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India's Arjun Mk 1A programme faces delay

An Arjun Mk 1A main battle tank. (Indian MoD/Janes)

The deliveries of Defence Research and Development Organisation's (DRDO's) Arjun Mk 1A main battle tanks (MBTs) to the Indian Army will experience a delay because of an engine shortage, a DRDO official told Janes on 20 February.

The Indian Army ordered 118 Arjun Mk 1A MBTs worth INR75.23 billion (USD907 million) in September 2021, with deliveries of the initial batch scheduled for 2024 and the final batch in 2027.

However, because of a delay in the delivery of engines from German company MTU, the delivery of tanks to the Indian Army will be delayed as well, the DRDO official said.

The tanks were planned to be produced with German MTU MB 838 Ka-501 V10 liquid-cooled turbocharged diesel engines, but MTU requires at least four more years to initiate the production of the engines for Arjun tanks, the official added.

MTU had not responded to Janes request for comment regarding the reason for the delay in engine delivery at the time of publication.

“We [DRDO] are planning to develop an indigenous engine for Arjun Mk 1A tanks in three years to reduce the tank delivery time to the Indian Army,” the official said.

The DRDO has been developing the Datran 1500 engine for future MBTs since 2010. The engine was first tested in 2023. Janes assesses that the DRDO might use Datran 1500 engines in the Arjun Mk 1A MBTs.

The Arjun Mk 1A is the upgraded version of the Arjun Mk 1 MBT, which has been in service with the Indian Army since 2009.

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