One regiment will be equipped with MBT 'Arjun' by year-end: DRDO

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Kochi, Jul 2 (UNI) At least one regiment of the Indian Army would be equipped with indigenously built Main Battle Tank (MBT) Arjun this year, Chief Controller, R and D, DRDO, A Sivathanu Pillai said today.

Talking to newspersons on the sidelines of a function here, Dr Pillai said the DRDO had received an order for 124 tanks from the Army. Of this, 62 tanks, comprising one regiment, would be made available by this year-end.

He said the Army had made some minor recommendations after conducting ''reliability trials'' on the tanks. These changes would be incorporated and the first batch of tanks handed over to the force this year.

Dr Shivathanu said the Naval Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory here had conducted the final stage trials of the 'Torpedo Detection and Engagement System' (TDES).

The user trial of the TDES was scheduled by the year-end and if found satisfactory, the system might be incorporated by the Navy next year.

The NPOL was also working on an array of seabed surveillance equipment and the initial tests had been very positive. The arrays were being tested as part of a proposed underwater surveillance system along the entire coastline, he added.

Stating that the titanium and thorium rich sands on the Indian coasts were full of wealth, Dr Pillai said the country needed a major integrated coastal surveillance system.

Expressing satisfaction with the BRAHMOS supersonic cruise missile system, Dr Pillai said the Indian Army was the only force in the world to have a land-based supersonic cruise missile.

Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) CMD V V R Sastry, speaking on the occasion, said apart from doing contract manufacturing for companies in Europe and the US, Indian defence units were now tapping markets in Africa, South-East Asia and South Asia for indigenously produced systems, including electronics and radars.

UNI ARC SJ SR AS1849

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