Defense Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh cleared a principal acquisition of 118 indigenously built Arjun Mk1A, with major aim to consolidate Indian made weapon systems and platforms, DAC approved several important pending deals with focusing on releasing Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for three major deals. This alone deal of 118 MBTs is the second-biggest acquisition of Indigenous platform by Indian armed forces after 83 HAL Tejas Mk1A combat fighters by the Indian Air Force.
Through the given statement, all three important AoNs are in the highest priority category of defense acquisition, regards it states, “Three AoNs for an overall cost of Rs 13,700 crore were accorded. And, these will be indigenously designed, developed, and manufactured.”
After DAC approval, the Indian Army will release the Request for Proposal (RFP) to the prime developer Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), for 118 Arjun Mk-1A Main Battle Tanks. Finalization of the deal will take at least a year before the process is concluded and the contract is sealed for production of MBTs. Overall no specific platforms were mentioned in the official statement except for the approvals of 118 main battle tanks, and equipping the armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs) with modern protection and countermeasures.
The entire contract of acquisition will be 8,380 Crore INR equivalent to 1.1 Billion USD.
Arjun Mk1A will feature around 70 engineering upgrades and 14 major improvements over its original design, these enhancements will increase Tank’s Survivability, Lethality, Mobility and reduce the tanks’ weight significantly. Deemed as one of the heaviest tanks known in the world, Arjun Mk1A is designed to be a hunter-killer armored mobile beast for desert terrain. The new variant of the tank will feature greater firepower, advanced land navigation systems, and improved night vision capabilities for night operations. These tanks will complement T-72 and existing Arjun Mk1 Tanks in the Western sector of Indian army operational command bordering the region with India’s archenemy Pakistan.
Arjun will be comprised of other important features like the advanced laser warning and countermeasure systems, and containerized ammunition bin for smooth loading of shells.
The MBTs will be manufactured at the OFB’s Heavy Vehicles Factory at Avadi, Chennai. This tank has been designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation’s Chennai-based Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE). With this deal 200 Indian private and public sector companies will participate in this contract , creating 8000 jobs effectively.
Besides Arjun Mk1A Tanks, the Indian Army will also upgrade their entire fleet of Infantry Fighting Vehicles with advanced protection and countermeasure systems worth 5,300 Crore INR, the Indian army has 3000 IFVs including Tanks and Infantry Combat Vehicles. In addition to that DAC cleared another deal M4 Armoured Patrol Vehicles M4 under an emergency order. This vehicle comparable to US Army Humvee is manufactured by Pune-based Bharat Forge’s Kalyani Group. Indian army will procure 200 of them. The original vehicle is built by the South African Paramount Group, Kalyani group licensed built the vehicle with Indian specific requirements. The deal is worth 177.95 Crore.
With a goal to envision Atmanirbhar Bharat (Self Reliant India) pitched by Indian PM Narendra Modi. Indian Defense Market is expected to boom with getting more opportunities to homegrown industries to play important role in this crucial sector.