Indian Army will soon have 118 indigenous Arjun Mk-1A Main Battle Tanks in its fleet. On Tuesday (February 23, 2021) the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by defence minister Rajnath Singh gave its approval to the Indian Army’s proposal to buy 118 Arjun Mark 1-A ‘Hunter Killers’. According to sources, the Indian Army will soon issue the Request for Proposal (RFP) to the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), for 118 Arjun Mk-1A Main Battle Tanks. It will be at least a year before the process is finalized and the contract is inked.
This will be the second biggest contract for the indigenously manufactured platforms for the Indian Armed Forces this year. The first was the recently signed deal for 83 Light Combat Aircraft `Tejas’ between Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Ministry of Defence for the Indian Air Force (IAF).
What was announced?
The proposal worth Rs 8,380-crore for the Indian Army was given the Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) by the DAC.
According to the statement which puts the three AoNs in the highest priority category of defence acquisition, it states, “Three AoNs for an overall cost of Rs 13,700 crore were accorded. And, these will be indigenously designed, developed and manufactured.”
Though no specific platforms were mentioned in the official statement, according to sources, the approvals are for 118 main battle tanks, and equipping the armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs) with modern protection and countermeasure systems.
The protection systems for the army’s fleet of more than 3,000 AFVs (tanks and infantry combat vehicles) is expected to cost around Rs 5,300 crore.
The order for the MBT `Arjun’ is expected to be placed with the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) soon. And once the deal is firmed up around five tanks are expected to be rolled out in 30 months and thereafter 30 tanks every year.
More about the 118 indigenous Arjun Mk-1A Main Battle Tanks
The approval was given for Arjun Mk-1A MBT, which is an upgraded version of the Arjun Mk-1 which the Indian Army is using presently.
The new version of the Arjun will come with 71 upgrades, including 14 major improvements. These upgrades are expected to significantly improve not only the tank’s lethality, also its mobility and survivability.