Friday, 10 June 2011

Arjun MK II Trial Begins

Here is a bit of good news for all Indian's. The much maligned Arjun tank which took nearly 30 years to complete is ready in its new avatar, "Arjun MKII" . this version is being tested right now somewhere in the deserts of Rajasthan. The fantastic part of the story is that the second version of the tank is ready within one year of Government giving the go ahead.

According to DRDO it will be in position to hand over these tanks to the army in large scale by 2014. This time around the testing is being done in a phased manner with the army involvement in each step.

The dozen or so advancement or changes will be tested in an incremental step by step manner. The most important of them is the missile firing capability with a laser homing device. This missile can destroy any tank within the range of 8 km by locking on to it using laser homing which incidentally has been already tested and perfected on Mark-I but it did not become the part of the final product handed over to the army.

Second change will be an Indian engine instead of the German engine which is in place now in the 58 tonne Arjun Mark-I

Other modifications include better explosive-reactive armour for the tank to protect it from enemy missiles and rockets, improving the sighting facility to provide it a wider view of the battlefield, night vision capability and an improved communication system.

The Arjun Mark-II will have over 90 percent indigenous systems on board, except for some hydraulic and electronic systems.

Earlier Army was not in any mood to buy this product but when Arjuns were pitted against the the much famed T-90 tanks of India Armored Division, they were found to be much better. Thus Indian Army placed an order of 124 tanks at a cost of 170 million INR(each) with Heavy Vehicle Factory(Avadhi). This first batch has been handed over to the army. Now the Indian army operates two regiments using these tanks.

Though Indian Army wanted to wait for the MK-II version but an order was needed to keep the production lines in the factory live so it has placed an additional order for 124 tanks more. This is a clear indication that the army brass is now confident with Arjun tanks capability and these will become the mainstay of Indian Army in near the future.