Ground Warfare

Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation Confirms Development of Arjun MkII Tank


Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation Confirms Development of Arjun MkII Tank

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Arjun Mk-1A Main Battle Tanks
Arjun Mk-1A Main Battle Tanks

The Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has officially announced the advancement of the Arjun MkII tank, marking a significant milestone in India’s indigenous main battle tank (MBT) program. This revelation follows the successful adoption of the Arjun Mk1A variant by the Indian Army. The Mk1A acted as a transitional model, bridging the gap between the older Mk1 version and the more extensively enhanced MkII. Given that the production of the Futuristic Main Battle Tank (FMBT) isn’t slated until after 2030, DRDO remains committed to advancing upgraded Arjun variants. The MkII is on track for completion by 2026-27, furnishing the Indian Army with a more proficient and lighter MBT in the interim.

The forthcoming Arjun MkII main battle tank heralds a notable advancement over its predecessors. A pivotal aspect is the redesigned turret, projected to be 3-4 tons lighter than its predecessor, fostering increased agility in the tank. Moreover, the MkII’s overall weight is anticipated to decrease significantly to a more optimal 63 tons, as opposed to the 67 tons of the Mk1A. Propelled by the indigenously developed DATRAN V12 turbocharged diesel engine, the MkII is poised for enhanced performance. Although certain Mk1A units may feature the 1400 hp MTU 838 Ka 501 engine, DRDO is prioritizing the DATRAN V12 as the primary power source. Development of the DATRAN engine is underway, with production readiness anticipated by 2026.

The Arjun is a third generation main battle tank developed by the Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE) of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), for the Indian Army. The tank is named after Arjuna, the archer prince who is the main protagonist of the Indian epic poem Mahabharata. Design work began in 1986 and was finished in 1996. The Arjun main battle tank entered service with the Indian Army in 2004.The 43rd Armoured Regiment, formed in 2009, was the first regiment to receive the Arjun. The Arjun MK2 variant was redesignated as the Arjun MK1A. By 2018, two Arjun MK1A prototypes had been built and completed user trials by the end of the year.

The Arjun features a 120 mm rifled main gun with indigenously developed armour-piercing fin-stabilized discarding-sabot ammunition, one PKT 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun and a NSVT 12.7 mm machine gun. Powered by a single MTU multi-fuel diesel engine rated at 1,400 hp, it can achieve a maximum speed of 70 km/h (43 mph) and a cross-country speed of 40 km/h (25 mph). To enhance the firepower of the Arjun, DRDO considered equipping the tank with a SAMHO gun-launched anti-tank guided missile. It has a four-man crew: commander, gunner, loader and driver. The fire-control system (FCS) originally developed for the Arjun main battle tank has been integrated into the T-90 tanks built in India under a transfer of technology (ToT) agreement by the Heavy Vehicles Factory (HVF) at Avadi.

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