India’s Arjun MBT face serious technical issues

Arjun_TankThe Economic Times is reporting that the Indian Army is facing major technical issues with it’s home-grown Arjun MBT.  According to the article, a significant proportion of its fleet has become inoperable in recent months and are non-sericeable due to maintenance issues.  The Indian Army reluctantly accepted 124 Arjun tanks into service from 2009 to 2013 after the UPA government insisted that a token number be ordered to keep the tank development program viable.  Sources said that the Army’s opinion is that while a large number of tanks are not operational due to technical defects, the fleet as such is not combat worthy due to reliability issues. “A number of tanks are not operational currently as transfer of technology (ToT) of several imported systems fitted onboard has not been done,” an Army official said. The Army has identified 96 problems, including 18 major ones.

The Arjun has had a longer development cycle than any other tank in history.  The program to design the tank started in 1974 and has gone through several versions.  Attempts to develop homegrown components have met with limited success and have forced the Arjun designers to rely on foreign components.  It is estimated that 60% of the tank is foreign produced and many of these foreign components must be repaired abroad, a significant factor in the vehicles low readiness and reliability rates.

Read the full article here

Other articles on long, sad story of the Arjun program:

Arjun MK 1 – India’s MBT-70 or White Elephant? (Nov 1998)

Sabotage suspected in Arjun tank engine (July 2008)

Global Arjun page