Indian Arjun MK1A tank more expensive than T-90, but way better

The Indian Ministry of Defense has spent more than 1 billion USD to order 118 Arjun Mk-1A tanks. Observers said that India’s willingness to spend up to $ 8.6 million for a domestic tank is to promote the development defence weapons in the country.

According to the terms of the contract, within 30 months from the date of the deal signed, the first 5 Arjun Mk-1A tanks will be handed over to the army of this country. Then, in the next two years, about 40 units will be delivered each year.

“The 118 Arjun Mk-1A main battle tanks will strengthen the arsenal of the Indian Army, they will go hand in hand with the T-72, T-90s tanks and the base version of the Arjun tanks already available. “, said the Indian Ministry of Defence.

The Indian Army Chief General Manoj Mukund emphasized that India’s tank units need to be upgraded and re-equipped with modern tanks.

The contract to buy 118 main battle tanks was signed at the end of August 2021, after India’s tank development program was approved by the Defense Procurement Commission of India.

The Arjun Mk-1A tank is an upgraded version of the Arjun Mk-1, they are applied many technologies of the Arjun Mk-2 version under development.

Arjun MK1A during defexpo

The superior armour defeating capability of the indigenously developed Fin Stabilized Armour Piercing Discarding Sabot (FSAPDS) ammunition and 120 mm calibre rifled gun give MBT ARJUN an edge over contemporary world tanks. A computer-controlled integrated fire control system incorporating day-cum-night stabilized sighting system guarantees a very high first round hit probability and reduced reaction time to bring effective fire on targets.

The stabilization system for the main armament, slaved to the sighting equipment in elevation and azimuth, with a high and accurate laying speed, allows fire on the move.

The superior fire power of MBT is based on:

The rifled 120 mm ARJUN gun together with the newly developed super velocity ammunition, can defeat any contemporary armour used in tanks. The electro-slag refined gun steel tube is autofrettaged to withstand higher gas pressures. A thermal jacket prevents irregular temperature distribution on to the tube due to the weather influences.

A co-axial 7.62 mm machine gun for anti-personnel and a 12.7 mm machine gun for anti-aircraft and ground targets are provided as secondary weapons.

Gunner’s Main Sight consists of a day-sight, thermal sight, a laser range finder and a stabilized head common to all the three channels. The common sighting head mirror is stabilized in elevation and azimuth. The day- sight provides dual magnification.

Arjun mk1a along with T-90S and BMP-2
Arjun mk1a along with T-90S and BMP-2

The thermal imager provides night vision facility to the gunner and the commander to observe and engage target in total darkness and in the presence of smoke, dust, haze and light camouflage. Integral with the main sight is the laser range finder by which targets can be ranged accurately.

Commander’s panoramic sight enables the commander to effect an all round surveillance in the battlefield without removing his eyes from the sight and without being disturbed by the turret motion. The field of view is stabilized with the help of a two axes rate gyro-mounted on the platform of the head mirror. The sight offers dual magnification.

Two types of ammunition, viz, FSAPDS and HESH have been developed for this armament. The highly lethal FSAPDS ammunition which is the main battle ammunition of the tank has accounted itself admirably during the trails. In addition, the anti-helicopter round to combat the air threat to armour is also under development.

Low ground pressure, high power-to-weight ratio and new design concepts in transmission suspension and running gear result in highly mobile and agile weapon platform.

The remarkable mobility of MBT which also adds to its protection is the result of:

Due to the high power-to-weight ratio and low specific ground pressure, MBT is fast, highly maneuverable and extremely mobile to cross the most difficult terrain with ease. High acceleration rapid braking capabilities with excellent steering characteristics make MBT agile in the battlefield. Adequate fuel storage capacity and relatively low fuel consumption allow for an optimal operational range.

Arjun MK1A during R-day parade
Arjun MK1A during R-day parade

An important criterion for the mobility of any AFV is the effective performance of the driver. Excellent vision systems both for day and night provide most effective means of observation in all battlefield conditions. The need to keep the crew’s fatigue including that of driver at the minimum level over long periods of continuous operation, have been taken care of.

All round protection from anti-tank ammunition is achieved by t~e newly developed KANCHAN armour to a degree much higher than available in present generation tanks. The high degree of immunity is achieved by.

  • Fire Power
    • Accurate and fast target acquisition capability during day and night and in all types of weather .
    • Shortest possible reaction time during combat engagements .
    • Ability to accurately engage targets on move .
    • Capability to destroy all possible enemy armour at maximum battle ranges
    • Excellent first hit probability
  • Main Armament
  • Secondary Armament
  • Gunner’s Main Sight
  • Panoramic Sight for Commander
  • Ammunition
  • Mobility
    • High performance engine
    • Robust and effective transmission system particularly flexible hydropneumatic suspension .
    • Optimized running gear with its high shock energy absorption.
  • Protection
    • The computerised design and simulation .
    • A fabricated turret housing lightweight compact KANCHAN armour.
    • Careful dimensioning of wall through optimal slopes and angles .
    • A low silhouette.

According to DRDO due to the new suspension, Arjun mk1a provides excellent ride comfort for the crew eliminating fatigue even on the extended runs.

However, With the new upgrade packages, the mass of the Arjun Mk-1A tank increases to 68 tons, much heavier than the 58.5 tons of the standard Arjun version.

The volume of the tank increases, but thanks to being equipped with a diesel engine with a large capacity of 1,500 horsepower, the tank can still reach a maximum speed of 70km/h.

With the cost of each Arjun Mk-1A up to more than $ 8.6 million, among the most expensive tanks in the world today. This unit price is more expensive than both the T-90 tank ($6.2 million) and the US M1A2 Abrams ($7.8 million).

However, due to the small production volume, many advanced electronic components of the tank are still imported, so the high unit price of an Arjun Mk-1A is understandable.

The Indian Ministry of Defense hopes that the order of 118 new tanks will create about 8,000 new jobs for the people of this country, will attract the participation of about 200 suppliers and promote the science and technology industry. domestic military.


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