After numerous delays and extensive trials, the Indian Army is set to finally place an order for 118 indigenously manufactured Arjun Mark 1A ‘Hunter Killers’, which will have all-weather capability and better fire power and stability than the Arjun main battle tank (MBT). Indian Army Armoured Corp has cleared the upgraded Arjun Mk.1A after successful completion of final integration tests conducted on 2019 in Rajasthan. It comes with 72 improvements over The Arjun Mark 1A with 14 major upgrades. The Arjun Mark 1A is ready to undergo mass production at Heavy Vehicle Factory and is waiting for orders from Indian Army.
The Arjun Mark 1A, developed by India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), features 14 major improvements of the Mk.I sought by the Army, including better firepower and new transmission systems. The Mark 1-A includes an improved gunner’s main sight, integrated with automatic target tracking. This would enable the tank crew to track moving targets automatically and engage them even while on the move. The Arjun Mk-1A’s gun is controlled by a computerized integrated fire control system, giving the tank has a high first-round kill capability. Other than the conventional fin-stabilized armor-piercing discarding sabot and high explosive squash head ammunition, the Mark 1-A comes with thermobaric and penetration-cum-blast ammunition.
Delays and other problems in its development from the 1990s to the 2000s prompted the Indian Army to order T-90S tanks from Russia to meet requirements that the Arjun had been expected to fulfill. In March 2010, the Arjun was pitted against the T-90 in comparative trials and performed well. On 9 August 2010 The Army showed interest to place an order for 124 Arjun Mk.2 Tanks in addition to 124 Mk.1 ordered earlier. However, in 2012 and 2016 the Indian Army has chosen instead to order 464 new T-90MS (nicknamed “Bhishma”) tanks for eight tank regiments, increasing the total number of T-90s in Indian service to over 2,000 and undermining further procurement of the Arjun. The Arjun entered service with the Indian Army in 2004. The tanks were first inducted into the 43rd Armoured Regiment, Indian Army Armoured Corps.
The Arjun is a third generation main battle tank developed by India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), for the Indian Army. The tank is named after Arjun, the archer prince who is the main protagonist of the Indian epic Mahabharata. The Arjun features a 120 mm main rifled gun with indigenously developed armor-piercing fin-stabilized discarding-sabot ammunition, one PKT 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun, and an NSVT 12.7 mm machine gun. The upgraded Arjun can fire the laser homing anti-tank (LAHAT) missile that had a tandem warhead, which is capable of defeating all types of modern armor. The tank is powered by an MTU multi-fuel diesel engine rated at 1,400 HP and can reach a maximum speed of 67 km/h (42 mph) and a cross-country speed of 40 km/h (25 mph).