India will soon have a safety gear for its Army Tanks crew for emergency escape when negotiating water obstacles while deep fording. The decision was taken by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday to accord approval for progressing Design and Development of Individual Under Water Breathing Apparatus (IUWBA) for T 90 Tanks.
Developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) lab DEBEL, the IUWBA will be used by the crew of Tanks as a safety gear which is required for emergency situations during deep fording.
During the course, the T-90 tanks are likely to negotiate a variety of terrain features including water obstacles. T-90 tanks have an ability to undergo deep fording at 5 meters depth underwater channels of upto 5 knots.
During deep fording, in the eventuality of the equipment stalling/ switching off mid-crossing, there is no alternative for the crew to escape from the fighting/driver compartment and reach the surface of the water, before the tank is completely flooded. In such a situation, the IUWBA will ensure complete safety of the T-90 tank crew and ensure survivability.
The equipment will make the crew capable to operate continuously in a flooded tank for a duration of 45 minutes while wearing the IUWBA. It is expected to be such that is worn by tank crews during deep fording in the fighting compartment, in a manner that it does not restrain movement of the crew, foul with other moving parts or hinder the functioning of the existing components. The time required to wear the IUWBA should be less than 45 seconds.
Every crew member should have a separate breathing inlet in the form of a Face Mask or Oral Respirator for each crew member. The IUWBA, which will be a separate apparatus, will weigh around 5 kg.
It will be capable of operating in temperature ranges of +40C to + 450 C and will be dust, moisture and leak proof. It will retain its efficiency when stored at a temperature range from -50C to 550C. The apparatus is expected to have a shelf life of at least 10 years.
The IUWBA will be a stand-alone equipment to be worn by individual crew members which does not require to be integrated with the tank and be compact enough to be stowed in the under stream crossing
equipment (USCE) tool box of the tank when not in use.
The DAC has also accorded approval for Design and Development of Test Equipment for Guided Weapons System of T 90 Tank. The equipment is being developed by DRDO and will give an indigenous solution to the Test Equipment used for checking the Guided Weapon System of Tank T 90. The equipment earlier procured from foreign OEMs, has been developed indigenously and is in pursuit of the Government’s 'Make in India' initiative.