By Rohit Srivastava
Amidst the ongoing standoff in the Ladakh, India has sent out a Request for Information (RFI) to Russia for its Sprut light tanks. India has not yet disclosed the exact numbers of tanks to be purchased, sources informed.
In the plateau plains of Ladakh, India has deployed T-90 main battle tanks and BMP troop carriers as part of 14 corp facing China.
During the ongoing standoff, which started in May, China has deployed its ZTQ-15 light tanks.
This startled India and a process for purchase of these tanks was initiated. Given their operatability in Ladakh, mountain valleys and across marshy and riverine terrain, India has a requirement of 300 (200 tracked and 100 wheeled) of these tanks.
Given the current situation, India needs it quick.
“After the deal is signed, Russia will take approximately one year to complete its delivery,” Russian sources said.
“Since, advance is paid, in case of urgent requirement, we can complete delivery in six months,” source added.
In last ten years, India made two half-hearted efforts to acquire these tank, first it sent out a global RFI and defence research and development organisation tried to develop a tank using BMP chassis.
Both efforts were not pursued to its end.
The 18 tons 2S25 Sprut-SDM1, designed and developed by Volgograd Tractor Plant, armed with 125mm guns and five km range anti-tank missiles, is transportable by IL-76 and can be paradropped with its three member crew. This is the only light tank in the world with firepower of main battle tank.
It has an operational range of 500 km and carries around 40 ammunition including missiles. For Russia, Sprut is a self-propelled anti-tank gun, which can be employed for anti-armour role. The vehicle also has a coaxial 7.62 mm medium machine gun and a 7.62-mm remote-controlled machine gun. The machine guns are turret based which allows gunner to engage targets without leaving tower.
The tank is equipped with digital fire control system, panoramic sight with optical, thermal imaging, rangefinder, laser missile control channel, automatic target tracking, control equipment for remote detonation of shells on the trajectory, ballistic computer and automated operating system for commander and gunner-operator.
The advanced target acquisition system allows tank to engage targets during both day and night and under poor visibility conditions.
The high weight-power ratio allows the tank to function in high altitude and various kinds of difficult terrain. Sprut is capable of engaging targets while afloat.
According to Rosoboronexport, “Possessing a high specific power, this vehicle is capable of conducting combat operations in high mountains and hot tropical climates against highly armored vehicles, fortified strong points and enemy manpower, without preparation to overcome water obstacles in waves of up to 3 points, while firing afloat.”
Installation of asphalt shoes or snow and swamp tracks is provided, which further expands the possibilities of using the machine.
One of the benefits of the tank is India operates IL-76, thus India need not to worry about its transportation.