New Delhi: A chagrined Indian Army on Monday placed a fresh order for an additional 124 'Arjun' Main Battle Tanks, finally conceding the battle worthiness, and the superiority, of this indigenously developed design over much-hyped foreign developed imports. The battle for an unqualified acceptance of the Arjun as a product at par with, and indeed superior to comparable products, either Western or Russian, was a long drawn one and was clinched at the comparative trials conducted in March this year at the Mahajan firing ranges in Rajasthan.
Today would indeed be a red-letter day for DRDO scientists, past and present, involved with this long drawn-out programme.
The order would also come as a slap in the face of persistent media critics who have taken pathological delight at the trials and tribulations that this indigenous development programme have had to suffer across all sectors and decades. The last such report from a respected media source, issued before the March 2010 trials, indeed accused the DRDO of ramming the Arjun down the throats of the army. If only the DRDO had such pervasive influence!
"The Army has decided to place fresh order for an additional home-built 124 Main Battle Tank Arjun. This is over and above the existing order of 124 tanks. The development follows the success of the indigenous MBT Arjun in the recent gruelling desert trials," a defence ministry spokesperson said here.
The additional 124 MBTs will allow the Army to raise an additional two regiments of these indigenously developed tanks. The Army already has inducted the original order of 124 tanks and the production line set aside for their production at the Heavy Vehicles Factory at Avadi near Chennai.
"After many years of trials and tribulations, the tank has now proved its worth by its superb performance under various circumstances, such as driving cross-country over rugged sand dunes, detecting, observing and quickly engaging targets and accurately hitting targets, both stationary and moving with pinpoint accuracy," the spokesperson said.