India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and Indian armored vehicle manufacturers displayed today for the first time a number of combat vehicles developed in India for the Indian armed forces. Among the new vehicles were Arjun Mk II, Kestrel Wheeled Armored Platform (WhAP) and 4×4 Armored Mine Protected Vehicle (MPV) developed by Tata.
WhAP, an 8×8 armored infantry carrier developed by Tata (based on Tata’s Kestrel design) was displayed by the DRDO. The vehicle uses a modular design that adapts the platform to different configurations, including infantry carrier, various specialist and support vehicles. The variant on display included a manned turret mounting a 30mm cannon and 7,62 coaxial machine-gun. APC, CBRN, command post, ambulance, 105 light tank etc.
The 25-ton vehicle is powered by a 600 hp diesel engine, that accelerates the vehicle to a maximum speed of 100 km/h, (10 km/h in water). The vehicle has two propellers for amphibious operation. The vehicle uses hydropneumatic suspension and runflat tires to soften in rough terrain and retain mobility even after tires are damaged. Among the four axles two are steerable, improving the vehicle’s maneuverability in urban and rough terrain. Two years ago, at Defexpo 2014 the Kestrel was displayed with two remotely controlled weapon stations, mounting a 40mm cannon and 7.62 mm gun. For Defexpo 2016 the vehicle was fitted with a 30mm turret form the BMP-2.
Arjun Mk II is an improved version of the indigenous Arjun tank developed by the DRDO. The tank was presented on the static display at Defexpo 2014 and was shown in action, in public today at Defexpo 2016 in Goa for the first time. Arjun Mk II has a 120mm cannon that fires kinetic, high explosive rounds and LAHAT laser guided missiles.
The missile uses a tandem warhead, which is capable of defeating all types of modern armor, including add-on reactive armor. High penetration capability of the main warhead allows the missile to penetrate the armor of major armored vehicles at high impact angles. The Arjun Mk II can carry a total of 39 rounds in special blast-proof canisters. A 7.62 mm MAG machine gun is mounted coaxially to the main armament. Mounted on the top of the turret is a Remote Controlled Weapon Station (RCWS) armed with a 12.7mm NSVT machine gun and associated optronics. An independent sight for the commander is located at the turret, left of the commander’s cupola. The protection level has also been improved over Arjun Mk 1, adding reactive armor modules to the turret. The tank also has laser threat warning sensors mounted on four quadrants, along with eight launchers on each side, delivering smoke canisters deploying instantaneous smoke screen, to mask the tank from incoming missiles.
The MPV was developed by Tata Motors Defense unit, under the company’s strategic expansion of its defense solutions, from logistical and utility vehicles to the design shift to broader mobility solutions for the military, providing all types of platforms, from 4×4 to 12×12, including various all-terrain weapon carriers and armored vehicles and combat vehicles. Tata is intended to participate in the Future Infantry Carrier Vehicle (FICV).
The MPV has been developed at the company in the past 5 years. A 20 ton vehicle, the MPV can transport 2 crew members and 12 troops, at high level of safety from mines and other forms of attack, at a maximum speed of 80 km/h. The vehicle is protected against explosives, mines and small arms attack up to STANAG Level 3. All passengers are provided with blast mitigating seats and 4 point harness. All tires are fitted with Run-Flat systems to retain mobility under attack.