India to upgrade its T-90S's anti-tank guided missile

India`s military is planning to arm its T-90S Bhishma main battle tanks (MBT) with new anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM), the Times of India newspaper says.

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Indian T-90S parading

According to the daily, the Indian Army (IA) intends to integrate "a third-generation missile system" with the T-90S tank that forms the backbone of the service`s tank units. Such a modernization will result in the increase of the tank`s missile firing range from 5,500 m to 8,000 m. "The upgrade of the existing T-90 tank missile system is in the pipeline and is in different stages of trial evaluation. The upgrade will give us [the IA] an edge over enemies and better operational preparedness," a senior officer at the Armoured Corps Centre and School (ACC&S) told the Times of India. The newspaper says that India`s T-90S tanks are armed with the Invar ATGM that features laser beam-riding guidance. The missile can engage targets at a distance of up to 5,500 m. "The upgraded [missile] system will achieve more depth of penetration as well as hit target at a range of 8,000 m, which would be a big advantage for us [the IA]," another officer at the ACC&S told the Times of India.

The new missile system is expected to be able to engage both static and moving targets in an effective manner. "Since the tanks are now also deployed in high altitude regions, the mobility and strike capability is of great importance. Hence, there is another plan to install a modular engine for the T-90[S] tanks," military sources told the newspaper. Therefore, the T-90S Bhishma tanks are expected to get new powerpacks also. However, the newspaper did not specify the type of the engine to be integrated with the vehicles. However, several officers of India`s mechanized troops expressed their doubts that such firing range is required. According to them, the experience of recent conflicts apparently shows that main battle tanks engage enemy`s vehicles at a distance of 2,500 m. "Considering past references and terrains, tanks will have to engage targets at a maximum distance of 2.5 km," a military source told the daily.

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