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SOURCE: TUSHKAR SHIRODKAR / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG.

Sprut (Top) K21-105 (Down)

The Indian Army has issued a Request For Information (RFI) for the procurement of 350 light tanks weighing less than 25 tones. RFI for the light tank and requirement it to be less than 25 tones means only two options are likely to emerge when the proposals are received and again it seems it will be Russia versus South Korean battle in India for securing orders.

Sprut-SDM1 125 mm self-propelled anti-tank gun, or also know as light-tank was first to be offered to India when India started brainstorming the need for lighter battle tanks for operations in higher altitudes especially after the Chinese deployed Type 15 light tank at the standoff location in the Ladakh region. Sprut-SDM1 is fitted with the Sosna-U multichannel gunner sighting system (like the T-72B3 main battle tank) and has a 125 mm smoothbore gun that is almost identical to those of the 2A46M5 gun that is equipped on the T-72M Main Battle Tanks.

Sprut-SDM1 can carry an ammunition load of 40 rounds, including 20 high explosive fragmentation rounds and 14 armor-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabots, as well as six anti-tank guided missiles. but Sprut-SDM1 is limited in numbers and only airborne division is equipped, Russian website only confirm orders for 24 units and it suffers from major shortcomings like limited armor protection, accuracy, and subsequent maintenance and sustenance.

South Korean K21-105 is a new light tank that has a 105mm turret mounted on a proven K21 chassis. K21 can also be armed with a 120 mm gun but that has never been developed as a proof of concept. K21-105 weighs around 25 tons with a 3-man crew, but the Main armament that is the 105 mm rifled low-recoil gun might not be effective against modern main battle tanks which will limit its role to provide support fire against armored vehicles, buildings, and fortified posts.

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