Hello defence lovers! Recently there were reports that the Indian Army is planning to acquire the Sprut SDM1 tanks in limited numbers. In this article, we are going to analyse why the Sprut SDM1 may be the perfect choice of a light tank for the Indian Army to operate in Ladakh.
Sprut SDM1 And Its Capabilities
The Sprut SDM1 is a variant of the Russian Tank 2S25 Sprut SD which is according to some reports, is undergoing trials in Russia. This is going to be an improved version of the previous generation. However, the capabilities of this tank are going to be either similar or better. For our analysis, we would use the data of 2s25 sprut-SD.
The Sprut is a self-propelled tank destroyer. The term light tank is not appropriate as this vehicle severely lacks the protection required to be called a light tank. However, the term Tank destroyer fits it perfectly as it is packed with enough firepower to penetrate the hulls and turrets of the modern generation tanks.
This Russian Light tank was designed between 1984 to 2001. It is currently being manufactured by the Volgograd Tractor Plant. The Russian military is using it since 2005.
The Sprut weighs around 18 tons which is its biggest advantage. It has negligible armour. It has a welded steel turret and aluminium composite hull. Anything more than a 7.62 mm machine gun would penetrate it easily. Sprut is 7.08 meter long, 3.15 meter wide and 2.71-meter high and requires a three-member crew- Commander, driver and gunner to operate. It is also equipped with an autoloader.
The biggest advantage of the tank is its mobility. It weighs 18 tons and is power by a 510 hp diesel engine which gives it a power-to-weight ratio of 28.3 hp/ton. This power can propel the light tank at a maximum speed of 70 kmph on-road, 45 kmph off-road and 10 kmph in water.
Being a light tank, Sprut SD is heavily armed. Its main gun is a 125 mm 2A75 smoothbore gun that can fire APFSDS, HE-Frag, HEAT, HESH, and even ATGMs. This gun is the same gun that is used in T 90 Bhisma and T 72 Ayeja. It is also armed with a coaxial 7.62 machine gun along with another 7.62 machine hun which is remotely operated by the commander.
Why Sprut SDM1 Would Be The Perfect Choice For The Indian Army?
Sprut SD is perfect for deployment in Ladakh. It weighs 18 tonnes and yet packs the firepower of a full-size T90. The biggest advantage of this tank for the Indian army would be its transportation. It can be easily airlifted by our Medium transport aircraft. Multiple tanks can be delivered in a single sortie of the C17 Globemaster whereas only 1 T90 can be delivered by its single sortie. This would make the deployment of the Tank much faster.
Sprut’s amphibious capabilities are also beneficial for the Indian army as these might be useful near Pangong Tso lake. Sprut can fire its main gun in the water. Sprut being very light and agile can be easily maneuvered onto the top of strategic heights such as the Kailash Ranges, Kala Top, Helmet top, etc. This will give the Indian art to rapidly mobilize its tanks if it needs to occupy these heights again.
Sprut has weak armour, but its strength can be further increased by using explosive reactive armour panels. Its mobility and firepower compensate for its weak armour. Sprut just needs to fire first.
Sprut shares the main gun with the T90 and T72. This would make logistics and maintenance of these tanks easy. All these tanks use the same ammunition which makes the operation of these tanks much more easier tank any other light tank.
As of now, there are no Indian alternatives to the Sprut. However, L&T is working on a light tank that will be based upon K9 Vajra’s platform. But is expected to be heavier than Sprut and hence might not be the perfect choice for Ladakh. The BMP 2 platform can be modified to fire tank rounds. The platform is already serving as a base for many systems and hence is very versatile.
Overall combination of agile Sprut SDM1 and robust T90 would be a deadly combination. Indian Army would like to acquire small numbers of these tanks on an emergency basis. Once inducted Sprut is likely to boost the firepower of the Indian troops deployed on the LAC by many folds.