DRDO Says Arjun Mark-II Will be completed by July 2011

The phase one production of Arjun Mark-II will be completed by July
2011 and phase two production with 93 new improvements will be
completed by June 2012, said P Sivakumar, Director of Combat Vehicle
Research and Development Establishment, a wing of the DRDO.

In Phase-I, 45 tanks will roll out with 56
upgrades, including the missile firing capability and the enhanced
night vision, and in Phase-II, the remaining 79 tanks, with all the 93
improvements, will come off the assembly line. “By 2013-14, the first
batch of 30 tanks will reach the ground,” Sivakumar told Express.

Addressing a seminar at Anna University, Sivakumar also mentioned the
need for defence establishments to reduce the weight of combat vehicles
like tanks. “Material sciences and nanotechnology play a significant
role in this change. At present Arjun tanks weigh 60 tonnes. But there
may be a demand to reduce the weight to 50 tonnes to improve mobility.
This can be achieved to some extent by applying nanotechnology in
reducing the thickness of armors while retaining their strength,” he
said.

The DRDO research and innovation center at IIT-Madras Research Park
will try to work and address such needs by collaborating with
educational institutions, Sivakumar said.

“The center will become operational by July and we look to pool in
resources from students of IIT-M and Anna University to conduct
futuristic research at this centre, different from projects going on in
the regular DRDO labs,” he said.

The focus of this research centre, according to Sivakumar, will be
on developing the suspension technology. “India is a leader in
hydropneumatic suspension technology and we are looking to broaden the
scope further through this centre,” he said.