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The Arjun Mk II or Mk 1A is a new generation of main battle tank (MBT) designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) of India.
The Arjun Mk II was unveiled for the first time to the public during a military parade for the National Day in New Delhi on 26 January, 2014. It’s been in development since 2012.
The state-of-the-art ARJUN Main Battle Tank Mk II has been designed and developed by DRDO by incorporating numerous improvements over and above the ARJUN MBT Mk I which is already in service with the Indian Army.
It has outclassed the T-90 during comparative trials.
Regarding the trials, a Ministry of Defence press release reported:
“After many years of trial and tribulation it has now proved its worth by its superb performance under various circumstances, such as driving cross-country over rugged sand dunes, detecting, observing and quickly engaging targets, accurately hitting targets – both stationary and moving, with pin pointed accuracy. Its superior fire-power is based on accurate and quick target acquisition capability during day and night in all types of weather and shortest possible reaction time during combat engagements”.
The Fire control system of the new tank has a hit probability over 90%, when firing on the move.
The new tank also has improved communication systems and new navigation system.
Compared to the initial Arjun tank, the Mk 2 has a total of 93 upgrades, including 13 major improvements.
The major upgrades are missile-firing capability against long-range targets, panoramic sight with night vision to engage targets effectively at night, containerisation of the ammunition, enhanced main weapon penetration; additional ammunition types, explosive reactive armour, an advanced air-defence gun to engage helicopters; a mine plough, an advanced land navigation system and a warning system which can fire smoke grenades to confuse laser guidance.
In August 2014, India’s Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) renewed a Rs 66 billion clearance for 118 Arjun Mark II tanks. The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had already cleared 118 Arjun Mark IIs.
In an interview emerged in January 2020, army chief Manoj Mukund Naravane told that the tank meets operational requirements and induction is scheduled for 2026–27.
The main armament of the Arjun Mk II or Mk 1A main battle tank comprises a 120mm rifled gun fitted with a thermal sleeve, fume extractor, and a muzzle reference system.
The gun is able to fire a full range of ammunitions including FSAPDS (Fin Stabilized Armour Piercing Discarding Sabot), HESH (High-Explosive Squash Head), PCB, TB and the Israeli LAser Homing Anti-Tank (LAHAT) missile.
The Laser Homing Attack Missile, or LAHAT, is an advanced missile developed and manufactured by the MBT Division of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). The missile uses a tandem warhead which is capable of defeating all types of modern armour, including add-on reactive armour.
The Arjun Mk II can carry a total of 39 rounds in special blast-proof canisters. A 7.62 mm MAG machine gun is mounted coaxially to the main armament.
A Remote-Controlled Weapon Station is mounted on the top of the turret armed with a 12.7mm NSVT machine gun.
This type of turret enhances crew survivability by enabling firing of the anti-aircraft gun in hatch closed mode during day and night.
The vehicle is also fitted with a bank of eight 81 mm grenade launchers mounted on each side at the rear part of the turret.
The Arjun MK II or Mk 1A is motorized with a German 10-cylinder, V-90 turbo charged, charge cooled, water cooled diesel engine developing 1030 kW at 2,400 rpm.
The Arjun Mk II is equipped with epicyclic transmission with hydrodynamic torque converter, mechanical lock up clutch and hydrodynamic retarder with 4 forward and 2 reverse gears. The tank can run at maximum road speed of 58 km/h and 40 km/h in cross country with a maximum cruising range of 500 km.
The Arjun Mk II or Mk 1A is fitted with a computerized day/thermal fire control system and a new panoramic sighting system for the commander is mounted right side of the turret roof.
The system includes a laser range finder and has hunter-killer capability.
The gunner sight is fitted with an automatic target tracker which greatly enhances the speed and accurate target engagement capability of the tank.
To increase the self-protection of the Arjun Mk-II, a laser warning and countermeasure system (ALWACS) developed in collaboration with the Israeli Company Elbit Systems is mounted on each side of the turret.
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