The underwater breathing apparatus will allow T-90 tank crews to conduct deep fording for at least 45 minutes. The technology for Russia build T-90 Tanks will probably be transferred to the private sector by the state-owned defence lab DRDO for mass production, following which they will be made available to the Indian Army from the beginning of 2019.
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T-90 tank crews of the Indian Army are ready to equip themselves with major war-fighting apparatus used while crossing rivers or water canals in the rough Himalayan terrain. The machine will make them proficient to operate submerged tanks continuously for at least 45 minutes during deep fording.
The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), headed by Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, on Tuesday, granted approval for progressing design and construction of such equipment, known as individual underwater breathing apparatus (IUWBA), for T-90 tanks.
“Developed by DRDO Lab DEBEL, the IUWBA is used by the crew of tanks as a safety gear and is required by the tank crew for emergency escape when negotiating water obstacles while deep fording,” reads a statement published by the Indian Defense Ministry.
During deep fording, in the eventuality of the tank stalling mid-crossing, there is no choice for the crew but to flood the tank to escape from the fighting/driver compartments of the tank and reach the surface of the water according to the enunciated emergency escape method.
The Indian Army has put forward an a]nnual requirement of 2,000 units of underwater breathing equipment with effect from 2019-20, while in total it will purchase 6,628 units of such equipment. Companies like Flash forge, Jyotech, Sure Safety (India) Pvt Ltd, Osho Corp Global Pvt Ltd, H&H Precision Pvt Ltd have acknowledged in a positive way to the proposal for mass production.
The IUWBA, which will be a separate apparatus, will weigh around 5 kg. The equipment will preserve its potency when stored at temperature ranging from —5 degrees Celsius to 55 degrees Celsius.
The Indian Defense Ministry has also given approval for design and development of test equipment for guided weapons systems of the T-90 tank. Currently, the equipment is imported from foreign companies.