118 Arjun Mark 1-A tanks Here’s what to expect from ‘Hunter Killers

The defence ministry Thursday placed an order for 118 Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) Arjun Mark 1-A, which will be the most potent armoured system in the Army’s inventory.

The Rs 7,523-crore contract is expected to be a major boost for the Heavy Vehicles Factory in Chennai’s Avadi, which manufactures the tanks also known as ‘Hunter Killers’. However, this is likely to be the last order for this tank, which weighs 68.5 tonnes, since the Army requires lighter tanks.

The Mark 1-A is a new variant of Arjun main battle tank, two regiments of which have been inducted into the Army since 2004.

According to a defence ministry statement, the latest variant has been “designed to enhance fire power, mobility and survivability”.

It added that the Mark 1-A is infused with 72 new features and more indigenous content from the Mark-1 variant, which will ensure “effortless mobility in all terrains”, besides precise target engagement during day and night.

Designed and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)’s Chennai-based Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE), the tank is equipped with a massive 120 mm rifled gun and the Kanchan armour.

“Extensive trial evaluation was conducted in various phases covering 7000+ km (both in DRDO and user trials) of automotive and substantial firing of various ammunitions during 2012-2015,” it added.

According to the plan, the first tank will be rolled out from the factory within 30 months from the announcement of the order.

Key Features

  • About:
    • Launch: The Arjun MBT Project was initiated by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in 1972 with the Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE) as its lead laboratory.
    • Objective: To create a “state-of-the-art tank with superior fire power, high mobility, and excellent protection”.
  • Features of the Arjun Tank:
    • The Arjun MBT is equipped with an indigenously developed 120mm main rifled gun with Fin Stabilised Armour-Piercing Discarding Sabot (FSAPDS) ammunition.
      • FSAPDS is capable of destroying all known tank armour up to direct shooting range.
    • It also has a computer-controlled integrated fire control system with stabilised sighting that works in all lighting conditions.
    • The secondary weapons include a coaxial 7.62-mm machine gun for anti-personnel and a 12.7-mm machine gun for anti-aircraft and ground targets.
  • Mk1A and MkII:
    • The development of Arjun Mk1 was followed by improved variants – Mk1A and MkII.
    • Arjun Mk1A, which features improved firepower and transmission systems, completed the final integration tests in 2019 and was cleared for production.
    • The Arjun MkII variant is a light-weight Futuristic Main Battle Tank (FMBT) with electro-optical sensors and high-power lasers.
  • Features of Mk-1A:
    • The Mk-1A version has 14 major upgrades on the earlier version. It is also supposed to have missile firing capability as per the design.
    • However, the biggest achievement with the latest version is 54.3% indeginous content against the 41% in the earlier model.
    • The newly developed Kanchan modular composite armour gives all-round protection to the tank from anti-tank ammunition.
      • Kanchan has been manufactured by Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL) – a DRDO Laboratory.

Courtesy : THE PRINT

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