Casspir MPV


In August 1998, then-incumbent Chief of Army Staff, General Ved Prakash Malik, announced that India had purchased 90 'reconditioned' Casspir mine-protected vehicles (MPVs) for the Army and Para-Military forces in Jammu & Kashmir. It is designed to protect its crew from mine blasts and is capable of being rapidly repaired in the field. Two Casspir MPVs underwent extensive mobility and ballistic evaluation in India over two months, covering over 9000 km. As part of this evaluation, one of the vehicles was put through four blast tests, involving one anti-tank mine and three improvised devices of the type typically encountered during operations in J&K. The Casspir MPV was then repaired and driven back to the evaluation centre.


Colour sketch of the Casspir MPV. { Image ?? Indian Defence Yearbook 2000 }

In April 1999, the Army acquired 90 Casspir MPVs. Powered by a Mercedes-Benz engine, the vehicle has been deployed both in Jammu & Kashmir and the North-East for anti-insurgency operations. These MPVs have been reassembled and refurbished by South Africa's Vickers OMC (formerly Reumech) at a cost of around Rs. 400,000 - 500,000 a piece. These 11 ton vehicles with 14-passenger capacity are better than brand news ones which cost nearly double. The deal with Vickers includes technology transfer, training and spare parts packages. SIPRI {Stockholm International Peace Research Institute} reported that an order was placed in 2000 for 75 additional, refurbished Casspir MPVs and all 75 were delivered by 2001.

Comments: The BRDM-2 is a fully armoured, four-wheel-drive, amphibious reconnaissance vehicle. It has two-pairs of belly wheels and a centralized tire pressure regulation system for increased cross-country capability. The BRDM-2 has a box-like hull with a boat-shaped bow. The engine is mounted in the vehicle rear and there is a small conical turret mounted on the hull above the belly wheels. The driver sits at the front of the hull on the left with the vehicle commander to his right. To enter the vehicle, the crew must climb through two roof hatches. The hull, which is constructed of welded steel, provides the crew with protection from small arms and shell splinters. The turret, which is very similar to that of the BTR-60PB and Czechoslovakian OT-64, is located in the center of the vehicle and is armed with a 14.5mm KPVT MG with a 7.62-mm PKT MG.

On either side of the hull adjacent to the crew position, there is a firing port. Immediately behind the firing port are three vision blocks which protrude from the outside of the hull, giving some vision to the front and rear of the vehicle. The belly-wheels are chain driven and are lowered by the driver and give the BRDM-2 improved cross-country performance and the ability to cross ditches. The driver can adjust the tire pressure on all four tires or individual tires while the vehicle is in motion to adjust to the ground conditions. The BRDM-2 is fully amphibious and is propelled in the water by a single water jet at the rear of the hull. The vehicle has an over pressure NBC system. The BRDM-2 is equipped with infrared driving and search lights, a radio and an inertial land navigation system. At the front of the vehicle is a winch which has 30m of cable and has a maximum load of 4000 kg (8818.5 lbs).


The indigenous mine-protected vehicle.

The vehicle is planned to be mass-produced in two types, a Mahindra & Mahindra jeep model with a seating capacity of six and an Ashok Leyland model with a seating capacity of 12. The cost of the vehicles are reportedly cheaper than the Casspir MPVs that are being brought from South Africa. In December 2001, India Defence Consultants {IDC} reported that 150 new landmine-resistant armoured vehicles, worth $14 million, to augment the second-hand Casspir MPVs imported from South Africa were discussed and it likely that BEML (Bharat Earth Movers Limited) may supply these. In early November 2001 when Defence Secretary Yogendra Narain visited Moscow with Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee he discussed acquiring MPVs from Russia. Medak's Ordnance Factory has supplied MPVs to Jharkand and Hyderabad Police Forces and has versions ready for the Army at lower costs.