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The Indian Armoured Vehicles Market: the Largest Tank Force in Eurasia?

contributed by Sharmin Ahammad

Just a brief scan of recent headlines demonstrates the dramatic growth and investment in the Indian armoured vehicles market. As the Indian Department of Defence increases its defence budget by 12% for 2011, totalling up to $34 billion to be spent this year, it’s clear that armoured vehicles are one of the Indian Army’s top priorities.

Arjun MBT undergoing trials in India

$12-Billion Armoured Vehicles Contracts for Indian Industry

In order to stimulate local industry, the Indian Army is investing $12-billion on procuring 2,600 military vehicles as part of their future infantry combat vehicles programme (FICV) from regional companies. Tata Group, the Mahindra Group, Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) all submitted bids for the contracts at the end of August. Two of the shortlisted companies will go on to manufacture 65-70 per cent and 30-35 per cent of the order. It’s a pretty heated competition and we will update you the moment the winner has been announced.

India: the Most Powerful Tank Force in Eurasia?

According to StrategyPage.com, by 2020, the Indian Army will have the “most powerful armored force in Eurasia” (unless pipped at the post by China). Even though India is forging ahead with the locally-made and designed Arjun Mark II by ordering 248 more Arjun tanks, the Indian Army is continuing to upgrade and add to its fleet of Russian-designed and Indian-made T-90 and T-72 tanks. In addition to the 700 Russian-made T-90s bought by the Indian Army, the first ten out of a thousand Indian-made T-90s were delivered to the Indian Army two years ago and by the end of 2020, the Indian Army will have 2,000 newly upgraded T-72 tanks. Those are some serious numbers if you tot them all up.

The Tests and Trials of the Arjun Mark-II

Earlier in June, the highly anticipated Indian-made Arjun Mark II finally hit the Pokhran ranges in Rajasthan for operational trials. This is pretty exciting stuff: the Arjun Mark I took thirty years to complete – from concept to finish – and the Arjun Mark II is expected to be delivered and deployed by 2015. The Arjun Mark II is also allegedly the most expensive tank in the world, costing $8 million each. My colleague, Simon Wigfield, raised several great questions about the Arjun Tank’s future here.

As the Indian Army’s investment in the armoured vehicles market continues to grow, it is clear that this is a very exciting and crucial time to get involved.

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