Indian Truck Makers Line Up to Renew Thousands of Military Vehicles

Panhard PVP was displayed at DefExpo 2012 under the Ashok Leyland label. Photo: Binny Winson
Ashok Leyland is aims expand from the traditional trucks to armored vehicles business. Photo: Binny Winson, Defense Updateoffer armored vehicles

The Indian Army has a fleet of more than 150,000 vehicles. The services buy around 7,000 new trucks every year, a volume attracting commercial vehicle manufacturers to invest in meeting peculiar military standards. This year at DefExpo 2012, traditional truck manufacturers Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland were joined by the new competitor Asia Motor Works, each taking aim at specific segments of this huge market.

Almost half of these trucks are the old model Stallion workhorses built by Ashok Leyland, the company is now offering the stronger Super Stallion 6×6 truck. Other opportunities are with the smaller tactical trucks and special purpose vehicles. AMW is displaying At DefExpo some of their specialty trucks, including firefighting trucks and 6X4 Heavy Duty Recovery Vehicles. AMW is positioned as India’s third largest manufacturer of heavy commercial vehicles. AMW is manufacturing its vehicles at their plant in Bhuj in Gujarat. Anirudh Bhuwalka, Managing Director and CEO of AMW said his company has entered this market offering a portfolio of vehicles range from 4X4 general service and logistics trucks, offered with engines ranging from 180 bhp to 270 bhp.

The TATA MPV displayed at DefExpo 2012. Photo: Binny Winson, Defense Update

Tata Motors is displaying here a range of military vehicles. “The launch of our new combat & tactical vehicles and equipment, leveraged from our strength in design and development of a wide range of commercial vehicles, now enables us to cover the entire defense mobility spectrum.” Said P. M. Telang, Managing Director – India Operations, Tata Motors. According to Telang, the company’s defense solutions already cover the complete range of logistics and armord vehicles that have also been popular in supporting the police and paramilitary forces in counter insurgency operations. The company launched four new military platforms – a specialized 12×12 Prahaar Missile Carrier, a light armored vehicle, a ‘Mobile Bunker’ and the Tata 6×6 7kI refueler. The Indian Armed Forces are currently looking at procuring a four-wheel drive, high mobility platform, for use as a general-purpose vehicle. Tata is positioning the Safari Storme GS 800 in standard and armored configurations to meet this requirement.

At the exhibition Tata Motors displayed scaled models of its concept Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) to be designed in tracked and wheeled configurations. Tata Motors is one of the four Indian companies, which has been issued the Expression of Interest (EoI) by the Indian Army, for the FICV – a ‘Make Indian’ project. Tata Motors has accordingly responded to the EoI based on indigenous design and development in association with key technology partners and submitted their response in October 2010.

Tata’s 12×12 missile carrier is an indigenous high mobility, all-terrain and all-wheel drive, based on the LPTA 5252-12 X12 vehicle
developed specifically for missile launcher carrier applications, in close coordination with the Indian Defense Research & Development Organization (DRDO). The platform can be integrated with different missiles, including the Prahar, BrahMos and Nirbhay missiles. The vehicle is equipped with a state of the art Electronic Controlled heavy duty engine and automatic transmission, has high mobility features like Anti-Locking Braking System (ABS), Central Tyre Inflation System (CTIS), Auxiliary Gear box with High and low speed mode and differential locks system. The vehicle is operable normally in 12×8 mode and can be driven in 12×10 and 12×12 modes as per terrain requirements. Tata Motors has also developed an indigenous high mobility, all-terrain and all-wheel drive designated LPTA 3138. This 8×8 vehicle is specifically designed for various all terrain application like command and control shelter carrier, missile launcher and carrier, mobile radar station etc.

Among the armored and mine protected vehicles developed to secure India’s paramilitary and military forces, the new ‘Mobile Bunker’ was introduced here. This robust vehicle is designed on the LPA 713 four wheel drive platform, to ensure fast and safe movement of troops in Naxal infested states and to act as a platform for retaliatory action. The Mobile Bunker offers protection against gunfire, corresponding to ballistic protection of NIJ Level III. As a mobile platform it can be used as a base for various protected applications like troop carriers, ambulances and buses. Tata’s Mine Protected Vehicles (MPV) also offering ballistic protection of NIJ Level III.

Ashok Leyland is also entering the armored vehicles segment, under a cooperation with foreign companies from germany and France. A year ago, at the IDEX defense show, Ashok Leyland signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the German Krauss Mafaeii Wegman (KMW), for the development and support of of KMW produced vehicles throughout India and South-East Asian markets. The Indian company plans to build armored trucks based on chassis supplied by KMW. SOme of the models on display here had a striking resemblance to the Dingo, but such a cooperation has not been confirmed. Ashok Leyland is also negotiating a similar MoU with the French company Panhard, which is expected to be signed soon. The PVP, a light armored vehicle developed under a Franco-German cooperation was displayed at Ashok Leyland.

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