India’s light tanks designed for mountain war with China

India’s light tanks designed for mountain war with China

India is poised to unveil a homemade gentle tank optimized pertaining to mountain warfare upon its disputed Himalayan border, ostensibly in order to counter China’s lighting armor in the high mountain area.

Defense publication Janes reported this month that the Indian Army has partnered with local conglomerate Larsen & Toubro Limited to develop a light container for mountain warfare, which is expected to end up being unveiled in 2023.

Jayant Patil, L& T older executive vice-president pertaining to defense, confirmed that will his firm continues to be selected as an advancement partner for the brand new light tank, known as “Project Zorawar. ”

Nevertheless , it is unclear if L& T will play a role in the tank’s actual production process. Prototype equipment provides passed field tests for induction distance, after which production may commence.

Janes also mentions that will L& T is certainly collaborating with the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), with the latter’s Battle Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE) leading its work.

The particular 2020 Ladakh clashes exposed India’s ability gaps in its debated border with The far east. In the 2020 article for Raksha Anirveda journal , Retired Lieutenant General Ashok Bhim Shivane wrote that India’s lack of lighting tanks contributed to its failure in order to deter China’s developments in the high hill area.

He notes that forwards deployment of lighting tanks, armored personnel carriers (APC), strike helicopters, infantry, specific forces, light artillery, and combat aircraft supported by drone and satellite intelligence in the guise of a training exercise might have prevented that year’s lethal border skirmishes.

Shivane records that India had successfully deployed French-made AMX 30 lighting tanks in previously mountain border skirmishes with Pakistan and China in 1948 and 1962, respectively. However , in the 1980s, these light reservoirs were phased out in favor of heavier main fight tanks (MBT), that have several limitations in mountain warfare.

The neglect of light storage containers for mountain combat may have been due to the preoccupation of India’s protection planners with Pakistan, which they deemed since the more immediate threat.

Inside a March 2022 write-up for Eurasian Instances , Sakshi Tiwari notes that India’s 45-ton T-90 and T-72 tanks, designed for mass armored maneuvers on open deserts or plains, are not suited for high-altitude combat during the 2020 clashes.

India’s Russian-designed T-72 (shown above) and T-90 reservoirs did not perform well within Himalayan combat along with China. Credit: Handout

She notes that India’s armored battalions battled to transport their heavy tanks to mountain passes 5, 300 meters high whilst China’s 33-ton ZTQ-15 light tanks simply negotiated the rugged terrain.

Within 2021, in a stopgap measure, India considered acquiring 18-ton Sprut SDM1 light reservoirs to counter China’s light armor, notes Snehesh Alex Philip in The Print . This individual noted that Indian was keen to get Russia’s Sprut SDM1 because it has the same 125-mm gun plus ammunition as its T-90 and T-72.

However , the Russia-Ukraine War has considering that impacted the production and sustainment of India’s Russian-made container fleet, making it imperative for India to develop and develop indigenous light tanks, notes Rajat Pandit in an Aug article for The Occasions of India .

According to these shortcomings, the particular Indian Ministry associated with Defense (MOD) issued in April this past year a Request for Information intended for Light Tanks for that Indian Army , which outlines needs for 350 indigenously-built light tanks alongside their design parameters.

According to the record, India’s light tanks should not exceed 25 tons and should possess a modular design. The primary gun should have an autoloader and will be in a position to fire modern smart munitions and anti-tank-guided missiles (ATGM). Additionally, it notes that the container will feature a remote-control weapons station (RCWS) for its secondary armament.

The record also mentions conformity with Standard NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY ORGANIZATION Agreement (STANAG) shield protection levels, along with add-on explosive reactive armor (ERA) applicable. It also states that the tank should have a 25: 1 horsepower-per-ton ratio and feature reduced ground pressure to work in marginal surfaces and wetlands, with fording capability seen as essential.

India’s Project Zorawar can be pointed against China’s ZTQ-15 light container, which has been deployed within the Himalayas. According to Army Identification , the ZTQ-15 has a 3-man team and weighs thirty-three to 36 lots, depending on the armor construction.

It features an autoloading 105-mm gun with a three or more, 000-meter maximum firing range and can fireplace ATGMS to engage goals beyond effective weapon range. It also posseses an RCWS with a. 50 caliber machine weapon and a 40-mm automated grenade launcher.

The ZTQ-15 features all-welded metal armor against small arms fire plus fragmentation and can become fitted with composite armor modules, cage armor or PERIOD for added protection.

The tank is powered by a 1, 000-horsepower diesel engine, giving it the maximum road acceleration of 70 kms per hour and 35-40 kilometers per hour off-road, with a maximum touring range of 450 kilometers. The ZTQ-15 can also ford 1 . 1 meters of water without any preparation and may be fitted with external fuel drums to increase cruising range.

China’s ZTQ-15 light tanks outperformed India’s Russia-made versions during the 2020 Himalayan skirmishes. Image: Twitter

Mountain terrain places tremendous mobility constraints, often paralyzing both defensive player and the attacker. However , it favors the particular defender as it allows for strong defensive roles while the attacker is continually exposed to attack endeavoring to maneuver in frequently unfamiliar terrain.

As such, victory in mountain warfare is frequently achieved by isolating the particular defender and reducing off retreat paths. Kartik Bommakanti, within a Come july 1st 2021 study by the Observer Research Basis , notes which the Depsang plains are usually suitable for light armor operations, and light tanks can function in places unavailable to MBTs, like mountain gaps, valleys and plateaus.

In defensive roles, light tanks can be ad hoc heavy weapons emplacements if there are accessible firing roles and hold protective positions. As such, great positioning is necessary to increase their capabilities. One light tank holding a critical position might have a decisive effect in combat.

Light tanks can offer direct fire support to dismounted strike infantry for unpleasant roles, but provided the mobility challenges posed by hill terrain, this may be a rare application.

More plausibly, light storage containers can be used to isolate enemy positions. For example , soldires would move to safe heights in combined arms operations. At the same time, light tanks could maneuver through valleys and attack foe lines of communication, cutting off the enemy’s resupply and escape routes.    

By getting into its domestic gentle tank project, India may be seeking to relearn the lessons of mountain warfare it offers forgotten in its earlier mountain clashes along with China and Pakistan, Bommakanti suggests.