Latest version of Arjun tank to be tested for the first time

The latest version of India`s main battle tank, Arjun Mark II, will be tested for the first time at Pokhran in Rajasthan from June 11, a senior official has said.

Last Updated: Jun 09, 2011, 20:11 PM IST

Chennai: The latest version of India`s
main battle tank, Arjun Mark II, will be tested for the first
time at Pokhran in Rajasthan from June 11, a senior official
has said.

Developed by the country`s leading defence research
and development organisation, the DRDO, the machine and its
performance will be closely watched by the Army.
"We have made some recommendations on the MBT and it
will be tested. The turret related tests will start from June
11 and that of chassis automotive system (lower part of the
tank) will start from June 25 extending for a month. This is a
DRDO exercise and the user (Army) will be observers. This is
the first time Arjun Mark II is going for testing," the
official told agency.

The Combat Vehicles Research and Development
Establishment (CVRDE) has designed Arjun Mark II with the 93
recommendations put forward by the various stakeholders
including the Army.

Arjun Mark II can fire missiles, have an enhanced
Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) with a capacity of 8.5 KW (against
Mark I`s 4.5 KW), Explosive Reactive Armour panels (ERA), mine
plough, Automatic Target Tracking (ATT), Advanced Land
Navigation System (ALNS), digital control harness, advanced
commander panoramic sight among other features, the official
said.

Arjun will have a better gun barrel with an Equivalent
Firing Charge (strength of the barrel to sustain firing) of
500 rounds against T 72`s 250 rounds.
"Mark II will be able to travel at a speed of 60 km
per hour in normal terrain and 40 km per hour in harsh
terrain. On completion, the MBT will weigh around 66 tonnes,"
the official said.

The CVRDE is co-ordinating with Armament Research and
Development Establishment (ARDE), Pune, High Energy Materials
Research Laboratory (HEMRL), Pune, Instruments Research &
Development Establishment (IRDE), Dehradun, Centre for Fire,
Explosive and Environment Safety, Delhi and Defence
Metallurgical Research Laboratory, Hyderabad for designing
Mark II.

"After the testing, the MBT will go for a first user
trial in October 2011 and production is expected to start from
July 2012 after the second user trial," the official said.

"If everything goes on track, Heavy Vehicles Factory
here will roll out its first batch of Mark II by the end of
2014 and a unit will cost Rs 35 crore. Mark II will have 90
per cent Indian components in its making," the official added.

At present, there are 2456 T 72s, over 300 T 90s and
110 Arjun Mark I deployed across the country.

PTI