TechIndia renews ties with Russia for joint production of tank shells

India renews ties with Russia for joint production of tank shells

Tank T-90M - illustrative photo
Tank T-90M - illustrative photo
Images source: © | KONSTANTIN MOROZOV
Norbert Garbarek

6 July 2024 09:07

India has recently changed its approach to developing its defensive and offensive capabilities, slowly distancing itself from Russia. However, as the Bulgarian Military portal reported, India and Russia have now agreed to produce the 3VBM17 Mango shell, calibre 120mm jointly.

In the past few months, India has been sending signals concerning Russia, indicating a potential loosening of ties between the two countries. At the beginning of June this year, it was revealed that India had announced a tender for a new air defence system similar to the Russian S-400, which New Delhi had previously been interested in.

India's gradual withdrawal from Russia was also evident in its choice to develop a domestic tank under the Zorawar project instead of purchasing the Russian light tank Sprut SMD1. Although a complete break in relations with Russia was impossible, India's recent actions could suggest a desire to significantly "cool" relations with its partner.

However, it turns out that the relations between India and Russia are tightening, as evidenced by Rostec's announcement, the state-owned defence industry enterprise of the Russian Federation, according to which the Russians have started producing 3VBM17 Mango shells in India.

Shells designed to combat Abrams

The Bulgarian Military portal notes that it is currently unclear whether India intends to export part of the 3VBM17 production back to Russia. It is worth emphasising, however, that this ammunition was created to destroy the most heavily armoured tanks encountered on the front. This primarily refers to American M1 Abrams and British Challengers.

The 3VBM17 Mango shells are intended for Russian T-72 and T-90 tanks, which the Russian Federation does not exclusively use. The same designs are also in the arsenal of the Indian army. Hence, it can be assumed that the weapon jointly produced with Russia will mainly meet India's needs, although the export of the shells to Russia cannot be ruled out, where the mentioned T-72 and T-90 tanks are also present.

Let us clarify that the 3VBM17 Mango shells are approximately 570mm long and about 30mm in diameter. Inside the ammunition is a tungsten carbide core placed in a steel casing. The design is intended to increase penetration capabilities while maintaining the shell's structural integrity upon impact – as read.

Its initial speed determines the high armour-piercing capabilities of the 3VBM17 Mango shell. After leaving the barrel, it reaches approximately 1,700 metres per second or over 6,000km per hour. The range of this ammunition, now produced in India, depends on the tank from which it is fired and the external conditions during shooting. Generally, however, the 3VBM17 is effective at a distance of up to 2 kilometres. At this range, Mango can penetrate the armour of virtually any tank on the modern battlefield.

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