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Indian Army launches upgrade programme for 811 BMP-2/2K IFVs

The Indian Army (IA) has launched a programme that will see 811 of its licence-built BMP-2/2K ‘Sarath' infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) upgraded with more powerful engines and various advanced systems.

On 2 August the IA issued a project sanction order (PSO) asking a total of 12 domestic private and public sector companies – referred to as Development Agencies (DAs) – to retrofit by 31 July 2022 one of the BMP-2s provided to them by the IA.

The upgraded vehicles will then undergo user trials, after which at least two vendors will be selected from among those that meet the army's preliminary staff qualitative requirements (PSQRs). The vendor that emerges as the lowest bidder will then be shortlisted to upgrade the platforms.

Officials associated with the project told Janes on 17 August that the BMP-2/2K upgrade will take place under the ‘Buy Indian - Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured (Indian-IDDM)' category of the Ministry of Defence's (MoD's) Defence Procurement Procedure-2020 (DPP-2020), which mandates that half of the components used for the retrofit are sourced locally.

The potential vendors on the IA's list include Alpha Design Technologies, Bharat Electronics Limited, Bharat Forge, the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), Larsen & Toubro (L&T), Reliance, and Tata, among others. For the project, they will be permitted to enter into collaborative agreements with foreign original equipment manufacturers.

Industry sources said the upgrade would include fitting the BMP-2s with more powerful engines to replace their current 300 hp engines, third-generation thermal gunner and commander panoramic sights, modern fire-control systems, and automatic target trackers.

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