– By Bhagavan
Well, “Steel” probably isnt the right word but “Chariot” may be applicable.
Recently, MOD came out with an RFI for inducting 800 LAMV (Light Armoured Multipurpose Vehicles) for Mechanised infantry and armoured corps. If selected, the manufacturer should be ready to supply the vehicles within 36 months from the date of awarding the contract at the rate of 300 vehicles per year. This tender is specially categorised under “Buy Indian – IDDM”. Let’s take a look at the possible contenders and their specifications in a close up. This tender looks like It is actually tailor made for the competition and both ironically and funnily enough, the tender name LAMV actually matched to the name of TATA’s offering, LAMV though this doesn’t guarantee that TATA will effectively be winning the tender but the coincidence kind of seemed funny to me.
In the tender, a detailed info about the performance requirements of the vehicle has been given. Let’s take a look at the performance requirements first before going into the detailed specification discussion of the competition for the RFI.
- The main purpose of these vehicles will be for reconnaissance and surveillance platoons. So the vehicle should be able to carry battle load, surveillance equipment and other machinery required for these missions.
- Vehicle should be able to be driven in all weather conditions such as from the plains and deserts in western borders to high altitude (5000 m) mountainous terrains including the snow bound regions along northern borders of India.
- In planes and deserts the minimum operating temperature should be between 0 degrees Celsius to 5 degrees Celsius and the maximum temperatures will go to 40 to 45 degrees Celsius.
- In high altitude and mountainous terrain, the operating temperatures should range from – 20 degrees to – 10 degrees minimum and up to 40 degrees maximum.
- The vehicles should be able to accommodate drones and loitering munitions along with machine gun mounts to mount 7.62 and 12.7 mm MG in service.
- Observe the intended recce area through integrated surveillance equipment and hand held thermal imager on a telescopic retractable mast.
- Vehicle selected should be modular and should be ready for upgrades in future.
As the basic requirements for the vehicles that are to be fulfilled are discussed, let’s dive into the possible contenders for this RFI from the stables of Mahindra and TATA.
ALSV from Mahindra is one hell of a machine and has been designed and developed indigenously by Mahindra. This is modular vehicle and complies with STANAG Level – II safety standards. The front, side and rear provide protection for four crew members up to STANAG level I. This vehicle can also carry an extra load of 400 kilograms along with crew and their battle gear.
ALSV has a 3.2l 215 HP multi-fuel diesel engine which is capable of running on either diesel or other NATO standard fuels. It also comes with an optional 4 or 6 speed automatic gearbox combination, 4×4 drivetrain with real differential locks, high travel all wheel independent suspension system and with central tyre inflation system. Top speed of this vehicle is around 120 kmph and this can do 0-60 kmph in less than 12 seconds. It has 30 degree gradability and can run on flat tyres for 50 kilometres. Mahindra also included self-cleaning air filtration system for desert conditions and scavenging system.
|Engine||Engine Type||Electronically controlled, Turbocharged, inline 6 Cylinder Diesel Engine|
|Cylinders||6 Cylinder Diesel Engine- Turbocharged|
|Power||215 hp @ 3600 rpm|
|Torque||500 nm @ 2000 rpm|
|Transmission||Transmission Type||4/6 Speed Automatic|
|Suspension||Front (option)||Independent suspension|
|Brakes||All Four Wheels||Heavy Duty Brakes|
|Steering||Steering Type||RHD / LHD with power steering|
|Turning Circle Radius||14.5m|
|Fuel||Fuel Type||Diesel & NATO Fuels|
Mahindra ALSV is available in either 6 or 8 seat configurations and it isn’t clear which version will be pitched to the armed forces. It also has a provision for light mortar 81/82 mm.
Another prominent player who doesn’t need an introduction is TATA motors. Tata motors have been manufacturing defence vehicles for quite some time now. LAMV was showcased long ago by Tata Motors and only now it got a chance to compete for an RFI.
LAMV also known as Light Armoured Multi Role Vehicle was first showcased in Defexpo 2014. LAMV consists of all composite detachable crew pod with V-shaped hull for protection against IEDs and landmines just like the other two here. LAMV also confirms to a maximum safety of STANAG Level II (a and b). This has the capability to carry 4 crew members with a maximum payload of 1500 kilos and with a maximum gross vehicle weight of 8000 kilos. This comes powered by a water cooled 210 HP turbo charged engine. This also comes with 4×4 capabilities and all independent suspension system.
LAMV comes with a manually operated open turret with mounting support for a 7.62 or 12.7 mm machine gun. The forward parts of the vehicle confirms to NIJ Level III ballistic protection for the gunner. LAMV can achieve top speeds of 105 – 110 kmph.
Let’s summarize the important specifications of these two vehicles for a better understanding.
|Mahindra ALSV||Tata LAMV|
|Engine output (hp)||215||210|
|Top speed (kmph)||120||105-110|
|Payload capacity (kilos)||1000||1500|
|Fuel type||Diesel and NATO fuels||Diesel|
|Safety||STANAG Level II (maximum)||STANAG Level II (a and b)|
It will be interesting to see which versions of their respective vehicles will be pitched by the respective manufacturers and who will be selected as the L1 contender.