From Maruti Gypsy to Tata QRFV: How Made-in-India defence vehicles have evolved – Times of India


Today Indian automobile manufacturers like Mahindra and Tata Motors are big when it comes to defence vehicles. Before these took over though, there was another Made-in India vehicle used by the defence forces, called the Jonga. It found its origins in the Nissan Patrol P60 and Nissan 4W73 (Nissan Carrier) in 1969. Manufactured in Jabalpur, the Jonga went out of production in 1999, even though 20,000 Jongas were still in service by 2013. From then to now, when India has its own jet fighter and battle tank as well, how have the personnel carrier and combat vehicles evolved in India? Here’s a look.
Personnel carrier and utility
The most popular of these has got to be the Maruti Gypsy. Based on the long wheelbase version of the Suzuki Jimny SJ40/410, the Gypsy is being produced at Maruti Suzuki’s Gurugram plant since 1985 (now only for the Indian Armed Forces). The Gypsy is still in service, as is the Mahindra 550 DXB, which is a successor of the MM540 Jeep which replaced the Jonga when it was discontinued in 1999.

tata safari storme to replace gypsy

Tata Motors produced a long list of defence vehicles that includes armoured versions of the Tata Sumo and Tata Safari Storme which is slated to replace the Gypsy soon. Mahindra also delivers armoured version of the Mahindra Scorpio to the defence forces.
Besides these, the Indian Army also uses the Force Gurkha, Tata Xenon, Mitsubishi Pajero, and a number of ATVs (all-terrain vehicles) that include Arctic Cat Alterra TBX 700, Polaris Sportsman 6×6, ATV, Polaris Ranger, and Polaris MRZR.
Combat vehicles
There is fresh news from this front. In July this year, the Indian Army was delivered a batch of new combat vehicles in Ladakh. These made-in-India Quick Reaction Fighting Vehicles (QRFV) are said to be quicker and promise better maneuverability for functioning at high altitude regions with tough terrain.
In the first-ever development in the Indian defence ecosystem, Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) became India’s first private sector company to produce and deliver wheeled armoured combat-ready vehicles for the Indian armed forces in April this year.

tata defence vehicles

Designed and manufactured at TASL’s Pune facility, the military mobility vehicle has been built on the 8×8 Wheeled Armoured Platform (WhAP) along with the Vehicles Research & Development Establishment (VRDE), a unit of DRDO. TASL’s flagship product, also based on the WhAP 8×8 is India’s first Amphibious Infantry Combat Vehicle (Wheeled).
Mahindra supplies a number of combat vehicles to the Indian Army. These include the Mahindra MPV-I which is a mine-resistant armoured carrier and off-road vehicle. powered by a 227 hp diesel engine with a 6×6 drivetrain, the MPV-I gets gun ports, a roof hatch, protected fuel tank and ballistic protection, among other features.

army marksman

Mahindra Marksman (Photo: TeamBHP)

One of the most popular light combat vehicles, Mahindra Marksman is a light bulletproof vehicle that can seat six. The vehicle is protected not only from small firearms but also grenade attacks. The Marksman is primarily used for antiterror operations in Kashmir. You may have also seen the Marksman positioned at high-security areas in Delhi or Mumbai.
There are several other made-in-India defence vehicles currently in service like the Casspir, OFB Aditya, Mahindra Straton Plus, Mahindra Rakshak and more. Considering the development and production capabilities of indigenous manufacturers, the made-in-India vehicle lineup will expand to much greater lengths.





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