Arjun Mk-1A main battle tank developed by India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), for the Indian Army

The Mk-1A has been upgraded in firepower, maneuverability and protection. The tank is equipped with a 360-degree panoramic sight, giving the ability to observe all day/night. The computerised fire control system aboard Arjun has been jointly developed by DRDO with Israeli company Elbit. The Fire Control System is stabilised on two axes, and with an extremely high hit probability replaces an earlier analogue one. The combined day sight from Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and the thermal imager (formerly from Sagem) constitute the gunner’s primary sight.

The commander’s independent thermal viewer, weapon station, position navigation equipment, and a full set of controls and displays have been linked by a digital data bus for improved fire control system. The Arjun has an auxiliary power unit to operate weapon systems in silent watch mode as well.

Mk-1A
Mk-1A

The Mk-1A can carry 39 shells of all kinds, can challenge any target. Armed with a 120 mm rifled gun, the Arjun is capable of firing APFSDS rounds, HE, HEAT, High Explosive Squash Head rounds at the rate of 6–8 rounds per minute.

The hull and turret of Arjun Mk.1A have been modified to give a lower silhouette making detection more difficult, while it also supports the newly developed Thermo-Baric (TB) and Penetration-cum-Blast (PCB) ammunition. DRDO developed cannon launched guided missile that will replace the LAHAT will be integrated with Arjun Mk.1A after they start rolling out from the production line. The Mk-1A is equipped with Kanchan supplemental modular armor, which further enhances the protection against anti-tank ammunition.

Pakistan’s tank stockpile is quite diverse, some produced in cooperation with China, including Al-Khalid and Al-Zarar. In addition, Pakistan also has some imported MBTs including T-80UD from Ukraine; Chinese Type-85/69/59.

The Pakistani army currently has about 2,400 MBTs, staffed into 50 regiments. The largest number of tanks is the Type-59/Al-Zarrar (the Chinese version of the Soviet T-54), about 1,100 units.

The Type-59/Al-Zarrar tank has been upgraded to firepower, using a 125mm smoothbore gun. Auxiliary weapons are retained, including a 12.7 mm gun on the top of the turret, and a coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun. Al-Zarrar can use APFSDS, HEAT-FS, HE-FS ammunition and can launch guided anti-tank missiles.

Pakistan and China cooperated in the 1990s, to produce about 350 Al Khalid main battle tanks, based on the Chinese Type 90-IIM tank. The most recent and modernized version, the Al Khalid-1, entered service with the Pakistani Army last June.

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