New Delhi, May 17 : Defence minister A.K. Antony has reportedly asked the Army to study objectively the reports of the trials of the Arjun tanks during the recent exercises and has ruled out abandonment of the project, sources have said.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) authorities had met Antony and informed him that small glitches that cropped up in the tank's winter trials were being blown out of proportion, they added.
The DRDO said that problems encountered during the winter trials have been overcome and Arjun tanks were doing well in the trials being conducted in deserts at present.
"Tank's firing was on target and very reliable and accurate. Not a single barrel of the main gun of the Arjun tank had burst while the T-90s had seen five-barrel bursts and many more in the T-72s," sources quoted DRDO authorities, as saying. Both are in service with the Indian Army.
The Defence Minister was informed that the small problem in the German company Renk's gearbox had been sorted out with the introduction of appropriate software. The same company supplies gearboxes to leading tank manufacturers across the globe.
The presentation made by the Army before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence has been contested, according to reports.
The parliamentary committee submitted its report last month and it had quoted the Army authorities as saying the Arjun tank was way below its expectations.
Sources said the DRDO officials did a point-to-point comparison of the Arjun tank with the T-90 tank before the Defence Minister and other senior functionaries in the Ministry of Defence.
On the issue of the Arjun tank being heavy, the DRDO officials said that it was accepted from the beginning that both light and heavy tanks were needed for battles on varied terrains.
"The weight of the Arjun is not a constraint, it rather runs faster and crosses the marshy terrain, small rivers and other obstacles. The weight is not the issue.
All major tanks of the US, Israel, Germany, the UK and France weigh about 60 tonnes each like the Arjun, an officer of the DRDO told the ANI.