The Republic of Korea’s Hanwha Defense appears ready to propose a candidate to address the Indian Army’s requirement for a light tank. India’s Defense Ministry issued a Request for Information dated 22 April 2021 describing its intent to acquire 350 light tanks.
The RFI described a new generation combat platform of less than 25 tonnes “along with performance-based logistics, niche technologies, engineering support package, and other maintenance and training requirements.”
This would be produced in India. The initiative is viewed as a response to the tensions in Eastern Ladakh of the northern mountainous regions and the China’s People’s Liberation Army fielding of its ZTQ-15 light tank. An RFI reflecting a similar need had been issued in 2009 but did not proceed.
Hanwha Defense has a developed a version of its successful K-21 Infantry fighting Vehicle, the K21-105, which mounts a 105mm tank gun turret on the K-21 tracked chassis. This was offered as a candidate for the US Army Mobile Protected Firepower vehicle requirement in a collaboration with the US firm SAIC.
The design incorporated a CMI Defense 105mm stabilized gun turret with automatic loading providing 8 rounds per minute firing rate. Equipped with advanced day/thermal sights, digital fire controls, and able to incorporate a panoramic sight it can precisely engage targets to 4 km. The gun uses standard NATO ammunitions, as well as the Ukrainian-designed cannon launched laser-guided Falarick 105 ATGM. With a crew of three the vehicle offers tank level firepower in a compact, highly mobile configuration well suited for operations in restricted terrain.
The Indian Army RFI further states “the main armament should feature a modular and upgradable weapon system with capability to destroy varied threats and feature multiple weapons for anti-aircraft and ground role with a remote control weapon station. The tank should employ modern advance multipurpose ‘smart munitions’ including gun tube launched anti-tank guided missiles and auxiliary power unit, preheater, environment control unit and anti-drone capability, UAV jammers, and be net enabled.
Responses are due 18 June 2021.
by Stephen W. Miller