New Delhi: The Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) of India has initiated trials for the Zorawar tank, designed to respond effectively to actions from adversary countries like Pakistan and China along the Indian border. The Zorawar tank, produced in collaboration with Larsen & Toubro (L&T), is a light tank intended for border surveillance. The trials involved testing the light tanks equipped with a new engine by covering a distance of over 100 kilometers. These tanks are anticipated to be handed over to the Indian Army by April this year.

The production of the Zorawar tank faced delays due to a supply chain issue with the engine from Germany. Despite months of negotiations and diplomatic intervention, the German company couldn’t commit to delivering the engine on time. Consequently, an association with American companies, particularly Cummins, was established to resolve the delay and expedite the production of light tanks.

The Army placed orders for 59 Zorawar light tanks with DRDO, which is collaborating with Larsen and Toubro for production. Originally slated for delivery in December 2023, the light tank’s trials in deserts and high-altitude locations were delayed due to engine supply issues from Germany.

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In a bid to enhance mobility and manoeuvring capabilities in the Ladakh sector, where China has deployed light tanks extensively, the Indian Army initiated the Zorawar light tank project. Despite the setback in delivery timelines, the Army is actively supporting the mega project and is collaborating with private sector firms to develop cutting-edge weapon systems.

Simultaneously, the Army is conducting a competition to procure an additional 295 light tanks under a separate program, with six to seven firms vying for the contract. The Zorawar light tank, a 25-ton vehicle, is designed to swiftly navigate high mountainous terrain, addressing the need for enhanced capabilities in the Ladakh region. The project, aligned with the Make in India initiative, received recent clearance from the Defence Acquisition Council, showcasing the Army’s commitment to bolstering its defence capabilities.

The Zorawar tank, part of Project Zorawar, incorporates modern features like artificial intelligence integration, drone warfare capabilities, and an active protection system. It is based on the chassis of the K9 Vajra automatic artillery gun, designed and developed in India for the Army, allowing effective operation in diverse terrains, including high-altitude and island areas. The lightweight and agile platforms emphasize firepower, protection, surveillance, and communication capabilities, addressing the challenges posed by the deployment of adversary forces in disputed regions.