Vijayanta Was Handed Over - [December 12, 1965] This Day in History

12 December 1965

Vijayanta – India’s first indigenous tank


What happened?

Vijayanta – India’s first indigenous tank

India’s first indigenous military tank ‘Vijayanta’ was handed over to the Indian Army on 12 December 1965. Read more about this incident for the IAS exam

Background

  • Vijayanta was manufactured by Heavy Vehicles Factory in Avadi near Chennai.
  • The design of this tank was by the Vickers Company of the United Kingdom.
  • In 1961, the Vickers Company accepted the proposal to design a new main battle tank for the Indian Army, called the Vickers Mark I.
  • The company, as per the agreement, was to build the tank prototypes as well as 90 units. It also agreed to build a new production facility at Avadi.
  • In 1963, two prototypes were completed and one was sent to India. In 1965, the production tanks were manufactured at UK and at the Avadi factory.
  • The Indian model made at Avadi was named ‘Vijayanta’meaning victorious.
  • The battle tank is based on the British model Chieftain. Vijayanta uses the Chieftain’s steering, engine, fire control systems and transmission.
  • Although initially UK component were used, increasingly Indian-made components were being used until all the components were manufactured in India.
  • The Vijayanta Main Battle Tank (MBT) found extensive use in the Indo-Pak War of 1971 and in Operation Blue Star.
  • Production was stopped in 1986 and from 1965 till 1986, 2200 tanks were produced. In 1989, bulk production of the spare parts of the MBT was stopped.
  • The Vijayanta MBT was phased out by the army by the year 2008.
  • Various upgraded versions were manufactured during the years of its service like Vijayanta Mark 1A, Vijayanta Mark 1B, Vijayanta Mark 1C and Vijayanta Mark 2.
  • There have also been variants of the Vijayanta with certain variations to the original one. Example: Catapult SPA, Kartik AVLB, Vijayanta ARV, etc.
  • The Vijayanta MBT’s specifications:
    • Weight: 39000 kg
    • Length: 9.788 m
    • Width: 3.168 m
    • Height: 2.711 m
    • Crew: 4
    • Engine: Leyland L60 Diesel; 399 kW
    • Armour: 80 mm steel
    • Main armament: 4.13 inch (105mm) gun; 44 rounds
    • Secondary armaments: 0.3 inch (7.62mm) coaxial machine gun; 0.5 inch (12.7mm) ranging coaxial machine gun; 0.3 inch (7.62mm) machine gun in the commander’s cupola
    • Also has 6 pairs of smoke grenade launchers
    • Speed: 50 kmph
    • Operational range: 530 km
Also on this day

1872: Birth of Balakrishna Shivram Moonje, freedom fighter and leader of the Hindu Mahasabha. 1905: Birth of Mulk Raj Anand, one of the first English writers of Indian origin. 1950: Birth of superstar actor Rajinikanth. 1963: Kenya attained independence from Britain.

See previous ‘This Day in History’ here.

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