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In a recent media interaction, Dr Samir V Kamat, the Chairman of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), provided valuable insights into the much-anticipated Arjun MkII Main Battle Tank (MBT). This tank, which has been the focus of intense development and research, promises to be a game-changer for the Indian Army with its advanced features and cutting-edge technology.

Dr Kamat confirmed that the development of the Arjun MkII is currently underway and making significant progress. The tank is expected to enter production sometime in 2030, marking a major milestone for India’s indigenous defence capabilities. The Arjun MkII is a step ahead of its predecessor, the Arjun Mark 1-A, which was ordered by the defence ministry in 2021. While the Mark 1-A boasts 68 tonnes in weight and incorporates 72 new features, it is considered an interim Main Battle Tank until the much-improved Arjun MkII is ready for production.

One of the key enhancements in the Arjun MkII is its focus on achieving a lighter hull and turret, which will bring the weight of the Main Battle Tank back within the desired 60-ton regime. This weight optimization is crucial to ensure the tank’s agility, manoeuvrability, and operational effectiveness on the battlefield.

Moreover, the Arjun MkII will be equipped with a new locally developed 1500hp Bharat-Powerpack engine, currently under development. This powerful engine will provide enhanced performance, mobility, and efficiency to the tank, making it a formidable force on the battlefield.

Not resting on its laurels, the DRDO has already set its sights on the Future Main Battle Tank (FMBT), internally referred to as Arjun Mark III at the Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE). The FMBT is a proposed Main Battle Tank that is set to weigh in the range of 50-55 tons. With a completely different design and incorporating a powerful Bharat-Powerpack Mk2 engine, the FMBT is expected to revolutionize India’s armoured warfare capabilities.

The FMBT will eventually replace the ageing Soviet-era T-72 tanks, which currently form the second line of defence for the Indian Army’s Main Battle Tanks after the Russian T-90 MBTs. With its advanced features and indigenous technologies, the FMBT will undoubtedly become a crucial asset in India’s military arsenal.

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