The Army has floated a Request for Information (RFI) to purchase Protected Mobility Vehicles (PMV) for high-altitude areas and for deserts and plains. What are PMVs, how are they utilised and who manufactures them?
What is the operational role of PMVs?
The PMV is essentially a wheeled armoured personnel carrier. It provides protection to the soldiers travelling inside the vehicle from mine blasts and sudden attack by small arms.
The troops in these vehicles could be members of any quick reaction team heading to a point of conflict, or members of patrolling parties heading to border areas. They could also be members of a reconnaissance squad operating behind enemy lines or in forward positions of own troops.
What kind of vehicles does the Army intend to procure?
The Army floated an RFI on May 12 for information from vendors for PMV to deploy in areas above the height of 4000 metres and for deserts and plains.
The detailed instructions given by the Army along with the RFI specifies that these vehicles should be wheeled, 4X4 drive mode and should have automatic transmission. These vehicles should be able to carry ten personnel excluding the driver and co-driver with each person carrying a combat load of not less than 30 kg.
What are the technical specifications for such vehicles?
The PMVs must have ballistic protection and should be able to protect the vehicle from grenade and mine blasts. It should have a maximum speed of 90 km on road and 40 km per hour on cross country terrain. They should be able to operate in temperature range of 40 degree centigrade to minus 15 degree in high-altitude areas.
The vehicles are required to have a weapon mount to enable a 7.62 mm Light Machine Gun (LMG) to be fitted and a turret with 360 degree rotation for a LMG. It is also required to have 11 firing ports with five each on the starboard and port side of the vehicle and one at the rear. The PMV should be able to ford in water with depth of 1000 mm without any special preparation.
When will these vehicles be procured?
After going through the responses of the RFI, the Army is expected to float a Request for Proposal (RFP)in the month of November which will be followed by trials at areas above 17,000 feet and in the plains and deserts. These trials will be held within a period of six to nine months of issuing of the RFP.
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Does India produce such vehicles?
India has the capability of producing PMVs. In April this year, the Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) handed over the first of such Infantry Protected Mobility Vehicles (IPMVs) to the then Chief of Army Staff, Gen MM Naravane. The TASL is now the first private sector company in the country to produce such wheeled armoured personnel carriers and has developed the IPMV in collaboration with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
These vehicles are produced at the TASL’s Pune establishment and have been built on the strategic 8X8 wheeled armoured platform jointly developed by TASL with Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (VRDE) of DRDO.