India's Arjun Mark 1A is the Forerunner of Arjun Mark 2 Main Battle Tank
The Indian Army has accepted, as an interim measure, the Arjun Mk 1A version, but wants the next version - Mk 2 - to be lighter than its present weight of 68 tons.
By: IMR Special Reporter
In December 2018, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) had informed Parliament that the 'Arjun Mark 1A' was being validated at trials. This was the first official confirmation that the 'Mark 1A' would be an additional version of the tank till the Mk 2 version, somewhat lighter in weight, was readied and accepted.
The Army accepted the Mk 1A for service following a month-long validation trial in Rajasthan. The trials were completed at the end of December 2018. The production of the first batch of Arjun Mk 1A MBTs is likely to commence in the coming months at the HVF Avadi. Overall, the Indian Army is expected to receive 118 new Arjun Mk 1A MBTs in the coming years.
Arjun Mk 1A displaces 68 tons and is considered heavy by the Army limiting its operational employment. Most modern European tanks are of the same weight, and tank-transporters (specialised trucks) for Arjun are available to ferry it. However, Arjun tank has a better power-to-weight ratio than T-72/90 and its Nominal Ground Pressure is suitable for desert terrain. Other concerns besides weight are cost, indigenous content and spares management.
The new issue of Indian Military Review, due to hit the newsstands on 10 August, the missile firing ability remains to be validated, which will be done once the missiles, being developed by the DRDO, are ready.
Upgrades to Mk 1
The new version reportedly has 84 upgrades (73 on tank and 11 not on tank) including 15 major ones and 58 minor ones, over the existing version. These include an auto-target tracker, an automatic gear system, and an upgraded suspension system. Fitted with a 120-millimeter rifled gun capable of firing a full range of high explosives, including the planned laser homing anti-tank missile that had a tandem warhead, which is capable of defeating all types of modern armour.
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