On August 24, 2018, Ashok Leyland, the flagship company of the Hinduja Group and the largest supplier of wheeled military vehicles to the Indian army, announced that they had won a tender in the Tracked Vehicle space, for developmental work.
“As per the scope of work, the company will collaborate with Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE), Chennai, for the manufacture, assembly and testing of light weight clutch for the design and development of weight optimized 1500 hp Automatic Transmission for Main Battle Tanks,” informed Ashok Leyland through a press release.
“Ashok Leyland has been supplying to Indian Army since the last over 30 years. Our vehicles have a proven and excellent track record in various operations of our Army in India and also for UN missions abroad. We have an extensive service, parts and training network across the country through which we support these vehicles,” said Amandeep Singh, Head - Defence, Ashok Leyland. A $ 4 billion (2017-18) company, with a footprint that extends across 50 countries, Ashok Leyland is one of the most fully-integrated manufacturing companies this side of the globe.
Ashok Leyland is the fourth largest manufacturer of buses in the world, and the 12th largest manufacturers of trucks. Headquartered in Chennai, their nine manufacturing plants gives an international footprint - seven in India, a bus manufacturing facility in Ras Al Khaimah (UAE), one at Leeds, United Kingdom and a joint venture with the Alteams Group for the manufacture of high-press die-casting extruded aluminium components for the automotive and telecommunications sectors. Ashok Leyland has recently been ranked as 38th best brand in India.
According to their press release, Ashok Leyland sees huge potential in repowering and upgrading of existing BMPs/Tanks of the Indian Army. “We have the expertise to develop indigenous solutions for power packs and running gear for upgrade of existing ICVs as well as for the new FICVs. We are proud that we are the only vehicle manufacturer in India having indigenously designed, developed and manufactured power packs beyond 350 HP. The tracked combat vehicle opportunity also exists in several other countries which use Russian made combat vehicles,” said Amandeep Singh in the press release.
Amandeep Singh spoke to BE's Nikhil Raghavan about Ashok Leyland's contribution to made in India defence equipment.
Q. What are the models and ranges of vehicles made
A. Ashok Leyland is the largest logistics vehicle supplier to the Indian Army, having supplied more than 70000 vehicles/kits. Subsequent to opening up of the defence sector for private companies, we developed new platforms and participated in tenders for several special role vehicles like High Mobility Vehicles, Gun Towers, and Rocket launchers. We won a majority of these tenders and have been supplying these vehicles over the last two years to the Indian Army. These vehicles range from 6x6 to 8x8 configurations and are fitted with several Army-specific requirements like Centralised Tyre Inflation System, Self Recovery mechanism, Suspension locks for enhanced stability during firing of mounted rockets, etc.
This year, we won a tender for 10x10 vehicles for carrying Smerch rockets, supplies for which will start later this year. We have also partnered various DRDO labs for missile carriers for the Indian Army and Air Force. These include 6x4 Prime Movers, 10x10 and 12 x12 configuration vehicles. We are also supplying several Fully Built solutions for varied applications like Ambulances, Recovery Vehicles, Water Bowsers, ATF Refuelers, Refrigerated Vans, Sewage Cleaners etc for Army’s domestic as well as UN missions. Apart from these, we are supplying armoured Bullet Proof vehicles to Police forces.
We have significantly enhanced our range and scope, which earlier was only logistics vehicle supply, to providing complete “Mobility Solutions on Land” for defence applications. One major step that has been taken by us towards being a complete land mobility player is to add tracked fighting vehicle business to our portfolio. We have developed solutions for repower and upgrade of Russian made tracked vehicles like BMP, which is a requirement of the Indian Army.
Q. To what extent are they indigenised?
A. All the vehicles that we are supplying have been designed, developed, and manufactured indigenously.
Q. How do they fare in comparison to similar imported vehicles?
A. All our special role vehicles that have been inducted into the Indian Army have passed extensive trials ranging from -20 to +50 degree ambient temperature and operational terrains of the desert and high altitude. They not only save precious foreign exchange and are more value for money, but also reduce dependence on other countries for defence of our country.
Q. Do you have foreign technical know-how or collaborations?
A. We have foreign collaborations, which are project specific. However, we are not just an importer of technology or equipment. We get into collaborations where we have the rights and also the capability to assimilate technology and indigenise according to the requirements of our customers.
Q. Is it possible to provide any statistics on production
A. During the last FY, we supplied over 4000 vehicles/kits to the Indian Army.