The Ministry of Defense has approved a military purchase of Rs 13,700 crore for the military, with preparations to equip the army with 118 Arjun MK-1 tanks and modern security combat vehicles, Defense Ministry officials told Mangalore.
These new tanks cost Rs 8,380 crore. Over 3,000 AFVs (tanks and infantry combat vehicles) cost Rs 5,300 crore.
According to Hindustan Times, the order for the tanks could be placed with the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) this year, with five tanks delivered within 30 months of signing the contract. After this, 30 tanks will be delivered each year.
Defense Acquisition Council (DAC), India’s top purchasing body, on Tuesday acknowledged the need for its approval (AON) to buy tanks and AFV security systems, further boosting the government’s self-sufficient India campaign. Defense Minister Rajnath Singh presided over the meeting.
In a statement, the ministry said, “Three AON contracts were signed for a total of Rs 13,700 crore. All of which are in the high priority category of AON defense acquisition. These will be designed, developed and manufactured locally. “
The Arjun MK-1A is an updated version of the Arjun MK-1, currently in service to the Army. In saying this, the official said the new tank will come with 71 major upgrades, including 14 upgrades to the existing version, adding that the new upgrade will improve slowness, maneuverability and tank survival.
Improvements to the new tank include improved firepower, auto target tracker, remote-controlled weapon systems, explosive reactive armor, advanced laser warning and response systems, containerized ammunition, advanced land navigation systems and improved night vision capabilities.
The Defense Research and Development Organization’s Chennai-based Warfare Vehicle Research and Development Institute (CVRDE) has designed and developed the tank. At the same time, these tanks will be manufactured at the OFB’s Heavy Vehicle Factory in the outskirts of Chennai.
On February 14, Prime Minister Narendra Modi handed over the prototype of the Arjun MK-1A tank to Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Narwane of Chennai and hinted that 118 tanks were in the pipeline. The prototype is located 6,000 km west of the country.
More than 200 companies will be involved in the project, which will create about 8,000 jobs, another official said. The Army’s current tank fleet includes T-90, T-72 and Arjun MK-1 tanks.