India defense research and development organization (DRDO) is aiming for higher localization of components of its Arjun Mark-II main battle tank (MBT) as a way to get over shortage of imported parts which were affecting the combat readiness of the tank.
Denying media reports that 75% of the tank fleet had been out of commission for want of spares and components, the sources told defenseworld.net correspondent that there had been supply chain and maintenance issues but a large part of the fleet was in operation.
“Sustenance of the Arjun MBT is a challenging endeavor especially within the existing procurement cycle timelines," a source familiar with the development said adding that these timelines dictate a higher level of indigenization, which should be available when the next version of Arjun becomes ready.
Some 118 Arjun tanks have been deployed with army units as part of its extended user trials since last year. Over 40% of the tank is imported including is engine and certain other components and systems.
Supply chain problems, maintenance and overhaul have pushed India’s Arjun Mark-II main battle tank (MBT) into trouble, a tank considered the most modern in India's inventory.
DRDO’s Mark-II version of Arjun MBT has received satisfactory marks from the Army in comparison to the T-90 after trails were conducted in 2010. It weighs less than 50 Tons and has 93 improvements to its earlier version and DRDO claimed that Mark-II has nearly 60 percent indigenous components.
But now questions are being raised about its maintenance and overhaul on account of the tank having more than 50 per cent of components from foreign sources and those being made now are unavailable.
The Arjun Mark II is supposed to be most ambitious tank building venture of the DRDO, and one which has surprised international arms companies. According to a DRDO statement last year," Arjun Mark II incorporates enhanced firepower with Automated Target Tracking and greater variety of ammunition including Gun-fired anti-tank missile and the devastating Thermobaric ammunition; enhanced protection that include Explosive Reactive Armor, Laser Warning Countermeasure System, a Mine Plough, a Remotely operable Anti-Aircraft weapon, a Roof mounted driving seat; Advanced Land Navigation System and Enhanced night vision capabilities."