The Mark-II version of the Main Battle Tank (MBT) Arjun has completed most user trials, except missile testing, which will take place next summer at the Pokhran firing range in Rajasthan, Director of the Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (Defence Research and Development Organisation) P. Sivakumar said on Wednesday.
So far, the response to the new features of Arjun Mark II was favourable, but they had to wait for the summer before starting the missile trials, which would most probably take place in April or May next year, he said, speaking to The Hindu on the sidelines of the SMART conference at Sri Manakula Vinayagar Engineering College on Wednesday.
The Arjun Mk II could fire missiles accurately up to a range of 2000 km, he said. Since May 2012, user trials had been done in Avadi and Pokhran.
The Arjun Mk II had 89 improvements over its predecessor Arjun MBT, which included long range missile firing capabilities, panoramic sights with night vision, enhanced weapon penetration and digital control.
Unlike Arjun MBT, which had taken the DRDO several years of research and work, work on Arjun Mk II was completed in two years, thanks to the experience while designing and building the first version, he said.
The Arjun MBT is operated by four crew members – a commander, gunner, loader and driver.
It was designed by the CVRDE, which is a wing of the DRDO that is responsible for designing, developing and evaluating prototypes for tracked vehicles, he said.