SOURCE: ABHAY KESARKAR / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
In a surprise announcement, Indian Government confirmed that DRDO and Indian Army are carrying out developmental trials of upgraded Arjun Mark- 1A, which now comes with over 93 modifications have been done over the first version of Arjun Mark-1 variant, which was first inducted from 2011 on wards in Indian Army.
Arjun Mark-1A is actually earlier work which was carried out to develop Mark 2 variant which now is going through further improvements and weight reduction that it is still a few years away from being production ready. After considerable improvement to its Armour and with several modifications and upgrades, the weight of the present tank has ballooned to 68 tonnes from 58 tonnes of that of Mark-1 variant.
Indian Army late demanded up to 3-tonne reduction in weight in 2016 but according to DRDO studies that required a reconfigured Hull and turret to lose all the extra weight it had gained due to Army’s requirements in the first place and could have also required a considerable amount of time and trials to recertify newly reconfigured Hull and turret on the time which resulted into Ministry of Defence (MOD) asking Indian Army to accept 118 units of current Arjun variant as new Mark-1A variant instead, while DRDO continues to develop Mark 2 variant.
To scale up the development, Reliance Infra has been outsourced hull and turret for the Arjun main battle tank (MBT) in 2017 and CVRDE already received first few hull and turrets from the company ahead of the schedule in 2018 which likely will be used to develop Arjun Mark-1A.