India interested in Russian Sprut-SDM1 amphibious light tanks

According to Snhesh Alex Philip in ThePrint, India sets eyes on Russian Sprut-SDM1 light tanks to counter China in the mountainous terrain along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), and will also take part in the trials of the system starting late summer, as the tank is still under development. A figure of 350 light tanks to purchase has been mentioned.
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Sprut-SDM1 amphibious light tank (Picture source: Army Recognition)

According to sources in the security and defence establishment, India is keen on the 18-tonne Sprut-SDM1 because it shares the gun of the T-90M tank (in service with the Indian army) and fires the same kind of ammunition. India is currently operating T-90 and T-72 tanks, which are also Russian-origin. This will mean logistics and maintenance systems of the Sprut tanks will not have to be drastically different for the Armoured Corps.

Russia’s approval to include India in the trials of the light tanks came after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh spoke about India’s need for light tanks during his visit to Russia in August 2020. As reported by ThePrint then, Russia had offered India the light Sprut-SDM1 tanks during Singh’s visit. The move came as India had deployed the T-90 tanks, weighing about 46 tonnes, in Ladakh during the prolonged standoff with China. Conversely, China had deployed its new lightweight tanks, Type 15, besides other armoured elements.

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Like its predecessor Sprut-SD (here above), the modernized Sprut-SDM1 is amphibious (Picture source: Russian MoD)

The 2S25M Sprut-SDM1 is a modernized version of the Sprut-SD. This light tank is unified with the chassis of the BMD-4M airborne combat vehicle and uses some fire control elements of the T-90MS main battle tank. The Sprut-SDM1 was unveiled in 2016. The baseline variant of the SPATG (Self-Propelled Anti-Tank Gun), the Sprut-SD, was officially adopted in 2006. The weapon was based on the BMD-4M airborne infantry fighting vehicle; it uses some fire control elements of the T-90MS main battle tank. The Sprut-SDM1 was unveiled in 2016. In order to increase the combat survivability of the modernized gun, the industry has developed a more powerful ballistic protection suite for the Sprut-SDM1 SPATG. The weapon has been fully integrated with a digital fire-control system, which increases the platform’s firing accuracy and allows its crew to engage low-speed and low-altitude targets, for instance, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The SPATG has received an Invar-M-based guided missile that is launched through the gun barrel. A variant of the missile with a thermobaric high-explosive warhead to engage field installations has also been developed.

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Sprut-SD displayed in ready-for-airdrop configuration at Army-2018 Defense forum (Picture source: Army Recognition)