The Defence Ministry signed a contract on Thursday to purchase 118 Arjun Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) for the Indian Army at a cost of Rs 7,523 crore, in a major move to improve the army’s combat capabilities.
The defence ministry ordered Arjuna Mk-1A tanks from the Heavy Vehicles Factory (HVF) in Avadi, Chennai.
The MBT Mk-1A is a new Arjun Tank variant designed to improve firepower, mobility, and survivability by incorporating 72 new features and indigenous content from the Mk-1 variant.
“On September 23, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) placed an order with Heavy Vehicles Factory (HVF), Avadi, Chennai for the supply of 118 Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) Arjun Mk-1A for the Indian Army,” according to a statement from the ministry.
“The order, worth 7,523 crore, will provide further impetus to the “Make in India” initiative in the defence sector and is a significant step toward achieving “Aatmanirbhar Bharat,” it said.
According to the ministry, the tanks will provide effortless mobility in all terrains, as well as precise target engagement during the day and night.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) designed and developed it by incorporating numerous upgrades on the Arjun MBT, the Indian Army’s current main battle tank.
“The MK-1A is outfitted with precise and superior firepower, all-terrain mobility, and invincible multi-layered protection provided by a slew of advanced technology systems.” It can engage the enemy during the day and night, and in both static and dynamic modes, according to the ministry.
According to the company, the production order to Heavy Vehicles Factory will open up a large avenue in defence manufacturing for over 200 Indian vendors, including MSMEs, and will provide employment for approximately 8,000 people.
This will be a flagship project demonstrating indigenous capability in cutting-edge defence technologies, according to the ministry.
It stated that the MBT Arjun Mk-1A was designed and developed within two years by the Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE) and other DRDO laboratories (2010-12).
“Development activities began in June 2010, and the tank was deployed for user trials in June 2012.” It took only two years to develop and field the MBT Arjun Mk-1A for user trials based on user requirements, according to the ministry.
“During 2012-2015, extensive trial evaluation was conducted in various phases covering 7000 plus kms (both in DRDO and user trials) of automotive and significant firing of various ammunition,” it said.