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India Mulling Russian Sprut Lightweight Tank Purchase

India is open to purchasing the Russian amphibious Sprut-SDM1 light tank, The Print has reported.

The outlet further revealed that a team of Indian defense officials will visit Russia late this summer to observe the armored vehicle during trials for mobility and firing.

Russia made the offer during Indian defense minister Rajnath Singh’s visit to Moscow in July of last year in the midst of the Indian-Chinese stand-off along their border in Ladakh and Tibet.

China deployed its indigenous, 33-ton Type 15 light tanks against the Indian Army’s heavier T-90 (46-ton) and T-72 (45-ton) tanks along the Line of Actual Control.


The vehicle, manufactured by the Volgograd Tractor Plant, is an upgraded version of the Sprut-SD light tank. The Sprut-SDM1 is in its final stage of development.

At a weight of 18 tons, the Sprut-SDM1 has a distinct advantage over its Russian-origin cousins, the T-90 and T-72 currently in service in the Indian Army in maneuverability, particularly in mountainous terrain.

Due to its lightweight, the vehicle can be “air-lifted, parachuted with the crew inside and can even disembark from a ship,” according to the Print.

Moreover, the vehicle can negotiate “grades and slopes of 60% and 30% respectively and can overcome excavation trenches that are 2.8 meters (9.1 feet) deep,” Army Technology wrote.

Main Weapons

The Sprut-SDM1 boasts a 125mm main gun, a 7.62mm remote-controlled machine gun, and a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun.

The vehicle is also armed with a guided missile weapon system to defeat explosive reactive armor-equipped targets and armored fighting vehicles at ranges up to 5km,” Army Technology wrote.

It has a top speed of 70 kilometers (43.5 miles) per hour and can be driven up to 500 kilometers (311 miles) without refueling. It can also float for up to seven hours at a stretch, cruising on the water at a maximum speed of seven kilometers (4.5 miles) per hour.

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