New Delhi: The development trials of the light tank Zorawar have already started and the DRDO is expected to hand it over to the Indian Army for further testing by April this year.
“The light tank with its new engine has started in our development cum production partner’s facilities. The tank has been moved around for more than 100 kilometers, and it is expected to be given to the Indian Army by April this year,” defence officials told ANI.
The Army has given orders for producing and supplying 59 Zorawar light tanks to DRDO, which is producing them with its partners Larsen and Toubro.
The light tank was earlier supposed to be delivered to the Indian Army by December for trials in deserts and high-altitude locations but due to engine supply delays from Germany, the project has been delayed.
The Indian Army will also be holding a competition for buying 295 more light tanks under a different program, for which six to seven firms are offering their light tanks.
The mega project is being fully supported by the Indian Army, which is working with private sector firms to produce world-class weapon systems.
The light tank project is being undertaken by the Indian Army to improve its mobility and maneuvering abilities in the Ladakh sector, where the Chinese have also brought in their light tanks in large numbers, they said.
To tackle threats from China, the Indian Army mooted the idea of having similar abilities. The project was cleared recently by the Defence Acquisition Council.
DRDO is working with L&T on the project to build the 25-tonne light tank, which would be capable of moving fast and easily in the high mountainous terrain. The project would be undertaken under the Make in India initiative.