The forgotten LSV Replacement project for Indian Army
Indian army plans to procure some unknown number of light specialist vehicles which can work along with older Mahindra 550. However with improved mobility and light assault support. Army initially floated the tender back in 2010, which is revived later in 2012, when Indian automobile companies like TATA and Mahindra shown interest. It's in 2016 the program yet to be completed.
Indian Army uses the Mahindra 550 for light utility purpose, the M 550 deployed in borders comes with a INSAS LMG for self protection and act as a bullet proof can sustain from small arms fire. some associated with the officers transportation.
As per army RFI the LSV has unladen weight of some 3.5 ton with loading capacity of 1.2 tons which include enough room for six fully armed army soldiers. LSV also capable to conduct reconnaissance and patrol in all rough conditions, provide space and cross mobility in all terrains which include high altitude area's like Kashmir and desert fields.
In the first RFI, many foreign nations responded with numerous model of 4x4 light specialty vehicles, which include Kamaz from Russia, Land rover from UK, However Army cancelled the RFI after Indian private players like Mahindra and TATA shown interest in LSV program and offers their own model.
TATA offered a new model vehicle, which is looks similar like the American hummerhowever smaller in size, The LSV shown impressive results during the tests conducted by army evaluation team. TATA LSV has two hard points for fire support, one on the side door and another on top. the vehicles also customized as open back and encircled for protection.
Mahindra offered the Axe series, which is a slight improved version of the older 550 series in service with Army. Mahindra AXE also shares similar characteristics with the TATA LSV. however the engine in the axe is a derived version of 2.7L Mercedes Engine for better performance.
During the winter trails in early 2012 that Indian LSV's shown better performance along with foreign models, Army shortlisted four contenders for the trails, which include TATA LSV, Mahindra Axe, Deftech Flyer from Malaysia and Land rover defender, After the revised RFI all foreign vendors eliminated which makes Indian private players are the only runners.
Later years army evaluated the Mahindra and TATA very much, however Army didn't announced who selected to supply undisclosed number of LSV to Army. Later Ashok leyland itself offered his new model for Army LSV program, However the details of the army evaluation and field trails are unknown.
In 2014, There is report cited that the LSV order numbers could be 3500 units and the estimated cost is nearly 4000 crores. the report also added Ashok leyland also running in the tender along with Mahindra and TATA.
It's once again reported in early February last year, that army refreshing the LSV tender and soon to announce the winner, before buying in large numbers. however even after six year the deal still on frozen condition.
|Ashok Leyland LSV|