The earliest attempt to have a procedure on Indian indigenous Main Battle Tank dates back to 1970. It was October 1970 when a conference was called on the Indian Main Battle Tank (MBT) at Armoured Corps Center and School. Representatives from Indian Army General Staff (GS), Defence Research and Development Organisation DRDO), Director General Quality Assurance (DGQA) and Department of Defence Production (DODP) attained the symposium. The main aim of the symposium was to formulate GSQR for future Indian MBT.
The first draft of Qualitative Requirement (QR) was prepared by Armoured Corps Directorate and discussed with Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS).The first General Staff Qualitative Requirement (GSQR) was issued in August 1972 as QR No. 326 for the design and development of MBT. The QR 326 was not exhaustive and with regard to specifications but featured only skeleton specifications. The Combat Vehicle Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE) took the responsibility of designing and development of MBT based on GSQR No 326. Rs.15.50 Crore was sanctioned initially by the Government of India (GOI) [ 02 May, 1974].
Project Development Certification (PDC) of the project was 10 years from the date of sanction.The MBT was to be designed with imported engine . The time frame of the project that time neither include possibility of an indigenous engine nor had the experience any on that. But the requirement changes soon in later in 1974. In 18 May that year India tested nuclear device under codename Smiling Buddha .Now Government of India could not import a tank engine (for just a small time though) .So DRDO had to take the burden of designing and development of a tank engine too.
Some of the developments could be soon that time..
1) The system configuration of the tank was prepared by DRDO .
2) Indigenous engine hardware was assembled 3) Notoring test was commenced .
4) Indigenous suspension and transmission hardware was ready for development test.
5) The main115mm armament was developed and trials were carried out for proof at Balasore ranges.
6) The gun system and fire control system design was configured.
7) One prototype hull in mild steel was fabricated to check the assembly.
In April 1978, the Indian Army called DRDO for a meeting for mutual discussions. The aim was to change the GSQR No. 326. A series of meetings between DRDO and Indian Army, chaired by VCOAS resulted in change in GSQR. The new GSQR bearing the number 431 was issued in August 1982.
Third Part Coming Soon
First Part : MBT-80 Part 1