DRDO and L&T Unveil Light Battle Tank ' Zorawar ' For Counter to China in High Altitude Areas

India Defense

DRDO and L&T Unveil Light Battle Tank ' Zorawar ' For Counter to China in High Altitude Areas

India has made a significant leap in bolstering its defense capabilities with the unveiling of the Zorawar Light Battle Tank. Developed jointly by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Larsen & Toubro (L&T), this tank is designed to counter the challenges posed by high-altitude warfare, particularly in regions like Ladakh, where the Indian Army faces off against China's formidable Type 15 light tanks.

On a bright Saturday in Gujarat's Hazira, the Zorawar tank was put through its paces during a test event. DRDO Chief Samir V Kamath, visibly proud of the achievement, emphasized the speed and efficiency of this project. "In just two years, we have not only designed this tank but also created the first prototype, ready for rigorous trials. By 2027, after completing all trials, the Zorawar will be inducted into the Indian Army," he stated.

The Zorawar tank, named after the 19th-century Dogra ruler Zorawar Singh, is a marvel of modern military engineering. Weighing in at 25 tonnes, it combines the crucial elements of firepower, mobility, and protection. The tank is armed with a 105mm gun, capable of engaging enemy targets with precision. Its advanced optics, provided by the French company Safran Paseo, significantly enhance the situational awareness of the crew, making it a formidable opponent in any battle scenario.

One of the standout features of the Zorawar is the John Cockerill 3105 remote-controlled weapon station (RWS). This two-person turret integrates an autoloader system that can be configured with either 12 or 16 rounds and offers a 42-degree elevation limit for the main gun. This setup is particularly advantageous in the confined and rugged environments typical of high-altitude regions.

The tank's engine, a reliable American-supplied Cummins, ensures optimal performance and reliability even in the most challenging conditions. The Zorawar is also equipped with unmanned systems and loitering munitions, lessons drawn from the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, making it a versatile and forward-thinking piece of military hardware.

The Indian Army has already placed an initial order for 59 Zorawar tanks, with plans to potentially procure a total of 354 light tanks. These tanks are expected to undergo gruelling trials in Ladakh to ensure they can withstand the harsh conditions of high-altitude warfare. The successful deployment of these tanks will significantly enhance India's military posture against China in these strategically important sectors.

The development of the Zorawar tank is a testament to the synergy between DRDO and L&T. Speaking on the occasion, L&T's Executive Vice President Arun Ramchand said, "Within two years, we have brought the tank to a level where it can be taken for internal trials and very soon for user trials. This is a remarkable achievement, and nowhere in the world has a new product been deployed in such a short time."

Rajesh Kumar, Director of DRDO's tank lab, highlighted the unique aspects of the Zorawar. "What sets this tank apart is its weight and the combination of fundamental tank parameters—firepower, mobility, and protection. These elements are optimized in such a way that we maintain a lightweight design without compromising on performance," he explained.

The Indian Air Force also plays a crucial role in the deployment of the Zorawar, as its light weight allows two tanks to be transported simultaneously in a C-17 class transport aircraft. This rapid deployment capability is essential for maintaining a robust defense in mountainous regions.

As the Zorawar light tank moves towards its final trials, the anticipation of its induction into the Indian Army grows. This tank not only represents a significant technological achievement but also symbolizes India's commitment to self-reliance in defense technology. The Zorawar is poised to play a crucial role in safeguarding India's borders, providing a strategic counter to China's high-altitude military capabilities.

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