Israeli Laser Homing Anti-Tank Missile (LAHAT) will no longer be fitted on India’s homemade Arjun Mk-2 tank because it does not meet the army’s requirement, according to local daily the Hindustan Times.
The LAHAT missile did not meet the army’s requirements of engaging targets at ranges of less than 1,200 metres. It has an effective range of 6,000 metres.
“The LAHAT missile doesn’t figure in our plans anymore. We are dropping it. We have been working on a tube-launched anti-tank missile, which hopefully can be configured for the tank’s cannon,” Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) chief Avinash Chander was quoted as saying by HT.
The Mk-2 may be hailed as an Indian-made tank but it represents barely 36-38% indigenization, compared to 60% on the Mk-1. “The indigenous quotient has fallen because the major improvements over Mk-1 required imports,” he added.
The Mk-2 variant is supposed to have nearly 80 improved features over the previous version, including more than 15 major technology upgrades.
The failure of LAHAT missile, manufactured by Israeli Aerospace Industries, will seriously hinder the ongoing project as it will require DRDO to also work on indigenous missile that can be fired from the tank.
The major improvements on the new tank include better firepower, integrated explosive reactive armor, advanced laser warning and countermeasure system, a mine plough, a remotely-operable anti-aircraft weapon, advanced land navigation system and enhanced night vision capabilities.
The defense ministry has plans to buy 118 Arjun MK-2 tanks at a cost of more than $1.1 billion and is developed by DRDO. The tank is an upgraded version of the Mk-1 variant, 119 of which have been inducted in the army.