The Indian Army on Monday ordered another 124 Arjun main battle tanks (MBTs) to boost the firepower of the 1.13-million strong force after the indigenously developed platform outgunned the Russian-origin Bhishma T-90 MBT in a gruelling trial in the Thar desert, an official said.
This is in addition to the 124 Arjun tanks, developed by India's premier Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), that have been contracted for, defence spokesperson Sitanshu Kar said.
"The army has decided to place a fresh order for a 124 Arjuns. This is over and above the existing order of 124 tanks," Kar said.
Fifty of the the 124 previously ordered tanks were handed over to the Indian Army last year and have been formed into a regiment.
The fresh order comes nearly two-months after the successful desert trials of the Arjun conducted by the army at the Mahajan Ranges, near Bikaner in Rajasthan. The Arjun outperformed the T-90 in every crucial parameter during the trials.
"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 and accurately hitting targets - both stationary and moving -with pin-point accuracy," Kar said.
The all-weather vehicle's firepower is based on accurate and quick target acquisition capability during day and night and shortest possible reaction time during combat engagements, he added.
The 60-tonne tank is built at the Heavy Vehicles Factory (HVF) in Avadi, near Chennai that has the capability of producing 50 Arjuns annually.
The decision to order more Arjun tanks comes days after the government last week decided to go for the second generation Arjun.
The project for the design and development of the Arjun was first approved by the government in 1974 with the aim of giving the required indigenous cutting edge to the Indian Army.