Arjun Mk IA tank
There are three variants of this tank, Arjun Mk-I, Arjun Mk-IA, and Arjun Mk-II. The second tank of the Arjun family, the Arjun Mk IA tank can be recognized by the Explosive reactive armour (ERA) panels fitted in front which cover only the frontal half and also cover half portion of the side profile. Compared to the basic Arjun its protection level has been substantially increased. The updated MBT features an improved Kanchan armour, explosive reactive armour package, protected ammunition load, roof-mounted anti-blast driverís seat, and laser warning/countermeasure system.
The Mk 1Aís hull and turret, have been modified to give the MBT a lower silhouette to make detection more difficult. The enhancements include advanced thermalimaging sights for night-time fighting, a new panoramic sight for the commander, a more powerful auxiliary power unit (8.5 kW capacity) and an enhanced communication system capable of real-time data transmission, improved navigation systems, a digital control harness and a mine plough.
The upgraded Mk. IA differs from the base version with a remotely controlled weapon station, improved aiming systems, including an automatic target tracking system, a panoramic periscope, a laser rangefinder, and improved night vision systems. In addition, the tank received a generator of increased power and a communication system that allows data exchange in real time.
The updated tank weighs 68 tons and is 11,110 mm long. The Arjun Mk.IA is powered by the V-90 engine with a power output of 1,030 kW, which provides a power-to-weight ratio of 15 kW/t and an off-road/road speed of 40 km/h and 58 km/h, respectively. The tank is armed with a 120 mm STANAG-compatible rifled gun with an ammunition load of 39 ready-to-use armour-piercing fin-stabilised discarding sabot (APFSDS) and high-explosive squash head (HESH) rounds, an FN MAG 7.62 mm co-axial general-purpose machinegun, and an NSVT Utyos 12.7 mm heavy machinegun in a remote controlled weapon station.
The new tankís sensor suite includes an ďadvanced microprocessor-basedĒ fire-control system, a gunnerís Mk.II independent two axis-stabilised day/night sighting system, and a commanderís Mk.II independent two axis-stabilised day/night sighting system with a panoramic observation unit and Ďhunter-killerí working mode. The vehicleís main gun is equipped with electro-hydraulic drives.
DRDO worked on obsolescence management of Arjun MBT and indigenisation of various assemblies and sub-assemblies, including Commanderís Panoramic Sight (CPS) and Gunnerís Main Sight (GMS) that are under indigenous development. The indigenous CPS underwent successful trials in December 2020 at the Pokhran field firing range and it was also demonstrated to the Deputy Chief of Army. The indigenous GMS was expected to be integrated by March 2021 and then go for summer trials. Once the indigenous CPS and advanced GMS were incorporated, the indigenous content of MBT Arjun Mk-1A would increase from 41% to 54.3% during production,
The Arjun Mk-1A has 14 major upgrades over the Mk1 variant, which were formulated and approved in October 2018. Subsequently, limited user validation trials were carried out on all the upgrades. Seven meetings were held involving various stakeholders to resolve all issues with respect to Arjun Mk-1A between October 2019 and July 2020. Based on Army requirements, Arjun MK I had undergone 89 improvements. This transformed Arjun into a highly advanced platform, comparable to the most technologically advanced MBTs globally.
The upgraded Arjun MK I A was successfully demonstrated to the Army in December 2019. The Arjun Mark 1A finally cleared all trials in 2020 and had been awaiting an order since then. In December 2020 Ministry of Defence (MoD) concluded negotiations with Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) to acquire 118 units of Main Battle Tank (MBT) Arjun MK-IA for the Indian Army (IA) for an estimated Rs. 66 billion (USD 888.7 million) to supplement the existing fleet of 124 Arjun Mk in service from 2004 onwards. Deliveries erre expected to begin within 30 months of the contract being signed to be completed in 4-5 years. The order was likely to have a two-year engineering and support package that will include maintenance, spares and simulator training for the tank crews.
In 1996 the Indian government decided to mass-produce the earlier Arjun MK-I tank at the Heavy Vehicles Factory (HVF) in Avadi, Chennai. Order for 124 of the earlier Arjun tanks (MK I) was placed in the year 2000. The Arjun MBT line has been lying idle since 2010-11 when the last Arjun MK-Is rolled out.
The contract for the supply of 118 Arjun Mk. IA was signed by the Indian Ministry of Defense on February 12, 2021. Prime Minister Narendra Modi handed over the first 118 Arjun Mark 1A main battle tanks (MBT) to army chief General MM Naravane at a function in Chennai on 12 February 2021. This will clear the path for the army to formally place orders for the production of the final batch of Arjun MBTs worth Rs 6,600 crore.
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