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Arjun MBTs to be tested against Russian T-90s

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India's Arjun MBT (left) and Russian T-90 tank. A File Photo.

NEW DELHI (PTI): With the first Arjun tank regiment completing its conversion trials, the Army is readying to test the indigenous Main Battle Tank's (MBT's) mettle against the proven Russian T-90s in the early half of the year.

"Army is preparing for comparative trials against the Russian T-90s in the early half of this year ... before May," a senior Army officer said Saturday.

The Army had completed its first regiment's fleet of 40 Arjun MBTs last May when 16 of the Combat Vehicle Research and Development Establishment-built tanks were handed over to it by the Heavy Vehicles Factory in Avadi near Chennai.

However, the Army has placed orders for only 124 Arjuns in all as yet and there have been enough indications that further orders may not come through, as the Army was now looking at a futuristic MBT that could be operational beyond 2020.

It was also felt by the Army's Mechanised Forces circles that Arjuns could serve the Army only for about a decade as the technology and design of the tanks were on the verge of obsolescence already.

Having taken nearly 37 years to have a regiment of the indigenous tanks since the project was approved, the tanks have changed designs from a 40-tonne class vehicle with a 105-mm gun at the conception stage to 50-tonne vehicle with a 201-mm gun during production.

"For such a delay and design changes, Arjun tanks have proved to be a worthy combat vehicle for Indian deserts during the conversion trials and a third-party audit," the officer said.

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