New Delhi: Indian Army, after numerous delays and extensive trials, to finally place an order for 118 indigenously manufactured Arjun Mark 1A ‘Hunter Killers’, having all-weather capability and better fire power and stability than the Arjun main battle tank (MBT).
The Mark 1A, which weighs 68 tonnes and features a 120 mm main gun, has cleared all tests and that cost negotiations with its developer Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) are complete, sources said adding that the Army has pushed the file to place the order, which will be done “soon”.
The move comes as a big boost for the Chennai-based Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE), a DRDO lab.
“The tank comes with 14 major improvements that the Army has sought, which will make it the most potent and self-protective tank in the Army’s inventory,” V Balamurugan, director of the CVRDE, told the media.
He said the first tank will be rolled out from the factory within 30 months of the order of intent (the technical term used for the order) being placed.
He explained that four upgrades were made to the firepower of the tank, besides other developments, including new transmission systems.
The Mark 1A includes an improved gunner’s main sight, integrated with automatic target tracking. This would enable the tank crew to track moving targets automatically, and engage them even when Arjun is on the move.
The Arjun Mk1A’s gun is controlled by a computerised integrated fire control system giving the tank a high first round kill capability. The gun’s day-and-night stabilised sights, coupled with automatic target tracker, guarantee accurate engagement even in dynamic conditions, a senior DRDO official said.