New Delhi, May 25 (ANI): With the delivery of 16 indigenously built Arjun main battle tank (MBT) to the Indian Army today, the combat vehicle is now ready for comparative trials with Russian T-90 tanks.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation handed sixteen tanks (cumulative 45 Arjun tanks) to Lt. Gen. D. Bhardwaj, Director General Mechanised Force (DGMF), for formation of the first Arjun regiment at a function in Avadi today.
"The regiment of 45 tanks will be subjected to a conversion training and field practice for a period of three months. Thereafter, the Army is planning to conduct a comparative trial with T 90 tanks in October or November 2009 to assess the operational deployment role of the tanks. The present batch of 124 tanks will be delivered by March 2010," a Defence Ministry official told ANI.
The trials could deliver the final verdict on the combat vehicle, which took 35 years of research in self-reliance by dedicated Indian scientists against all odds, costing over Rs. 300 crore.
The DRDO has been demanding for the comparative trials of Arjun with T-90 tanks, which is being seen as an effort to meet criticism against the indigenous combat vehicle. Around 500 tanks would need to be manufactured to make the project successful.
The Army has made it clear that it will buy no more than the 124 Arjuns tanks that it has contracted for because it is unhappy with the tank on various counts.
"The Army cleared the acquisition of Arjun tanks after it carried out the Accelerated Usage Cum Reliability Trials (AUCRT) in five phases on two tanks from November 2007 to August 2008 covering more than 8000 km and 800 rounds of firing in each tank," the official said.
AUCRT is required for assessing the spares requirement for the entire life of the tank besides evaluation of reliability of tank.
The DRDO's Avadi-based Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE) will manufacture a total of 124 Arjun MBTs at a cost of Rs. 1,760 crores. Of the total 124, CVRDE had already delivered 29 MBTs in two instalments till March this year.
Arjun tank was meant to supplement and eventually replace the Soviet-era T-72 MBT and was originally meant to be a 40-tonne tank with a 105 mm gun. It has now grown to a 50-tonne tank with a 120 mm gun.
Arjun tanks can fire at a range of 3-4 km and have great mobility and are equipped with high protection facility. (ANI)