India’s Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by the Indian Minister of Defence Nirmala Sitharaman, accorded approval for the procurement of essential quantity of BMP-2/2K Infantry Combat Vehicle for the Indian Army.
The Indian Ministry of Defence said in a statement that this procurement will meet the operational requirement of the troops in rapid deployment of Mechanised Forces.
The statement added that the procurement is for Indian Army’s Mechanised Infantry Regiment and other Arms and Services at an estimated cost of over Rs 1125 crore (US$173.25 million) from the state-owned Ordnance Factory Board (OFB). The license-produced variant of the Soviet era BMP-2/2K vehicle built by OFB is called Sarath.
Earlier this week, Indian news outlet India Today reported that the Indian Army is seeking to purchase 150 infantry combat vehicles.
“A proposal to acquire 150 infantry combat vehicles expected to be worth over Rs 2,200 crore is going to be placed before a high-level meeting of the defence ministry headed by Nirmala Sitharaman next week for approval,” government sources was quoted as saying by Mail Today.
“These arms are supposed to move in into the enemy territory along with the tank regiments and infantry troops at a rapid pace in case of a war in the desert terrain,” the sources added.
Currently, the Indian army uses around 980 BMP-2 Sarath infantry fighting vehicles, 125 BMP-2K command & control vehicle, and 350 old Soviet-made BMP-1 armed with 73mm 2A28 semi-automatic cannon.
BMP-2 (Boyevaya Mashina Pekhoty, Russian: Боевая Машина Пехоты; infantry combat vehicle) is a second-generation, amphibious infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) introduced in the 1980s in the Soviet Union, following on from the BMP-1 of the 1960s.
BMP-2K (K stands for komandirskaya – command) is the command variant fitted with two whip antennas mounted on the rear of the hull, one behind the turret and one on the right-hand side of the rear of the vehicle, one IFF antenna (pin stick) on the left-hand side of the rear of the vehicle and a support for a telescopic mast in the front of the IFF antenna.
The firing port equipped with the periscope was removed from either side of the vehicle. The antennae on the turret was removed. The radio equipment consists ether of the R-123M and R-130M radio sets, or the more modern R-173, R-126 and R-10. The crew consists of six men.
BMP-2 Sarath (Chariot of Victory), also known as BMP-II is the Indian licence-produced variant of the BMP-2, built by Ordnance Factory Medak. The first vehicle, assembled from components supplied by KBP, was ready in 1987. By 1999, about 90% of the complete vehicle and its associated systems were being produced in India.
It was estimated that, by 2007, 1,250 vehicles had been built. India has also developed a number of versions of the Sarath including light tank, command vehicle, recon vehicle, weapons carrier, ambulance etc.
BMP-2K “Sarath” is the Indian licence-produced command vehicle, similar to the Soviet/Russian version.