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The delivery of 118 Arjun Mk1A tanks to the Indian Army has been delayed due to a snag in engine production by German company MTU. The MTU 838 Ka-501 engines originally intended for the tanks are no longer in production, and restarting production would take longer than the desired delivery timeframe due to supply chain shifts towards newer engine variants.

In September 2021, the Indian Army placed an order for 118 Arjun Mk1A tanks. While the DRDO has some extra MTU 838 engines from previous procurements, these will only suffice for the initial batch of tanks scheduled for delivery from September 2024 onwards. This timeline is now likely to be impacted.

To address the engine shortage and avoid production stoppages, MTU’s associate companies are exploring the procurement of older MTU 838 engines from the used market. These engines will serve as a temporary solution until they can be replaced with the locally developed DRDO DATRAN 1500hp engine within the next 3-4 years, following the completion of developmental trials.

As an immediate measure, the Engine Factory Avadi has begun repairing older MTU 838 engines using localized spares from Indian MSMEs. This approach will also be extended to the used engines procured for the interim period.

The extended delivery time and engine challenges pose a hurdle to the Indian Army’s modernization Plans. While the use of Older and used engines offers a temporary solution, the long-term goal remains the transition to the indigenous DATRAN 1500hp engine to ensure self-reliance and potentially faster production cycles in the future.