DRDO’s Light Tank Will Be Power Pack As “The Highest Altitude Operable Tank In The Globe”: said G Satheesh Reddy, Chairman DRDO

Secretary, Department of Defence R&D and Chairman DRDO Dr G Satheesh Reddy said, “Work on the Light Weight Tank is going on in full swing. By 2023 the tank will be fully ready for production.” reports Financial Express Online.

DRDO is tasked to empower India for building capability in defence –that not only limited to armed forces but it is now about technology for today and future which is foundational to growing defence economy. Last year, in the wake of precarious situation at LAC, despite the Covid 19, DRDO had some of the best moment of technological breakthrough with avant-garde R&D, speedier trials and turnaround delivery so far. Besides such feet recently, It does get fair and unfair amount of criticism which it carries from the past record and legacy issues.

The USP of DRDO’s proposed light tank for the Indian Army is that it will be fitted with High Altitude Operable Power pack (Engine + Transmission) of 1000hp and will be capable of firing multiple ammunition. This tank may be called as “highest altitude operable tank in the globe”.  The design work has commenced and we will bring out the timelines. 

The Modi government on 3 March 2022 announced the development of light tanks for the Indian Army (IA). This decision was taken under the Make-I category of the 2020 Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) and comes against the backdrop of India’s conversion of the K-9 Vajra mobile howitzer in to a light tank. A regiment of the K9-Vajra, which is a tracked 155mm/2 self-propelled howitzer capable of striking targets 50 kilometres away is now deployed in Ladakh in the ongoing stand-off with the Chinese according to ORF online.

Further, deployments of the Vajra are likely in other parts of the Sino-Indian boundary. The K9-Vajra, however, was never going to be sufficient or a credible substitute for a dedicated light tank, which the government has now given an in-principle approval. The decision to deploy the Vajra was largely to meet the immediate military contingency facing India on its border with China and service some part of the firepower requirements of the IA. In terms of weight, the K9-Vajra is a 50-ton tracked vehicle slightly exceeding the weight class of actual tanks such as the T-90 and T-72 Main Battle Tanks (MBTs), which are also deployed in Ladakh. T-90s combat weight is 48 tons and the older T-72s weigh 46 tons. Both Russian-built MBTs are equipped with 125mm guns.

The decision was taken against the backdrop of the conversion of the tracked 155 Howitzer K-9 Vajra mobile a into a 35-ton light weight tank. These light weight tanks are ideal to be used for mountain warfare and will be deployed along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) where the need for these tanks was felt during the ongoing stand-off with China.