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Russia joins the race to supply light battle tanks to the Indian Army

  • Category
    International Relations
  • Published
    21st Oct, 2022

Context

Russia will field its Sprut-SDM1 light amphibious tank for the Indian Army’s upcoming tender for light tanks.

Details

  • The projecthas received in-principle approval and is planned to be procured under the ‘Make-I’ acquisition category of the Defense Acquisition Procedure (DAP)-2020.
    • ‘Make-I’ refers to government-funded projects while ‘Make-II’ covers industry-funded programmes.
    • Make-Iwas involved in the development of big-ticket platforms such as light tanks and communication equipment with Indian security protocols.
  • This is in line with the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
  • The Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) from the Defence Acquisition Council is expected shortly.

Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) 2020:

  • It enables the notification of a List of Weapons or Platforms that will be banned for import.
  • It focuses on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in defence manufacturing and indigenization of the manufacturing prices.
  • It also introduces several new ideas such as the need to incorporate artificial intelligence in platforms and systems, the use of indigenous software in defence equipment and 'innovation' by Start-ups and MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) as new categories of defence acquisition.

About

About Sprut-SDM1 Light Amphibious Tank:

  • Project Type: Light amphibious tank
  • Manufacturer: Tractor Plants Concern
  • Crew: Three
  • Length:08m
  • Maximum Amphibious Speed: 7km/h
  • Maximum Road Speed: 70km/h
  • Maximum Range: 500km

Armament and protection feature of Sprut-SDM1:

  • The primary armament of the tank is a 125mm gun fitted to the remote-controlled weapon station.
  • The secondary armament of the tank consists of a 7.62mm machine gun and a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun.
  • Guided missile weapon system: To defeat explosive reactive armour (ERA)-equipped targets and armoured fighting vehicles at ranges up to 5km.
  • Protection of the onboard crew from nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) threats.
  • Fire control system: A next-generation digital fire control system (FCS) is integrated in the amphibious vehicle.
  • Hydro-pneumatic type suspension system: It offers improved driving comfort over all types of terrain.

Other Capabilities:

  • Cross water obstacles and fire its gun while afloat
  • Disembark from a ship

Chinese deployments in eastern Ladakh (LAC):

  • Third-generation modern light tank ZTQ 15 (Type 15)
  • The latest ZTL-11 wheeled Armoured Personnel Carriers
  • CSK series of assault vehicles
  • Operate in high mountains in conditions of thin air, at very high and low temperatures.

Need for light tank:

  • After a standoff with China in eastern Ladakh, the Indian Army is prioritising the procurement of a light tank, named ‘Zorawar’, for deployment in the mountains.
  • The army had issued a Request For Information (RFI) for the procurement of 350 light tanks weighing less than 25 tonnes in a phased manner.
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