A prototype of light tank ‘Zorawar’, developed jointly by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Larsen and Toubro (L&T), is undergoing first round of trials at a test bed at Hazirka, Gujarat, to check performance on all parameters before its possible induction into the Indian Army by 2027.

the Army and the DRDO will take the 25-ton Zorawar in the desert for the next round of live trials, said defence sources.

Rolls-Royce, through its arm MTU, has offered its MTU 8V199 engine for the Zorawar LT, a futuristic fighter jet being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) for Indian troops in high-altitude battlefields.

Rolls-Royce is actively engaged in providing engines across all combat domains, including combat aircraft engines, marine propulsion solutions, and engines for the Zorawar LT.

The need for a light tank, that is swift, agile and has better fire power, was felt for the first time during the Galwan face off with China in eastern Ladakh in May 2020. The Chinese light tanks could move through steep climb along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) much more easily than the Indian Army’s heavy-weight T-72 and T-90 tanks of Russian origin.

The Zorawar is likely to be fitted with MTU eight-cylinder series 199 engine, manufactured by British Aerospace and Defence company, Rolls-Royce.

Alex Zino, Director Business Development and Future Programs at Rolls Royce, told media that they supplied the 8V199 engine to the L&T for the light tank project.

“We have the products to serve the requirements of the land defence forces, and are keen to participate in such programmes,” Alex Zino said to a query, if there is more demand for such engines from the L&T.

The 8V199 engine is characterised by particularly high power combined with especially low weight and volume, the Rolls Royce said. The Rolls Royce Director, however, said the engine supply was delayed due to the time taken to get BAFA (a German regulatory mechanism for export) clearance.

Though the Rolls Royce was ready to supply the engine around last October, it got stuck despite the intervention of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh at the highest level in the German government.

Our Bureau