12 December 1965
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
- 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
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