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MBT Arjun Based ARRV Developed by DRDO

Published Nov 14, 2018
Updated Jun 18, 2020

Indian Army required an Armoured Recovery and Repair Vehicle (ARRV) to render requisite recovery and repair cover for its Main Battle Tank Arjun throughout its life span. For realizing this, a Mission Mode project was sanctioned to Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE), Avadi. Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) Ltd, Bengaluru, was nominated the co development and production agency.

ARRV is the primary supporting vehicle for the mechanized forces. It’s functions are comprehensive and multifaceted and include winching, towing and pushing, lifting load and moving with load, anchoring, dozing, welding, cutting, replenishing, maintenance and repair services in the field, spares supply, power supply for operating tools and battery charging. As Arjun ARRV is a dedicated vehicle for recovery and repair cover, only a machine-gun and crew weapons were required for local defence. In addition to Arjun MBT, the vehicle was also planned to use it as a recovery and repair cover for other heavy military equipment in service with Indian army.

Development Approach

CVRDE followed the concurrent engineering for development of Arjun ARRV keeping production agency BEML and users (Project Monitoring Group ARRV) on-board right from the design stage itself to reduce the lead time for productionization.

The vehicle is derived from Arjun MBT Mk II tank. Its hull structure is Sponson type for accommodating various aggregates and sub-systems. Most of the systems and sub-systems of ARRV are identical and derived from the parent gun tank. This commonality ensures simplified spares inventory, crew training, maintenance, etc., leading to easier and more efficient logistics and maintenance.

CVRDE has successfully designed, developed and rolled out the vehicle in the shortest possible time. The systematic approach in design and development with concurrent engineering concept resulted in realization of user specific product. The dedicated efforts resulted in the development of a state-of-the-art vehicle leading to considerable saving of foreign exchange.

Partners in Development

Various Indian academic institutions and several Indian industries helped in the indigenous development of first of its kind vehicle in India.

BEML, the nodal co-development agency, developed the following:

T Customized sponson type hull for housing all the systems and sub- systems meeting the requisite ballistic protection after carrying out the structural strength and rigidity analysis for both static/ dynamic loads and also complete vehicle dynamics for ensuring its performance.

T Anchor-cum-Dozer (ACD) for providing anchorage to the recovery vehicle while winching, and stability to the vehicle while handling loads by the crane, as well as the earth work.

T Suspension lock to arrest the movement of axle arm in-turn rolling of the vehicle for ensuring stability of the vehicle while handling heavy loads. The suspension lock can be operated by the driver without dismounting from his seat, and is assisted by the hydraulic system.

T As nodal co-production agency, BEML integrated full fledged equipment, carried out development trials and rolled out the prototypes.

Tractors India Ltd, Kolkata, developed indigenously fixed boom type crane to handle 20 ton (maximum) of mass within 3 meter of working radius for handling Major Unit Assemblies like powerpack, turret, winch, etc., of the vehicle in the field. This crane can be operated by the driver without dismounting from his seat using the joy sticks and also by using pendant from outside the vehicle.

Jakson Ltd, Noida, developed 15 kVA Auxiliary Power Unit for supplying power for welding/gouging, electrical power tools, and charging batteries and auxiliary hydraulic pumps for operating auxiliary winch and crane in emergency This indigenous development would help in considerable savings and would ensure self-reliance. Rexroth, Bengaluru, provided axial piston pumps, gear pump, hydraulic lines, etc. BEML, Bengaluru in association with Rexroth developed complete hydraulic systems for effective functioning of the recovery aggregates. AMESim, Chennai, analysed the hydraulic systems for ascertaining its functionality.

M/s Plano Drives, Hosur, developed Power-Take-Off (PTO) unit. The step up gear box draws mechanical power from powerpack for functioning of the recovery aggregates through hydraulic system. PTO has been designed taking into account lateral and axial movements of the crank shaft of the powerpack and its easy removal.

Two winches, main winch with 50 ton direct pull with 180 meter effective rope length and auxiliary winch with 2 ton direct pull with 360 meter effective rope length, have been customized as required and supplied by M/s Rotzler, Germany. Main winch is capable to recover the bogged down tanks and also to upright the toppled tanks up to 50 ton in 1:1 rope lay and 100 ton in 2:1 rope lay and take them to the nearest place where the damaged tanks can be made operational and put in use. Auxiliary winch is for handling the main winch rope and also to handle the load of 2 ton mass.

Besides, Centre for Fire, Explosives and Environment Safety (CFEES), Delhi, for Instant Fire Detection and Suppression System (IFDSS); Instruments Research and Development Establishment (IRDE), Dehradun, for vision systems; Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL) for structure materials, Defence Terrain Research Laboratory (DTRL), Delhi, for soil investigations; and OFBs, DPSUs, private industries and MSMEs also chipped in the development.

Major Milestones

Project was sanctioned in September 2011 with PDC of 36 months. Based on the revised GSQRs for change of scope of work, the extension has been obtained till 3 March 2019. The prototype of the Arjun ARRV was rolled out in the presence of Hon’ble Defense evaluation, etc., were harnessed synergically with the resources available in India. Academia and industries also extended their valuable knowledge. Arjun ARRV has met all the specifications as laid down in the PSQR by the Indian Army. The state-of-the- art vehicle has higher capacity recovery aggregates and both maintenance and workshop facilities on one vehicle. Whereas the contemporary vehicles of eastern Europe design have a concept of dedicated vehicle for recovery role (ARV) and repair role AVT (Light Repair/Field Repair).

Current status and Way Forward

Two prototypes have completed development trials. Upon successful completion of the DRDO internal trials and demonstration to users, the vehicle will be subjected to user trials.

Indian Army has indicated requirement of 28 Arjun ARRV considering both Arjun MBT Mk-I and Mk-II. Process for orders/AoN is under progress. The vehicle also has export potential.

Salient Features

T Crew 2+4

T 50 ton main winch, 2 ton auxillary winch and 20 ton crane operation with wired pendant

T Capable to recover bogged down vehicles from different terrains and also handle MUAs

T Anchoring and ground preparation with anchor-cum-dozer (100 ton capacity)

T Repair operations through APU during emergency

T Workshop and maintenance facilities

T Evacuation of wounded soldiers and providing first aid and medical care

T Pushing and towing facility

T In-built remote control weapon system

[Source – DRDO Monthly Newsletter October 2018. Volume 38 | Issue 10. ISSN: 0971-4391]