In July of this year, the Indian Ministry of Defense in an expedited manner ordered the creation of light tanks to counter possible attacks by Chinese troops, counting on the border with Ladakh more than 20 000 fighters and equipped with tanks, artillery, air defense and road-building equipment.
Russian tanks are not for mountains
As Indian Business Standard points out, in this region, the Chinese have relied on a new light tank - a small, agile and versatile ZTQ-105, also known as Type 15. At the same time, the Indian contingent in Ladakh has only three tank regiments., which together account for 150 old T-72 tanks.
With about 42 tons [weight], they are for the plains. Driving on mountain roads is slow and often impossible. Given the limited height [housing] and the angles of vertical guidance of his heavy gun, T-72 cannot hit targets on hilltops and valleys
– newspaper writes.
At the same time, another main tank of the Indian army, the T-90S "Bhishma", is not suitable for confronting the Chinese troops., which is “too heavy for mountain, forest and other hard-to-reach areas ". In this regard, the military and industry are looking for a replacement for Russian tanks in the mountain theater..
To eliminate costly imports of light tanks, Defense Research and Development Organization (Drido) intends to achieve the creation of its own light tank for use in the mountains and in the jungle.
Old Age "Octopus" or South Korean lobby?
As explained by the publication, indian, British and American troops used tanks during the fight against the Japanese in northeastern India and Burma during World War II: light M3 / M3A1 Stuart and medium M3 Grant and M4 Sherman. It was the Shermans who drove the Pakistani troops back at the Zod-Jila pass. Against China in 1962 year, the army used French light tanks AMX-13 in the Battle of Gurung Hill near Pangong Tso. In campaign 1971 years in Bangladesh, French AMX-13 and Soviet PT-76 "played an outstanding role in the Battle of Garibpur".
DRDO for 18 months expecting the appearance of two variants of a light tank. The first involves the creation of a 34-35-ton vehicle by installing a 105-mm John Cockerill turret on the body of the K-9 Vajra self-propelled artillery system with an MTU engine 1000 hp, optimized for high altitudes. The second option with a weight of 38 t retains K-9 Vajra hull and MTU engine, but borrows the gun turret of the T-90C Bhishma tank, which is already used by the army.
K-9 Vajra is assembled by order of the Indian army (which is supposed to close in 2021 year) at local facilities under a South Korean license. It will have to be extended, if the chassis of this product becomes the basis for an Indian light tank.
DRDO sure, that any of these hybrid tanks would be a better option compared to the Russian Sprut-SDM1 under consideration by the Ministry of Defense
– indicates Business Standard.
As explained, "Octopus" – “This is a tank destroyer with old technology, none of the countries bought it ". The Russian army itself acquired only 24 units, they are not in regular production, making them difficult to deliver quickly. Besides, you will have to contact the Russian Federation for spare parts, overhaul and future modernization.