India shows interest to acquire Russian 2S25M Sprut-SDM1 self-propelled anti-tank tracked arrmored
“Amidst the ongoing standoff in Ladakh, India has sent out a Request for Information (RFI) to Russia for its Sprut light tanks. India has not yet disclosed the exact numbers of tanks to be purchased,” said the website Indian Defence Industries (IDI), citing unnamed sources.
The Sprut-SDM1 is a deeply updated variant of the renowned Sprut-SD air-droppable SPATG. Russia’s arms exporting company Rosoboronexport (a subsidiary of state corporation Rostec) introduced an export-oriented variant of the system to the global market in mid-2018. According to the company, the Sprut-SDM1 land platform (its export-oriented model is designated ‘an amphibious light tank’, not ‘a SPATG’) combines high maneuverability and decent firepower. The new system features firepower of the main battle tank and can be airdropped.
The export-oriented Sprut-SDM1 is initially intended for naval infantry and ground troops; however, it can be operated as a traditional light tank in an effective manner. The platform’s armament suite integrates a 125 mm tank cannon, a guided weapon, and a remotely operated weapon system with a 7.62 mm general-purpose machinegun. It should be mentioned that the Sprut-SDM1 fires on-the-move and when swimming. Its sensor suite allows the crew to engage targets round-the-clock and in low-visibility environments. The light tank also features a modern highly automated fire-control system.
The Sprut-SDM1’s firepower capabilities seem to be on par with those of main battle tanks: the platform’s guided weapon allows the system to engage heavy targets, which are protected by explosive reactive armor, at a distance of up to 5 km.
The combat vehicle weighs some 18 t and is powered by a 450-hp engine, producing a road speed of up to 70 km/h and a cruising range of 500 km. As mentioned earlier, the platform is amphibious and can swim for seven hours. The Sprut-SDM1 is manned by a three-strong crew.
The new light tank has two main competitors in the global market, namely the Chinese Type 15 light tank and the Turkish Kaplan MT medium tank. Being a vehicle of the same class, the Sprut-SDM1 has two advantages — a main battle tank-type main gun and amphibious capabilities. Both Type 15 and Kaplan MT carry 105 mm main guns with shortened barrels, while the Sprut-SDM1 is armed with the 125 mm cannon that features higher muzzle velocity and lethality. The use of a guided weapon (neither Type 15 nor Kaplan MT deploys such a capacity) dramatically increases the platform’s distance of firing, turning it into ‘a long hand’ on the battlefield.
The second advantage of the new platform is its tactical flexibility — the Sprut-SDM1 can fire during swims. The system can also be air-transported by a heavy helicopter or a medium airlifter. The combination of light ballistic protection and high maneuverability provides the light tank with decent combat survivability.
The Sprut-SDM1 can be effectively used over rough and mountainous terrains.