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DRDO unveils light battle tank 'Zorawar' for high-altitude areas

Indian private firm L&T, along with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), has completed the initial internal trials of the indigenous light tank called ‘Zorawar’, rolled out in less than 24 months from date of sanction.

DRDO unveils light battle tank 'Zorawar' for high-altitude areas, in collaboration with L&T gcw
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First Published Jul 6, 2024, 6:29 PM IST

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the private sector firm Larsen & Toubro (L&T) on Saturday rolled out India’s indigenous light tank project “Zorawar”, within two years of sanctioning. Developed for the first time in India, the light tank has completed the track trials at L&T’s facility in Gujarat’s Hazira.

Now, the light tank will go for trails in deserts and subsequently in the high altitude of Ladakh, where it will finally be deployed. According to the plan, the tanks will be inducted into the Indian Army in the next 2.5 years time.

A DRDO official said that the project Zorawar has been developed from the drawing board within shortest possible time and “capable of operation in the most challenging environment on the earth, i.e. extreme weather and extreme height with minimal logistic support in high altitude areas along the northern border of India."

Designed for quicker deployment and movement in high altitude areas, the Indian Army is looking forward to inducting the indigenously designed and developed 350 light tanks, keeping in view the ongoing border tension with China in high-altitude areas of eastern Ladakh over the last four years. These 350 tanks that comprise six regiments, will be procured in a phased manner.

The Make-in-India tank -- Zorawar, which weighs around 25 tonnes, will have niche technologies, including artificial intelligence, drone integration, an active protection system and a high degree of situational awareness. It will also have missile systems and other weaponry systems, including main guns.

In March 2022, the government had given its in-principle approval for the indigenous project Zorawar for mountain warfare. It must be noted that the Indian Army had moved and positioned its T-90 and T-72 tanks in eastern Ladakh. These are Russian-origin tanks weighing around 50-tonnes. It is this time when the Indian Army realized to have light tanks.

On the occasion, DRDO chief Samir V Kamath said: "It's indeed a momentous day for all of us to see the light tank in action. It makes me happy and proud. It's indeed an example... in a short period of two years to two and a half years, we have not only designed this tank but made a first prototype and now the first prototype will undergo development trials over the next six months, and then we will be ready to offer it to our users for user trials....”

“Zorawar is expected to be inducted into the Indian Army by the year 2027 after all trials...," he added. L&T Executive Vice President Arun Ramchandani said that the joint development model has achieved big success and developed in such a short time frame.

What are the special features of Zorawar light tanks?

Due to lighter weight, it has high strategic mobility i.e., it can be transported by air and capable of amphibious operations. It can fire at high angles of elevation and perform the role of limited artillery. It is an agile weapon platform thus providing enhanced tactical / operational mobility. It is a versatile platform built in a modular fashion to accommodate upgrades in future.

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