Army's no to DRDO proposal for joint inspection of Arjun tank

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New Delhi, Jul 20 (UNI) India's indegeniously built main battle tank (MBT) Arjun continues to be dogged by controversies.

In a latest development which indicates worsening of the relations between the Armed Forces and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the Army has rejected a proposal of the research organisation to hold joint inspections of the MBT after test trials, a Defence Ministry source said quoting a letter written by the Army.

The Army's decision comes close on the heels of allegations that the tank's engine was sabotaged during the test runs to project 'Arjun' as a weak platform as compared to Russian T-90 MBTs being bought to replace T-72s.

The DRDO had recently disclosed that Arjun tanks were run on full speed in first and second gears for over a thousand kilometers to damage the German engine which propels the MBT.

The Army top brass has already announced its decision to buy only 124 Arjun tanks. The DRDO has spent crores of rupees on the development of the MBT.

The Army, meanwhile, has also rejectd a DRDO proposal to pitch Arjun against T-90 tanks in test runs.

Under a USD 795 million deal, 310 T-90 tanks were procured from Russia.

In 2007, the Army gave a fresh order to buy an additional 330 T-90s and there are plans to license produce another 1,000 by 2020 at Indian facilities.

Fourteen Arjun tanks were handed over to the Indian Army for user trials last year, but were returned to the Combat Vehicles Development Establishment (CVDE) with a list of defects, including deficient engine and fire control system, inaccuracy of its guns, low speeds in tactical areas and the tank's inability to operate in temperatures above 50 degrees Celsius.

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