SOURCE: TUSHKAR SHIRODKAR / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG.
Indian Army recently placed orders for 118 Arjun Mk-1A Main Battle Tanks, which will create two armoured regiments by 2025-26 of the indigenous tank. Mk-1A MBT has 72 improvements, including 14 major ones, over the Mk1 model, Mk-1A was supposed to bridge the gap between Mk1 and Mk2 that was in the design stage and required considerable design changes to its turret to make the tank lighter by 4.5 tons from present 68.5 tons that of Mk-1A .
Arjun Mk-1A orders came after nearly a decade of in-operation of the production line that lasts delivered previous orders way back in 2012 and came as a relief to the advocators of the Arjun tank but so came the news that the Arjun Mk2 might never enter production due to weight reservations from the Indian Army and DRDO instead has been told to focus on the Next Generation Main Battle Tank (NGMBT) program that will eventually replace all the Soviet-era T-72 MBTs in the Indian Army.
A report prepared by the Parliamentary committee on defense has called for the allocation of the additional funds to DRDO for projects like AMCA and NGMBT, which shows some movement has happened in the development of a 50-ton Medium weight tank that will be powered by an Indigenous 1500HP Bharat Power Pack engine backed by a new Indigenous 120 mm smoothbore gun.
The program was earlier known as Future main battle tank (FMBT) and Various specifications for the FMBT were finalized as way back as in 2010, but little movement happened on this front due to hesitancies of the Indian Army’s top brass that was eyeing and leaning towards next-generation Russian main battle tank (MBT) called as T-14 Armata.
The ultimate demise of the Arjun Mk2 means that the NGMBT Program will be back in focus and hopefully, the Indian Army will come aboard the program and realize the long waited General Staff Qualitative Requirements (GSQRs) for the development of the Next-Gen Main battle tank that will replace nearly 1700 T-72 Tanks in the Indian Army.
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