Arjun

Arjun Mk II

Arjun Mk-2 after incorporating The upgrade consists of 93 improvements, 17 of which were major and the rest minor modifications, gained over six tons over the MK1 and now weighs at 68.6 tons. but this is about to change and on instances of the Indian Army, DRDO has again started working on to carry out structural improvements and also develop a reconfigured Hull with new improved advanced armor material which will allow it to lose 3 tons in total weight. Indian Army had asked for weight optimized Mk-2 in 2016 and work begin soon after by DRDO put results will not be quick since reconfiguration of an accepted design will mean more painstaking and also slow developmental work which will keep the Mk-2 out of production before it is revalidated again by Indian Army in fresh trials. Experts are already questioning what advantage a 65.5 tons Mk-2 will bring over 68.6 tons Mk-2 in its area of operations. In past, even the 62 tons MK1 was criticised for being overweight and hardly 80 of the tanks were inducted or operational within Indian Army at this given point. The 46 ton Russian developed and locally manufactured T-90A Main Battle Tank is still quite popular with the Indian Army and over 1200 already are in service with Indian Army even though T-90A was outgunned and outmaneuvered by Arjun MBT in direct field trials years ago.

The Arjun is an Indian designed and built MBT. Design efforts were initiated in 1974. The original design was heavily dependent upon foreign supplied components and proto-types experienced significant teething problems, especially with regards to over-heating of the engine. Cost and schedule over-runs threatened the project. But the cooling module was re-designed for desert operations, domestic parts were developed, and the technological challenges were overcome. An order for 124 vehicles was placed by the Indian Army in 2000 at a cost of US$8.4 million per unit with full vehicle production beginning in 2004. Following a 2010 competition against a T-90 in which the Arjun performed well, the army ordered another 124 Mk 1 units as well as 124 Mk II units.

OVERVIEW

The Arjun is an Indian designed and built MBT. The original Mk I weighs 129,000 pounds (58.5 tonnes) while the latest Mk II version weighs 150,000 pounds (68 tonnes). The Arjun is 35 feet (10.6 meters) long, 12.6 feet (3.8 meters) wide and 7.5 feet (2.3 meters) in height to the top of the turret roof. Operated by a crew of 4 the driver is positioned to the right of center at the front of the vehicle and the gunner, commander and loader are located in the turret. The Arjun is powered by a single German MTU multi-fuel diesel water cooled engine rated at 1400 hp (upgraded to 1500 hp for the Mk II) with a Renk transmission and integrated with an Indian turbocharger and epicyclic train gearbox with four forward and 2 reverse gears. Mounted on a hydropneumatic suspension the vehicle can achieve a maximum road speed of 42 mph (67 km/h) and a cross-country speed of 25 mph (40 km/h). The Arjun also includes many sophisticated technologies including a GPS-based navigation system, frequency hopping radios and a Battlefield Management System (BMS).

WEAPON SYSTEMS

The Arjun features a 120 mm main rifled gun with two axis stabilisation and a Fire Control System that provides excellent first-hit probability against moving targets while on-the-move. The first batch of 124 tanks have an all-digital Sagem FCS, while all other Arjuns will mount the more sophisticated BEL FCS. The FCS ballistic computer is integrated with a millimeter band radar system, thermal imager, laser rangefinder / designator, crosswind sensor, observation systems and IR and radiometer sensors. This combined system permits real-time command and beyond-vision-range target engagements. The Arjun has an auxiliary power unit to operate weapon systems in silent watch mode as well.

There is a combined day sight / thermal imager for the gunner and the commander has a stabilised panoramic sight and thermal viewer with eight periscopes for 360° vision which permits either direct engagement of targets or handing of them over to the gunner. The commander’s station also offers an extensive suite of controls and displays that are linked by a digital data bus to all other systems on the tank. These include an Integrated Battle Management System (IBMS), digital mapping, FBCB2 capabilities and C4ISR Systems.

The main gun can fire indigenously developed armor-piercing fin-stabilized discarding-sabot (APFSDS) ammunition, HE, HEAT and High Explosive Squash Head (HESH) rounds. The Arjun carries 39 rounds of ammunition in blast-proof canisters and has a firing rate of 6 to 8 rounds per minute. The Arjun Mk II is also capable of firing the Israeli developed semi-active laser guided LAHAT missile, which is designed to defeat both enemy armor and enemy combat helicopters. The secondary armaments on the Arjun include a PKT 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun and a turret roof mounted NSVT 12.7 mm heavy machine gun.

PROTECTION SYSTEMS

The hull and turret of the Arjun are fabricated with an all-welded steel construction. Add-on-armor modules are then applied over the vehicle surfaces to provide enhanced protection levels, with an emphasis on protecting the frontal arc. The turret and glacis are protected with “Kanchan” (“gold”) modular composite add-on-armor which consists of composite panels sandwiched between Rolled Homogenous Armor (RHA) panels. The Kanchan armor provides effective protection against both APFDS, HESH and HEAT rounds. Testing trials conducted in 2000 demonstrated the system’s ability to defeat APFSDS rounds fired at point blank range by a T-72.

A broad range of additional protective systems have also been integrated into the Arjun Mk II vehicle. There is a honeycomb designed Non-Explosive / Non-Energetic Reactive Armor (NERA) system, nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) protection equipment, automatic fire fighting system (AFFS), and an electromagnetic-counter mine system that can disable magnetic mines and disrupt the associated electronics in advance of the tank. Various signature reduction technologies to reduce detection by Infrared, thermal, radar-thermal, and radar bands have also been made available as optional upgrades. These include a Mobile Camouflage System (MCS) and an aerosol grenade discharging system.

he millimetre band radar system mounted on the turret is capable of operating as a Missile Approach Warning System (MAWS) and also has a Radar Warning Receiver (RWR) and radar jammer. An Advanced Laser Warning Countermeasure System (ALWCS) that could be integrated with the FCS has also been developed. This systems consists of four all-bearing Laser Warning Receivers (LWR) and Electro-optical/IR infrared jamming “dazzlers”. A Tank Urban Survival Kit (TUSK) has been developed for the Arjun as well which provides enhanced vehicle protection in an urban setting.

COMBAT EXPERIENCE

The Arjun tank was evaluated during the Ashwamedha exercise in the deserts of Rajasthan as part of the Auxiliary User Cum Reliability Trials (AUCRT) from September 2007 to summer of 2008. The army cited several deficiencies that included a deficient fire control system, inaccurate and inconsistent main weapon performance, low speed capability in tactical situations, repeated power pack failures, failure of hydropneumatic suspension units, and a persistent inability to operate in temperatures over 50 degrees Celsius. In the 2007 winter trials, the Indian army deemed Arjun’s performance unsatisfactory, including at least four engine failures.

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