ID :
Wed, 06/25/2008 - 15:30
Auther :

Western firms vying to sell combat vehicles to India By A. K. Dhar

Paris, June 25 (PTI) - Leading Western armament companies
are vying with each other to grab a USD two billion tender for
the supply of mine protected combat vehicles to Indian armed
forces for its anti-insurgency operations.

Drawing upon the experience and needs of forces engaged
in combat zones Afghanistan and Iraq, leading American and
Western defence companies are now coming up with more and more
advanced surveillance systems for protection of combatants in
battle against terrorists.

Western experts said that India would issue global
tenders for 1,500 such vehicles within a month and western
companies were ready to team up with Indian companies for this
"This is just an initial order. The demand of Indian
security forces could run up to few thousands of such
vehicles," they said here.

Leading armament companies are each month churning out
new devices in the battle against terrorism, which in turn
could have major technology spin-offs for India, also engaged
in major anti-insurgency campaign.

The market for such systems for the west, has been
estimated to run into billions of dollars as U.S. and North
Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces face threats like land
mine blasts, suicide bombers and need for greater mobility in
the battle against terrorists.

And western companies foresee an equally big market also
worth more than five billion dollars for such equipment for
Indian security forces in the coming years.

With such a heavy demand, the companies are now hitting
the market, with more and more advanced mobile mine detectors,
mine resistant combat vehicles and highly mobile battle
vehicles to carry out surprise hit and run raids against

French armour company, Nexter, has just launched a
multi-purpose counter-mine vehicle SUVIM, which it claims can
blast any type of mine.

SUVIM, the company officials said, had been launched for
protection of French forces now operating in Afghanistan and
can clear improvised explosive devices, infra-red mines,
pressure mines, anti-personnel mines, as well as magnetic

With eight to 10 feet tires, the new mobile mine
sweepers have the capability of jumping around even anti-tank
mines, which can be defused by specialised trailers it

The vehicles are to be used by the French forces to open
routes of military convoy for as long as 200 km in 24 hours
and is seen as ideal for road opening for army convoys in
Jammu and Kashmir, a task which is currently undertaken
manually or with the help of specialised sniffer dogs.

"These vehicles are competitively priced," a top Nexter
official told visiting Indian journalists at the just
concluded Eurosatory-2008 Land Combat Exhibition here.

Nexter is ready for total technology transfer and
production of these vehicles in India, which has already been
introduced to the French forces.

Another breakthrough by the company is a 4x4 ARAVIS
multipurpose heavily protected vehicles, for use against
terrorists in thick jungle areas.

The new vehicles, company officials said, had for the
first time in the world been tested to withstand even 50-kg
TNT blasts and capability to defeat even 155-mm artillery
blast all around it.

ARAVIS also claims that it can withstand even 10-kg mine
blast under the belly and wheels and appears to be an ideal
weapon for Indian security forces battling Naxals in Central

"The vehicles have SAFEPRO armoured technology that can
defeat combined effects of blasts and fragments generated by
both lethal I.E.D. mines and A.P. carbide heavy machine gun

The vehicles can carry upto eight combat troops and can
be air transported by C-130J aircraft.

Most of the American and European companies have also
come up with highly mobile mine protected 8x8 super mobility
troop carriers, which Indian forces have been seeking.