Mahindra, the large Indian vehicle manufacturer unveiled its Striker lightweight high mobility combat vehicle, designed for armed reconnaissance and mounted patrols. The vehicle was displayed mounting four Milan missiles and a 7.62 mm machine gun. Mahindra also exhibited the Rakshak Plus, a protected vehicle designed for rapid reaction teams, mounted patrols and transportation of commanders and VIP. Rakshak Plus utilizes interchangeable armor protection plates designed to stop multiple 7.62mm hits. The protection suite consisting of hardened steel, high performance polyethylene and aramid laminates and bullet proof glass. The protection suite was designed by Plasan Sasa.
Mine protected vehicles are currently deployed by units of the Indian security forces, and positive experience with initial systems indicated that more of these vehicles should be used. Several exhibitors at DEFEXPO included mine protected vehicles in their displays. Indian Ordnance Factories brought the real thing – an armored troop carrier, fully protected against heavy mine blasts under the tires and hull, besides being immune to small arms fire. To add to the crew protection, the vehicle is also equipped with a multi-purpose remote control weapon station, developed by RAFAEL. The station enables observation, target acquisition and firing from within the protected vehicle, and accommodates a 0.5 cal heavy machine gun, 7.62 MG or automatic grenade launcher, and has options for stabilization and slave modes. Similar systems were also presented by foreign companies, including Alvis OMC of South Africa which have sold such systems to India in the past. Mahindra plans to introduce its own version for a mine protected vehicle – and is negotiating the local production of the Israeli RAM 2000 mine protected armored vehicle.
Another vehicle displayed by Mahindra is the Mobile Multi-sensor Surveillance System (MMSS), developed under cooperation between Mahindra, IAI/Elta and Esc Baz of Israel. The system is designed to operate as unattended ground sensor, transmitting surveillance data and images back to a regional command and control center. The vehicle can be equipped with a wide range of sensors, including the IAI/Elta integrated multi-sensor payload, utilizing the POP stabilized EO payload containing a color CCD, cooled thermal imager and a laser rangefinder package, the EL/M-2129 ground surveillance radar (or similar derivatives, locally built in India) and the Comet electronic compass. Another option is the Controp CEDAR IR automatic intruder detection system. Cedar was recently selected for the protection of the Olympic park in Athens, during the 2004 Olympics. Another low cost solution was also provided by Esc Baz from Israel, integrating a remotely controlled color day camera and uncooled thermal camera with a laser pointing device. Esc Baz officials at Defexpo told Defense Update that similar systems are already used for the protection of elements along the Israeli buffer zone and security perimeters around some isolated civilian settlements.