Arjun battle tanks to get homegrown missile next year

The indigenous missile is under trials and would be able to meet the army’s requirement of engaging targets at ranges less than 1,200 metres.
The upgrade of Arjun Mk-2 tank suffered a major setback in 2013 after the Israeli missile to be fitted on it failed to meet the army’s requirements, delaying the programme by several years.(HT File Photo)
The upgrade of Arjun Mk-2 tank suffered a major setback in 2013 after the Israeli missile to be fitted on it failed to meet the army’s requirements, delaying the programme by several years.(HT File Photo)
Updated on Nov 25, 2017 10:57 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByRahul Singh and Saubhadra Chatterji

India’s homegrown Arjun Mk-2 tanks may finally get missile firing capability next year.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will be ready with a new indigenous missile that can be fired from the tank, a top government official told Hindustan Times on Saturday. The upgrade of Arjun Mk-2 tank suffered a major setback in 2013 after the Israeli missile to be fitted on it failed to meet the army’s requirements, delaying the programme by several years.

The indigenous missile is under trials and would be able to meet the army’s requirement of engaging targets at ranges less than 1,200 metres.

The army rejected the Israeli LAHAT (laser homing anti tank) missile, manufactured by the Israeli Aerospace Industries, because it could engage targets only at ranges beyond 1,500 metres. The LAHAT missiles tested by the army and the DRDO cost nearly Rs 20 crore, an expenditure dubbed unfruitful by the national auditor in a recent report.

The army initially wanted a missile that could engage targets between 500 metres and 5km, but later revised the requirement to 1,200 metres and 5 km.

Missile firing capability is one of the most significant upgrades proposed in the tank. The defence ministry cleared the purchase of 118 Arjun Mk-2 tanks at a cost of more than Rs 6,600 crore in 2014.

The DRDO-developed tank is an upgraded version of the Mk-1 variant, 119 of which have been inducted in the army. The Mk-2 variant is supposed to have nearly 80 improved features over the previous version, including more than 15 major technology upgrades.

The major improvements on the new tank include better firepower, integrated explosive reactive armour, advanced laser warning and countermeasure system, a mine plough, a remotely-operable anti-aircraft weapon, advanced land navigation system and enhanced night vision capabilities.

The army raised its maiden armoured regiment equipped with Arjun Mk-1 tanks in May 2009, more than 35 years after the project was conceived.

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Monday, December 06, 2021