Project Zorawar: Light Tank For China Border Takes Shape As DRDO Orders Prototype From L&T

Project Zorawar: Light Tank For China Border Takes Shape As DRDO Orders Prototype From L&T

by Ujjwal Shrotryia - Saturday, April 15, 2023 01:08 PM IST
Project Zorawar: Light Tank For China Border Takes Shape As DRDO Orders Prototype From L&T Model of a DRDO L&T Light Tank at DefExpo 2022 (Pic Via @alpha_defense)

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has placed orders for the prototype development of a light 25-tonne tank from Larsen & Toubro (L&T), reported the Business Standard.

Earlier, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has given approval for the development of a 25-tonne light tank under 'Project Zorawar' at a cost of Rs 16,000 crore.

Under the Project, seven regiments of 45 tanks each will be raised for deployment in the high-altitude region opposite the Chinese on the Line-of Actual Control (LAC).

In contrast, China already operates the ZTQ-105 light tank, which was first unveiled at the 2016 Zhuhai Air Show. The ZTQ-105 has a 105mm rifled gun capable firing High Explosive anti tank (HEAT) and Armor Piercing rounds to a maximum range of 2 to 3 kilometers.

According to the report, the DRDO earlier intended using the Korean K-9 Vajra-T 155mm Self-Propelled artillery gun chasis manufactured by L&T as the base for the Light Tank. However, this plan was abandoned because it would have increased the weight of the tank to 34-35 tonnes, against the requirement of 25 tonnes.

It is to be noted that the T-72s, T-90s and Arjun MK-1 and MK-1A tanks, currently in use by the Army are unsuitable for operations in the high-altitude regions owing to their heavy weight.

According to experts, the rarefied atmosphere at high altitude causes the engines of these tanks to produce considerably low power relative to sea-level causing significant wear and tear on the tank's machinery.

Moreover, the elevation and depression angle of the 125-mm guns of these tanks also creates limitations on engaging targets on the hilltops and the valleys.

However, the Light tank's Belgian John Cockerill 105mm turret has no such limitation with a large elevation angle of -10/+42°. The turret also comes with an autoloader and can fire HEAT as well as Anti-tank guided missiles.

The light tank's engine will be optimised for use at high-altitude and will be manufactured by German firm MTU. The engine will produce a maximum horsepower of 800 HP.

According to the report, L&T will manufacture one regiment and the rest of the six regiments will be produced under the 'Make' procedure of DAP 2020.

Staff Writer at Swarajya. Writes on Indian Military and Defence.
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