The Indian Army experienced certain shortcomings in the performance of the Vijayanta tank in the 1971 India-Pakistan War. Its gear box and diesel engine were not sturdy enough under battle conditions, though the performance of its gun was far better than that of any Russian gun’. Therefore, project Arjun MBT was launched with the objective of replacing the Vijayanta. However, after declaring the project as being successfully completed and manufacturing 125 Arjun MBTs that were handed over to the Army, nothing more was heard of the project.
Three main reasons for the delay were cost escalation, inadequate project management and technological complications.
The Arjun MBT programme is a perfect example of how a military R&D project should not be conducted. This paper analyses the contribution of India’s military research and development (R&D) at attaining self-reliance in defence technologies and weapon systems thereby reducing its reliance on foreign suppliers. The long-term security implication of reducing costs and saving foreign exchange is also examined with the Arjun Main Battle Tank (MBT) as a test case.
The views expressed above belong to the author(s). ORF research and analyses now available on Telegram! Click here to access our curated content — blogs, longforms and interviews.
P V Ramana was Research Fellow at IDSA. A student of South Asian studies, he works on the Naxalite-Maoist movement in India. ...Read More +