SOURCE: PARSHU RAM / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
According to the latest reports in several Indian Media-houses, The Indian Army will soon start testing the Russian 2S25 Sprut-SD often called the Sprut-SD M1 Light Tank. This report has got many enthusiasts in the Indian Defence Community excited who believe that Russian Tanks are the best option for the Indian Army. In this report, we will discuss why the Sprut-SD M1 [Or Any Foreign Light-Tank] may not prove to be an ideal option for the Indian Army. To go into the basics, Any proper Main Battle Tank [Light/Medium/Heavy] should have Firepower, Weight, Speed & Armour in a “Balanced Ratio” – So that one element doesn’t take a toll and become a burden on the others.
The Sprut-SD M1 fails in this sector and can be highlighted as the perfect example of an ‘Imbalanced MBT’ – Perhaps describing why it’s often called a “Tank Destroyer”. Take the 125mm Main Gun out of the Sprut & What you have left can be effectively called an ‘Infantry Combat Vehicle’. Such a thing happened perhaps because the Russians, as always, owing to their poor Post-Soviet economic conditions, 1st thought of the economic aspects of developing, producing & maintaining a completely different type of Gun & Ammo for just 1 Platform. Naturally, 125mm was deemed logical to them. Thus the Armour had to be sacrificed for Firepower. Now, the question arises: “What can be an ideal Light MBT for the Indian Army in a time when the Indian economy has been ravaged by a pandemic ?”
The Answer: “An Indigenous Option”. An Indigenous Light MBT will not only prevent precious capital from being drained overseas but also provide a much-needed breather to India’s R&D Culture in the sector of Armoured Vehicles which took a severe hit after the painful saga of MBT Arjun. Now, We’ll discuss what could be the ideal specifications of a Next-gen Light MBT :
??Main Gun :
When Medium & Heavy MBTs used to carry 120mm & 125mm Main Guns, 105mm Main Guns were ideal for a Light MBT.
But shortly, As the Next-gen Medium & Heavy MBTs will be switching to bigger 140mm [ASCALON of Franco-German MGCS] 152mm [2A83 of Russian T-14 Armata] Main Guns, A 120mm Main Gun would be the best bet for a Light MBT.
As MBT Arjun uses the same 120mm Rounds, Economy-of-Scale will come into play. Because of this, The indigenous 120mm HEAT, PCB-TB & APFSDS Mk-II would become much cheaper to produce.
??Armour Coverage :
The Indian Army has made the situation dire for themselves by neglecting the need for Light MBTs for decades & suddenly realizing their importance at the 11th hour when confronted with the Chinese Type-15 Black Panthers.
So keeping the “Time Factor” in mind, The Hull of K-9 Thunder being manufactured by L&T in record speed can be used as of now.
The Turret, unfortunately, has to be contracted to John Cockerill as they have a readymade Cockerill® XC-8 Turret ready to mount a Cockerill® 120mm High-pressure Smoothbore Gun.
Smoothbore Guns lose a lot less velocity due to lesser amounts of friction in between the Barrel & Ammunition.
Smoothbore Guns – Receiving a lot less amount of “Wear & Tear” – Can fire 3x the amount of Effective Full Charges compared to Rifled Guns.
Smoothbore Guns can also have a Higher Chamber Pressure because they don’t have to worry about rifling.
Apart from this, The 2 Crew Cockerill® XC-8 also houses an Autoloader which ensures High Rate-of-Fire, Sustained High Rate-of-Fire along with Elimination of Human-Loader.
Both the K9 Hull & XC-8 Turret are NBC Protected. Thus Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Warfare will be useless in front of it.
??FCS & Optics :
The Cockerill® XC-8 has a Fully-Computerized Fire Control System as well as Stabilized Day/Night Sight for both the Commander & the Gunner – Thus giving it Hunter-Killer capability.
??Active Protection System :
A Soft Kill APS is standard in the Cockerill® XC-8 Turret.
However, depending upon the Weight-requirements, A Light/Medium Hard Kill APS is a must keeping in mind the grave threats posed to Light MBTs from AGMs & ATGMs.
Rheinmetall’s APS Gen-3, Lockheed Martin’s MAPS, or Rafael’s Trophy MV/VPS are some of the Hard Kill APS Systems which can be bought off the shelf and deployed quickly.
In future Block-upgrades, DRDO’s 120mm Gun-launched SAMHO ATGM can be integrated. Cockerill’s Sight & Optics can be replaced with Tonbo Optics. The MT 881 Ka-500 Engine can also be replaced by a Fully-Indigenous 1000hp V92S2 Engine fine-tuned for High-altitudes.
This approach will not only be the quickest but also keep India’s money in India by eventually becoming 75-80% Made-in-India.
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