At DefExpo 2022, the Zorawar light tank was officially revealed.
The latest report shows that India is ready to launch a new light tank optimized for mountain warfare on the disputed Himalayan border with China. Accordingly, the Indian Army has partnered with local corporation Larsen & Toubro to develop a light tank for mountain warfare, which is expected to be launched in 2023. This is supposed to be a counterweight to China’s light armor in the high mountains. The new light tank, called “Project Zorawar”.
At DefExpo 2022, the Zorawar light tank was officially revealed. It is supposed to be a 25-ton light tank powered by a 1,000-horsepower engine, which is extremely suitable for high-altitude operations. The Indian Army is planning to buy about 350 units to balance with China’s Type 15 light tank.
In theory, with a high power-to-weight ratio and substantial firepower, along with light protection, surveillance and communications capabilities, Zorawar is designed to give the Indian Army the flexibility to perform operations in complex mountainous terrain. There are various challenges in operating at high altitudes. Conventional military platforms like tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, self propelled artillery etc. are not always able to generate enough power to manuever due to rarefied air and lack of oxygen, or, face other logistical and operational challenges.
The new light tank is supposed to be a light and maneuverable without sacrificing firepower. Its capabilities will also be supplemented by Artificial Intelligence, integration with swarm drones for higher situational awareness, loitering ammunition for high lethality, and active protection system as a shield against modern anti armor systems.
The tank will also be highly transportable for quick deployment to meet operational circumstances. The development of a tank indigenously has also been influenced by the trouble in defense supply chains due to the Russian-Ukraine conflict. Russia is the biggest defense supplier to India, and both the MBTs operated by the Indian Army are of Russian origin. According to the requirements of the Ministry of Defense of India, the light tank should not exceed 25 tons and the design is modular. The main gun must have an automatic loader and be able to fire modern smart ammunition and anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs). The tank will have a remotely controlled weapons station (RCWS) for its secondary armament. Its armor is NATO Standard (STANAG), with additional explosive reactive armor (ERA) that can be added. The Tank must have a 25:1 power-to-weight ratio and low ground pressure to operate in both coastal and wetland terrain.