered service in 1965. The first 90 vehicles were built by Vickers in the UK.[2] Production continued at the Heavy Vehicles Factory in Avadi until 1983 with 2,200 being built (other sources give much lower numbers: 1,600-1,800[3]). A number of the tank hulls were converted to other uses such as self-propelled guns after being withdrawn from service.[4] The Vijayanta has been supplanted by the T-72M1 in Indian service.

Upgrades[edit]

70 Vijayanta Mark 1 tanks were later fitted with Marconi's SFCS 600 fire control system; an option for 70 additional systems was not exercised.[5] Under the "Bison" project there have been several attempts to upgrade the Vijayanta fleet with additional armour (the Kanchan advanced composite armour as found on the Arjun tank), a new engine (the T-72's V-84 of 780 hp), a new fire control system (the SUV-T55A), a land navigation system etc. It was planned to upgrade some 1,100 tanks but it appears that eventually only a small number was upgraded, only partially.[3][6] Known versions include the Vijayanta Mark 1A with the Bharat Electronics Tank Fire-Control System AL 4420 with improved sight mounts and muzzle reference system.[3][6] The Vijayanta Mark 1B was fitted with the AL 4421 system which incorporates a British Barr & Stroud Tank Laser Sight and a computer to increase first round hit probability. The Vijayanta Mark 1C and Vijayanta Mark 2 were the latest upgrades.

The Vijayanta was to be phased out by the Indian Army by 2008 (the decision to phase out 296 "pre Mark 1A tanks" was already taken in 1997[7]). In 1997 the plan to repower the Vijayanta was shelved.[6] The overhauling of the fleet was discontinued from the year 1999-2000 as the withdrawal from service of the Vijayanta had already been approved. Bulk production of Vijayanta spares ended in 1989.[7][8]

Vijayanta on static display in Port Blair

Variants[edit]

  • Catapult SPA - Self-propelled artillery. A Russian M-46 field gun was mounted on a lengthened Vijayanta hull in an open-topped armoured box superstructure.[9]
  • Kartik AVLB - Armoured vehicle-launched bridge. The same elongated hull used for the Catapult was also used to create the Kartik bridge launching vehicle. The Kartik uses a scissors style bridge of Eastern European design, and was first introduced in 1989.
  • Vijayanta ARV - Armoured recovery vehicle based on the Vijayanta hull. The design was optimised to keep the weight within 40 tons to achieve a lifting capacity of 10 tons and pulling capacity of 25 tons. Around 200 numbers them have been purchased by Indian army to replace the obsolete Sherman and Centurion ARVs.
  • CEASE - The Canal Embankment ASsault Equipment (CEASE) is a special type of bridging system developed by the Research & Development Establishment (Engineers) (R&DE(Engrs)), Pune. It is suitable for high bank canals up to 4.5m. as encountered in India's western borders. The project was sanction in April 1989 and cost of Rs 12.20 crores was incurred on it. Six tracked vehicles of CEASE were developed as variants of Vijayanta. As of 1998 user assisted technical evaluation of the system was completed successfully. However Since the tanks on which the system had been developed became obsolescent, the Indian Army decided to opt for DRDO Sarvatra bridge.
  • Vijayanta GBT 155 Turret - A Vijayanta MBT chassis fitted with the British Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering Limited GBT 155 turret with a Royal Ordnance Nottingham 39 calibre ordnance underwent extensive firepower and mobility trials in India. This combination was not, however, adopted for service by the Indian Army.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Vijayanta MBT production (India), MBTs and medium tanks". Jane's Information Group. 2009-02-24. Retrieved 2009-08-02. 
  2. ^ Foss, Christopher F; McKenzie, Peter (1988). The Vickers tanks From landships to Challenger. Patrick Stephens Limited. pp. 185–186. ISBN 1-85260-141-8. 
  3. ^ a b c Jane's Armour and Artillery 2003-2004
  4. ^ Gelbart, Marsh (1996). Tanks main battle and light tanks. Brassey’s UK Ltd. pp. 39–40. ISBN 1-85753-168-X. 
  5. ^ jane's Armour and Artillery 2003-2004
  6. ^ a b c John Pike. "Vijayanta". Globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 2012-03-18. 
  7. ^ a b "Public Accounts Committee Fifth Report". 164.100.24.208. Retrieved 2012-03-18. 
  8. ^ "Land Forces Site - Vijayanta". Bharat Rakshak. Retrieved 2012-03-18. 
  9. ^ "130 mm self-propelled gun (Catapult) (India), Self-propelled guns and howitzers (tracked)". Jane's Information Group. 2008-12-12. Retrieved 2009-08-02. 

External links[edit]