The Arjun Main Battle Tank (MBT) developed by the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) is expected to tried against the T-90 in June. The DRDO is fighting to get increased orders from the army since the existing order for 124 tanks needs to be multiplied by a factor of five before the project can become economically viable.
“It’s likely to happen next month. We’d like to do it before the monsoon. The DRDO claims the Arjun will do well against the T-90. Let’s see,” one brasshat confided to StratPost.
The Arjun tank has been under development for some 35 years now and some in the army are not entirely looking forward to their induction. “As it is, it has problems. Even if we induct it now, the tank will be obsolete in a few years. And we’ll be stuck with it,” he said, referring to reports of sticky issues over the tank’s operational ability in temperatures above 50 degrees Celsius as well as its weight. Other issues the army has been reported to be unhappy with include problems with its fire control system, targeting inaccuracy, and maneuverability in difficult terrain.
For now, India plans to have some 1,500 T-90 tanks in service eventually. India had originally bought 310 T-90s from Russia in 2001 and then decided to manufacture 1,000 of these in India in 2006, while at the same time ordering 330 units from Russia. Reportedly, India has already Rs. 3.5 billion on the development of Arjun.
In trials and exercises conducted over the past three years, the tank has been repeatedly found lacking by the Indian Army, with the DRDO at one point claiming sabotage. The Army Chief was reportedly appreciative of the tank’s performance after the winter trials in 2008.