The 58-tonne Arjun MK-1A tanks, developed and manufactured by DRDO, would be ready for delivery within 30 months of the contract being signed
According to Indian media, the Indian Defence Acquisition Council approved the contract to buy 118 Arjun Mk-1A main battle tanks at the end of August.
Arjun Mk-1A is an upgraded version of the Arjun Mk-1 tank currently in service. The new tank will come with 71 upgrades over the existing variant, including 14 major improvements. The upgrades significantly improve the tank’s lethality, mobility and survivability, officials said.
The improvements on the new tank include better firepower, auto-target tracker, remote-controlled weapon system, explosive reactive armour, advanced laser warning and countermeasure systems, containerised ammunition bin, advanced land navigation systems and improved night vision capabilities.
The Mk1A will be without missile firing capability and will be incorporated as and when the development is complete, an official said. The DRDO has also taken up indigenisation of various assemblies and sub-assemblies including the Commander’s Panaromic Sight (CPS) and Gunner’s Main Sight (GMS). The Commander’s Panaromic Sight has already undergone various rounds of trials while the Gunner’s Main Sight is in the process of being integrated. Once these indigenous devices are integrated, the indigenous content of the MBT Arjun Mk-1A will go up from 41% to 54.3% during production, officials said earlier.
The cost of each Arjun Mk-1A up to more than $ 8.6 million, among the most expensive tanks in the world today. This price is more expensive than both the T-90 tank ($6.2 million) and M1A2 Abrams ($7.8 million). Due to the small production volume, many advanced electronic components of the tank are still imported, so the price for an Arjun Mk-1A increases is understandable.
The Indian Ministry of Defense hopes that the order of 118 new tanks will create about 8,000 new jobs for the people of this country, will attract the participation of about 200 suppliers and promote the domestic military science and technology industry.