Ministry of Defence (MoD) placed an order with Heavy Vehicles Factory (VHF), Avadi, Chennai for the supply of 118 Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) Arjun Mk-1A for the Indian Army on September 23, 2021. The order, worth Rs 7,523 crore, will provide a further boost to the ‘Make in India’ initiative in the defence sector and is a big step towards achieving ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’, envisioned by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. It may be recalled that the Prime Minister had handed over the MBT Arjun Mk-1A to Chief of Army Staff General M M Naravane in Chennai on February 14, 2021.
The state-of-the-art MBT Mk-1A is a new variant of Arjun Tank designed to enhance firepower, mobility and survivability. Infused with 72 new features and more indigenous content from the Mk-1 variant, the tank would ensure effortless mobility in all terrains, besides precise target engagement during day and night. It has been designed and developed by Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) by incorporating numerous upgrades on Arjun MBT, the in-service main battle tank with the Indian Army.
The MK-1A is equipped with accurate & superior firepower, all-terrain mobility and invincible multi-layered protection provided by an array of advanced technology systems. It can take on the enemy during day & night conditions and in both static & dynamic modes. By these capabilities, this indigenous MBT proves to be at par with any contemporary in its class across the globe. This tank is particularly configured and designed for Indian conditions and hence it is suitable for deployment to protect the frontiers effectively.
This production order to VHF, Avadi opens up a large avenue in defence manufacturing for over 200 Indian vendors including MSMEs, with employment opportunities for around 8,000 people. This will be a flagship project showcasing the indigenous capability in cutting edge defence technologies.
The MBT Arjun Mk-1A has been designed & developed by Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE), along with other laboratories of DRDO within two years (2010-12). The development activities commenced in June 2010 and the tank was fielded for user trials in June 2012. It took only two years to develop and field the MBT Arjun Mk-1A for user trials from the user requirement. The extensive trial evaluation was conducted in various phases covering 7000+ km (both in DRDO and user trials) of the automotive and substantial firing of various ammunitions during 2012-2015.