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Arjun Mark-II

The Arjun Mk.2 has the same basic design of Arjun Mk.1, but major changes for the new generation variant of Arjun Tank would keep up with the new technological changes which are been incorporated in the MBTs world over. After supplying 119 Arjun Mark-I tanks - the order initially was for 124 - DRDO developed the Arjun Mark-II. The Arjun Mk.2 was to undergo summer and winter trails in 2011. If the tests are satisfactory, then the tank will be able to begin production in 2014. An agreement was in place with the army for another lot of 118 - or two regiments - of Arjun Mark II tanks.

Arjun Mk.2 has Battle Field Management System (BFMS) that enables the tank to get targetting feeds from UAVs and Helicopters, which provides the Arjun Mk.2 tank crew with greater awareness of their surroundings and better understanding of the battle zone. This will lead to improvement in coordinating with other Friendly tanks in the zone and also avoid Friendly kills. It also gives information regarding enemy tank movement along with their troops and help navigate terrain in the battle zone. The Self-Diagnostic System (SDS) added to Arjun Mk.2 is a health monitoring system, that not only tells the tank crew if it is having any problem but also point out the trouble area. It is also important if the tank has taken multiple hits from different position and from different ammunition. After a self-diagnose Tank crew will know exact damage inflicted on the Tank.

Arjun Mk.2 gets a new efficient 1500bhp engine which had been in development in India by DRDO, and there are reports that Indian private industry is also working with DRDO on the engine development. Currently Arjun Mk.1 is powered by German supplied 1400bhp engine which was of older design and technical parameters, but still a powerful and respected engine. NERA (non-explosive reactive armor) will be added to Arjun Mk.2, giving the tank additional protection against anti-tank munitions. Unlike ERA, NERA enables the tank to take multiple anti-tank munition hits, but also increased the weight of Arjun Mk.2 to 60 tons [some reports say 67 tons] from its current weight (Arjun Mk.1) of 58 tons.

Arjun Mk.2 will also get and improved Air-conditioning system for the crew, which will be powered from an APU drawing its power from the Main engine of the Tank. This will enable the tank crew to operate in higher temperature of desert heat without discomfort to the tank crew. Arjun Mk.1 already has hardened electronics that function perfectly even in the Rajasthan summer without requiring any Air-conditioning system.

DRDO Awards for the year 2010 for outstanding contribution in various areas of technology were given away by Defence Minister, Mr AK Antony at a function in New Delhi in June 2011. Pointing out the delay in the development of main battle tank 'Arjun', Mark-II and 'Kaveri' engine for the LCA Tejas, the Defence Minister said the DRDO must reorient itself to survive in a fiercely competitive world. He further said, this objective can be achieved only through a judicious blend of creativity and innovation for developing high quality products and implementing projects on time.

On 29 August 2011 Defence Minister Shri AK Antony, in a written reply to Shri Naveen Jindal in Lok Sabha, stated that "Limited technical trials with some major and minor improvements on Main Battle Tank (MBT) Arjun Mark-I, as part of MBT Arjun Mark-II, have been carried out by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in the deserts of Rajasthan. Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has cleared the proposal for placement of indent for 124 Nos. of MBT Arjun Mark-II on Heavy Vehicles Factory (HVF), Avadi, Chennai. Placement of indent by the Army on Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) is being further processed. The likely estimated cost of each MBT Arjun Mark-II with ail major/minor improvements will be approximately Rs.37 crore. The first batch of MBT Arjun Mark-II is likely to be productionised by 2015."

By early 2013 nearly 80 percent of the improvements/changes sought by the Indian Army had already been incorporated. Work on the remaining features was underway and there were trials in the summer of 2013 to satisfy the user requirements. The Arjun Mark-I had already outperformed the T-90, and the Mark-II would have enhanced night fighting capabilities with advanced equipment for the gunner, driver and commander. There will be better rough terrain and amphibious (fording) mobility, better surveillance and firing capability, as well as increased protection. The Mark-II had a better 120 mm gun, capable of firing anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs). DRDO was examining offers from Israel and Belarusfor the new ATGMs.

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