Indian Army to get 124 more Arjun tanks
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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too keen on placing fresh order over and above the existing order, arguing that the technology of Arjun would become outdated in the next 10 years.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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