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Indian Army to order more Arjuns tanks after trials

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NEW DELHI (PTI): The Army is likely to place more orders for indigenous DRDO-developed Arjun tanks after completion of the comparative trials it would be put through with the Russian-origin T-90 tanks later this year.

"After completion of the comparative trials between Arjun and T-90s. We are waiting for it. Then we will decide on future orders (of Arjun for the Army)," Defence Production Secretary R K Singh told reporters here on Friday.

Both the tanks would be put through tests to record their performances in various weather, terrain and night-and-day conditions to determine which one of them is effective in the middle of this year.

The Army, which is at present looking for a futuristic main battle tank for induction and operation after 2020, has already indicated that it would not place any more orders for Arjun apart from the 124 already ordered in 2004.

"The Request for Proposals (as tenders are called in defence parlance) does not state that the orders will be restricted to the 124 tanks," Singh said to a question in this regard.

In the last couple of years, the Avadi-based Heavy Vehicles Factory (HVF) delivered a total of 45 tanks to the Army to complete a regiment, which is undergoing conversion trials by personnel at present.

Singh said both Arjuns and T-90s were "good" tanks in their own class and that the former's performance was found to be good, when he visited HVF to witness the tank's production and operation.
Singh said the two tanks were meant for replacing the older vintage tanks such as the T-55s and the T-72s that were inducted into the Army several decades ago.

Arjun, one of DRDO's oldest projects, has taken over three-and-half decade to complete, forcing the Army to place orders for nearly 1,500 T-90s from Russia and also for indigenous production through transfer of technology.

The Army also indicated that Arjun's technology would be obsolete by 2020 and that to use the tank for only a decade would not be worth the effort as it was already looking at a futuristic tank that it could use beyond the next decade.

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