New Delhi: India today placed a $1-billion order for 118 locally-made ‘Arjun‘ main battle tanks for its army, boosting self-reliance in the critical area of heavy combat vehicles and boosting its battle readiness against its archrivals China and Pakistan.
“(The) Ministry of Defence (MoD) placed the order with Heavy Vehicles Factory (HVF), Avadi, near Chennai, for supply of 118 Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) Arjun Mk-1A for the Indian Army on Sep. 23, 2021,” a MoD statement said.
The order, worth Rs 7,523 crore ($1.01 billion), will provide a further boost to the ‘Make in India’ initiative in the defence sector and is a big step towards achieving ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Prime Minister had handed over the MBT Arjun Mk-1A to Chief of Army Staff General Manoj Mukund Naravane in Chennai on Feb. 14, 2021.
The state–of-the-art MBT Mk-1A is a new variant of Arjun tank, designed to enhance fire power, mobility and survivability.
Infused with 72 new features and more indigenous content from the Mk-1 variant, the tank would ensure effortless mobility in all terrains, besides precise target engagement during day and night.
It has been designed and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) by incorporating numerous upgrades on Arjun MBT, the in-service main battle tank with the Indian Army.
The MK-1A is equipped with accurate and superior firepower, all-terrain mobility and an invincible multi-layered protection provided by an array of advanced technology systems.
It can take on the enemy during day and night conditions and in both static and dynamic modes. By virtue of these capabilities, this indigenous MBT proves to be at par with any contemporary in its class across the globe.
“This tank is particularly configured and designed for Indian conditions and hence it is suitable for deployment to protect the frontiers in an effective manner,” the MoD statement said.
This production order to HVF, Avadi opens up a large avenue in defence manufacturing for over 200 Indian vendors including Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), with employment opportunities to around 8,000 people. This will be a flagship project showcasing the indigenous capability in cutting edge defence technologies.
The MBT Arjun Mk-1A has been designed and developed by Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE), along with other laboratories of DRDO within two years (2010-12).
The development activities commenced from June 2010 and the tank was fielded for user trials in June 2012. It took only two years to develop and field the MBT Arjun Mk-1A for user trials from the user requirement.
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.