Requirements for the main armament, powerpack, and mission systems have been revealed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
Speaking at the International Armoured Vehicles 2017 conference in London, Dr U. Solomon of the DRDO's Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE) highlighted some of the new requirements for the MBT design, which is intended to replace the Indian Army's fleet of T-72M1 'Ajeya' MBTs and is scheduled to enter service from the early 2020s.
Previously identified as having a requirement for a 120 mm main gun, the MBT is now set to be armed with a 125 mm gun, third-generation anti-tank guided weapon (ATGW), and an air-defence machine gun. It is planned that the main gun will have the capacity to fire guided munitions, with these understood to be Israel Aerospace Industries' Laser Homing Attack or Laser Homing Anti-Tan (LAHAT) missile. Other ammunition will include programmable airburst munitions and armour-piercing, fin-stabilised discarding sabot (APFSDS) natures.
The turret design will be unmanned, with the three-person crew seated in suspended seats below the turret - a configuration that is intended to enhance protection against underbelly blasts from mines or improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
The Bharat powerpack - set to replace the existing powerpacks of the Arjun Mk I and Mk II MBTs, as well as power the future MBT - is identified as a 2,200 kg unit powered by DHPP-A fuel. This is intended to operate at altitudes of up to 16,400 ft and temperatures as low as -20° Celsius. This requirement is likely a reflection of the Indian Army's need to operate in mountainous areas, particularly when deployed along India's border with Pakistan.
A dynamic track tension adjuster will also enable the MBT to maintain ground traction when crossing obstacles and soft or rough terrain.