Indian Army BMP-2 Sarath
Indian Army BMP-2 Sarath

Indian Army Set to Upgrade 811 BMP-2 Fleet

The Indian Army (IA) said on 4 September that it requires potential vendors to develop a BMP-2/2K prototype fitted with third-generation, thermal imager-based gunner and panoramic commander sights, a modern fire-control system, and an automatic target tracker. The service noted that the upgrades will be carried out under the Indian Ministry of Defence’s (MoD’s) Defence Procurement Procedure-2016, and indicated that all the add-ons will be required to feature at least 40% indigenous content. The Indian Army (IA) has invited expressions of interest (EoIs) from local vendors by 16 October regarding the planned upgrade of 811 of its licence-built BMP-2/2K ‘Sarath’ infantry combat vehicles (ICVs).

The Indian Army is looking forward to the infantry combat vehicles (ICVs) manufactured at the Ordnance Factory Medak (OFM) in Telangana. The OFM will start supplying 156 upgraded ICVs to the Army from next financial year with work at the factory going on at a frenetic pace. The ICVs are different from main battle tanks (MBTs), in role and onboard weapons. These vehicles can be deployed as light tanks, command or recon vehicles, weapons carrier or an ambulance. An indent for Rs1,094 crore worth Boyevaya Mashina Pekhoty (BMP) 2/2K ICVs was placed in June. While the Indian Army is in possession of Sarath ICV, which is a BMP-II vehicle, the OFM has come up with other variants.

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Indian Army BMP-2 Sarath
Indian Army BMP-2 Sarath

With the upgrade, the Indian Army will be able to provide an improved anti-tank guided missile system and 30mm automatic grenade launcher with advances observation and surveillance, night-fighting capability and fire control. After two years of talks, a decision has yet to be made on the FICV project that would be the first built in the “Make India” category. The Indian Army requires engines able to generate 350 to 380 horsepower and are easy to maintain and operate in extreme weather conditions. The existing engine of the BMP-2 has 285 horsepower and is not suited for cross-country mobility.

700 BMP-2 “Sarath” ordered in 1984 from the Soviet Union and delivered between 1987 and 1991 (most produced in India). 400 BMP-2 “Sarath” ordered in 1985 and produced in India between 1992 and 1995 at Ordnance Factory Medak of Ordnance Factories Board under Russian licence. 123 BMP-2K ordered in 2006 from Russia and delivered between 2007 and 2008. Around 300 BMP-2 “Sarath” were in service in 1995, 1,000 in 2000 and 2002, around 1,000 in 2005 and more than 1,000 in 2008 and about 2,500 in 2020. In May 2013, the Indian Army decided to upgrade all BMP-2/2K vehicles to BMP-2M standard. In Oct 2014 government of India gave nod to produce 362 more BMP-2 Saraths.

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