Indian Army is actively looking for specialised light tanks to be used in Ladakh and light utility helicopter which have capability to fly from the deck of warships. The Army has invited tenders for 350 “Made-in-India” tanks which weigh less than 25 tonnes each and can be easily operated by security forces in extreme cold of Himalayas.
The Navy is also looking to lease utility helicopters in order to replace the aging fleet of 1960’s Cheetah helicopters. Both these forces issued a request for information (RFI) which is considered as first stage of tendering process.
The Defence Ministry tender bid mentions that it needs “a new generation combat vehicle platform, approximately 350 light tanks in a phased manner”. The interested supplier would have the responsibility to provide logistics, make use of niche technologies, ensure proper engineering support package, meet maintenance and training requirements and make transfer of technology possible.
Tanks which are required must be capable of participating in a “foreseeable operational scenario”. The army is looking for an agile and mobile light platform with proper firepower, protection, surveillance and communication capabilities.
The Navy has mentioned in its RFI that they plan to lease 24 copters from foreign vendors or authorised leasing firms. The lease period will last five years and tender will include all maintenance support including logistics along with the training of air and maintenance crew.
They aim to engage a copter weighing 5 tonnes or less. It must be capable of carrying out search and rescue at sea, which implies that its radar and sensors should be able to work in all weather conditions and during night or day. The copter must be competent to carry out medical evacuation from sea and low-intensity maritime operations while working from ships and shore.
The Navy mentioned that they are looking for a twin-engine copter piloted by two pilots which can fold the rotors for easy storage on ships.