(Ajai Shukla) : 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…