Project Zorawar Light Tank

Context: Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) has completed initial internal trials of the indigenous light tank to called ‘Zorawar LT’. 

Project Zorawar Light Tank

About Project Zorawar LT (Light Tank)

  • India is developing an indigenous light tank under ‘Project Zorawar’ for quicker deployment and movement in high-altitude warfare in places like eastern Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Light tanks are battlefield tanks with a maximum weight of 25 tonnes – with a margin of 10 percent – with the same firepower as its regular tanks. 
  • They have been developed to counter Chinese deployment of large number of similar armoured columns along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).  
  • Amphibious tanks i.e. they can cross rivers and other water bodies much more easily than its predecessors, like the heavy weight T72 and T90 tanks. 
  • All-weather capability and can target tanks, armoured vehicles, UAVs and precision guided munitions, among others. 
  • Anti-aircraft and ground role centric weapons besides advanced multipurpose smart munitions and gun tube launched anti-tank guided missiles.
  • Long range for identifying enemy targets, thermal night fighting capability and stealth features, such as the ability to suppress visual, audio/acoustic, thermal and electromagnetic signatures.
  • It has capabilities such as Artificial Intelligence, integration of tactical surveillance drones to provide a high degree of situational awareness and loitering munition, along with an active protection system.
  • Includes an Active Protection System to protect these from anti-tank guided missiles and projectiles.

Significance of these tanks for India’s defence:

  • These light tanks will allow the Indian Army to match or increase its capabilities in mountain warfare.
  • These tanks can exploit the limited space available in mountainous terrains by way of enhanced mobility and additional warfare.
  • Current Indian tanks such as T-90, T-72, Arjun weigh between 40-68.5 tonnes, which makes it difficult to deploy them. As compared to these, Zorawar tanks have a weight around 25 tonnes and physical dimensions which enables its easy transportation by air, road and water.
  • This light and agile tank is capable of operations in the most challenging environment in the world with minimal logistic support, including high-altitude areas along India’s northern borders with China.
  • This light tank has been designed by DRDO and private company L&T.

Induction into Army of Zorawar Tanks: 

  • India Army aims to procure a total of 354 such light tanks which is estimated to cost Rs 17,500 crore which has been given preliminary approval or ‘acceptance of necessity’ by Defence Acquisition Council in December 2022. Defence Acquisition Council is headed by Union Defence Minister. 
  • These tanks will be inducted into the Indian Army by 2027.
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