The Indian Army has placed an order for emergency procurement of M4 armoured vehicles from the Pune-based defence company Bharat Forge of the Kalyani group. These armoured vehicles were tested in Ladakh during the standoff with China.
The company released a statement on Tuesday saying that it has received an order from the Indian Ministry of Defence for the supply of Kalyani M4 vehicles worth Rs 177.95 crores. Sources in the defence and security establishment said that this particular emergency procurement is for a small number but they are planning to increase the number of armoured vehicles in army’s inventory in the long run.
The sources said that the army requires wheeled armoured vehicles which are capable of transporting troops faster and operating in high altitude regions. The reason why they zeroed in on the Kalyani M4 because it comes with certain extra features than regular vehicles. However, they refused to further share the exact details.
The contract between army and Kalyani group was announced a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for private sector participation to develop India’s defence manufacturing base.
Kalyani M4 will be built at the company’s Pune plant. It is designed for quick mobility in rough terrain and in areas that have mine and IED threats. It is capable of protecting forces from up to 50 kg TNT side blast, IED or roadside bombs due to its design that is built on a flat-floor monocoque hull. This vehicle has a thrust speed of 140 km per hour, payload of 2.3 tonnes and an operating range of about 800 km.
The M4 was originally designed by the South African arms firm Paramount Group and Bharat Forge has modified it to suit in Indian conditions. Both these firms have also joined hands to collaborate in terms of their technologies, capabilities and expertise to manufacture armoured vehicles in India.