Arjun (tank): Wikis


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Arjun MBT
Arjun MBT bump track test.JPG
Arjun MBT conducting driving test on sand bums
Type Main Battle Tank
Place of origin  India
Production history
Designer CVRDE, DRDO
Designed March 1974–present
Manufacturer Heavy Vehicles Factory, Avadi
Unit cost US$3.8M (Rs 17.20 crore per system)[1]
Produced 2004–present
Number built 64+
Variants Tank EX
Weight 58.5 tonnes (57.6 long tons; 64.5 short tons)
Length 10.638 metres (34 ft 10.8 in)
Width 3.864 metres (12 ft 8.1 in)
Height 2.32 metres (7 ft 7 in)
Crew 4 (commander, gunner, loader and driver)

Armor steel/composite Kanchan armour.
120 mm rifled tank gun
LAHAT anti-tank missile
HCB 12.7 mm AA MG
Mag 7.62 mm Tk715 coaxial MG[2]
Engine MTU 838 Ka 501 diesel
1,400 hp (1,040 kW)
Power/weight 26 hp/tonne
Suspension hydropneumatic
Ground clearance 0.45 metres (1 ft 6 in)
Fuel capacity 1,610 litres (350 imp gal; 430 US gal)
450 kilometres (280 mi)[2]
Speed 72 km/h (45 mph) Road[2]

40 km/h (25 mph) Cross country[2]

Arjun (Sanskrit: अर्जुन) is a main battle tank developed by India's largest defense contractor, the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), for the Indian Army. The tank is named after Arjun, one of the main characters of the Indian epic poem, the Mahabharata.

Although the development of the tank began in 1972 by the Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE),[3] it was only in 1996 that the Indian government decided to mass produce the tank at DRDO's facility in Avadi.[4] However, the first five units were not delivered until 2004.[5] Meanwhile, the delays and failures from 1990s to 2000s in the Arjun project prompted the Indian Army to order vast numbers of T-90S tanks from Russia to meet the defense needs that the Arjun had been expected to fulfill.[4][6] In 2008 reports suggest that Indian army is "satisfied" with the performance of Arjun. After the Winter 2008 trials, the Indian Army chief, wrote to the defense ministry appreciating the tank's performance. In the letter he stated that "the tank was subjected to the most strenuous of tests and it performed 'admirably' well".[7]

The Arjun features a 120 mm main rifled gun with indigenously developed APFSDS ammunition which has capability of defeating superior armor, one 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun, and a 12.7 mm machine gun. It is powered by a single MTU multi-fuel diesel engine rated at 1,400 hp, and can achieve a maximum speed of 70 km/h (43 mph) and a cross-country speed of 40 km/h (25 mph). It has a 4-man crew: commander, gunner, loader and driver. Automatic fire detection and suppression, and NBC protection systems are provided. All-round anti-tank warhead protection by the newly developed Kanchan armour is claimed to be much higher than available in present third generation tanks.[4]



Initial plans and development

Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), with Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE) as the main laboratory, was tasked with developing the hull, armor, turret, running gear and gun, with the powerpack being bought from abroad.[8]

Despite DRDO's attempts at indigenization, the Arjun relied heavily on foreign components and technology. DRDO received major design assistance from Krauss Maffei, the developer of the German Leopard 2 tank, and several other German firms. As a result, Arjun's design is very similar to that of Leopard 2A4 tank.[9] 50% of the tank's components are imported, which include the engine, transmission, gun barrel, tracks, and fire control system.[10] Recent reports from India indicate that the Russian T-90S will form the mainstay of its future force, despite that tank’s performance issues in hot weather. At the same time, the Indian Army wants to cap production of indigenous Arjun tanks to 124 units, due to repeated trial failures and vast budget overruns.[11]

The Arjun project has experienced serious budget overruns and repeated delays that resulted in a protracted development time of more than 37 years. While the government sanctioned Rs. 15.5 Crore for the initial part of the programme in May 1974,[8] by 1995, DRDO had spent Rs. 300 Crore, due to changing requirements and inflationary cost increases.[12] This was one of the highest over-run by percentage for any DRDO project.[13]


The Indian Army ordered 124 Arjuns in 2000.[14] The first five were delivered to the army in August 2004. The cost of 124 Arjun MBT will be around $471.2 million.[1]

Maiden Regiment

In May 2009 the Indian Army raised its maiden Arjun regiment. The army received 16 tanks from Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE), Avadi, Tamil Nadu, taking the number of tanks delivered so far to 45. The Arjun will be pitted against the Russian T-90S during trial exercises in October-November 2009 to assess its operational capabilities.[15][16]

W. Selvamurthy, chief controller of research and development at the DRDO said "These 124 tanks are in various stages of production. All of them will get inducted into the armed forces in March and April ... Other organisations are also giving us orders", adding that a few tanks have already been handed over.[17]

Latest Development

Arjun Tank model

DRDO is continuing to develop some new technology systems for MBT Arjun.[10]

  1. Automatic target locating, tracking and destruction.[10]
  2. DRDO is developing the Tank Urban Survival Kit which is a series of improvements to the Arjun intended to improve fighting ability in urban environments which includes defensive aids like laser warning, IR jammer, and aerosol smoke grenade system.[18][19]
  3. CVRDE is in the process of developing tank simulators.[10]
  4. DRDO is developing a Laser Warning Control System (LWCS) in cooperation with Elbit Limited of Israel to be equipped on the Arjun at regimental level trials with T-90s. The MCS is being developed by DRDO to help the tank reduce the threat of interference from all types of sensors and smart munitions of the enemy in the tank's systems. LWCS includes laser warning system, Infra Red jammers and aerosol grenade smokes, and will help reduce the signatures of the tank in the battle field and help it improve its survivability. DRDO is also co-developing the and Mobile Camouflaging System (MCS) technology along with a Gurgaon-based private sector defence manufacturer Barracuda Camouflaging Limited.
  1. A new improved 1500 hp engine.[20][21]
  1. DRDO also plans to develop robotic that will work on tele-linking Arjuns in addition to make the tracking of targets automatic.[10]
  1. An anti-helicopter round is under development as well.[4]


Weighing in at 58.5 tons, the Arjun tank is significantly heavier than the Soviet-legacy tanks used presently by the Indian Army, and requires changes to the army's logistics establishment, including new rail cars to transport the bigger and heavier Arjuns. The required logistical changes are also being made but the cost of the whole project is very expensive.



Armed with a 120 mm rifled gun, the Arjun is believed to be capable of firing APFSDS (Kinetic Energy) rounds, HE, HEAT, High Explosive Squash Head (HESH) rounds at the rate of 6-8 rounds per minute and the Israeli semi-active laser guided LAHAT missile. The LAHAT, developed in Israel, is a gun-launched missile and is designed to defeat both enemy armor and enemy combat helicopters. In addition, it is armed with a 12.7 mm AA machine gun and a 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun.[22] The Arjun can carry 39 rounds in special blast-proof canisters. The Arjun uses a manual loader and has a crewman to reload the gun.

The Arjun's rifled main gun is a rarity, main battle tanks of most other countries have smoothbore guns as standard. The British Challenger 2 is the only other MBT equipped with a rifled gun.

Fire control and Navigation

Fire control and navigation technologies are provided by Elbit, an Israeli defence company. The Fire Control System is stabilised on two axes, and with an extremely high hit probability (design criteria call for a greater than 0.9 Pk) replaces an earlier analogue one, which had problems due to its inability to function under the harsh desert conditions. However, the new fire control system also frequently malfunctions when subjected to temperatures greater than 42 degrees Celsius.[23] The combined day sight from Bharat Electronics Ltd. and the thermal imager (formerly from Sagem, now reported to be from El-Op) constitute the gunner's primary sight. The first batch of tanks of the 124 ordered by the Army will have an all-digital Sagem FCS, whereas the second block will have the BEL unit, which will be used for all units thereafter. The commander's own stabilised panoramic sight allows him to engage targets and/or hand them over to the gunner. The Arjun has an auxiliary power unit to operate weapon systems in silent watch mode as well.

The tank incorporates GPS based navigation systems and sophisticated frequency hopping radios. The state-of-the-art Battlefield Management System, co-developed by DRDO and Ebit Israel, allows it to network with other fighting units. The Arjun has the capability to network with other tanks, thanks to its Battle Management System. In a search and engage operation, several Arjun tanks can monitor an opponent and his moves, and try to eliminate him in a chase or ambush.

DRDO have completed Visualisation with Enhanced Digital Elevation Model and Soil Profile Analysis for MBT Arjun Simulator (VEDSAR). It will provide the Army with information on the shortest possible distance between two points, and the kind of obstacles present on the terrain.[24]


The turret and glacis are heavily armoured and use "Kanchan" ("gold") modular composite armour. The Kanchan Armor got its name from Kanchan Bagh, Hyderabad, where the Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL) is located.[25] The armour is made by sandwiching composite panels between Rolled Homogenous Armor (RHA) to defeat APFDS or HEAT rounds. During the trials in 2000 ,the Kanchan was able to withstand a hit from a T-72 at point blank range, and was able to defeat all available HESH and FSAPDS rounds, which included the Israeli FSAPDS rounds.[25] A new honeycomb design non-explosive and non-energetic reactive armour (NERA) armour is reportedly being tested on the Arjun.[26]


The engine and transmission are provided by German companies MTU and Renk respectively.[27] The water-cooled engine generates 1,400 hp and is integrated with an Indian turbocharger and epicyclic train gearbox with four forward and 2 reverse gears.[28] A local transmission is under trials and will envisions to ultimately replace the Renk-supplied unit.[27] The tracks which were being supplied by German company Diehl are now being manufactured by L & T, an Indian company.[27] The cooling pack has been designed for desert operations. The Arjun has a lower ground pressure than the lighter T-72, due to its design.[27]

The Arjun has a state-of-the-art hydro-pneumatic suspension.[29] This coupled with the Arjun's stabilisation and fire control system allows the tank superb first-hit probability against moving targets while on the move.[29] Its ride comfort is highly praised.[29] Though on the negative side, it is a more maintenance-intensive and expensive system, even if more capable than the simpler and cheaper torsion bar system utilized on many older tanks worldwide.[30] During trials, the Arjun showcased its fording capability, by driving under 6 feet of water for 20 minutes.[31]

A new 1500 hp engine is being developed that will eventually replace the present engine. An allocation of 40 crore Rupees has been allocated for the project which is expected to be completed within five years.[32]

Trials and exercise


Two prototypes underwent automotive trials, which revealed major deficiencies in mobility, engine, and transmission.[33]


Several prototypes underwent extensive mobility and armament trials, which took place in 1996 and 1997.[33] The Army found the performance of the prototypes below the acceptable standards and listed deficiencies in the following areas:[33]

  1. accuracy of gun at battle ranges
  2. mission reliability
  3. lethality of ammunition
  4. containerisation of ammunition bin
  5. emergency traverse
  6. fire control system unable to function in temperatures above 42 degrees Celsius (108 degrees Fahrenheit).

July 2005

During the summer trials in 2005, it was reported that the Arjun suffered major problems with its main gun sight, suspension system, and fire control system. Moreover, engine failures occurred commonly in temperatures averaging 55-60 degrees Celsius.[34]

Summer 2006

There are conflicting accounts of Arjun's trial results in 2006. In 2007, Major General H.M. Singh, a director in charge of trial and evaluation, said that the last year's user field trial report had certified that the accuracy and consistency of the weapon system was proved beyond doubt."[35][36] However, the 2006 army trial results showed that "the decade-old problems of overheating persist" and that "tank’s main subsystems, the fire control system (FCS) and integrated gunner’s main sight, which includes a thermal imager and laser range-finder, are rendered erratic and useless by the Arjun’s abnormally high peak internal temperature, which moves well beyond 55 degrees Celsius. This is in testimony to the Parliamentary committee."[37]

Exercise 2007

The Arjun tank was fielded during the Ashwamedha exercise in the deserts of Rajasthan.[38] The army was extremely unhappy with the tank, citing 14 defects that included "deficient fire control system", "inaccuracy of its guns", "low speeds in tactical areas" and "inability to operate over 50 degrees Celsius".[39] "The Army is now faced with a troubling prospect: inducting a lumbering, misfiring, vintage design tank like the Arjun, and that, too, in large numbers".[37] This, after DRDO over-shot Arjun’s project deadline by 16 years — from 1984 to 1995, finally closing the project only in 2000 — and the cost over-run is almost 20 times the original estimate. This is the highest percentage over-run for any DRDO project.[37]

September 2007 winter trials

Starting with the September 2007 winter trials, the Indian army deemed Arjun's performance unsatisfactory, including at least four engine failures.[40]

DRDO, on the other hand, insisted the tank was a viable choice for adoption and suggested the unsatisfactory performance of the engine during the winter trials was due to sabotage.[6]

2008 summer trials

Arjun MBT bump track test

Auxiliary User Cum reliability trials (AUCRT) of the Arjun MBT was conducted from September 2007 to summer of 2008. In a report to the Parliamentary standing committee the Indian army deemed Arjun's performance unsatisfactory, including four engine failures within only 1000 kilometers.[41] The defense minister presented this report before the parliament, later published by Press Information Bureau Government of India (PIB).[42]

The Army wrote in the report that during the "accelerated user-cum-reliability trials" in 2008, the Arjun "was found to have failure of power packs, low accuracy and consistency, failure of hydropneumatic suspension units, shearing of top rollers and chipping of gun barrels".[12] Sabotage was suspected, but the Army rejected that any sabotage happened during the trials.[6][43] A later report published by the Government of India during the induction ceremony of the Arjun tank, confirms the success of the trial. "An independent evaluation of the tank by a reputed tank manufacturer found that the MBT Arjun is an excellent tank with very good mobility and fire power characteristics."[44]

DRDO has installed a black box-like instrument in the Arjun, following attempts to "sabotage" its engine. The instrument was installed after the Indian Army termed the September 2007 winter trials of the Arjun tank a "failure". Attempts to sabotage the trials of the Arjun tank have failed after the black box was installed, said authorities.[45]

T-90 ordered in bulk, Arjun order capped

In September 2008, the Indian Army signed a deal with Russia to import 347 T-90 tanks and license build a further 1000.[46][47][48] Transfer of key T-90 technologies has also been agreed upon as a part of the deal.[49][50][51]

In 2008, the Indian Army announced plans to acquire an entirely new main battle tank unrelated to the Arjun, to be inducted after 2020.[52] The Indian Army has held an "international seminar on future MBTs", during which the parameters and requirements of this future MBT were identified.[52] As a result, Russia has offered to team with India on developing this future tank.[53][54] These developments do not bode well for the future of the Arjun project.[55][56]

According to Jane's, the Indian Army has confirmed that the Arjun's production will be capped at 124 units. Lt General Dalip Bharadwaj, the Director General for the Mechanized Infantry, said that "Army will place no more orders for Arjun beyond 124 that was already contracted", because the "Army is now looking 20 years ahead and wants a futuristic MBT."[6][57]

Later in the year 2009, during the handing over of Arjun tanks, he said that the joint effort and the will to succeed against odds displayed by various agencies in putting out MBT Arjun proved to the world that India was a force to reckon with when it came to weapon design capabilities. The Army, which was proud to possess the tank, was confident that MBT Arjun would rank among the best tanks in the world.[58]

Winter 2008

According to the transcript of the testimony to the Indian Parliament by the Defense Minister, the Arjun's latest defects have been rectified "periodically", and the army has "categorically" indicated Arjun's performance as satisfactory. 124 Arjun tanks will be inducted into the army, "one regiment by the end of this year (2008) and the next regiment by the summer of next year (2009)". The Arjun is to undergo comparative trials against the Indian Army's Russian-built T-90 tanks in June 2009.[59] This is seen as a desperate, last-ditch effort to save the Arjun project, which requires an order of at least 500 units to make it feasible.[59] Retired Lt. Col. Anil Bhat, a strategic analyst, pointed out that “the Arjun tank is cumbersome for strategic movement, i.e. to be taken from one sector to another. It is too wide and too heavy to be moved in the railway carriages that we have in India. The comparative trials are just an eyewash as Arjun can be compared to T-90" owing to the different weight class of both tanks.[59] This comment by Lt. Col. Anil Bhat was made without realizing that Arjun specific rail wagons have already been inducted in 2006.[60] Recent reports suggest that Indian army is "satisfied" with the performance of Arjun. After the Winter 2008 trials, the Indian Army chief, wrote to the defense ministry appreciating the tank's performance. In the letter he stated that "the tank was subjected to the most strenuous of tests and it performed 'admirably' well".[7]


  • A 155 mm self-propelled howitzer variant of the Arjun (labelled 'Bhima') has been prototyped by fitting the South African Denel T6 turret, which comes with the G5 howitzer to the Arjun chassis. This project has been delayed as DENEL has become embroiled in a corruption scandal in India, and hence the Indian Ministry of Defence has suspended the Bhim.
  • A bridge layer tank (BLT) based on the Arjun chassis has also been displayed by the DRDO.[61] Developed in cooperation with Indian industry, this bridge layer is deemed superior to the T-72 based units, as it can handle a larger load and uses a "scissors type" bridgelaying method, which does not raise the bridge high up into the air, and hence make it visible from afar. India’s main battle tank, Arjun, has taken the “avatar” of a bridge laying tank (BLT). The R&DE(E) did this by replacing the tank’s gun and turret with the bridge launcher. The bridge is cantilevered over chasms or across rivers to cover a distance of 26 m with a width of 4 m. The BLT-Arjun carries two halves of a bridge. At a wet or dry gap, the launcher slides the two parts and docks them to each other in such a way that the far end of the second half touches the other bank. The BLT then crosses the bridge, turns around, retrieves the bridge after undocking its two halves, folds it and is ready to move with the armoured column.[62]
  • Armoured engineering vehicles based on the Arjun are also assumed to be in development, as the Arjun induction will require units of a similar power to weight ratio or powerful enough to tow it, or recover it on the battlefield.
  • Tank EX: A new tank obtained by coupling a T-90 chassis and an Arjun turret. Only prototypes have been built so far.


See also

Related development

Related lists


  1. ^ a b India, Frontier. "Indian MoD outlines roadmap for MBT Arjun, Mark II in pipeline | Frontier India Strategic and Defence - News, Analysis, Opinion". Retrieved 2010-02-07. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Arjun specifications
  3. ^ Arjun Mk I' - India's MBT-70 or White Elephant
  4. ^ a b c d Arjun
  5. ^ System failures stall Arjun trials Jane's
  6. ^ a b c d No more Arjuns for Indian Army Times of India
  7. ^ a b Army takes a U-turn on Arjun tank
  8. ^ a b Smith, Chris. India's Ad hoc Arsenal: Direction or Drift in Defence Policy?. Sipri. pp. 148–151. ISBN 978-0198291688.,M1. Retrieved 2008-04-23. 
  9. ^ Specifications
  10. ^ a b c d e "DRDO Plans To Incorporate Hi-Tech Technology Systems In Arjun Battle Tank". Retrieved 2010-02-07. 
  11. ^ India Plans to Cap Arjun Tank Production Defense Industry Daily
  12. ^ a b Government of India (2008-05-05). "Arjun Battle Tank". Press release. Retrieved 2008-10-02. 
  13. ^ Ranjan, Amitav (2006-11-27). "Arjun, Main Battle Tanked". Indian Express. Retrieved 2008-10-02. 
  14. ^ "Indian Army to receive 124 Arjun tanks by 2009,Security Issues, News Analysis, India News Online". 2007-05-14. Retrieved 2010-02-07. 
  15. ^ "Arjun rumbles to life, Army raises maiden regiment" Hindustan Times, May 26, 2009
  16. ^ Bedi, Rahul (2005-09-21). "System failures stall Arjun trials". Jane's Information Group. Retrieved 2008-10-02. (subscription required)
  17. ^ TNN, 27 October 2009, 05:49am IST (2009-10-27). "Army to get 124 Arjun tanks in six months - Pune - City - The Times of India". Retrieved 2010-02-07. 
  18. ^ "Defensive Aid Systems for Arjun MBT Ready: DRDO". India Defence. 2009-10-03. Retrieved 2010-02-07. 
  19. ^ "Arjun Tank’s Defensive Systems To Undergo Trials". India Defence Online. 2009-04-06. Retrieved 2010-02-07. 
  20. ^ "Indian Arjun Mk II & III Main Battle Tank". Retrieved 2010-02-07. 
  21. ^ "Land Forces Site - Arjun". Bharat Rakshak. 2001-03-07. Retrieved 2010-02-07. 
  22. ^ Main Battle Tank, Arjun, Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO), Ministry of Defense, India
  23. ^ Federation of American Scientists ( Arjun.
  24. ^ [1]
  25. ^ a b Frontier India, The Kanchan armour
  26. ^ INDIADEFENCE, Indian Army to Acquire 124 Arjun MBTs By 2009: Defence Ministry
  27. ^ a b c d India Defence Arjun MBT
  28. ^ "Arjun". Retrieved 2010-02-07. 
  29. ^ a b c DRDO Arjun page
  30. ^ Hydro Pneumatic Suspensions
  31. ^ Indian Army to take all 14 MBT Arjun tanks for trial by September End
  32. ^ DRDO, 1500 HP engine development
  33. ^ a b c Arjun Development Program
  34. ^ System failures stall Arjun trials
  35. ^ Fourteen Arjun main battle tanks delivered to the Army
  36. ^ Armed forces prefer Russian armour
  37. ^ a b c Arjun, Main Battle Tanked
  38. ^ Arjun MBT to Participate in Indian Army Desert War Games
  39. ^ Indian Army unsure about Arjun tank's role
  40. ^ Indian Army sounds indigenous battle tank's death knell,
  41. ^ "Arjun tank fails winter trials, Army Chief writes to Antony". The Indian Express. 2008-04-17. Retrieved 2008-10-02. 
  42. ^ Government of India, Ministry of Defence (2008-05-05). "Arjun Battle Tank". Press release. Retrieved 2008-10-02. 
  43. ^ Thaindian News, Sabotage suspected in Arjun tank engine; black box installed
  44. ^ Army gets its first armoured regiment of MBT Arjun
  45. ^ "Sabotage suspected in Arjun tank engine; black box installed,Security Issues, News Analysis, India News Online". 2008-07-21. Retrieved 2010-02-07. 
  46. ^ Defence ties with Russia extended by another 10 yrs
  47. ^ All dressed up and no Takers
  48. ^ Indian army wants to add another 1000 T-90 tanks by 2020
  49. ^ India, Russia to step up strategic ties
  50. ^ Russia and India agree to transfer of key technology for T-90 tanks
  51. ^ India buying 347 Russian T-90 tanks
  52. ^ a b "India sets in motion plans to build futuristic tanks". India Times. 2008-07-22. Retrieved 2008-09-30. 
  53. ^ Jane's Defence News, Russia offers to team with India on new MBT.
  54. ^ Kommersant, Russia, India Negotiate Smart Tank Creation.
  55. ^ Business Standard, India`s future tank nowhere in sight
  56. ^ India plans to cap Arjun tank production
  57. ^ Indian Army abandons plans to order more Arjuns
  58. ^ Thrust on scaling up indigenous content of military arsenal
  59. ^ a b c A last bid to save the Arjun
  60. ^ BFAT wagons inducted into Army
  61. ^ Image of the Arjun BLT
  62. ^ [2]

External links


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