The Army has issued a Request For Information (RFI) for the procurement of 350 light tanks weighing less than 25 tonnes. The development comes in the backdrop of the stand-off in Eastern Ladakh where the need for a light tank was felt for deployment in High Altitude Areas (HAA).
The RFI dated April 22 and published on Friday stated that the Defence Ministry intends to procure a “new generation combat vehicle platform, approximately 350 Light Tanks in a phased manner, along with performance-based logistics, niche technologies, engineering support package, and other maintenance and training requirements.” “The last date of acceptance of receipt of response is June 18, 2021,” the RFI stated.
Last year, during the standoff, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army had deployed its Type-15 light tanks along the Line of Actual Control and later in August the Indian Army deployed its T-72 and T-90 Main Battle Tanks on the South bank of Pangong Tso to counter Chinese deployments.
As per the specifications, the main armament should feature a multiple, modular and upgradable weapon system with capability to destroy and offer countermeasures to varied threats. It should also feature multiple weapons for anti-aircraft and ground role with different calibre assisted with remote control weapon station. For ammunition, the tank should employ modern advance multipurpose ‘smart munitions’ with gun tube launched anti-tank guided missile. The tank should have auxiliary power unit, preheater, environment control unit and anti drone capability, UAV jammers, net enabled.
On its employment, the RFI stated that it should be a light weight versatile weapon platform with enhanced tactical, operational, strategic mobility with greater options for employment in “HAA, marginal terrain and amphibious operations.” The RFI asks vendors to indicate the overall time frame of delivery under various kit configuration.