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Monday, January 23, 2017

Nearly 3000 New Trucks To Give Indian Army's Mobility A Massive Boost

Much needed augmentation underway to the Indian Army's war-fighting capability.

The Indian Army is shopping, & it's shopping big time. Be it the purchase of additional T-90 Tank variant [T-90MS Tagil], advanced communication equipment, S-400 Missile Defence Systems, there is a palpable sense of urgency in ramping up military inventory.


Mahindra Axe, courtesy: Samar Mohanty


Tata LSV, courtesy: uri1974

Adding to the shopping list now is this huge Truck purchase. The Indian Army, recently, issued a Request For Information [RFI] to acquire 2958 Nos. of 4-Wheel Drive [4WD] Trucks. It would use the vehicles to transport goods, weighing 900-1200 kgs, moving effortlessly over the widely varying terrain in the country.  Modified variants of the trucks could also serve as troop carriers & weapon platform. I envisage mounting a 120 mm Mortar on its Flat Bed to give the Army an effective, but low-cost,  mobile artillery solution. To weigh no more than 3500 kgs, the vehicle could travel through at least 500 mm of water, as is. Notably, the Army RFI has evinced interest in possibility of operating the vehicle on multiple fuels. A convenient feature, that would allow continued operation, especially in wartime, in absence of a given fuel-type. The purchase may find use with all 3 branches of the Armed Forces.

A significant quantum of purchase, it would give a tangible boost to the Indian Army's ability to quickly mobilise its resources, when required. Coming on the heels of the Army Chief publicly acknowledging existence of a Cold Start strategy, this acquisition would help reduce the lead-time in taking up positions to mount such an action. Mobilisation delays faced during Operation Parakram, is believed to be one of the major causes why it achieved sub-optimal military outcomes - my personal reservations notwithstanding, folks have argued it wasn't even about the military, & it achieved what it set out to achieve.

Would be a crying shame, though, if the Work Order ends up in the hands a foreign supplier. Indian Auto manufacturers, like the Tata, Mahindra, Ashok Leyland, with their current portfolio of trucks, are very well-placed to bid for this contract. Minor RFI-specific customisations, such as adding Tow Hooks & Winch would do the deed. A big boost to the domestic manufacturing sector, it would be.


Also Read: India's former Main Battle Tank [MBT] Vijayanta at Avadi [Photographs]