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Indian MoD orders 118 Arjun Mk 1A MBTs

The Arjun Mk 1A includes about 19 “major improvements” over the Mk 1, but remains a heavy MBT. (Indian PIB)

India's Ministry of Defence (MoD) signed a INR75.23 billion (USD1.01 billion) contract with the state-owned Heavy Vehicles Factory (HVF) on 23 September for 118 locally developed Arjun Mk 1A main battle tank (MBT) variants for the Indian Army (IA).

Designed by the government-run Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the upgraded Mk 1A incorporates 72 new features over the Mk 1 model to ensure “effortless mobility in all terrains and precise day-and-night target engagement”, declared the MoD in an official statement.

The Arjun Mk 1A, the MoD added, was also equipped with “multi-layered protection” and can engage the enemy in static and dynamic modes.

The HVF in Avadi, southern India, is expected to deliver five Mk 1As within 30 months, followed thereafter by 30 MBTs each year until the contract is completed by about 2027, MoD sources told Janes .

The 118 Mk 1As will supplement some 124 Mk 1s that joined IA service in 2004–05.

Officials from the DRDO's Combat Vehicle Research and Development Establishment that designed the Arjun MBT said that the Mk 1A includes about 19 “major improvements” over the Mk 1, such as additional panels of locally developed ‘Kanchan' explosive reactive armour (ERA), advanced thermal imaging sights for operating at night, new commander's sights, advanced navigation systems and digital control harnesses.

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