Friday, Oct 17, 2003
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"They are in the final stages of testing. Some of them are over and some are remaining and we hope that it will be through by December," the Minister of State for Defence Production, O. Rajagopal, told The Hindu.
The T-90 tanks were imported from Russia in a semi-knocked down condition and were being assembled here. Once the Factory gained experience in this, completely knocked down tanks would be imported and assembled at the factory. "There are interests that will always prefer foreign for various considerations. But I don't think that any such problem will be there for T-90. Its technology is the latest," he said.
The problem with the night vision devices of the tanks was expected to be resolved in a couple of months, optimistic defence production managers said. A team of experts from Russia and France were working on this with the Indian team. The T-90 MBTs were turning `blind' in the desert heat since the thermal imagers were unable to withstand the 50 plus centigrade temperatures of the Thar desert.
On Arjun, the indigenously developed MBT, Mr. Rajagopal said the Army had placed orders for 124 tanks and these were being produced. Some more trials were on. After these trials a decision would be taken on producing more of these tanks.
Earlier, talking to presspersons, Mr. Rajagopal said the Defence Ministry was conducting an internal inquiry into the supply of defective shells to the Army. The Army had rejected a consignment of shells for the T-72 battle tanks recently saying that these were defective. The shells were difficult to target and reportedly had difficultly in hitting even a 20-foot target. "No separate committee has been formed. But we are looking into this," said the Joint Secretary (S), Defence Production and Supplies Department, Alok Perti.
Quick to defend the Defence Public Sector Units and the Ordnance Factories, Mr. Rajagopal said that it was wrong to say that all the shells were defective. There seemed to have been problems with one batch of supplies and this issue was being taken up with the seriousness it deserved.
"I would not say that all the products of all the 39 Ordnance Factories are of the latest technology. Some of them are old, some of them are world class," he said.
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