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India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is seeking the Indian Army’s approval to develop an unmanned ground combat vehicle (UGV) based on the country’s Arjun Mk 1A main battle tank.

The proposal, put forward in 2022 by DRDO’s Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE), envisions a UGV leveraging the Arjun Mk 1A’s robust design and capabilities. This new unmanned platform would be specifically tailored for India’s harsh desert terrain along the western border, where the Arjun Mk 1A is currently deployed.

DRDO envisions the UGV fulfilling a variety of critical roles on the battlefield, including:

  • Surveillance and Reconnaissance: Providing real-time intelligence on enemy positions and movements without risking human lives.
  • Target Acquisition and Designation: Identifying and pinpointing enemy targets for precision strikes by manned units.
  • Logistic Support: Delivering essential supplies to forward positions, minimizing risk to personnel during resupply missions.
  • Casualty Evacuation: Safely evacuating wounded soldiers from the battlefield.

To navigate the challenging desert terrain effectively, DRDO proposes equipping the UGV with an Indigenous Geographic Information System (INDIGIS). 

The development of an Arjun-based UGV signifies India’s push towards greater automation in its land warfare strategy.  Army approval will pave the way for the design, development, and field testing of this unmanned combat vehicle.  If successful, this project has the potential to transform the Indian Army’s capabilities on the Western front, enhancing battlefield safety and operational efficiency.

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