Russia will field its Sprut-SDM1 light amphibious tank for the Indian Army’s upcoming tender for light tanks and has submitted technical details of the same, according to an official from Rosoboronexport.
“In response to India’s request, we have submitted our technical proposals. We are ready to hold consultations and show the tank to the Indian side,” a Rosoboronexport official said ahead of the DefExpo to be held from October 18 to 22 in Gandhinagar.
Stating that Rosoboronexport will definitely take part in the Indian tender for the supply of light tanks, the official stated, “We are ready to transfer technologies and provide assistance in launching the manufacture of the tank in India.”
Following the standoff with China in eastern Ladakh, the Indian Army is prioritising the procurement of a light tank, named ‘Zorawar’, for deployment in the mountains. In April 2021, the Army had issued a Request For Information (RFI) for the procurement of 350 light tanks weighing less than 25 tonnes in a phased manner, along with performance-based logistics, niche technologies, engineering support package, and other maintenance and training requirements.
The project, which has already received in-principle approval, is planned to be procured under the ‘Make-I’ acquisition category of the Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP)-2020, in line with the ‘Make in India’ initiative. The Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) from the Defence Acquisition Council is expected shortly.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Larsen & Toubro (L&T) are jointly developing a light tank as per the Army’s specifications.
Light amphibious combat vehicle
Talking of the features of the Sprut-SDM1, the Rosoboronexport official said it was the only light amphibious combat vehicle in its class having firepower of a main battle tank and equipped with a 125 mm tank gun. “All the ammunition produced in India for T-72M1 and T-90S tanks can be used by the Sprut-SDM1,” he stated.
The Sprut can cross water obstacles and fire its gun while afloat, disembark from a ship, operate day and night on terrain — in the high mountains in conditions of thin air, at very high and low temperatures, the official elaborated. The tank is equipped with a guided missile system designed to defeat armoured targets, including those equipped with ERA, at ranges up to 5 km, he added.
As reported by The Hindu earlier, in the last two years China has deployed the third-generation modern light tank ZTQ 15 (Type 15), latest ZTL-11 wheeled Armoured Personnel Carriers and the CSK series of assault vehicles along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.