Indian Army to use T-72-B3 tank and BMP-2 APC during exercise Zapad-2021

A 200 strong Indian Army contingent has arrived in Russia to take part in the strategic exercise Zapad-2021. “The personnel has already arrived at a combat training center of the Western Military Region in Mulino, the Nizhni Novgorod Region,” the region’s press service said on Monday.

The Indian contingent has been accommodated and provided with T-72-B3 tanks and armoured personnel carriers BMP-2 for temporary use, said the release.

The T-72-B3 tank is the latest upgrade on the T-72 series of tanks. India uses T-72M1 tanks which is the older vintage. 1,800+ T-72M1 Ajeyas were imported from 1982 to 1986. The tanks have undergone steady upgrades. India had initiated project Rhino to upgrade about 1,500 T-72 Ajeya Tanks in the 1980s and it is not known how many were actually updated. The plan was to upgrade them with a newer engine, a new fire control system, reactive armour, fire detection and suppression systems; and a new communication and navigation system. The Indian Army has initiated Future Ready Combat Vehicle (FRCV) project to replace the T-72’s in its service.

The Indian Amy is also a user of license-built Soviet-era BMP-2/2K Sarath infantry combat vehicle (ICV). About 811 BMP Saraths are scheduled for upgrades with Indian equipment.

The joint strategic exercise Zapad-2021 of the Russian and Belarusian armed forces is the closing stage of joint training by the two countries’ armies. It is held once in two years.

The exercise will be conducted on September 10-16 at nine proving grounds in Russia and five in Belarus. Participating in the Zapad-2021 exercise will be about 200,000 men, 80 planes and helicopters, 760 ground vehicles, including 290 tanks, 240 artillery pieces, multiple rocket launchers and mortars and 15 naval ships.

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