The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has approved the acquisition of an additional 156 license-built BMP-2 Sarath infantry combat vehicles (ICVs) for the Indian Army, the government’s Press Information Bureau (PIB) announced on 2 June.
The latest batch of ICVs will be built by the Kolkata-based Ordnance Factory Medak (OFM), a subsidiary of the state-owned Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), under a $147 million contract with deliveries set to be completed by 2023.
The PIB said the latest batch of ICVs will help with alleviating some of the equipment challenges faced by the army’s mechanised battalions and boost the service’s overall combat ability.
BMP-2 Sarath ICVs
The 14.3 tonne ICVs are operated by a three-person crew and can accommodate up to seven fully equipped dismounts. The vehicles are also capable of reaching a maximum cross-country speed of up to 45km/h and can operate unrefuelled out to a range of 600km.
The baseline ICVs are typically equipped with a manned turret armed with a stabilised, dual-feed 2A42 30mm main gun and a coaxial 7.62mm PKT machine gun. A roof-mounted 9Sh119M1 missile launcher for the 9M113 Konkurs anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) can also be fitted to enhance their anti-armour effectiveness.
OFM has also manufactured other locally developed BMP-2 variants, including the BMP-2K command vehicle. Around 2,500 BMP-2/2Ks are believed to have been built for the Indian Army since 1987 and have been configured for a broad range of missions, including reconnaissance, combat engineering, and medical evacuation.
The army has also fielded self-propelled Nag ATGM launchers derived from modified BMP-2 chassis as well as mobile radar systems equipped with the indigenously developed Rajendra phased-array fire control radar.
The MoD earlier launched a public-private effort to built over 2,600 Future ICVs (FICVs) to replace the increasingly obsolescent BMP-2/2Ks, but little progress has been made since the programme was launched in 2010.
by JR Ng