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80 PC Army Tanks Are Night Blind, Says Army Chief

PTI 15 Jan 2010, 10:02:10 IST

Admitting that about 80 per cent of India's battle tanks were 'night blind', Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor has said that the process to provide night vision capabilities to the tanks for warfare after dark was in progress.

"Yes, you are right. One of the major area of my concerns is to remove the night blindness of the tanks so that we are able to effectively fight in the night as we are able to do in the day," Kapoor told media persons in New Delhi on Thursday.

"There are projects already in the pipeline for ensuring the kind of night vision capability that some of our adversaries have. It takes at least three to four years and some of the projects are likely to fructify in the next year or so," he added.

Pakistan reportedly has a fleet of tanks of which 80 per cent have night vision devices and China's whole tank fleet has the capability.

On the delays in the artillery modernisation, Kapoor said it was also a matter of concern, as the army wanted better guns.

"Keeping that in mind, the trials for the towed guns are scheduled in February," he said.

Referring to the ban on a Singapore-based company owing to its name figuring in a CBI probe against former Ordnance Factory Board Chief Sudipto Ghosh, Kapoor said the Defence Ministry had recently decided to allow the trails, pending a decision on awarding of the contract till the case in the court was over.

Kapoor said the army was looking at procuring additional guns from other countries through the foreign military sales route.

"It does not matter under what route the guns come by, but it is important for a professional army to ensure that it has the requisite equipment to meet the requirements of the nation," he added.

Kapoor also said there was a need for modernising the army's air defence arm and that it needed tremendous amount of push, which had been done.

"Both air defence guns and missiles are in the pipeline and some of them will fructify soon," he added. PTI