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DRDO hands over 16 Arjun MBTs to Indian Army

Indian Army equipped itself with the first Armoured Regiment of ingeniously built Arjun Tank at a ceremony in Chennai. Credit: PTI photo

CHENNAI (PTI): The third set of 16 Arjun Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) equipped with advanced technology including enhanced firing range was handed over to the Indian Army, marking the distribution of the first Arjun Regiment.

Built by DRDO's Avadi-based Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE), which will manufacture a total of 124 Arjun MBTs at a cost of Rs 1,760 crore, the Regiment was flagged off by BrahMos Aeropsace CEO and DRDO's Chief Controller, R&D, A Sivathanu Pillai at the Heavy Vehicles Factory (HVF) near here Monday.

Of the total 124, CVRDE had already delivered 29 MBTs in two instalments till March this year. Rest of the Arjun tanks would be delivered by March 2010, Mr. Pillai said.

Director, CVRDE, S Sundaresh said Arjun MBT was a "complex weapons project and an excellent battleworthy product."

Arjun tanks can fire at a range of 3-4 km and have great mobility and are equipped with high protection facility. Fitted with 1,400 HP engine, the six-speed armoured vehicle can notch up to 70 km/h of speed and climb on a 30 degree radiant surface.

Director General Mechanised Force (DGMF), Lt Gen D Bhardwaj, who received the consignment, said the tanks were the result of lot of Research and Development (R&D).

Extensive usage cum reliability tests of the tanks were carried out between November 2007 and June 2008, he added.

The Arjun regiment will be subjected to a conversion training and field practice for a period of three months before a comparative trial with Russian T-90 tanks sometime in October 2009 to assess the operational deployment role, reports said.

Initially 12 prototypes were developed during 1983 to 1990 and they were subjected to field trials of more than 20,000 kms and 1100 rounds. Based on user feedback 15 pre-production vehicles were developed during 1990 to 1995 and they were subjected to field trials of more than 70,000 kms and 8000 rounds. After the satisfactory trials, army placed an indent initially for 15 limited series production in Nov 1997 and cumulatively 124 in Mar 2000.

The development of Arjun was carried out in a number of stages and evaluation through extensive field trials. After satisfactory performance, Army placed an indent for the full compliment of 124 nos. of MBT Arjun in Mar 2000, a Defence Ministry statement said.

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