In a setback to the Indian Army’s ambitious “Project Zorawar,” aimed at developing advanced light tanks, delays have cropped up in the rollout schedule. Originally scheduled for a mid-2023 debut, the unveiling of the project’s first prototype is now expected in January of the following year.
Sources within the defense community suggest that the primary cause of this delay lies in the difficulty of sourcing crucial components from foreign countries, particularly electronic and electrical components, as well as engines. These foreign-supplied components are considered vital for the successful execution of Project Zorawar. Notably, India had to adjust its plans, shifting from the initially intended German MTU engine to American Cummins engines due to unavailability issues with the former.
Project Zorawar’s overarching goal is to create a lightweight and agile tank platform characterized by a high power-to-weight ratio, substantial firepower, enhanced protection, advanced surveillance capabilities, and robust communication systems. Such a versatile platform is deemed crucial for enabling the Indian Army to carry out effective operations across a variety of terrains.
In terms of specifications, the Zorawar tanks are anticipated to have a weight of approximately 25 tonnes. In comparison, the Indian Army’s current MBT Arjun tank weighs around 60 tonnes, while the T-90 tanks come in at approximately 48 tonnes, and the T-70 tanks weigh around 45 tonnes.
Despite the delays encountered, Project Zorawar remains a pivotal initiative for the Indian Army. It represents a significant stride toward bolstering operational flexibility and effectiveness with a new generation of technologically advanced, lightweight, and agile tanks. The challenges in component procurement underscore the intricate and interdependent nature of developing cutting-edge military equipment, highlighting the significance of both indigenous production capabilities and international partnerships in defense projects of this magnitude. As India faces hurdles in component procurement, it emphasizes the importance of self-reliance in defense manufacturing and the need for a resilient defense supply chain.