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Atmanirbharta in mountain warfare: Indian Army's 'Zorawar' light weight tanks to be operational by 2027

These tanks are mainly meant for plains and deserts deployment and have its limitations in high-altitude areas. During the DefExpo 2022 at Gandhinagar, the DRDO had displayed a scale model of Zorawar tanks.

Atmanirbharta in mountain warfare: Indian Army's 'Zorawar' light weight tanks to be operational by 2027 AJR
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First Published Apr 15, 2023, 11:31 AM IST

As part of its modernisation drive and operational requirement in mountain warfare, the Indian Army will see "Make-in-India" developed Zorawar light weight tanks operating in the terrains by 2027.

The defence ministry had in December 2022 accorded acceptance of necessity (AoN) for the light weight tanks worth Rs 16,000 crore. The AoN clears the way for the tendering process to begin.

Sources in the defence establishment said, "By end of this year or early next year, the prototype of the light weight tank would come. It would take 1.5-2 years for development phase and then another one year for production stage of the tanks."

Meaning "brave and strong" in Punjabi, the Zorawar tank has been designed to operate in a number of terrain, including high-altitude areas, and island territories. 

Indian Army has planned to procure 354 light tanks. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will manufacture 59 tanks and other 295 to be made under the “Make-1 Category”.

Since it would be lightweight, the Zorowar tank can be easily and quickly be transported by air, land, and railway for fast deployment.

It weighs about 25 tonnes, will have niche technologies, including artificial intelligence, drone integration, active protection system, high degree of situational awareness. The Zorawar will also have missile systems and other weaponry systems, including main guns.

The force felt the need to have light weight tanks when the China’s PLA troops made advances towards north of eastern Ladakh’s Pangong-tso in 2020.

“The experiences along the LAC in the eastern Ladakh have shown that armoured equipment profile is one of the most prominent factors in defining operational capability of the forces,” the sources added. 

Indian Army had to deployed T-72 and T-90 tanks on the Kailash Range at south Pangong-Tso as a countermove.

These tanks are mainly meant for plains and deserts deployment and have its limitations in high-altitude areas. During the DefExpo 2022 at Gandhinagar, the DRDO had displayed a scale model of Zorawar tanks.

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