India details Arjun Mk.IA upgraded MBT

By Dmitry Fediushko

The Indian Ministry of Defence’s (MoD’s) Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has detailed the Arjun Mk.IA main battle tank (MBT), which is reported to have passed through its trials in December 2019.

According to the DRDO, the updated tank weighs 68 tons and is 11,110 mm long. The Arjun Mk.IA is powered by the V-90 engine with a power output of 1,030 kW, which provides a power-to-weight ratio of 15 kW/t and an off-road/road speed of 40 km/h and 58 km/h, respectively. The tank is armed with a 120 mm STANAG-compatible rifled gun with an ammunition load of 39 ready-to-use armour-piercing fin-stabilised discarding sabot (APFSDS) and high-explosive squash head (HESH) rounds, an FN MAG 7.62 mm co-axial general-purpose machinegun, and an NSVT Utyos 12.7 mm heavy machinegun in a remote controlled weapon station.

The new tank’s sensor suite includes an “advanced microprocessor-based” fire-control system, a gunner’s Mk.II independent two axis-stabilised day/night sighting system, and a commander’s Mk.II independent two axis-stabilised day/night sighting system with a panoramic observation unit and ‘hunter-killer’ working mode. The vehicle’s main gun is equipped with electro-hydraulic drives.

Compared to the basic Arjun its protection level has been substantially increased. The updated MBT features an improved Kanchan armour, explosive reactive armour package, protected ammunition load, roof-mounted anti-blast driver’s seat, and laser warning/countermeasure system. The tank can carry a mine plough.

According to the DRDO, the upgraded Arjun Mk.IA tank features a nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) protection system, fume extractor, and auxiliary power unit with a power output of 8 kW. The upgraded tank is manned by a four-strong crew. The Indian Army has already adopted the Arjun Mk.IA, however, the Indian MoD is not known to have placed any large orders for the tank.

Photo by Dmitry Fediushko