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Arjun Mark 2 comes with 93 improvements on the earlier version

Jaison Deepak

The Arjun Main Battle Tank (MBT), the flagship of the Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE), is at a very crucial juncture which can determine its future role in the Indian Army.

Arjun Mark 2 comes with 93 improvements on the earlier version

The lab is looking into the in-service 124 Arjun Mark 1 fleet which has had serviceability issues. Initially, it was thought to be caused by the unavailability of imported components, especially electronics and the power pack but it was found that local supply chain discontinuity and suboptimal warehouse management were the other contributing factors too.

The Arjun Mark 2, the improved version with a series of modifications recommended by the army, is being prepared but induction would largely depend on the trials to be carried out in the coming months. The army’s interest in the Future Ready Combat Vehicle (FRCV) programme is seen with concern by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) lab that it might impact the Arjun Mark 2 programme but delays in the FRCV programme and the army trials if successful might just breathe fresh air into the programme.

CVRDE took up the Mark 2 programme to enhance to firepower, protection, vectronics and also to manage the obsolescence of the existing components and increase the indigenous content in the critical area of electronics. The upgrade consists of 93 improvements, 17 of which were major and the rest minor modifications.

 




Firepower and Target Acquisition

The Arjun Mark 2 features a Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) made dual axis stabilised commanders’ panoramic sight with Day/TI(LWIR) channels and a remotely operated 12.7mm NSVT air defence gun with its own Day camera/TI/LRF/FCC; FCC-MKII Fire Control Computer developed by Tata SED which can interface with the Gunners Main Sight and Commanders Panoramic Sight, and accommodates additional ammunition like the LAHAT missile, Penetration Cum Blast Round (PCB) and the Thermobharic (TB) round along with the existing APFSDS and HESH rounds, the Ex-M/s Fuches dual mode fuze in the rounds offers variable fuze settings for use against structures and vehicles; an enhanced APFSDS round with increased penetration capability; an improved rifled gun with a life of 500 Effective Full Charge (EFC); a muzzle reference system to ensure gun alignment with the Gunner’s sight and an Automatic Target Tracker (ATT) to help the gunner keep track of moving objects.

 

Protection and Survivability

Additional passive protection is provided by Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA) on the turret, glacis and the skirts; Advanced Laser Warning and Countermeasure System (ALWCS) provided by Elbit which consists of 360-degree laser warning system with a display and audio alert for the crew coupled with the multispectral aerosol smoke grenades. These can be operated in auto/semi auto/manual modes as set by the crew, the smoke grenades are opaque to visible, IR and laser wavelengths; a roof-mounted driver seat to minimise the shock from IED/mine explosions and an escape hatch in the floor for the driver; IR/laser resistant paint to reduce detection by thermal imagers and laser ranging/designation devices; a containerised ammunition storage with shutters in the turret to prevent ammunition cook off and blow out panels to minimise the effect of cook offs if it does occur; a track width mine plough made by Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) with Pearson Engineering to plough out landmines.

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