Arjun Main Battle Tank review, road test

    The Indian-made Arjun Main Battle Tank is a machine that grabbed our attention by the scruff and had us wishing we were behind the wheel.

    Published on Jan 26, 2018 12:00:00 PM


    Every military machine, fighter aircraft, battle ship or tank, is basically a weapons platform, meant to move a means of destruction as quickly as possible to the enemy. An essential part of the Mobility, Firepower, Protection triad that governs MBT design, the chassis has to get it there at top speed, and also  protect it. The Arjun’s chassis or hull is made up of what is called Rolled Homogenous Armour or RHA. In additon, the world's leading MBTs use additional multi-layered armour that consists of a specially designed sandwich structure.

    The Arjun's 'Kanchan' armour is close to the British 'Chobham' system, possibly the best in the world. Developed by the Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL) in Hyderabad, this material is said to consist of composite steel, special alloys and ceramic bonded together. The differing densities puts a penetrating projectile off course, and the shell loses energy. This armour has been tested in combat like situations, and has fared really well. Surprisingly, ride quality is vital to a tank too. Tanks now engage targets while on the move, and a good ride prevents the gun from oscillating.

    The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) developed a hydro-pneumatic suspension system that uses compressed nitrogen as a springing agent, with hydraulic shock absorbers used to damp resonance. Currently only one other frontline MBT, France's LeCLerc, utilises the system effectively, but DRDO claims to have mastered the system, giving the Arjun a crucial edge, both in terms of platform stability as well as crew comfort. The progressive suspension is soft earlier in its travel and hardens when pushed. Plus, each wheel is an individual unit, meaning the tank can sustain a hit, lose a couple of wheels and still limp home.

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