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The Indian Army’s quest for a potent light tank for Himalayan warfare takes an intriguing turn with news of two competing 105mm guns vying for the final slot. On one hand, DRDO, in collaboration with Pune-based Bharat Forge, is developing a domestic gun, aimed at self-reliance. On the other hand, media reports suggest the initial prototypes of the “Zorawar” tank might utilize a 105mm gun from Belgian firm John Cockerill.

Reports suggesting a Belgian 105mm gun for the Zorawar prototypes are currently unclear. While the initial prototypes might not feature the indigenous gun, it’s highly likely to be integrated into the production variant, marking a critical milestone in India’s defence technology.

John Cockerill’s gun, on the other hand, offers proven reliability and battlefield experience. Its integration into the initial prototypes ensures faster roll-out and quicker response to operational needs. However, reliance on foreign technology comes with concerns about long-term costs, maintainability, and potential vulnerability to supply chain disruptions.

The 105mm gun, compared to the smaller 30mm cannons often found on light tanks, offers greater firepower and the ability to engage heavily fortified positions. This is crucial for mountain warfare, where terrain and enemy fortifications pose unique challenges. The DRDO-Bharat-Forge collaboration aims to deliver a weapon system that meets these specific operational demands, boosting Zorawar’s effectiveness in its intended role.

The Army’s initial order of 59 Zorawar tanks will be manufactured by L&T, but the ambition extends far beyond. Plans are underway to procure 300 more tanks, potentially involving new vendors and a potential order book exceeding 700 units.

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