Chief of the Army Staff General Manoj Mukund Naravane received the tank model, designed and developed by Chennai-based Combat Vehicles Research & Development Establishment (CVRDE), a unit of the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO).
The Army will get 118 units of the Main Battle Tank, indigenously designed, developed and manufactured by CVRDE and DRDO, and 15 academic institutions, eight labs and several MSMEs.
DRDO initiated the Arjun Main Battle Tank project in 1972 with the Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE) as its lead laboratory. The objective was to create a “state-of-the-art tank with superior firepower, high mobility, and excellent protection”. During the development, the CVRDE achieved breakthroughs in the engine, transmission, hydropneumatic suspension, hull and turret, and the gun control system. Mass production began in 1996 at the Indian Ordnance Factory’s production facility in Avadi, Tamil Nadu.
The Arjun tanks stand out for their ‘Fin Stabilised Armour Piercing Discarding Sabot (FSAPDS)’ ammunition and 120-mm calibre rifled gun. It also has a computer-controlled integrated fire control system with a stabilised sighting that works in all lighting conditions. The secondary weapons include a co-axial 7.62-mm machine gun for anti-personnel and a 12.7-mm machine gun for anti-aircraft and ground targets.
The Mk-1A version has 14 significant upgrades on the earlier version. It is also supposed to have missile firing capability as per the design, but this feature will be added later as final testing of the capability is still on. However, the latest version’s most significant achievement is 54.3 per cent indigenous content against the 41 per cent in the earlier model.