The Indian Army will upgrade its entire Boyevaya Mashina Pekhoty-2 (BMP-2)/2K infantry combat vehicle (ICV) fleet in an effort to enhance their capability to address operational requirements, the country's defence minister AK Antony has announced.
In a written response to the Lok Sabha, Antony said the estimated Rs8bn ($0.14bn) project involved armament upgrade of BMP-2/2K infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) to BMP-2M standard, and acquisition of a new powerpack for the IFV.
Upgrades include integration of latest generation fire control system, twin missile launchers and commander's thermal imaging panoramic sights, anti- tank guided missiles, as well as automatic grenade launchers.
Speaking about the long-pending procurement of 100 155mm/52 calibre tracked self-propelled howitzers, Antony said three domestic vendors, including two private companies, have been selected for trial of their equipment.
Without disclosing the vendors' identity, the defence minister noted that the selection forms part of the government's efforts to 'give higher preference to indigenous capacity in the defence sector'.
The army is seeking a powerpack with a minimum 380hp to replace the BMP-2 ICV fleet's existing UTD-20 powerplant, and eventually its performance in cross-country mobility, as reported earlier by The Times of India.
A second-generation amphibious IFV, the BMP-2 is also called Sarath in the Indian Army's service, and is manufactured by Ordnance Factory Medak under license from Russia.
More than 1500 BMP-2s are currently operational with the army in various roles, such as armoured ambulance, armoured vehicle tracked light repair, armoured amphibious dozer (AAD), armoured engineer reconnaissance vehicle (AERV), NBC reconnaissance vehicle (NBCRV), carrier mortar tracked, and unmanned reconnaissance vehicle.
The vehicle's chassis is also modified and developed into versions such as the Nag anti-tank missile carrier (NAMICA) and the Akash air-defence missile system.
Image: A BMP-2 Sarath infantry combat vehicle of the Indian Army. Photo: courtesy of Flickr user cell105/SuperTank17.