The Indian Army inducted three new wheeled armoured vehicles on April 12, 2022. At a function organised at the Bombay Engineers Group in Pune, Army Chief General MM Naravane inducted the first set of indigenously developed Quick Reaction Fighting Vehicle Medium (QRFV), Infantry Protected Mobility Vehicle (IPMV) and Ultra Long Range Observation System, all developed by Tata Advanced System Limited (TASL) along with Monocoque Hull Multi Role Mine Protected Armoured Vehicle developed by Bharat Forge. The Army Chief stated that “the induction of these indigenously developed systems by TASL and Bharat Forge would greatly enhance the operational capabilities of the Indian Army in future conflicts”.
The IPMV is based on the TASL 8×8 Wheeled Armoured Platform (WhAP) jointly developed with DRDO. WhAP is described as India’s first amphibious wheeled infantry combat vehicle. IPMV has some notable differences with WhAP, including a larger driver optics and the absence of pumpjets for amphibious roles. IPMV is equipped with a 7.62x51mm remote weapon station. The first lot consisted of six vehicles. A 2019 RfI by the Army had looked at procuring 198 8×8 wheeled armoured vehicles for various roles. WhAP is expected to be ordered in larger quantities to fulfil such requirements. The QRFV is the TASL 4×4 Mine protected Armoured Personnel Carrier. It has blast protection of up to 21kg of TNT. It can carry 14 personnel including the driver and commander.
The Monocoque Hull Multi Role Mine Protected Armoured Vehicle is the Kalyani M4 by Bharat Forge, which is based on Paramount Group’s Mbombe 4 vehicle. 27 of these high mobility vehicles had been ordered in February 2021 at a cost of Rs 177.95 crores. It can seat a total of 10 personnel. It can withstand under body blasts of up to 10kg of TNT. The Kalyani M4 was tested extensively in Ladakh by the Indian Army. The Army also inducted the TASL Rajak Ultra Long Range Observation System. It can detect human targets up to 18km and vehicles up to 26km during both day and night.
The induction of these vehicles are part of the Indian Army’s effort to improve the mobility and protection of its frontline units. An order for 1,300 Mahindra Armoured Light Specialist Vehicles (ALSV), placed in March 2021, is also set to commence deliveries. The Mahindra ALSV had faced competition from similar offerings by Tata and Kalyani. Another major Indian defence automotive firm, Ashok Leyland, has supplied new Light Bullet Proof Vehicles (LBPV) to the Indian Air Force since April 2021.