In a high-level meeting, the Defence Ministry recently cleared the induction of 118 Arjun Mark1A tanks into the Indian Army which would be worth around 8,400 crores and would add to the strength of the force in land warfare.
Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) officials told ANI that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would be dedicating the latest version of the Arjun tank to the nation on February 14 in Chennai at the tank production facility in Avadi
"It's a great decision by PM to dedicate MK-1A to the nation by handing it over to Army, giving a message that India stands by its indigenous systems & that they'd be promoted & encouraged in a big way. It's a step towards making India self-reliant.", said Satheesh Reddy, DRDO Chief
He also added, "Arjun Mark1A is an all state-of-art feature incorporated tank with 71 additional features. Many more in the pipeline such as air to air missile Astra for IAF & Navy, Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon, Air-independent propulsion, ATAGS guns, future aircraft & Medium Power Radar.".
It's a great decision by PM to dedicate MK-1A to the nation by handing it over to Army, giving a message that India stands by its indigenous systems & that they'd be promoted & encouraged in a big way. It's a step towards making India self-reliant: Satheesh Reddy, DRDO Chief pic.twitter.com/mFjIdGeePQ— ANI (@ANI) February 13, 2021
The tank has been fully designed and developed by the DRDO in close coordination with the Indian Army. The 118 tanks would be joining the fleet of the first batch of 124 Arjun tanks which have already been inducted into the Army and are deployed in the western desert along the Pakistan front.
The 118 Arjun tanks would also form two regiments in the Armoured Corps of the Indian Army like the first 124 tanks. Officials said the Army has reduced the number of tanks required for the formation of a tank regiment and that is why the present order has six lesser tanks than the previous order for two regiments.
The DRDO has been developing the Arjun Mark 1A for quite some time now and the project was ramped up by both Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat and DRDO chief Dr G Satheesh Reddy to increase the level of indigenous weapon systems in the armed forces.
The Arjun has been designed by the DRDO’s Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE) and DRDO Chairman Satheesh Reddy will hand the first Arjun Mark 1A to Prime Minister Modi.
The tanks will be produced by the Ordnance Factory Board’s (OFB) Heavy Vehicles Factory (HVF) Avadi and the first batch of five main battle tanks will be handed over to the army within two-and-a-half years of the signing of the contract.
Indian Armed forces are considered to be one of the most mechanized forces around the world. Indian Army Armoured Corps currently fields around 2000 USSR Made T-72 Tanks, Russian Made T-90S Tanks & around Indigenous 124 Arjun Mk1 tanks.
The Arjun MBT features a 120 mm main rifled gun with indigenously developed armor-piercing fin-stabilized discarding-sabot ammunition, one PKT 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun, and an NSVT 12.7 mm machine gun.
It is powered by a single MTU multi-fuel diesel engine rated at 1,400 hp and can achieve a maximum speed of 67 km/h (42 mph) and a cross-country speed of 40 km/h (25 mph).
It has a four-man crew: commander, gunner, loader, and driver. Automatic fire detection and suppression and NBC protection systems are included. All-round anti-tank warhead protection by the indigenously-developed Kanchan armor is claimed to be much higher than available in comparable third-generation tanks.