INDIA ENTERS GLOBAL MARKET TO BUY ENGINES FOR ITS BMP UPGRADE
By Bulbul Singh
30 May 13. With the homegrown Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) project in limbo and the Russian offer of BMP-3 vehicles for the Indian Army lying on the negotiating table, the Indian defence ministry has gone ahead and floated a global tender for the purchase of 2000 new engines for the upgrade of the existing Russian made BMP-2 systems. The tender floated this month seeks transfer of technology as well for the engines.
The tender has been offered to both overseas and domestic automobile companies, though Rheinmetall of Sweden has been left out because it was blacklisted last year on charges of alleged kickbacks.
The Request for Proposal (RFP) has been sent to domestic auto majors, Mahindra & Mahindra, Tata Motors, Force Motors, Ashok Leyland, Maruti Udyog Ltd, Crompton Greaves Ltd and foreign companies including MTU of Germany and Thales of France, Rosoboronoexport of Russia.
The engines when procured will be assembled at the state-owned Ordnance Factories Board at Medak. The Indian Army requires an engine which has the capability to generate 350 to 380HP in object conditions, are easy to maintain, be able to operate in extreme weather conditions, be able to function in temperature of -30º C, in extreme heat conditions with temperatures up to +55º C, the life of the engine should be up to at least 2250 kilometres and the weight of the engine should not be less than 900 kilograms. The existing 285HP BMP-2 engine is not -suited for cross-country mobility.
The upgrade of the BMP-2 includes providing better observation and surveillance, night fighting capability, fire control system, improved Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) system and 30mm Automatic Grenade Launcher (AGL).
The upgrade of the BMP-2 will have a Day and Night sight device which will give the Gunner a day optical channel, Thermal Imaging Channel, anti-tank guided missile, channel and laser range finders to the Gunner. The thermal imaging sight would have a detection range at minimum 5 kilometres and recognition range at 3 kilometres.
The Fire Control System would have a ballistic control with adequate sensors to monitor wind, temperature, and the system should have an advance accurate firing capability.
The upgraded vehicle will have a capability of having two missiles loaded in ready to fire mode with selection control with gunner to fire missiles of his choice.
The ATGM will be a new generation device with a Fire-and-Forget capability and transfer of technology will be wanted by the user from the vendor.
The AGL will enable the gunner to fire a 30mm cannon sitting inside the vehicle; the AGL will be integrated with the Thermal Imaging Fire Control System and Stabilizer.
The upgrade of BMP-2K to BMP-2M model is being planned even as the Indian scientists are developing an indigenous Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) parallel to the existing upgrade plan. Ultimately the FICV will replace the BMP system.
The FICV is in a limbo with the Indian defence ministry still not decided whether to make the project strictly on “Make India” basis.
The proposed FICV program expected to be carried by DRDO will have a Combat Weight less than 20 tonnes, Power-to-weight ratio 25:1 hp/t, have amphibious capability, fire power including, 3rd Gen fire & forget ATGM, main armament firing(AP Fin-Stabilized Discarding Sabot) APFSDS and HE ammunition, directed energy weapon, Automatic Grenade Launcher and co-axial machine gun.