April 30, 2012: The improved Arjun Mk.2 tank begins crucial trials shortly. On May 10, the Arjun Mk.2 prototype will arrive at the Pokhran field firing range for a round of firing tests. Formal user trials by the Army will begin on June 1. The Army is counting on the Mk.2 to make for technological requirements lacking in the Arjun Mk.1, 124 of which have been inducted into two armoured regiments. A standing indent also exists for 124 Arjun Mk.2, which may be amplified depending on the outcome of the upcoming trials.
The Army is also hoping that unlike the Mk.1, trials on the Mk.2 are not protracted. The Arjun Mk.2 incorporates 93 improvements over and above the original Mk.1 tank platform. These include a crucial capability to fire missiles from the 120mm gun tube, a night-capable panoramic sight, containerised and protected ammunition, better penetration by the primary weapon, the ability to deploy new ammunition types, explosive reactive armour, a turret mounted air-defence gun to engage helicopters, mine plough, an advanced land navigation system and a laser counter-measure system.
The Arjun Mk.2 trials commence shortly after Rosoboronexport publicly displayed the improved T-90S tank at the recently concluded Defexpo in India's capital -- an unmistakable sign that Moscow will look to supply more T-90s to the Indian Army. It will be a deja vu of sorts for the Army, which has held extensive comparative trials in the past between the T-90 Bhishma tanks and the Arjun Mk.1. While trial results were mixed across parameters, it is understood that the Arjun Mk.1 outperformed the T-90 in several key performance criteria, including mobility and cross-country high speed runs.