A day to remember: MoD announces the purchase of 124 more Arjun tanks - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Monday 17 May 2010

A day to remember: MoD announces the purchase of 124 more Arjun tanks

It is an important, even historic, day for the MBT Arjun programme and a validation of Broadsword's reporting and opinion over the preceding three years, during which we put all the facts on the table. You have all followed, and usually cheered on, Broadsword's detailed reports on the Arjun's turnaround. In this, we, along with plenty of support from Shiv Aroor, have been lone voices in the media --- and that includes english, hindi, tv, print, whatever.

We had also reported, in detail, the Arjun's success in recent comparative trials, and the turnabout in army opinion on this vital project. Surprisingly, no mainstream newspaper or TV channel picked up our reports and took them forward.

A day of quiet triumph, though a long path still lies ahead for the Arjun. The Ministry of Defence press release (Note: MoD release, not DRDO) is attached below.



New Delhi:Vaisakha 27, 1932
May 17, 2010

The Army has decided to place fresh order for an additional home-built 124 Main Battle Tank (MBT) 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.

The project for the design and development of the MBT Arjun was approved by the Government in 1974 with an aim to give the required indigenous cutting edge to our Mechanised Forces. After many years of trial and tribulation it 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, accurately hitting targets – both stationary and moving, with pin pointed accuracy. Its superior fire-power is based on accurate and quick target acquisition capability during day and night in all types of weather and shortest possible reaction time during combat engagements.


  1. what is there to remember? It will take Avdi another 3 years to start rolling out Arjuns again. Thereafter 30 to 50 tanks per year will be delivered. The army will have 248 tanks only by 2016/17. By then they would also have acquired about 1200 T90 tanks. Arjun will only be a twig in Indian Army's history.

  2. The big question is what next? Does the Arjun story end with 248 tanks? Or do we continue on the path and become a true tank producing nation by producing newer and better tanks? Any idea what the army or the government thinks?

  3. Thanks for media & Forums which is supporting Arjun mbt ,
    but these 124 order is too tiny order , india placed T-90 for nearly 1700 nos which is inferior to arjun , but can't place some good order for best indian product .its highly unacceptable . if we can't able to accept indian products which is better than others , what is the use of saying we are indians .

    (India is very feeble in submarine fleet , need to order fastract orders , do Broadsword will do any needfull to trigger it , if yes my thanks in advance to Ajay ).

  4. Interesting date format "Vaisakha 27, 1932"

    Cheers to the Arjun team for their persistance and perceverance. Hoping to see more success in the indigenous development projects.

  5. This is really wonderful news.

    The fact that press release is from MOD is certainly a matter to highlight.

    Thank you for the news.

    We should certainly see Arjun more modified and equipped, for that the first thing is to have sufficient numbers.

    Here is the start and intergrate more things that can certainly help furhter.

    Way to goooo....

  6. good to see indian stuff come onto the mainstream. Sure we will kick some ass!

  7. Nice to hear the news, though another 376 to take the total to 500 would have been good. Any idea which regiments will get these ? What will these replace?

  8. Yeah sure 124 tanks more!

    Thanks IA and Shri Antony. Now you can sleep in peace and order thousands of Russian Natasha's to take to war. Enjoy the fun while it lasts.

  9. congrats Ajai sir. your effort is not in vain.

    something to cheer though utterly disappointing to see the number.

    it is only in our country that something like this can happen -

    "a superior tank gets a paltry 248 unit order while an inferior one laughs itself to the bank with a 1600 unit order"


    nevertheless Ajai sir, what are the possibilities for mark 2 version in terms of timeline, enhancements, future commitments by IA??

    thanks again and please continue your mission so we see more Arjuns roaring in the army. i wish you all the best.

  10. Sir,

    First and foremost, many thanx for the detailed reports over these years. For a program which has always been at the receiving end of mainstream media and subject to obfuscation and mud-slinging, you're articles have shed light on true developments as and when they happen.

    Interestingly, PIB release fails to completely mention the comparative trials part and talks about only performance of Arjun.

    One question - When do you think IA will order more Arjuns? Something lieke 500 in all?


  11. A watershed moment indeed. Not only it has to do with Arjun's performance against the T90, every knowlegeble peson knew it was now a great tank. A lot has got to do with A K Anthony as the Defense Minister vigorously supporting Indian Defense lab's indigenous efforts and a recent development of General V K Singh becoming the Chief of Army Staff. General V K Singh's categorical remarks about making the Army Strong from within(getting rid of any corruption) recommending cort martial of a serving Lt General, sent a strong message to the rank and file. The people who were opposing the tank realized that hfurther opposition even after Arjun's stellar performance was not viable.

  12. Ajai, any info on how many of the earlier order have already been delivered?

    128 would mean line would remain open for about 2.5 more years, is that time sufficient for mk2 to materialize? As otherwise it will share the same fate as the mk1, with IA claiming that it arrived to late.

    Moreover, 128 appears to be a mere consolation (DRDO actaully wanted ateast 500 total Arjuns)as even the ill performing t90 got an order of over 10 times.

  13. Hey,
    I am a BRFit and do check your blog everyday. And I like your articles which really shade light on things related to Indian armed forces.

    I agree that it was you in the media that cheered for Arjun first, but now you see many jingos have turned pro-Arjun from anti-Arjun.

    I hope you will continue enlightening us with the ground reality about the defense of India.

  14. Finally some thing for Arjun lovers a big cheers to all...and you rightly said sir no main stream media took it into consideration and is surprisingly disturbing, considering they go on for full fledged media cover of foreign weapons for instance MMRCA contenders.Don't know what to say further.However hopping that more orders will follow for Arjun "our pride".

  15. don't you think an order of 124 is too little and actually a compromise from the army under govt. pressure?

    it is quite possible to infer from the size of the order that IA didn't change it's opinion about the tank.

  16. Great News....the lungi wallah has finally decided to act.But why this fixation with 124.Man order another 500 and order production on a war footing.We just can't sit and watch while the pakis pile up al zarrars!

  17. I hope the IA purchases at least another 248 tanks so that it has close to 500 tanks.It is strange that the T-90s are ordered in multiples of around 300, while the Arjun is being ordered in piece-meal approach, even though it has proved itself. And the IA will continue to purchase T-90 for the next 10 years while not purchasing arjun saying it doesn't meet the future requirements!

    Ajai, any idea which regiments will get these tanks? Will replace the T-72 regiments first?

    Can you please also do a story on the regiments currently operating Arjuns, the issues they went through while induction, comparison between what the regiment operated previously and Arjun etc? It will be nice to hear from the users themselves!

  18. Salute your efforts, Broadsword.

  19. Finally the Army gave up its stand of denying Arjun its worthy place this means that Arjun Mak 2 will be the next MBT and India will not have to spend on junk.If my kid ever goes into a War i whish it will be Arjun and not T's

  20. Ajai,

    Hasnt the IA shortchanged the nation let alone DRDO yet again, by ordering only 124 tanks?

    Also, kudos to you for standing up for the truth, as they say, you fought the good fight!!

    And the motto of the Armor community: Bash on regardless!!

  21. Congratulations to you Ajai and also partly to Shiv Aroor for both your support to DRDO although they have many shortcomings.

    Q1. I read in a report that the army still have problems with the design of arjun i.e. where the sight location of the gunner and EW suite.

    Q2. Can you please clarify if in your report or conversations with our nations finest about their experience and reviews about Arjun.

    Q3. I am sure Arjun still has many shortcoming which have not been publicized. my question is to what extent was Arjun successful against T-90 and in what areas did T-90 beat the Arjun?

    Thanks in advance. Looking forward to your reply.

  22. ajai, you've been clouded by your proximity with the arjun folks. has the army mentioned the short life of the hydro-pneum suspension? i have no lena-dena in this matter. am a lowly army functionary who happens to know a little bit about what the army feels. the suspension has done the poor tank in. look for a report on suspension related complaints from the the AUCRT, filed separate from the trial report.

  23. Excellent to think this project started off as a modernisation of the vickers MBT. This is indeed a validation of our capabilities to produce heavy armaments. But this also should be seen with caution as the program though successful requires further study to evaluate the failures that have happened that caused such a massive delay. Other than that now on to making every component on that tank Indian.

  24. Sir, I believe there are two ways to look at this. One is that this is a belated acceptance of the Arjun by the IA and this is but the first step towards developing and refining it. The second more cynical view is that this is a token gesture to take the heat off any investigation into the T90 deal(s) and that once it has served its purpose, the IA will have no further use for the Arjun program. Unfortunately, I believe the latter is a more likely view.

  25. OK. I also need to give credit to Ajai Shukla for his great investigative coverage of this Arjun saga. Through his regular coverage of Arjun(leaks I guess), he made the persons(especially Lt.Gen.D.Bhardwaj) who were against Arjun like cats on a hot tin roof.

  26. @anon at 18 May 2010 02:57

    Oh what horror...Suspension problems...cannot be rectified in another 500 years...Lets order more metal coffins and drive blind into elysium...

  27. Some people have raised eyebrows about the larger nos of allegedly inferior T-90,whilst some have raised reservations about some still nagging technical shortcomings of Arjun.Anywhich way we look at it The tests have proved that Arjun is at least, comparable to T-90,if not superior.But the important que here is the comparative nos of T-72 tanks (which are unquestionably far inferior to Arjun),vis a vis Arjun.Nobody looks at the glaring obsolesence of T-72s,& advocating pumping in more and more money into it like flogging a dead horse, whilst microsopically looking for technical hitches in Arjun.

  28. What short life..usual bakwas to run down a local product. The suspension issues were fixed long back and the suspension in fact is one of the reason the Arjun did so well in trials.

  29. first of all

    Thanx for including Shiv Aroor's name as one of those voices who rose in support of Arjun, BTW if you had included Manu Sood of 8ak.in and IDRW.ORG it would have been better.

    As for the reports of further orders I believe there will will order for 248 more by 2011-2012, once the Aadi plant starts 3 shifts and a 3rd production line.

    This i suppose will happen by 2011. As for further orders Shiv Aroor had reported long back that Columbia was interested in Arjun.

    May be that order will also come by 2012 and Arjun Mk1 will finally go beyond the magic figure of 500.

  30. Ajai sir,
    Please donate some photo of arjun tank to wiki from better info for public like other tank info.U could upload it to wiki commons .Ur contribution will be highly appreciable.I know u have donated to wiki 2 pic of arjun tank.But it is tank of India and it needs more info in visual sense.
    Thank you

  31. Some thing is better than nothing ... We need to move in China's track ... look 4 long term goals .. make Arjun Mk2s /Tejas Mk2s and by 2020 have them serve the armed forces ... and we should look 4 business opportunities.

  32. I hope that post the comparative trials, the DGMF & the other stubborn detractors of project Arjun have got 'Asal Uttar' i.e 'the real answer' as did the pak army in 1965 tank war.
    I only hope that next time around the army top brass would not be as stubborn,working behind the benefit of official iron curtains,as not all 'arjuns' can be as lucky.

  33. The T-90 must not be the MBT of the Indian Navy. It has performed badly and the Russian service is bad and they are reluctant to transfer tech. So it's better if we can use the Tank Ex-to fill the role of 1600 T-90's. A combination of 1600 Arjun MK1's and II's and 1600 Tank-EX will be a good strong armoured force that can face any challenges from anyone. Tank-ex combines the small size of T-72 with the protection and firing capabilities of the Arjun. Ekalavya must be the one that must be brought rather than T-90's.

  34. DRDO has been able to achieve this because of continuous pressure from Army. They should thank army for nailing them against wall. After all in Army they say," best output comes under extreme pressure". I think Services being responsible for national security have all the rights to extract best out of support services like DRDO, and it would be in national interest.I think Army has done a good job here.

  35. Ajai, hats-off to you for the support that you have extended to the Arjun MBT program over the years now. I am a long time BRFite and as you already know, that forum had and has a lot of posters who have always believed in the potential of the Arjun design. It is heartening to see that the Arjun is getting another order, but the size of the order is disappointing. If the IA has realised that the Arjun MBT is reliable (the main issue that they used to highlight earlier) then what prevents them from ordering enough to equip another 6-8 regiments at least ?

    I read your comment on Shiv's blog about this not being the last of the orders for the Arjun..are you referring to the Arjun Mk2 ? What about the Arjun Mk1 ? Will 4 regiments be all we'll see of it ?

  36. Thanx to Broadsword's and you all that Arjun has at last started blasting the bastions of resistances. The trend shows that the Mk2 will soon arrive.

  37. Congratulations Ajai and Shiv!

  38. Re Ajai

    It would be very welcome if you could write on proposed mark 2. I believe the unsaid fear is that Army will come up with unreachable specifications for Mark 2 to kill the production line

  39. The order should have been for replacing all T-72s and placing a large order justifying high production rate. This is a mere consolation order by IA and Bharadwaj needs to be investigated by vigilance committees for his role.
    Nevertheless broadsword needs to be commended for its efforts.


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