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Old 6th July 2024, 17:45   #1
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India's new Light Tank - the Zorawar

India's first-ever Light Tank - the Zorawar has been unveiled. Just to unpack some of the most important points:

1) Developed jointly by L&T and DRDO.

2) Developed within 24 months from the date of sanction.

3) Induction expected by 2027.

4) Equipped with a 105 mm gun if the information available till now is correct.

5) Initial internal trials completed.

6) The Army requires the tank to be all-weather capable and be able to target tanks, armoured vehicles, UAVs, and precision guided munitions, among others.

7) Indian Army has a requirement for 350 light tanks to equip 6 regiments.

The relatively short development period is particularly eye-catching because the last tank to be developed by India - the Arjun took decades! Given L&T's involvement and the short development timeline, I can't help but wonder if this is the same platform as the K9 Vajra (based on the S. Korean K9 Thunder). Weight is not mentioned but the Army's requirement is 25 tonnes, so should be +- 10%. As per the army's requirement, the tanks are supposed to have " anti-aircraft and ground role centric weapons besides advanced multipurpose smart munitions and gun tube-launched anti-tank guided missiles."

This is a direct result of the 2020 clashes in the Galwan Valley with China where the Army had to deploy tanks at very high altitudes and didn't have a light tank to counter China's Type 15 light tanks.

Source: The Print

Image Sources: India Today, X (@viveksi85847001)

India's new Light Tank  - the Zorawar-whatsapp-image-20240706-2.54.29-pm.jpeg

India's new Light Tank  - the Zorawar-whatsapp-image-20240706-2.54.29-pm-1.jpeg

India's new Light Tank  - the Zorawar-whatsapp-image-20240706-2.54.28-pm-1.jpeg

India's new Light Tank  - the Zorawar-whatsapp-image-20240706-2.54.28-pm.jpeg

India's new Light Tank  - the Zorawar-whatsapp-image-20240706-2.54.27-pm.jpeg

This video gives some pretty good insights on the available information:


Last edited by dragracer567 : 6th July 2024 at 17:52.
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Old 6th July 2024, 20:46   #2
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Re: India's new Light Tank - the Zorawar

Great achievement in such a short period of time. I only hope it goes on to serve in large numbers and not meet the same fate as the Arjun.
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Old 6th July 2024, 21:15   #3
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Re: India's new Light Tank - the Zorawar

That is not a "drone launcher". It houses anti-tank guided missiles.

India's new Light Tank  - the Zorawar-screenshot_1.jpg

What caught my eye is that this light tank uses rubber tracks:

India's new Light Tank  - the Zorawar-screenshot_2.jpg
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Old 7th July 2024, 12:19   #4
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Re: India's new Light Tank - the Zorawar

Quote:
Originally Posted by dragracer567 View Post

1) Developed jointly by L&T and DRDO.

2) Developed within 24 months from the date of sanction.
This is an excellent development and at a very good pace, infact i expect it to enter service earlier then the deadline given.

Though this particular project has shown results in a record time (24 months) the actual proposal of getting light tanks for army is many decades old (since 80's) AFAIK.

So there was already some work done on this concept earlier and many rough blueprints available as well, in 90's DRDO had proposed fitting a 105mm gun on a BMP-2 chassis which the army declined, few more concepts were studied but eventually things turned cold untill the Chinese came knocking few years back.
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Another reason for the quick turnaround time for this project is the relative cheap and less complicated nature of this weapon system compared to others and add to it L&T's partnership along with the experience it has gained in the K9-vajra project.
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Old 7th July 2024, 13:35   #5
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Re: India's new Light Tank - the Zorawar

I was quite surprised to see this pop up on my Twitter feed yesterday, I hadn't expected a sudden indigenous light tank platform to materialise so soon after the collective groan at the decision by the Indian Army to evaluate the US Stryker platform. One can't help but wonder if this was rapidly rolled out to ensure balance in the messaging and optics.

Speaking of rapidly rolling out, if it's truly only been 2 years of development (even If it's just a modified K9 chassis) that's still incredibly swift in military development terms. Question is, just how operationally ready is this thing? There's obviously been a pressing need for this thing for N-1 years so it'll be good to see something indigenous actually start to get fielded.

Noticed the tracks are mounted a fair bit inboard from the edges with some boxy side sections of what I suspect are some kind of explosive reactive armour or some such.

Let's say it's 27.5 tons, does that make it fit within the available airlift platforms? I imagine that's a critical requirement for getting it out to where it's needed.

Want to end by stating how in a post Ukraine war climate where folks have revived the end of the MBT discourse, light tanks are suddenly back in vogue with army planners everywhere. For eg: the US Army Booker light tank getting a flashy launch.
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Old 7th July 2024, 14:20   #6
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Re: India's new Light Tank - the Zorawar

Quote:
Originally Posted by ads11 View Post

Let's say it's 27.5 tons, does that make it fit within the available airlift platforms? I imagine that's a critical requirement for getting it out to where it's needed.
To my knowledge a C-17 Globemaster can lift 2 Zorawars at a time.
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Old 7th July 2024, 14:45   #7
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Re: India's new Light Tank - the Zorawar

Quote:
Originally Posted by ads11 View Post
(even If it's just a modified K9 chassis)
And apparently, some systems were taken from the Abhay IFV. We won't know for sure until a bit later. Might be wrong about being based on the K9 though!

Quote:
Let's say it's 27.5 tons, does that make it fit within the available airlift platforms? I imagine that's a critical requirement for getting it out to where it's needed.
I guess just the C17s and IL76s. The C130Js cannot fit these anyway. Depending on who wins the MTA contract, the C390 can fit these barely while the A400M can easily fit one. By 'fit', I mean the payload capacity.

Quote:
Want to end by stating how in a post Ukraine war climate where folks have revived the end of the MBT discourse, light tanks are suddenly back in vogue with army planners everywhere. For eg: the US Army Booker light tank getting a flashy launch.
How these actually perform is anybody's guess though. I'd assume the lessons from the Ukraine war points towards heavier armour to defend against drones and ATGMs. India's requirement is unique because of the Himalayas which seem to have spawned a whole generation of systems not available elsewhere like the Prachand and Dhruv!
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Old 9th July 2024, 18:50   #8
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Re: India's new Light Tank - the Zorawar

Quote:
Originally Posted by dragracer567 View Post
India's requirement is unique because of the Himalayas which seem to have spawned a whole generation of systems not available elsewhere like the Prachand and Dhruv!
To an extent yes, the high altitude theatre requirements of the Himalayas are distinct to the Indian Army and the PLA. But there's the expeditionary aspect to the resurgence of light tanks as well. That's the primary driver for the US, given they want to be able to field mobile armour alongside infantry units while they essentially island hop through a conflict with the PLA within the First Island Chain. Similarly the PLA would want the ability to field armoured units as well.

If they plan to roll out by 2027, I'm guessing they need to start field testing it within the next two years - has there been any mention of this field testing and/or timeline?
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Old 10th July 2024, 11:59   #9
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Re: India's new Light Tank - the Zorawar

A question to the experts, are tanks and other infantry weapons still relevant?
The current Ukraine and Russia war showcases extensive uses of smaller drones dropping bombs eliminating both soldiers and other weaponry. What's the point of an expensive tank when it can be destroyed by a couple-hundred worth drone?
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Old 10th July 2024, 12:28   #10
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Re: India's new Light Tank - the Zorawar

Quote:
Originally Posted by ValarMorghulis View Post
A question to the experts, are tanks and other infantry weapons still relevant? The current Ukraine and Russia war showcases extensive uses of smaller drones dropping bombs eliminating both soldiers and other weaponry. What's the point of an expensive tank when it can be destroyed by a couple-hundred worth drone?
There were always inexpensive ways to take out a battle tank -> RPG, shoulder fired anti-tank guided missile, IEDs and so on. Even during WW2 (Bazooka, Panzerschreck, sticky bomb etc). But that never reduced the usefulness of a battle tank.

In military, there is a concept called combined arms tactics, where battle tanks play a major role. If you send 100 tanks into a battlefield, the end result might be doubtful. But if you send 10 light tanks, 10 MBTs, 10 infanty fighting vehicles, 100 foot soldiers, protected by air defense systems and backed by artillery from behind, the results will be far more positive.

Also, you might see videos of drones taking out tanks simply because it is very social media friendly. But you will not see a video a bunch of tanks punching through a hardened defense line. Unlike drones, there is no easy way for cameras to record the light tank/MBT in action.

The solution to drones taking out battle tanks is deploying anti-drone systems in the battlefield, as part of combined arms strategy.
https://www.usiofindia.org/publicati...20Warfare.html

India's new Light Tank  - the Zorawar-screenshot_1.jpg

Last edited by SmartCat : 10th July 2024 at 21:12.
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Old 10th July 2024, 14:18   #11
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Re: India's new Light Tank - the Zorawar

The engine for this tank is American made (it may get assembled here, at a later date)

https://www.thehindubusinessline.com...le67544664.ece has some details.
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Old 10th July 2024, 16:23   #12
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Re: India's new Light Tank - the Zorawar

Quote:
Originally Posted by SmartCat View Post
In military, there is a concept called combined arms tactics, where battle tanks play a major role. If you send 100 tanks into a battlefield, the end result might be doubtful. But if you send 10 light tanks, 10 MBTs, 10 infanty fighting vehicles, 100 foot soldiers, protected by air defense systems and backed by artillery from behind, the results will be far more positive.
True, if we were to over-learn lessons from the Ukraine war, we'd all be advocating trench warfare like WW1!

Quote:
Originally Posted by vaibhav_a_a View Post
The engine for this tank is American made (it may get assembled here, at a later date)

https://www.thehindubusinessline.com...le67544664.ece has some details.
The Germans ironically lost this contract thanks to their bureaucracy & self-righteousness. I wonder how we are going to buy submarines from Germany when they struggle to sell us a couple of diesel engines!

Last edited by dragracer567 : 10th July 2024 at 16:25.
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Old 11th July 2024, 09:58   #13
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Re: India's new Light Tank - the Zorawar

Quote:
Originally Posted by ValarMorghulis View Post
A question to the experts, are tanks and other infantry weapons still relevant?
I'm no expert, don't even have sound fundamentals on military tactics, but I had the same question too, so asked a young officer I met at a friend's place once the same question. I was wondering what the relevance was about soldiers on the battlefield itself. He explained that unless the country was looking to bomb from afar, without any need to gain or hold territory, then things like drones made sense. But if the objective was to gain ground and hold it, or to recover lost ground, then you'll always need boots on the ground. And most conflicts that stop short of all-out total war will be of that type. So that still means paratroops, soldiers, infantry, backed up by tanks, still the most effective.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SmartCat View Post
There were always inexpensive ways to take out a battle tank...
To paraphrase (borrow outright!) a great line I read on Cricinfo (about Ponting's perceived weakness at the height of his batting prowess): "Possessing that information (about the perceived weakness) was akin to knowing that a punch on the nose will deter a shark." Might be true...but you still have to land that punch! I guess there are advanced and guided personal anti-tank munitions available these days but I can't imagine the sheer guts (or desperation, more often, I guess) it would take to stand in front of a lumbering tank with a shoulder-mounted weapon and try and take it down!

I can't be specific about the details, but a long time ago, I was lucky enough to get inside an armored vehicle on the move, in a remote part of the country (pure chance and through someone I knew). That was a light armored vehicle with a big gun, but nowhere near a tank. And that itself was pretty formidable!

Last edited by am1m : 11th July 2024 at 10:24.
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Old 11th July 2024, 12:00   #14
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Re: India's new Light Tank - the Zorawar

Advantages of rubber tracks on Zorawar light tank:
https://idrw.org/zorawar-light-tank-...ts-advantages/

However, if it is this really true, why don't all battle tanks use rubber tracks? Perhaps rubber tracks wear out faster and needs frequent replacement?

Last edited by SmartCat : 11th July 2024 at 12:01.
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Old 11th July 2024, 18:28   #15
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Re: India's new Light Tank - the Zorawar

Quote:
Originally Posted by SmartCat View Post

However, if it is this really true, why don't all battle tanks use rubber tracks? Perhaps rubber tracks wear out faster and needs frequent replacement?
I have the same question to be honest. I guess the assumption is that steel tracks are more useful on soft and unstable surfaces such as sandy deserts & marshlands where most tanks are expected to function. Most tanks are not made for mountain warfare, so this is again a very unique requirement for the Indian Army if rubber is indeed better for hard surfaces as said in the article - perhaps someone more well-versed in material engineering can comment on this specific aspect, if this was the case, rubber tracks would make sense for urban warfare too! These tanks would almost exclusively be used for mountain warfare since they would be outclassed by heavier tanks in virtually all other sectors, so it does make sense to specialize for this purpose if that were the case.
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