Why Arjun Mark-1A Main Battle Tank Is Such A deadly threat?

Arjun Mark-1A Main Battle Tank (MBT)
Arjun Mk-1A battle tank during recent integrated field trails. Source

During his visit to Chennai to launch a swathe of new government programmes in Tamil Nadu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Sunday, handed over the indigenously-developed Arjun Main Battle Tank (Mark 1A) vehicles to Army Chief General MM Naravane. 

Key Highlights

  • As per latest reports, the Defence Ministry had recently approved the induction of 118 Arjun Mark 1A tanks into the Indian Army at a cost of Rs 8,400 crore
  • Compared to the earlier version, the Mark 1-A boasts an improved gunner sight, fitted with automated target tracking capabilities
  • the DRDO has noted that it incorporates state-of-the-art battle tank technologies making it distinct from other contemporary MBTs while labelling it a “dependable warfighting machine”

The upgraded Arjun Mark-1A Main Battle Tank is widely regarded as India's response to the Russian-made T-90S 'Bhishma' tanks that currently form the bulk of India's armoured vehicle regiments.

As per latest reports, the Defence Ministry had recently approved the induction of 118 Arjun Mark 1A tanks into the Indian Army at a cost of Rs 8,400 crore. The tanks were to be manufactured by the DRDO's Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment in Chennai, in collaboration with 15 academic institutions, eight laboratories and numerous other MSMEs. 

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The upgraded Arjun Mark-1A Main Battle Tank is widely regarded as India's response to the Russian-made T-90S 'Bhishma' tanks that currently form the bulk of India's armoured vehicle regiments. However, it is worth noting that, with the Indian Army placing a Rs 20,000 crore order in November 2019 for the manufacture of 464 T-90S tanks to add to the 1,191 Bhishma tanks already inducted, it does appear that it is being cautious in its thrust to overhaul its armoured vehicle arsenal. 


Arjun Mark-1A Main Battle Tank (MBT) features
Source

Weighing 68 tonnes, the Mark 1-A is equipped with a 120mm main gun and stands as an upgraded version of the original Arjun Main Battle Tank. As per reports, the numerous improvements made to the tank based on the Army's recommendations have transformed it into one of the nation's most formidable self-protective tanks. 

Compared to the earlier version, the Mark 1-A boasts an improved gunner sight, fitted with automated target tracking capabilities. This allows the tank's crew to locate and track mobile targets automatically, enabling attack even when the MBT is moving. 

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The MK-1A's gun is operated via a computerised integrated fire control that allows for high first-round kill capabilities. It also incorporates day-and-night stabilised sights. The Mark 1-A is also integrated with thermobaric and penetration-cum-blast ammunition, in addition to the conventional fin stabilised armour-piercing discarding sabot and high explosive squash head ammunition. 


The Arjun Main Battle Tank programme began in 1972 with the DRDO's CVRDE serving as its main laboratory. The project was not without controversy and delays but production of the tanks began in 1996 at the Indian Ordnance Factory's manufacturing facility located in Avadi, Tamil Nadu. 

PM Modi Hands Over Arjun Main Battle Tank (MK-1A) To Indian Army In Chennai

The first batch of 16 tanks was inducted into the 43 Armoured Regiment of the Indian Army. By 2009, the Army had the first Arjun regiment comprising 45 tanks, and by 2011, more than 100 tanks had been delivered. 


However, a 2016 report from the Comptroller and Auditor General noted that the tanks had not been in operation since 2013 due to a lack of spare parts. The DRDO, in 2017, declared that it had imported spare parts to repair any faults that had, reportedly, sidelined 75 per cent of the nation's Arjun tanks. 


As far as the Mark 1-A variant goes, the DRDO has noted that it incorporates state-of-the-art battle tank technologies making it distinct from other contemporary MBTs while labelling it a “dependable warfighting machine.” Times Now Reported


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