J C Menon
The Indian Army will receive an additional 156 BMP 2/2k Infantry Combat Vehicles (ICV) by 2023, after the Acquisition Wing of Ministry of Defence (MoD) placed an Indent (official order) with the state-owned Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) to supply the ICVs for use by the Mechanised Forces of the Indian Army on 2nd June.
Under this Indent, the ICVs, with enhanced features, will be manufactured by the OFB at Medak, in the southern Telangana state, at an approximate cost of Rs 10.94 billion (US$145 m). The new BMP-2/2K ICVs will be powered by 285hp engines and are lighter which will make them highly mobile. In order to meet all tactical requirements of mobility on the battlefield, these ICVs will be able to reach a speed of 65 kilometres per hour, with easy steering ability in cross country terrain and they will have amphibious capabilities to travel at 7 kmph through water.
Lethal and Protected
The vehicles are designed to overcome a slope of up to 35°, cross obstacles of 0.7 meter and have lethal firepower through being equipped with a rapid fire 7.62mm medium coaxial machine gun, a 30mm cannon and a second generation homing type anti tank guided missile. In terms of protection, it has armoured plates all around, thereby ensuring a high degree of survivability to those on board and if necessary, camouflage can be provided with the help of a smoke screen created by smoke grenades.
“With the induction of these 156 BMP 2/2K ICVs, planned to be completed by 2023, the existing deficiency in the Mechanised Infantry Battalions will be mitigated and the combat capability of the Army will be further enhanced,” a MOD official informs. Currently, the Indian Army operates about 1,500 BMP-2/2Ks in assorted roles, including armoured ambulances, amphibious bulldozers and engineer reconnaissance vehicles. This acquisition was approved by India’s Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) in 2018.