Friday, 25 November 2011

Upcoming modifications on the Arjun Mark II

With an army crewmember of the Arjun, one of the men posted on deputation to CVRDE for the Arjun project


I know, like every married person, that “major” and “minor” are relative terms. But here is the list of 19 major modifications that the Arjun Mark II will feature. The list was finalized after extensive user opinion canvassing and feedback from the DGQA, DGEME, OFB, other DRDO labs.

1. Missile firing capability
2. Commander’s TI panoramic sight Mk II
3. Driver’s uncooled thermal imaging night sight
4. Additional ammunition (don’t ask… won’t tell!)
5. Enhanced ammunition penetrator
6. Effective alternative to muzzle reference sight (MRS)
7. Resin-based CCC
8. Ten-round containerised bin
9. Explosive reactive armour panels
10. Infra-red/Thermal imaging resistant paint
11. Air defence weapon remote firing
12. ALWCS (advanced laser warning and countermeasure system)
13. Roof mounted driver’s seat
14. ATT in GMS (gunner’s main sight)
15. Advanced land navigation system
16. New final drive with increased reduction ratio
17. Advanced running gear system
18. New track system
19. Mine plough

In addition, there are 74 “minor” improvements (adding up to 93 improvements in all) that are not really that minor. For example:

1. An improved sprocket wheel that modifies the manufacturing process from rolled homogenous armour (which required gas cutting and machining) to a forged sprocket which is 50% the cost, 50% easier to build and gives a longer life.

2. Another minor modification is the incorporation of stainless steel fuel tanks. The painting required for the insides of the earlier mild steel tanks was creating residue that clogged the fuel lines and filters. But stainless steel requires no painting.

3. Internal electrical wiring has been comprehensively re-laid, incorporating the dozens of modifications that have been incrementally carried out over the years. The wiring has now been laid systematically, making it easier to track and repair.

4. The radio harness has been modified, and internal communications are now digital. That makes it easier to integrate audio alarms and provides an SMS facility between the crew (how ‘bout sum chai?). It is totally noise free… now the crew can communicate easily.

5. Another improvement is the incorporation of a new compact Auxillary Power Unit (APU), which provides 8 KW of electrical power (uprated from the existing 4.5 KW APU). This requirement is based on fresh load budgeting calculations, allowing the tank to operate in “silent mode” with the additional electronics… also keeping a cushion for future electronic enhancements.

Of these 93 modifications, 45 have already been tested during trials in summer 2011… having been incorporated on one "improved Arjun Mk I" tank. A second tank is being cut open to put in three major modifications, including the commander’s panoramic sight Mk II.

I could bore you all at some length with this kind of stuff, but will let you chew on this for now…


Anonymous said...

Aap bhagwaan ke pharishte ho!! keep it coming!!!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful details ajai sir. thanks a million times. :)

sorry for the chats regarding pakistani missile things.

Anonymous said...

Interesting - thanks. Is the remote air defence cupola indigenous or imported? Any details would be welcome.

Anonymous said...

sir this is the best report ever read in my simple but informative....hats off to you sir...

Anonymous said...

Sir please post the list and details of minor mods also if they are ok to reveal it. fascinating stuff for arjun supporters like me.

Anonymous said...

You sure can take the liberty to bore us more. We would like to, btw is it true that you were at some point of time a tank squadron commander?

burger's biet. said...

Nice info finally..eagerly waitin for our final arjun mk2 updates..what are those update(Major or minor)which they incorporates in summer 2011 trials.

Anonymous said...

given the quality of details i am not sorry for the fact that i too was involved in pestering you for more details.

Anonymous said...

Nice Improvements. But, the question is how many of these are indigenous? Could you please add that info as well. I think most of them are bought from Israel Elbit directly and just assembled.

Anonymous said...

sir what about engine....???

Anonymous said...

Your second post on the arjun is making things a lot more clear like what was tested recently, what will be tested and all the "minor" enhancements. Wow!.

Hopefully this will go into production as early as possible. Have they announced a definite induction date?.

OT was there any reason that made you put that you tube commentary up before this one?

I have to say over the last month the stories are coming thick and fast and they make an enjoyable read even when I do not agree with them.

Keep hitting us with these Arjun articles and do not forget about the FGFA one.

Anonymous said...

You do mean "roof anchored driver's seat", instead of the roof mounted driver's seat? To isolate the driver from the floor perhaps?

Broadsword said...

Who has told you that the Arjun Mark II would be getting a new engine?

A new engine would require re-engineering of the kind that would delay the Mark II beyond acceptability.

Instead, the 1400 HP engine's output has been optimised by re-engineering the tank's final drive... and re-arranging the gear ratios so as to obtain more torque at lower speeds... and obtain fast acceleration, lower operating speeds and better fuel economy.

@ Anonymous 14:26

I was a tank troop leader for 5 years; a squadron commander for 5 years; and then finally retired after commanding an armoured regiment.

Anonymous said...

@Ajai: As a Tank leader or commander..don't u guys get scared..I mean u may not have seen a war but in case of a war getting hit from air or mine or something like a rocket on ur own blog (syrian)tank. don't know exactly but to me Tanks r easiest target from air and from hidden commandos..

Anonymous said...

Well atleast they should have painted the tank properly.

Poor quality - is what your picture above is screaming about this tank.

Anonymous said...


Do bore us with details more. :-)

- Manne

Anonymous said...

any details on the air defence weapon?

Indranil said...

Hi Ajai!
What is 'Resin-based CCC'?

Kaushik said...

Sir what is that u said as roof mounted driver seat. can u be more specific on the drivers position. pls

Rahul Reddy Pogula said...

Shukla ji, it has been a very widespread misconception that MK2 was getting a new engine. I can't remember where I first read it. Anyway, thanks for clearing that up.

By the way, did you get to test drive the prototype that was tested this summer?

Anonymous said...

What happened to Active Protection system ? I hear we were going for Iron Fist.

I also heard about 1500 hp engine from Cummins india. Is this true ?

New turret with the help of IMI is also proposed.

Anonymous said...

As part of this article series, I would certainly like to read about the following aspects -

1. How does it compare with other leading tanks in the world - say Merkawa, Abrams, Leopard, Al-Khalid (not sure if it is one of them), and the Chinese ones.

2. We have the TI sights and IR sights in the tank. Did you get a chance to see its functioning? How would you rate the quality of these instruments w.r.t the ones procured from outside.

3. How would you rate the crew comfort and other ergonomics as compared to the other tanks you have seen.

4. Did you get a chance to ride in it. Did you find the tank maneuverable as claimed by the designers?

Anonymous said...

Is arjun MK2 not getting a indigenous engine? Also please tell us, what are the parts used in the upgrades are indigenous. Is it going to use indigenous missile instead of Lahat.

Anonymous said...

Ajai!!! will the crew be given headphones with active noise cancellation features?do they incorporate active noise cancellation for vibration control in tanks too due to engine vibrations?

Unknown said...

Ajai sir , what about air conditioning for crew comfort in Arjun markII ? after all the crew have to operate in temperatures of 50 degrees centigrades in the desert terrain.I have heard that such features have added in LECLEREC,s.

Anonymous said...

Great article sir, especially the fine detail I love reading that stuff.....I'm so boring I even like to know how many were injured in making it...go figure.

Anyway, did not realise the tank had air defence though limited that's preety impresive. Turning out to be quite the tank and work to reduce cost like that sprocket seems to be in the right direction, hope the final cost of the tank is reasonable.

Keep up the great work and I look forward to the next instalment of your fine assignment. Ps: u standing on the tank with your mate... Arjun is a big beast of a machine. 10/4 out Pritesh

Radhakrishnan said...

Good to hear good things Arjun. We a;l are proud of the Tank. Finally the Army also realizing its potential. Better late than never.

Ajai - you have visited CVRDE several times, interacted with many. Surprised still you refer CVRDE as Central Vehicles Res & Dev Est. It is not CENTRAL - it is COMBAT Vehicles Research & Dev Est

Broadsword said...

@ Indranil

That's a resin-based combustible cartridge case... the cartridge case of the tank main gun ammunition.

@ Anonymous 18:14

If your only comment has to do with paintwork, I would suggest you visit the Volkswagen website rather than this blog. The only paintwork issue worth commenting upon is whether it is sufficiently anti-IR and anti-TI.

In terms of looks, the paintwork of a tank is all about being drab and invisible. If you take a look at the paintwork of the M1 Abrams that operate in Iraq (and I have) you would probably think the Abrams was a shitty tank too!

@ Anonymous 16:21

"Roof mounted" or "roof anchored"... is this to do with more than semantics. And there is just one reason for that... protecting the driver from anti-tank mine blasts.

@ Radhakrishnan

Good God! You're right... I've been giving a wrong name for CVRDE. My apologies... have corrected it in the article.

@ Anonymous 20:34

Active noise cancellation? This is India, my friend. We are world leaders in noise and smells. And we don't cancel it.

Actually they wanted to. But the silly gits contacted Bosch instead of Bose and ended up with a gun control equipment instead of active noise cancellation.

Just kidding.

The InTerpreTeR said...

Ajai Sir,

Considering the fact that engine is among the key components wherein we lack technologies, can you please shed some light on the progress made by DRDO towards indigenisation of it?

Anonymous said...

Does Arjun mark 2 also have ERA tiles on top of the tank and on top of the hatches(for protection from top-attack missiles)? It doesn't show any in the diagram. Or does it have additional Kanchan armour panels on top of tank and on top of hatches?

Pratik Das said...

Your series on Arjun Mk II is perhaps one of the most substantial contributions in the Indian defence blogosphere in a while.

And if Anonymous @ 25/11 12:30 is true, you've ascended many steps from being a Lockheed Martin sellout to 'Bhagwaan ke pharishte'. I'm not convinced about the F-35, but this isn't bad for a day's work, Col. sahib!

Many thanks for keeping information free.

Anonymous said...

Shuklaji...ek photo tank ke gun pe bhi...please please..

Anonymous said...

Ajai, First of all, thanks for the excellent quality of your reporting on the Arjun MK-2 ? Couple of questions ..
Is there any indigenous effort happening in tank engine development ? I had read of some work to be started in making a 1500hp engine in house. Is it for real ?
What about the mobility requirements for this 65-68 ton behemoth ? Is the army okay with this weight penalty given the state of bridges/ canals in the western sector ? Also are mods needed in the BFAT carrying wagons too in light of the greater weight of mark-2 ?

What is the status of Bhim ? Any development going on in the field of tracked SP gun ?

Broadsword said...

@ Pratik

Make no mistake... I have not changed my considered belief that the F-35 would be a far better option for the IAF, all things considered, than any of the six MMRCA contenders.

I will continue to argue that case. As also the case for indigenising our tank fleet; inducting the LCA into service in larger numbers; putting serious resources into the AMCA; and placing an announced ban on the import of any more warships.

So keep your knives out...

Anonymous said...

of the 45 tested..whats the opinion of the people who tested it...
i assume you get to talk to those people too :D

Anonymous said...

Hi Ajai,

Had a query about the missile firing capability. Was reading on the LAHAT. It mentions that it needs a smooth bore. The Arjun has a rifling gun. How does this work?

Also, points 2 and 3, does the current Arjun not have night fighting? How can the army be provided a tank without night fighting capability?

Await your feedback on this.

Mr. Ra said...

It is great that the team of users, designers and consultants could think and approve of so many modifications.

Pratik Das said...

Ajai ji, thanks for the reply and heads-up on your future posts. I look forward to them!

Every aspect of your outlook suggests a need for greater domestic capacity for production and testing, be it for tanks, LCA and AMCA production, or naval ships. It seems there is a growing understanding that the private Indian sector would have to be involved to augment present capacities.

I think it would be a coup if you could interview the likes of L&T, Tata and Mahindra on how they see themselves augmenting this capacity.

• Are they interested in cooperating with the public sector giants like DRDO and HAL, or do they see themselves running independently?
• Do they see cooperation with PSUs being feasible?
• How would they appease the PSUs for depriving them of lucrative mass-production and testing contracts and relegating them to the difficult task of cutting-edge research and development?
• Why is there no competitive offering from a private Indian company to something simpler than tanks, jets and ships, and smaller in scale, like a IMI Tavor TAR-21?

Anonymous said...

@Broadsword (Re 18:14 paint..)

Abrams in Iraq do look good. My contention here is that color and overall look of the tank does matter, at least to the outside world. and Indians need to not neglect such small things with chalta hai attitude.

To any common man with no knowledge of tanks, this tank will be the shittiest among all other out there.