The Indian Army, world’s second biggest, will receive 124 Arjun Main Battle Tanks, solely designed and developed by the country’s defence scientists, by 2009.
An official in the Indian Defence Ministry said that five Arjun tanks have already been handed over to the Indian Army in 2005 and nine more tanks were ready for delivery. The remaining quantity was expected to be delivered by 2009.
The Indian army had placed an order for the Arjun tanks in March 2000. The tank is being manufactured at the heavy vehicle factory at Avadi in Southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
“All issues related to the production of Arjun tanks have been solved and the production is going on smoothly,” the official said.
“At present there is no proposal to take the cooperation of private sector as a joint venture. However, the private sector is involved in the project as a supplier of various components and assemblies,” the official said.
“If further improvements are required in the Arjun tanks, it will be pointed out to India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO),” he said.
The Indian Army had already pointed out some defects in the Arjun tank and wanted further improvement in the accuracy of guns and operability of the tank in temperatures over 50°C, the official said.
The Indian Army gave it requirement for the Arjun tanks in 1972. In 1982, the DRDO had announced that the prototype was ready for field trials. The tank was publicly unveiled for the first time in 1995. It is a 50t tank with a 120mm gun.