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 codevelopment and production agency.
ARRV is the primary supporting vehicle for the mechanized forces. Its 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.
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.
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 Defence Minister Smt Nirmala Seetharaman, on 14 October 2017. The vehicle rechristened as ‘ARV and AVT (LR/FR)’ by army was displayed and demonstrated in Def Expo 2018 at Chennai.
It is understood that similar international vehicles like Buffel from Germany, Challenger from UK, Abrams from USA, Namer from Israel, have taken about five years for development of prototypes and about 10 years for induction into services with due development and user trials. For the development of the Arjun ARRV, all the required sources like technology, infrastructure, manufacturing technique, trial and 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-theart 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.