Work on the Light Weight Tank is going on in full swing. By 2023 the tank will be fully ready for production said by Chairman od DRDO Dr G Satheesh Reddy.
The Indian Army will receive light tanks in 2023 thanks to a partnership between the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and Larsen & Toubro (L&T). The creation of the Light Weight Tank falls under the Make-I project category, which is a “government financed” initiative.
Dr. G Satheesh Reddy, Secretary of Defence R&D and Chairman of DRDO, stated in an exclusive interview with Financial Express Online from New Delhi, “Work on the Light Weight Tank is going on in full speed. The tank will be completely prepared for production by 2023.
The DRDO has been doing research and development for the Lightweight Tank and collaborates with L&T. L&T will handle the manufacture when the project is finished and the Indian Army formally makes orders.
Financial Express was informed by the DRDO chairman that “We are involving the Indian industry as Development cum Production Partners” (DcPP). Numerous initiatives are being launched alongside the sector.
And this will assist the nation’s rapidly expanding defence industrial ecosystem, which is essential for moving the nation toward Atmanirbhar Bharat in Defense.
Indian Army need Light tank
According to sources no specific order has been placed by the Indian Army for these tanks. However according to some officer Indian army could buy at least 300 light tank for plateau area.
Earlier this year, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) had notified a list of items which will be produced locally here in India, in line with the “Atmanirbhar Bharat’’ initiative of the government. The idea behind the third positive list introduced recently was to also encourage the Indian Armed Forces to buy the equipment, and other platforms that have been manufactured here in India.
The third positive list was built on the 101 items in the first one and 108 items in the second. The first and second lists were promulgated in 2020 and 2021 respectively.
Light Weight Tank along with other big platforms like Mounted Artillery Gun System 155mm/ 52 Cal; 7.62mm x 54 (Sniper) Ammunition; See Through Armour; Armoured Recovery Vehicle (ARV) for MBT Arjun; are part of the third positive list.
In March this year, a decision was taken under the Make-I category of the 2020 Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) for developing Light Weight tanks for the Indian Army.
The decision was taken against the backdrop of the conversion of the tracked 155 Howitzer K-9 Vajra mobile a into a 35-tonne 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.
The need for Light tanks
Lightweight tanks were required in those environment after the standoff between the Indian and Chinese soldiers along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh. The Indian Army has used bigger tanks like the T-72, which weighs 45 tonnes, and T-90, which weighs about 46 tonnes since it lacks light tanks.
The Indian Army published a Request for Information (RFI) in April of last year to get about 350 light tanks with a weight of less than 25 tonnes for use in high altitude areas (HAA).