Pune: The Army is looking at Indian vendors for development of prototypes of ammunition, which can penetrate a 530 mm thick armour of enemy tanks from a 2 km range to enhance the lethal effect of its battle tanks.

The Director General of Mechanised Force recently invited an expression of interest from Indian vendors for the development of a prototype of Armour Piercing Fin-Stabilised Discarding Sabot (APFSDS) ammunition. The newly developed ammunition will be fired from the T-72 and T-90 battle tanks.

As of now, the army’s primary tank ammunition is the 125 mm APFSDS. “The advent of superior protection technologies has improved armoured fighting vehicles, including those of our likely adversaries. They can defeat the penetration capability of current anti-tank ammunition,” the notice inviting the EoIs stated.

Depth of penetration is a major consideration for countering and defeating enhanced protection level for AFVs. A senior army officer said, “The present in-service ammunition has a DoP of 460 mm. Therefore, there is a requirement to indigenously develop an improved APFSDS ammunition to enhance the lethality of our battle tanks.”

The armour is made from composite materials. Unless the ammunition has the capability and hits at a particular angle from specific range, it will not break the armour.

The Defence Acquisition Council headed by defence minister Rajnath Singh had approved this project in September 2019, another senior officer said. “The mechanised forces want to procure over 80,000 rounds of this ammunition,” he added.

Currently, the Ordnance Factory Board supplies this ammunition to the army. “The board has already developed a prototype of ammunition. At the same time, the High Energy Materials Research Laboratory and Armament Research and Development Establishment laboratories of Defence Research and Development Organisation are working on the prototype,” the officer said.

A senior DRDO scientist said, “The development of this ammunition is underway.”