Arjun tank not being thrust on the Army: DRDO

July 12th, 2008 - 3:38 pm ICT by ANI  

New Delhi, July 12 (ANI): The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) today made it clear that it is not trying to force the Army to buy the indigenous Arjun main battle tank (MBT).
Reports have appeared in newspapers that the Army is being forced to accept more than its demand of 124 tanks already ordered. It has also been pointed out that while the Arjun is a very good armoured vehicle, efforts are being made to develop a more modern tank suited to the needs of the country in the context of changing defence needs.
Sources close to the DRDO have pointed out that the DRDO is not thrusting the Arjun tanks down the throats of the Army The MBT Arjun is strategically a very competent armoured vehicle, having an excellent weight to power ratio, good mobility and very accurate firepower, which conform to the requirements laid down by the Army.
It compares excellently with all the heavy class of tanks available across the world. It can be effectively deployed in most of the border areas of our country. The Army had cleared the MBT Arjun for production and placed an indent on March 30, 2000 for the manufacture of 124 tanks by 2009 for two regiments.
The Defence Ministry has been supporting the induction of MBT Arjun, and has asked the Army to objectively study reports of the trials of the Arjun tanks during the recent exercises, and ruled out abandonment of the project.
There is no question of forcing the Arjun down the Armys throat, as it is the best main battle tank available with the country, a senior DRDO official told ANI over phone.
Recently, the Director General (Mechanised Infantry), Lieutenant General Dalip Bharadwaj, said: Arjun is a contemporary tank and may be used in the next decade or so, but not for a technologically advanced, next generation warfare some two decades hence.
The official said that DRDO will develop a futuristic tank in the form of Mark II, and claimed that no tank can last for 20-25 years.
DRDO is working on the development of the futuristic Mark II MBT with suitable technological upgrades, which can be introduced later after completion of production of at least 500 tanks of the present version.
The comparative trials of MBT Arjun and T-90 can be pursued but should not be linked with placement of further orders for MBT. Government should intervene at this stage and ensure that indigenous efforts in this direction are appropriately rewarded, the official said.
Despite continuing criticism from the Army establishment, the Arjun has successfully completed a gruelling 5,000-kilometre summer trials in the Rajasthan desert. During six months of trials, the DRDO, along with tank crews from the Armys 43 Armoured Regiment, proved not just the Arjuns endurance, but also the ability of its computer-controlled gun to consistently blow away suitcase-sized targets placed more than a kilometre away.
The MBT Arjun today remains a contemporary battle tank and by far superior to T-54, T-55, and T-72 tanks that the Army has been using over the years.
The T-90S and the MBT Arjun tanks are of different class. Both tanks have their own special features. The MBT Arjun has more power to weight ratio, hydro-pneumatic suspension for better ride comfort and a stable platform to fire on the move, better quality class of Gun Control System and Fire Control System etc.
The missile firing capability of Arjun was demonstrated during field trials. The T-90S tank has missile firing capability and lower silhouette. Tanks of both the class are required by the Indian Army.
The present cost of the MBT Arjun is Rs.16.80 crore and the cost of T-90 is around Rs.12.00 crore. The cost of Arjun compares favourably with contemporary Western MBTs of its class, costing in the range of Rs.17 to 24 crores.
Some of the state-of-the-art technologies incorporated in the Arjun are modern integrated fire control system with Fire Control Computer and MRS, Hydro-pneumatic suspension, Kanchan Armour, highly lethal and accurate FSAPDS ammunition and NBC protection.
The major imported systems in the tank are the power pack and gun control system from Germany and Delft-SAGEM gunners main sight from OIP Belgium.
Arjun is a proven tank and has been cleared after taking approval of the Army. The DRDO and Army have drawn a Joint Action Plan and as per which the improvements have been incorporated in the production tanks.
Earlier, Minister of State for Defence Production Rao Inderjeet Singh said: I have spoken, off the record, to officers who have gone through the trials. Even the crews (from 43 Armoured Regiment) who have been testing the tank I forced them to choose between the Russian tanks and the Arjun.
I said, you have driven this tank and youve driven that tank (the T-90). Now mark them out of ten, which tank is better? And Ive found that the Arjun tank was given more numbers than the T-90 tank, Rao added. (ANI)

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