The Telegraph
Thursday , January 30 , 2014
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Tatas bet on combat vehicle

Defence mechanism

New Delhi, Jan. 29: Tata Motors, in collaboration with the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO), has developed an amphibious combat vehicle fitted with a 600 horse-power Cummins engine.

Indian Army has a Rs 12,000-crore budget to buy such amphibious combat vehicles, and the Tatas hope their vehicle is up to army standards. The Tatas plan to also target the export market for such vehicles, estimated at over $12 billion, or nearly Rs 75,000 crore annually.

Vernon Noronha, vice-president of Tata Motors’ defence business division, told The Telegraph, “We have developed this in collaboration with the DRDO and can launch it in the commercial market within two-and-a-half years.”

The amphibious armoured vehicles can use various kinds of clip-on armour, which meet Stanag 1 to 4 (NATO approved protection levels for armoured vehicles) standards, as well as weapons. The DRDO is spending about Rs 300 crore in the joint research, officials said.

The Tatas have a defence business, which includes making vehicles, aircraft and missile parts and unmanned aerial vehicles, besides military and naval contracting jobs.

“The defence order book position for the group stands at Rs 8,000 crore,” said Mukund Rajan, member group executive council and brand custodian, Tata Sons.

Indian Army needs some 225 amphibious armoured vehicles and may bring out a “request for proposal” sometime later this year, defence officials said. A report prepared by defence analyst firm Visiongain estimates the global market for such vehicles to be over $12 billion in 2013.

The Tatas’ may also used a scaled down version of the new vehicle, minus the heavy armoury, to bid for the India Army’s requirement of a Humvee-style all-terrain vehicle.

The army is currently using a fleet of Mahindra and Maruti Gypsy jeeps.