The Defence Ministry on Thursday sealed a contract to procure 118 Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) Arjun for the Indian Army at a cost of ₹ 7,523 crore, in a major move to boost its combat capabilities. The order is placed with Heavy Vehicles Factory, Avadi, a fortnight after India cleared projects worth ₹33,000 crore to equip the Indian Air Force with new medium transport aircraft and airborne early warning systems in a push to the government’s Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan (self-reliant India campaign).
Arjun has been a mainstay of the Army for the last 15 years. The MBT Mk-1A is a new variant of Arjun Tank designed to enhance fire power, mobility and survivability, infused with 72 new features and more indigenous content from the Mk-1 variant. “The Ministry of Defence (MoD) placed an order with Heavy Vehicles Factory (HVF), Avadi, Chennai for supply of 118 Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) Arjun Mk-1A for the Indian Army on September 23,” the ministry said in a statement. “The order, worth ₹ 7,523 crore, will provide further boost to the ”Make in India” initiative in defence sector and is a big step towards achieving ”Aatmanirbhar Bharat”,” it said. The new tanks will be developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation and the order is expected to generate 8,000 jobs. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had handed over the MBT Arjun Mk-1A to Army Chief General MM Naravane in Chennai on February 14.The government said in a statement that the new variant of the Main Battle Tank (MBT) has 72 new features and more indigenous features compared to the Mk-1. It said the DRDO designed it “by incorporating numerous upgrades on Arjun MBT, the in-service main battle tank with the Indian Army”.