Indigenous Main Battle Tank Arjun to be inducted by year end

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New Delhi, Oct 22 (UNI) India's first Indigenous Main Battle Tank Arjun will be inducted in the Army by this year end, Defence Minister A K Antony told the Rajya Sabha today.

In a reply during Question Hour, Mr Antony said a total of 124 Arjun tanks would be inducted in the Army by the summer of next year.

"Some Arjun tanks would be inducted into an Army regiment by the end of this year while the rest will be inducted in the Summer of next year," Mr Antony said.

In reply to another question, the Minister said whatever defects had been found in the tanks during the winter trials in December last year had been rectified.

"As per the latest letter from Army chief Deepak Kapoor, the Army is satisfied with the performance of the tank. All the doubts in its working have been removed. After 36 years, Arjun Tank is going to be a reality," Mr Antony said.

In reply to another question, Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjeet Singh said the winter trials of the Arjun tank were not a failure.

"The project was approved by CCPA in its meeting on March 26, 1974. The qualitative requirement was revised as 431 in October, 1980 and final GSQR no 467 was issued in November, 1985 with incorporation of a number of technological and operational changes.

The project was successfully completed as MBT Arjun and closed in March 1995 at the end of ten years with delivery of 12 prototypes and 15 pre-production series tanks." The pre-production tanks have undergone extensive user evaluation between 1993 and 1998. The tanks have covered 70000 km of automative trials and fired 7000 rounds of ammunition cumulatively with an average of 4600 Km and 460 rounds per tank. Only after successful trials, the Army placed indent for 124 numbers of MBT Arjun to the Ordinance Factory Board in March, 2000, Mr Singh said.

He said, despite the initial production and quality-related problems, performance of MBT Arjun has been established beyond doubt during the Accelerated user-cum-reliability trials held in five phases from December last year.


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