Last month Indian Ministry of Defense has approved the purchase of 156 infantry fighting vehicles from the Ordnance Factory Board, The additional vehicles for the Indian Army are being procured for around Rs11.25bn ($148m). State-owned Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) will be responsible for the delivery of the licence-built amphibious vehicles. Production of the ICVs will be undertaken by Ordnance Factory Project Medak (OFPM) in southern India. Work will start once the order is placed by the MoD.
OFB joint director and PRO Dr Uddipan Mukherjee was quoted by Financial Express Online as saying: “These 156 BMP Vehicles are going to be manufactured by the Ordnance Factory Medak, which is under Ordnance Factory Board. Delivery of the 156 ICVs is expected to conclude within a period of two years. The 14.3t vehicle will be capable of transporting up to seven fully equipped troops and requires a three-man crew to operate it.
BMP-2 includes various Indian defense enterprises. Under the new agreement, the Indian army will have to receive the BMP-2 Sarath for $ 148 million. These vehicles are manufactured in India under license and are a variant of the Soviet BMP-2. Since 1987, the OFPM plant has managed to assemble more than 2,500 BMP-2 vehicles, but now the enterprise has to assemble all 156 in 2 years. The previous order to the manufacturing plant from the Indian army came in 2017, and 150 vehicles were received as standard.
The new BMP-2 Sarath will have to satisfy the army’s need for the rapid deployment of mechanized army units. The main armament of the Indian BMP-2 Sarath is a 30 mm Medak stabilized automatic cannon, as well as a 9M113 Konkurs anti-tank missile launcher mounted on the turret roof. The vehicle weighs 14.3 tons, the hull can accommodate three crew members and 7 troops. Multi-fuel engine UTD-20 300 hp capable of accelerating the BMP-2 on the highway to a speed of 65 km / h. The armored vehicle is capable of floating on water at a speed of up to 7 km / h, providing crossings across rivers and lakes.
The Indian plant produces BMP-2 in various equipment, including armored medical vehicles, amphibious bulldozers and engineering reconnaissance vehicles. Separately, it is worth mentioning a self-propelled mortar based on Sarath, developed in India. For the first time, a prototype of this machine was presented in 1997, after which the self-propelled mortar was tested and was adopted by the Indian army under the name CMTV. The vehicle lost its autocannon turret, and the hull was changed to be installed in the rear of an 81 mm mortar, covered on the march by a folding folding hull roof. The mortar unit is capable of turning 24 degrees to the right and left, and also has elevation angles from 40 to 85 degrees. The mortar together with the base plate can be removed from the machine and used separately. The CMTV is equipped with a 7 caliber machine gun, 62 mm for self-defense, in addition, there is a Carl Gustaf anti-tank grenade launcher on board. The car has not lost its ability to float and has a weight of 14.3 tons.
Another interesting variant of an Indian-made BMP-2 combat vehicle is the NAMICA anti-tank complex. On the modified turret of the vehicle, 2 blocks of 4 each (3 in the earlier version) are installed with Nag (Prospina) missile launchers and a set of sensors. The missiles can hit enemy armored vehicles at a distance of 7-8 km and operate on the “fire and forget” principle, using a highly sensitive aiming head. The development of a new guidance head was carried out in India by Bharat Dynamics Limited, its successful tests on Nag missiles showed the ability to hit armored vehicles even in desert conditions during the day. After launch, the missiles accelerate to a speed of 230 m / s and hit moving or static targets in any weather conditions at any time of the day.
At the DefExpo 2020 exhibition, which was held this year in northern India, an upgraded version of the BMP-2 Sarath was presented. The vehicle received a new set of observation devices and a new fire control system. The commander and gunner now have the ability to use a thermal imaging sight and a TV camera. The hull has been lengthened and has 7 road wheels on each side.