The Indian Army is considering placing an order for additional Arjun main battle tanks (MBT), following the successful completion of desert trials in early March.

During the desert trials conducted by the Bikaner-based 180 Armoured Brigade, the Arjun MBT outperformed the Russian T-90 on every crucial parameter.

The new Arjun MBTs will incorporate major improvements including additional armour protection and the ability to fire anti-tank missiles, according to Business Standard.

The Indian Army is still evaluating the trial report to decide how many additional tanks should be ordered above the existing order of 124.

Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) chief controller for armaments and combat engineering S Sundaresh said that the Arjuns on order would fire anti-tank guided missiles from the main gun and provide extra protection for the tank’s crew.

“The tanks will be fitted with thermal imaging panoramic sights that allow the commander to scan the surroundings, even by night, and will incorporate at least seven other improvements over the current Arjuns,” he said.

“We had test-fired the Israeli LAHAT missile through the Arjun gun as far back as in 2005, but it will take us about six months to integrate the LAHAT’s designator into the Arjun’s fire control system.

“Initially we will fit the same Russian ERA that protects the T-90 and the T-72 but, we will also develop our own indigenous ERA.”

The addition of 2t of explosive reactive armour (ERA) will increase the weight of the vehicle to just over 60t.

Manufacturing work on the current order of 124 Arjuns will continue until 2011.