‘Zorawar’ to guard Himalayas beginning 2027

As reported earlier by this newspaper, Indian Light Tank is required to address sector specific operational requirements.

Published: 15th April 2023 09:48 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th April 2023 09:48 AM   |  A+A-

Image used for representative purposes only.

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: India’s ambitious indigenous project ‘Zorawar’ to design and develop Light Weight Tanks (LWT) for sector-specific operational requirements is expected to be ready for deployment in about four years, defence sources said.

“The prototype of the tank is expected at the end of this year or early 2024. After that, the development phase will take 18 months to two years. The production will take another year,” said a defence source. A total of 354 light tanks are to be produced of which the DRDO will manufacture 59. The rest will be manufactured under the Make 1 Category.

Zorawar will weigh around 25 tonnes, armed with niche technologies to include Artificial Intelligence, drone integration, active protection system and a high degree of situational awareness, he said. The Defence Acquisition Council accorded its approval for the Rs 16,000 crore project for lightweight tanks in December 2022. Zorawar Singh Kahluria was the famed Military General of Dogra King Gulab Singh and was adept at mountain warfare.

The Projects under the ‘Make-I’ category will involve government funding of up to 90 per cent under the Defence Procurement Policy (2016). With this, the aim of the government is to push the Make in India initiative. This will foster indigenous capabilities through the design and development of required defence equipment/products/systems by the both public and private sectors.

A lightweight agile platform with a high power-to-weight ratio with substantial firepower, protection, and surveillance-and-communication capabilities is essential to provide the Indian Army with the versatility to execute operations in varying terrain against diverse threats and equipment profiles of adversaries.

“An Armoured Fighting Vehicle-Indian Light Tank offering capability for multiple employment options along with niche technologies is, therefore, an operational imperative,” said the source.

As reported earlier by this newspaper, Indian Light Tank is required to address sector-specific operational requirements. “The Indigenous Indian Light Tank aptly named ‘Zorawar’ will be designed to operate from High Altitude Area, the marginal terrain to the Island territories and will be highly transportable for rapid deployment to meet any operational situation,” said the defence source.

The need for light tanks was felt during the standoff in the Eastern Ladakh where the Chinese PLA was able to induct a large number of technologically modern tanks which were a mix of medium and light tanks with a high-power-to-weight ratio.

The Indian Army had to induct a considerable number of T-72 and T-90 tanks in operational areas, gaining tactical surprise over the adversary and thereby forcing the adversary on the back foot.

Army has vast experience in using light tanks

Army has experience of successfully employing Light Tanks as Force Multipliers in all previous battle engagements in the past viz. Stuart Tanks of 254 Indian Tank Brigade in Battle of Kohima in World War II, at Naushera, Jhangar, Rajauri and most successfully at Zojila in the Indo-Pak war 1947-48.

The requirement of a Light Tank capability which had proved to be a battle-winning factor in mountainous and riverine terrain


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