The recent tensions and the eventual military clash with China has given the MoD a wake up call to be battle ready in case of a singular offensive with China or in the event of a joint China-Pak collusion

Arjun MBT has taken several years to develop as a reliable and formidable advanced armoured vehicle for the Indian Army. Experts view it as one of the best contemporary tanks in operation today. In June 2008, DRDO conducted stringent trails under the watchful eye of the army and had successfully completed 6,000 km of gruelling runs in Rajasthan. However, earlier results had proved that the tank had some issues with the transmission but the vendor sorted this problem and the tank performed flawlessly without failing even once during the accelerated trails in Rajasthan. The 43rd Armoured Regiment operates the Arjun tank for well over a decade now and they are completely satisfied with it. Brigadier Chandra Mukesh remarked in his report after the AURCT, “The accuracy and consistency of the Arjun has been proved beyond doubt.”

Another extensive comparative trial was conducted by the Indian Army in March 2010, in which the Arjun was pitted against the T-90. Arjun emerged a conclusive winner from its showdown with the Russian tank and it demonstrated excellent 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. It displayed accurate and quick target acquisition capability during day and night in all types of weather and shortest possible reaction time during combat engagements. An army officer remarked that the Arjun could have performed even better, had it been operated by experienced crewmen. Nevertheless, the result was heartening vindication of DRDO technological capabilities, the Arjun MBT out-gunned and outran the T-90 on every crucial parameter.

The Kanchan class armour of Arjun is probably the best of the technologies employed which derives its name from Kanchan Bagh, Hyderabad, where the Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL) is located. The amour has been able to take the brunt of high precision and deadly Israeli anti tank munitions.

The Army was constantly changing its battlefield requirements which had a direct impact on Arjun's delivery timelines. So much of crap is flying around because they have shown complete disdain towards DRDO, it is sad to say the IA has to learn a lesson or two from the Air Force and the Navy. The IAF had been patient with the TEJAS, worked along with ADA to fructify their dreams of piloting a flying machine made in India, and they have been also patient with DRDO missile developments. The IAF has carefully planned their offensive and defensive postures with regard to missile development and they now have missiles for any target or eventualities. The Akash a medium-range mobile surface-to-air missile defence system and the advanced Astra active radar homing beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) systems are testimony to DRDO technical prowess, resolve and IAF’s perseverance. The Anti-Satellite missile, Agni-II, III, IV and the latest and most potent Agni-V ICBM are all significant technological achievement for DRDO, this is without doubt one of the deadliest missiles around not because of its firepower but because of its single digit accuracy, the telemetry hardware and most importantly the software was developed by Indian engineers.

Similarly, the Indian Navy has also embarked on an ambitious indigenous development program. They are the only service with an independent design bureau and they have steadfastly worked with DRDO and shipyards to develop frigates, corvettes, and amphibious ships, landing ships, destroyers, patrol vessels and other attack vessels and sub systems. The INS Arihant  nuclear powered ballistic missile submarine is the crowning glory of this effort, the secretive program has provided the necessary impetus for the Navy and the developing agencies to hasten the building of  more nuke boats in the Arihant class, especially to counter China in the IOR and Malacca strait. India has thus joined a selective club of countries that can develop and manufacture its own class of nuclear submarines.


Arjun Main Battle Tank development marks the fruition of 35 years of research in self-reliance by dedicated Indian scientists against all odds. Arjun is provided with excellent mobility, superior fire power and protection and the features are quite comparable to contemporary world tanks. The Kanchan Armour, Hydro-pneumatic suspension, Armament system, Integrated Fire Detection & Suppression System, system engineering and system integration of complex weapon platforms are some of the significant indigenous technologies of Arjun, developed by DRDO. Initially 12 prototypes were developed during 1983 to 1990 and they were subjected to field trials of more than 20,000 km and 1,100 rounds. Based on user feedback 15 pre-production vehicles were developed during 1990 to 1995 and they were subjected to field trials of more than 70,000 km and 8000 rounds. After the satisfactory trials, army placed an indent initially for 15 limited series production in Nov 1997 and cumulatively 124 in Mar 2000. The development of Arjun was carried out in a number of stages and evaluation through extensive field trials. After satisfactory performance, Army placed an indent for the full compliment of 124 Arjun MBT in March 2000. 

As there was a long gap from the R&D phase to production phase from 1993 to 2000, problems related to re-establishing production lines and vendor sources and resolving overseas issues like technology denial in view of Pokhran testing, change over and mergers of original equipment manufacturers for the critical items delayed the initial commencement of production. In order to meet the production requirement, additional infrastructure facilities and machine tools were established at Heavy Vehicles Factory, Avadi and Ordnance Factory, Medak. However, the first pilot batch of production tanks was handed over to Army on 7th August 2004. During subsequent production, Army insisted upon the demonstration of medium fording capabilities. Teams continuously worked on a war footing, to meet the stringent requirement of medium fording to a height of 2.1m in water with preparation time of 30 minutes as retro-fitment solution and demonstrated successfully in July 2007. Subsequently, the production tanks were incorporated with all medium fording modifications.

Arjun tanks were subjected to rigorous trials and assessment by a third party tank manufacturer auditor of international repute. After extensive evaluation, the auditors confirmed that the MBT Arjun is an excellent tank with very good mobility and fire power characteristics suitable for Indian desert conditions. They also added inputs such as quality auditing, production procedures and refined calibration procedures for further enhancing the performance of MBT Arjun. DRDO, has incorporated all these inputs in the next regiment of tanks namely the Arjun Mk-II.

In conclusion, there is only one truth to behold, the Arjun is a deadly fighting machine and people who cannot accept it are complete nincompoops.

Our Bureau