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Indian Army to buy new Armoured Personnel Carriers

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The new APCs will be capable of being air-lifted in IAF heavylift aircraft such as the IL-76 and C-130Js to be procured from US in the near future.

NEW DELHI (PTI): In an effort to strengthen its mechanised forces, the Indian Army is looking forward to procure over 100 Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) for deployment in different kinds of terrains.

The Army has initiated the process of acquiring these APCs by issuing a Request for Information (RFI) recently.

As per the RFI issued by the Army, at least 100 APCs will be procured from the vendor chosen after the acquisition process and the rest would be licence-produced in India after a Transfer of Technology to an indigenous firm.

According to Defence Ministry officials, over a period of five years, the Indian army is looking to add over 500 new APCs to its existing fleet of around 1,500 Russian-origin BMP-I and BMP-IIs.

The Indian Army at present has 26 mechanised infantry battalions with its APCs having the capability to carry around 10 soldiers each. Some of the APCs are equipped with missile launchers for firing Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM).

The Indian Army wants its new APCs to be capable of being air-lifted in IAF heavylift aircraft such as the IL-76 and C-130Js to be procured from US in the near future.

As per the RFI, Army wants the new APCs to have night-fighting capabilities and be capable of operating in nuclear, biological and chemical warfare environment.

The Army has been hunting for APCs for quite some time now and an RFI was issued in this regard last year also.

Interestingly, a couple of weeks before the release of the RFI, the US showcased its Stryker APC to the Indian Army during a bilateral military exercise 'Yudhabhyas' in Babina in October.

Stryker will also be one of the contenders for the contract along with the Russian and German combat vehicle manufacturers.

Recently, the Indian Army had issued an RFI for procuring around 300 tracked and wheeled light tanks under modernisation plans for its mechanised forces.

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