- Nowadays there is much news regarding the procurement of Russian 2S25 Sprut light tank. As the border tensions between the Asian superpowers, India and China in Ladhak don’t come to an end, and as an emergency purchase, Indian Army is likely to buy 45 Light Tanks (roughly a regiment) from Russia to counter the Chinese ZTQ-15 also known as Type-15 tanks which can be airlifted and para dropped with Chinese Y20 and IL76 transportation aircraft.
- For T-72, T-90, and Arjun MBT it is not possible to operate at such mountainous terrain so Light tank can play a major role in these regions of Ladhak because of their high mobility and easy and fast transportation with Indian IL 76 and C17 Super Hercules transport aircraft.
|ZTQ-15||2S25 Sprut SD|
|Mass||33 tonnes (standard)|
36 tonnes (With armor package)
|9.2 metres |
|Main Armament||105mm Rifled Gun||125mm Smoothbore Gun|
|Secondary Armament||12.7mm RCW|
Automatic Grenade launcher
|7.62 PKT machine gun|
|Range||500-800 Km||500 Km|
Also Read, How Strong is the Chinese Army?
- Indian army inspired the light tank project in 1976 GSQR(General Staff Qualitative Requirements), and the project for design and development of light tank on the chassis of Russian BMP was approved in 1983 and aimed for completion in 1986 but never reached completion. In July 1985 Army determined that a light tank was not needed, but did not withdraw from the project and suggested replacing 90mm turret with 105mm turret and to use this as a technology demonstrator. The project was not closed and continued trails and production till 1996, with chassis of Russian BMP2 and turret of French Nexter.
- In 2009 Army issue an RFI (request for information) for 200 wheeled and 100 tracked tanks. Weighing around 22 tons, with amphibious ability, operation ability in regions of 3000 meters, protection against NBC (nuclear, biological, and chemical) and capability of destroying target within 2Km range were some parameters for these tanks which never went to development as many Indian projects. Later the need for a light tank was also felt during the Doklam Standoff in 2017.
What are the Indigenous Options?
- ‘Abhay ICV’ project in the 1990s was started to replace BMP 2 for the light tank and to act as a technology demonstrator for Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) although this project didn’t reach any conclusion.
- Various sources also claim that a light tank can be made on the body of K9 Vajra (self-propelled artillery) the export variant of Korean K9 Thunder manufacture by L&T in India, with the turret of Crockehrill company of 105mm although the K9 weighs 47tons.