New Delhi: Seeking to address the issue of bursting barrels of Army tanks due to ammunition, the government is planning to replace them with canons of T-90 tanks in collaboration with Russia.
T-72 tanks, the mainstay of the Indian armoured fleet, are facing problems with their ammunition as they sometimes bursts in the barrel and 200 such cases have been reported causing concern in the Army.
The Defence Ministry is planning to replace the barrels of the T-72 tanks with the ones fitted in the T-90 tanks. Under the plan, around 800 barrels are to be procured from Russia under a deal expected to be worth around Rs 1,500 crore, government sources said.
The issue is expected to be taken up for discussion during the high-level talks between India and Russia during the visit of Defence Secretary Radha Kant Mathur to Moscow next week, they said.
Earlier this year, the Army told a Parliamentary panel that barrels burst sometimes due to ammunition and wondered whether its troops will be "afraid" to fire even after seeing the enemy.
"It (the T-72 ammunition) used to burst in the barrel. If it bursts in the barrel, then the firer is afraid to fire his own gun, which is not a correct thing. If he is afraid to fire his own gun, then even if he sees the enemy he will not fire," the Army had told the Standing Committee on Defence.
The Army informed the government and the Parliamentary Committee that over a period of time, there have been 200 such accidents involving the ammunition and "it brings down the confidence of the firer, especially, with regard to tank ammunition".
In terms of the numbers, the T-72 tanks are the backbone of the Indian armoured fleet and have undergone several upgrades since their induction to be able to fight effectively in the battlefield.