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Trials of Arjun Mark-II MBT to be completed this year

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The advanced version of the Indian homegrown main-battle tank, Arjun, is all set to complete its protracted trials this year, which will include firing the Israeli-origin laser guided LAHAT missiles from its main gun.

This Mark-II version of the Arjun has “89 upgrades or improvements” over the earlier 124 Mark-I tanks inducted by the Army. “The trials began in June 2012 at the Mahajan field firing ranges in Rajasthan. Phase-II of the trials, which basically revolve around the armaments, kicked off in May-June this year,” said an official on Thursday, July 25, 2013.

Another round of the LAHAT missile firing will take place in the first week of August. “The remaining trials will begin in the third week of August at Pokhran. If the trials are fully successful, the production order for 118 Arjun Mark-II tanks will be placed,” he said.

While the Army has inducted 124 Mark-I Arjuns, the force and other agencies had suggested the 89 improvements for the Mark-II version. These included the capability to fire missiles from the main gun, advanced laser warning and control systems, and explosive reactive armour plates for better self-protection of the tanks.

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