India to develop indigenous mine-clearing devices for its T-72, T-90 tanks

The Indian army is set to develop a local mine flail for its T-72A and T-90S Bhishma main battle tanks (MBTs), the state-run Press Information Bureau (PIB) reported on January 21.

India to develop indigenous mine clearing devices for its T 72 T 90 tanks 1
Arjun Mk. II with mine plow at DefExpo India 2018 (Picture source: Army Recognition)

"The Defence Acquisition Council [DAC] approved prototype testing of trawl assemblies designed by Defence Research and Development Organisation [DRDO] for T-72A and T-90S tanks, providing an important indigenous mine clearance capability to the [Indian] Army," said the PIB in a statement. The media outlet released neither details nor development terms of the new tank-mounted counter-mine system. However, as demonstrated at DefExpo India 2018, some Indian tanks are already equipped with a mine-clearing device, including the indigenous Arjun Mk.II MBT not yet deployed.

The flail solution is rather outdated for tanks: "Hobart's Funnies" were a number of unusually modified tanks operated during the Second World War by the 79th Armoured Division of the British Army or by specialists from the Royal Engineers. They were designed in light of problems that more standard tanks experienced during the amphibious Dieppe Raid that dramatically failed on 19 August 1942, so that the new models would be able to overcome the problems of the planned Invasion of Normandy that actually took place on 6 June 1944. These tanks played a major part on the Commonwealth beaches during the landings. They were forerunners of the modern combat engineering vehicle and were named after their commander, Major General Percy Hobart. The U.S. Army copied some of these inventions.

India to develop indigenous mine clearing devices for its T 72 T 90 tanks 3
M4A3 Sherman with a flail, a Sherman variant then nicknamed "crab", one of the very useful World War 2 "Hobart Funnies". This one is displayed at the Tank Museum located in Bovington, UK (Picture source: Army Recognition)

According to the catalogue of Russia’s Rosoboronexport arms exporting company (a subsidiary of state corporation Rostec), the T-90S MBT features "an attaching lug for a mine plow".

India to develop indigenous mine clearing devices for its T 72 T 90 tanks 2
Indian T-72A modified with a mine-clearing device displayed at DefExpo India 2018 (Picture source: Army Recognition)


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