5 absolute worst tanks of all time
Indian Arjun Mk. 1 tanks in a parade, New Delhi, January 2022. Arjun remains unique in taking longer to develop than it is projected to serve.
HINDUSTAN TIMESGETTY IMAGES
India’s first indigenous tank, the Arjun, had one of the longest development periods of any armored vehicle in recent history. The Arjun main battle tank was projected to enter service in 1985. Instead, the tank—named after one of India’s legendary warriors—blew deadline after deadline and entered service in 2009, a remarkable 37 years after the decision was first made to build it.
India’s defense establishment was not ready to build a modern main battle tank, and the Arjun was updated several times during the design process. The main gun was upgraded from a 105-millimeter to 120-millimeter gun, while the armor was increased to deal with advances in anti-tank weapons. Engineers also had to accommodate new technologies, including GPS navigation, laser warning receivers, and reactive armor. As a result of all these changes, Arjun’s weight ballooned from 40 tons to 62 tons, making what would have been a nimble tank one of the more sluggish tanks on the modern battlefield.
The Arjun Mk.1 entered service with the Indian Army in 2009, but the service was reluctant to buy what had become known as a mechanically-unreliable tank. The army was forced to buy 124 Arjun Mk. 1s, with the promise that future Mk.1A Arjuns would correct the original tank’s glaring flaws. The Arjun Mk.1 will probably serve for 20 years or less, considerably less time than it actually took to develop the tank
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