Saturday, July 9, 2011
1:36 AM ASIAN DEFENCE No comments
he much-maligned Arjun Main Battle Tank is poised to get a fresh lease of life, with the Indian Army set to order 248 more of India's first indigenously-built tanks, a decision that will also give a much-needed shot in the arm to the country's beleaguered tank fleet. "We are definitely expecting more orders, at least a minimum of 248 tanks of the Mark-II version. The Ordnance Factory Board has been instructed by the ministry of defence to initiate action for the procurement of the Mark-II version," P. Sivakumar , director, Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment, told.
The order, which could be placed in late-2011 itself, will come as a huge boost to the Arjun production line at the Heavy Vehicles Factory at Avadhi, on the outskirts of Chennai, as the same was expected to be terminated due to a lack of interest shown by the Indian Army. So far, the Army has placed an order for 248 tanks of the Mark-I and Mark-II versions. The Mark-II version of the Arjun MBT is currently undergoing its critical summer trials in Pokhran, Rajasthan , conducted by the country's nodal defence lab, DRDO, while the winter trials are expected to take place later in the year.