Zorawar Light Tank: DRDO's New High-Altitude Powerhouse for the Indian Army

Zorawar Light Tank: DRDO's New High-Altitude Powerhouse for the Indian Army
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully tested its light battle tank, Zorawar, in Gujarat's Hazira on Saturday. Developed in collaboration with Larsen and Toubro, this innovative tank aims to meet the Indian Army's specific needs for high-altitude warfare.

A Momentous Day for DRDO
DRDO chief Dr. Samir V Kamat reviewed the tank project, expressing pride and satisfaction in witnessing the Zorawar light tank in action. "It's indeed a momentous day for all of us to see the light tank in action. It makes me happy and proud. In a short period of two to two and a half years, we have not only designed this tank but also made a first prototype. Now, the prototype will undergo development trials over the next six months, and we will be ready to offer it for user trials," stated Kamat. The Zorawar light tank is expected to be inducted into the Indian Army by 2027 after completing all necessary trials.

Meeting Strategic Requirements
The Zorawar tank was developed to address the Indian Army's requirements in the eastern Ladakh sector, particularly to counter the Chinese deployment across the Line of Actual Control. With its lightweight and amphibious capabilities, Zorawar can navigate steep climbs in mountainous regions and cross water bodies with ease, outperforming heavier tanks like the T-72 and T-90.
Zorawar Light Tank: DRDO's New High-Altitude Powerhouse for the Indian Army
Unique Features of Zorawar
According to Rajesh Kumar, DRDO tank lab director, Zorawar stands out due to its optimized balance of firepower, mobility, and protection. "Generally, there are three different types of tanks categorized by weight: heavy, medium, and light. Each has its role—protection, offense, and a mixed role for light tanks. What is unique about Zorawar is its weight, combined with the fundamental parameters of a tank: fire, power, mobility, and protection. All three are optimized to maintain the weight while delivering all necessary capabilities," Kumar explained.

Strategic Utility and Capabilities
The Zorawar light tank is named after the 19th-century Dogra General Zorawar Singh, who led military expeditions to Ladakh and Western Tibet. Designed to be light, maneuverable, and transportable by air, the Zorawar maintains substantial firepower, protection, surveillance, and communication capabilities. Weighing just 25 tons, half the weight of heavier tanks like the T-90, Zorawar can operate in difficult mountain terrain inaccessible to larger tanks.

The Indian Army has placed an initial order for 59 Zorawar tanks, with plans to potentially procure a total of 354 light tanks. This will help balance the scales against China's existing fleet of lightweight mountain tanks, such as the Type 15, which have a significant advantage in the high altitudes of Ladakh.

Key Features of the Zorawar Light Tank

1. 105mm or higher caliber main gun - capable of firing anti-tank guided missiles

2. Modular explosive reactive armor- and an active protection system to enhance survivability

3. Power-to-weight ratio of at least 30 hp/ton- for improved mobility

4. Integration with drones and battle management systems- for enhanced situational awareness

The induction of the Zorawar light tank will provide the Indian Army with a critical capability to rapidly deploy and maneuver in high-altitude regions like Ladakh and other border areas. Its combination of mobility, firepower, and advanced systems will significantly enhance India's military posture against China in these strategically important sectors.

Zorawar Light Tank: DRDO's New High-Altitude Powerhouse for the Indian Army is set to revolutionize India's defense capabilities, ensuring readiness and strength in challenging terrains.

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