DRDO with Larsen & Toubro to build prototype of light tank with John Cockerill turret for Indian army
April 24, 2023
According to the Indian outlet Business Standard, with the Indian Army on a major drive to equip itself adequately on the Sino-Indian border, the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) and Larsen & Toubro (L&T) have joined hands to develop an indigenous light tank that is optimized for the extreme cold and high altitude of Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh. Having co-designed an indigenous, 25-tonne, light tank, the DRDO has placed a development order on L&T to build the first prototype, say Army sources.
Meanwhile, the Indian Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) — the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD’s) apex body for capital purchases — has granted an Acceptance of Necessity (AoN), or in-principle agreement, for seven light tank regiments, each equipped with 45 tanks, Business Standard reports. The AoN requires L&T — the MoD’s development partner — to build one regiment of light tanks, while the MoD acquires the other six regiments under the “Make” procedure.
The light tank will have a hull, co-developed by DRDO and L&T, that will house an 800-horsepower engine optimised for high altitudes. The engine will be provided by the German firm MTU, which is a subsidiary of Rolls-Royce. Mounted on this hull will be a 105-millimeter gun turret, procured ready-built from Belgian firm, John Cockerill Defense.
While several options exist regarding the tracked chassis to select or create, be it from U.S., Western European, Turkish (Kaplan MT), Asian or Russian origin (the latter becoming more and more improbable because of the US sanctions threatening the countries and industries working with Russian providers), the initial selection of the Belgian manufacturer John Cockerill leads to thinking that it will be the Cockerill 3105 with its 105mm cannon that will equip the future Indian light tank.
The Cockerill 3105 is a two-man power-operated turret system. It is primarily used in armored vehicles such as light tanks, armored personnel carriers, and wheeled reconnaissance vehicles. It features a 105mm rifled gun capable of firing a wide range of ammunition, including high-explosive, armor-piercing, and high-explosive anti-tank rounds. The gun is stabilized in two axes, allowing for accurate firing while the vehicle is on the move. It also has an automatic loader that can hold up to 12 rounds. In addition to the main gun, the turret is equipped with a coaxial 7.62mm machine gun and a roof-mounted 12.7mm machine gun for air defense. The turret is also fitted with advanced fire control and sighting systems, including a laser rangefinder and thermal imaging, which enable the crew to engage targets accurately even in low visibility conditions.