Indian Army to get 124 more Arjun tanks

Last Updated: Monday, May 17, 2010 - 15:18

New Delhi: The Army on Monday placed a fresh order for an additional 124 `Arjun` main battle tanks, giving a much-needed fillip to the over three-decade-long DRDO
programme.

The new order comes in the wake of reports that Arjun had
outdone the Russian-made T-90 tanks during comparative trials
in the deserts of Rajasthan earlier this year.

"The Army has decided to place fresh order for an
additional home-built 124 Main Battle Tank Arjun. This is over
and above the existing order of 124 tanks. The development
follows the success of the indigenous MBT Arjun in the recent
gruelling desert trials," a Defence Ministry spokesperson said
here.

The additional 124 MBTs would help the Army to raise two
more regiments of the indigenous tanks.

The Army already has a 45-tank-strong regiment comprising
Arjuns, which were delivered to the Army by the Avadi-based
Heavy Vehicles Factory (HVF) in the middle of last year.

The Army had in 2004 placed its first order for 124 Arjun
MBTs, of which nearly 50 have been delivered by the HVF. The
Defence Ministry had last week decided to go in for the
development of second-generation of Arjun tanks to give a
boost to Defence Research and Development Organisation`s
efforts in this regard.

During the desert trials, the Arjuns were pitted against
the T-90s.

The DRDO and the HVF for some time now have been
complaining that the Arjun production line at Avadi would dry
up if fresh orders were not placed and that it could spell the
death knell to the 36-year-old project.

The fears of the DRDO and the HVF stemmed from the fact
that the Army was not too keen on placing fresh order over and
above the existing order, arguing that the technology of Arjun
would become outdated in the next 10 years.

Also, the Army`s mechanised forces has started looking
out for a futuristic main battle tank (FMBT) be it indigenous
or imported.

The Arjun tank project to design and develop an MBT for
the Army was approved by the government in 1974 with an aim of
giving the required indigenous cutting edge to the mechanised
forces.

"After many years of trials and tribulations, the tank
has now proved its worth by its superb performance under
various circumstances, such as driving cross-country over
rugged sand dunes, detecting, observing and quickly engaging
targets and accurately hitting targets, both stationary and
moving with pinpointed accuracy," the spokesperson said.

"Its superior fire-power is based on accurate and quick
target acquisition capability during day and night in all
types of weather and shortest possible reaction time during
combat engagements," the official said.

The Arjun project had in its initial days been besieged
with troubles due to defects in its design such as those
related to weight, size, night-vision capability and fire
control system. These defects were corrected one by one over
the years.

The fresh orders for production of Arjun would actually
mean a new lease of life for the project that has suffered due
to time and cost overruns.

PTI



First Published: Monday, May 17, 2010 - 15:18

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