India's Arjun Mk2 Main Battle Tank performance assessment trials are now concluding, paving the way for the design to soon enter Indian Army service, providing a large order is forthcoming.
Based on the Arjun MBT, the Mk2 variant of India's almost 40-year-old tank design boasts several new features. Modifications to its firing system have reduced its overall weight from 64 tonnes to around 55 tonnes, while it also has an improved missile-firing capability, new navigation and power generation systems and anti-tank mine detection lasers.
Listing the differences between the Arjun and its successor, Indian officials have previously managed to come up with some 90 new enhancements integrated into the upgraded model.
Arjun Mk2 MBT
Now, the Arjun Mk2 MBT is nearing the end of an extensive test programme, launched in June 2012.
In a statement on the upgraded Arjun tank trials, one defence official told the Times of India: "We are satisfied with the end product and its results, making it one of the most potent combat tanks for the army with unmatched automatic target detection and destruction, while offering maximum protection to the crew."
A representative from DRDO (the Defence Research and Development Organisation, which developed the Arjun) added: ''If the army is satisfied, the order of 500 should be placed in one go, since that would save time for various formalities and procedures of a fresh order."
Arjun Main Battle Tank
Right now, about 124 Arjun Main Battle Tanks serve with the Indian Army. The Arjun Mk2 is set to enter series production in 2014, while other tank designs in Indian Army service include the T-90S Bhishma and the T-72 Ajeya.
DRDO is tasked with developing the Indian Armed Forces' next-generation military technologies. Established in 1958, it has a workforce of 30,000 (including 7,000 military scientists) and it works in the fields of aeronautics, weaponry, naval systems, combat vehicles and much more besides.