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By Bulbul Singh

25 Apr 13. The monopoly of Tatra, Czech for the supply of Tatra trucks for the Indian Army has been broken as domestic private sector consortium Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and Ashok Leyland have been shortlisted to supply 100 numbers of trucks for multi-barrel rocket launchers.

The Indian Ministry of Defence (MOD) shortlisted the L&T and Ashok Leyland consortium beating domestic Tata Power SED as the latter’s bid was 10 per cent lower. Tatra Czech is already facing a probe by the anti-fraud agency, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into allegations of bribery levelled by former Indian Army chief General V K Singh.

“The win for the domestic Consortium could mean additional orders as well.” said an Indian Army official.

The Ministry of Defence shortlisted the domestic consortium of L&T and Ashok Leyland nearly five years after the bid was floated in 2008.
The Indian Army has been demanding supply of military vehicles but the Ministry of Defence is slow in taking procurement decisions and has not allocated enhanced funds to meter the requirements of the Indian Army.

The budget allocation for military vehicles for the year 2013-14 is only 2.0800bn Rupees compared to an allocation of 2.2690bn Rupees in 2012-13 and an actual spending 2.3580bn Rupees in the year 2011-12. If taken in dollar terms the fall in spending is steeper as the Indian Rupee was around 48 Rupees per dollar in three years ago, as against 54 Rupees now.

The MOD has still not decided on a tender floated in 2009 for the supply for Armored Personal Carriers. The Indian Army is hunting for mobile and secure APCs to be used by the specialized forces.

The Defence Acquisitions Council (DAC), the highest body on weapons purchase in the Ministry of Defence in October 2012 had cleared the purchase of 3000 Light Strike Vehicles for the Indian Army at a purchase of $300m.

Tatra Trucks for Multi-Barrel Launchers

The delivery of the Tatra trucks to be bought from L&T and Ashok Leyland combine will be completed in three years from the time of the singing of the contract, expected to be inked in the next three months. The life of the Tatra trucks will be 25 years and the trucks will be rugged to operate in all kinds of terrain including high altitudes and shall be able to accommodate a crew of five personnel with combat loads and personal weapons.

“The multi-barrel rocket launchers made in India will be integrated on the vehicles which should have sufficient power to facilitate performance of all existing operational tasks with payload of 6000 kilograms (40 rockets, crew and combat loads).” said an Indian Army official.

The Tatra trucks should have the capability of moving over short distances of 500 meters to 1000 meters in cross country with 40 rockets loaded in the tubes of the launcher and capable of bearing the thrust of firing of the rocket launcher. The truck’s speed will be up to 75km/h on good roads and 20km/h on cross country track and have an endurance of 500 kilometres and the vehicle should be able to negotiate a gradient of 20 degrees and a tilt of up to 15 degrees in fully loaded condition.

The Indian Army has a requirement of variety of military vehicles including supply of Wheeled Armored Personal Carrier for UN Mission; Command Post Vehicles for Recce for Special Battalions; Light Armored multi-purpose Vehicles; Caravan-cum-office containers; Ammunition vehicles for Smerch multi barrel rocket launchers; Light bullet proof vehicles; Medium machine gun vehicles; Light strike vehicles for special and mechanized forces; Mine Detection vehicles; NBC Recce Vehicles and Command and Post Vehicles.

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