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Arjun MK II main battle tank may miss 2016 induction date

Arjun MK II main battle tank may miss 2016 induction date
A key source in the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said, the Israelis who customised the LAHAT (also a Hebrew word for ‘incandescence’) for firing from the 120 mm main gun of the Mark II variant, has gone back to the drawing boards for correcting the error.

The DRDO source said, ‘This has delayed the induction of the tank a bit, but then we are telling the army that since the platform, the tank, is ready they can take it up, with the missile getting mated later.’

The tank itself has undergone about 89 major and minor ‘improvements,’ and still have a few unsolved issues which are decidedly ‘minor’ like changing the position of a light bulb or so.
The range of the LAHAT pay-load is about three-and-a-half kilometres on the plains and about two-and-a-half kilometres in the deserts.

LAHAT was originally developed 1992 by Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) for firing from their own Merkava MBT. With a diametre of about 105 mm, the anti-tank can be independently targeted or targeted through laser designation. The latter means an alternative platform can illuminate the target with the anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) homing in on the laser spot.

Till now the army has ordered 124 Mark IIs, while the DRDO is still attempting to get the army raise the demand to 500, which the DRDO source said, would make the production line viable.

Though the improvements sought by the army has increased the weight of the tank – from about 45 tonnes to 67 tonnes. It can still pivot by 360 degrees while firing. The crew comfort is considered to be of a very high order, beating the T-90 Russian MBT hollow, sources say.

Now the DRDO claims it is for the army to make up its whether it wishes to field it by 2016 or wait for the LAHAT to come online fully, before it accepts the ready for deployment MBT.
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