The Indian Army on 2 January 2023 released a Request for Proposals (RfP) for three-hundred Rough Terrain Vehicles which are to be acquired using fast track emergency procedures.
The tender requires an indigenous product based on an existing design which must be fully delivered within twelve months of contract award. The LgsRV (Logistics Rough-Terrain Vehicle) is intended to provide resupply and evacuation for the Indian Army units deployed in the country’s northern High-Altitude Areas (HAA).
Presently, the Army has twelve divisions located across HAAs. These units’ operational areas encompass mountainous regions with difficult terrain, restricted roads and trails, often snow covered and nearly inaccessible at some times of the year. The LgsRV will assure resupply in the most difficult conditions.
LgsRV is to be a 4 X 4 selectable drive, multi-configurable system capable of operating on existing animal transport paths to provide “last mile deliveries”. The vehicle weight must be below one tonne with both front and rear cargo payload totalling at least 150 kg (330 lb). The minimum engine size is 30 hp with a cold start capability while the vehicle must have at least 100 km range. It should operate at least between -20 degrees C to plus 40 C and at medium to high altitudes to 16,000 ft. LgsRV will be capable of both transport by CH-47 helicopter, including external sling loaded, as well as parachute air-dropped.
The need and urgency of the LgsRV is directly related to the continuing stand-off between the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and India along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Ladakh sector. This has included face-to-face encounters which have spilled over to the eastern borders.
Although the use of All-Terrain Vehicles by militaries is hardly unprecedented these experiences suggest that their use in such demanding conditions often necessitates specific capabilities beyond those in commercial use. In fact, one of the largest suppliers of military ATVs, Polaris, has specific models for these roles. The designation of the acquisition for indigenously supplied vehicles could limit the number of prospective candidates.
However, Indian ATV manufacturers include Nebula Automotive with an assembly facility in Pune and Powerland Agro Tractor Vehicles Pvt. producing in Goa. The former’s range are exclusively petrol engines while the later offer diesel power, which is often preferred by military users, and has street legal machines.
The awardee will also be required to provide training and up to twelve-years of maintenance and support services for the LgsRV. Bids are due to be submitted on 16 January 2023.
by Stephen W. Miller