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Indian-made ‘Arjun’ Improved Tank Still Awaits Army Order | India News

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NEW DELHI: ‘Arjun’ may have finally defeated ‘Bhishma’ on the Kurukshetra battlefield, but the Army still has no faith in the former. The 13 lakh force continues to hold its feet back to approve the pending order for 118 ‘upgraded’ Arjun Mark-1A main battle tanks.
However, the DRDO is confident that the Rs 6.4 billion drain to produce the indigenous tanks will be placed at the Avadi Heavy Vehicle Factory (HVF) before the end of this fiscal year on March 31. The mood is optimistic after Prime Minister Narendra Modi took over the Arjun in Jaisalmer last month.
“The Mark-1A tanks have better firepower, mobility, protection and endurance than the first 124 Arjuns installed by the Army more than a decade ago. According to HVF, each Mark-1A tank will cost Rs 54 crore, ”said a defense scientist.
But the Army is still not convinced. The force continues to rely on T-90S tanks of Russian origin, dubbed ‘Bhishma’, due to their “shock and awe” capabilities on the western front. In November 2019, another Rs 20 billion indent was placed in HVF for 464 more upgraded T-90S tanks to add to the 1,193 such tanks already installed.
After the first 657 T-90S tanks were imported for Rs 8,525 crore from 2001 onwards, the next 1,000 are being licensed by HVF with Russian kits. Arjun has been a long-standing dispute between the Army and DRDO.
The force contends that the “extra heavy” Arjun Mark-1 tanks (62.5 tonnes compared to the 46.5 tonne T-90S tank) are plagued with “maintenance, sustenance and ammunition problems”. The DRDO, however, says that “all problems” have now been resolved for the first 124 tanks. In addition, there are 14 major and 58 minor “upgrades” or capacity upgrades on the Mark-1A tanks to meet Army requirements.
“The validation tests of the Arjun Mark-1A tanks, which traveled over 6,000 km, were successfully completed in December 2018. They met all technical requirements. The only remaining requirement is the cannon-launched guided missile (CLGM), ”said one scientist.
“While important issues have been addressed, additional updates or modifications are required in light of technological advancements. The case for the acquisition of Arjun Mark-1A tanks is under active consideration and will progress accordingly, ”said a senior Army official.
According to Defense Ministry officials, HVF has committed to producing the first five Mark-1A tanks within 30 months of the indentation. “Once approved after Army testing, HVF will deliver 30 tanks per year,” an official said.

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