For Logistics and Tactical Requirements of Armed Forces
Logistics is not only about the supply of materiel to an army in times of war. It also includes the ability of the national infrastructure and manufacturing base to equip, support and supply the armed forces, the national transportation system to move the
THE IMPORTANCE OF LOGISTICS in the field can be gauged from Lord Wavell’s statement: “Ultimately real knowledge of supply and movement factors must be the basis of every leader’s plan; only then can he know how and when to take risks with these factors, and battles and wars are won by taking risks.”
The supply and movement of ration, fuel, ammunition, clothing, stores and other warlike equipment from peace time depots forward to operational sectors so as to provide the field formations their requirements on time, harmonised with their operational plans, is the job of a logistician. For mobile and swift offensive operations, the logistician has to be literally a magician to ensure that all requirements are within reasonable turn around distance. This will ensure that commanders at various levels do not have to look back, over their shoulders, and all requirements are pushed forward. This requires an echeloned system of maintenance from rear areas to forward areas and vice versa to ensure smooth movement of logistic convoys.
It is logistics that will determine the forces that can be delivered to the theatre of operations, what forces can be supported once there and what will then be the tempo of operations. Logistics is not only about the supply of materiel to an army in times of war. It also includes the ability of the national infrastructure and manufacturing base to equip, support and supply the armed forces, the national transportation system to move the forces to be deployed and its ability to resupply that force once they are deployed.
Modes of Transportation
Without well-developed transportation systems, logistics cannot bring its advantages into full play. Besides, in business, a good transport system in logistics activities can provide better logistics efficiency, reduce the operation cost, and promote service quality. The improvement of transportation systems in the armed forces needs an estimate of the terrain over which the goods have to move and accordingly the transportation system has to be designed. For example, if the troops, rations, fuel, medicines, ammunition, etc have to be moved over terrain in which there are no roads existing then all the above items have to be moved in high mobility wheeled or tracked vehicles or moved by aircraft. If there are no airstrips where the items are required to be transported, then they have to be air dropped with parachutes.
In the hinterland of a country, we may employ a varied system of transportation from depots or manufacturing units to field formations, such as rail transport, heavy lift aircraft, inland water transport and road transport in the form heavy load carrying vehicles, etc. However, as we come close to the border areas and go beyond the borders, the transportation mode changes to trucks which are capable of carrying loads across country on indifferent tracks, and high mobility wheeled vehicles which can keep up with armoured and mechanised forma- tions moving off the tracks and roads, and heavy- and medium-lift helicopters.
Trucks which carry logistics loads in the Indian Army are mostly indigenous vehicles. The main suppliers of heavier trucks to the Army currently are Ashok Leyland, Tata and Vehicle Factory Jabalpur.
Ashok Leyland is a pioneer in the design, development and manufacture of defence vehicles and offer end-to-end solutions to meet the logistics and tactical requirements of the armed forces. While the Stallion is their flagship platform, they have developed two more platforms: the Colt and the Super Stallion. Going forward, they are expanding their Stallion range of logistics transport solutions while tactical or armoured vehicles will be offered on all three platforms on the back of strategic partnerships with KMW, Germany; Panhard, France, and Paramount, South Africa.
The Stallion 6x6 is significantly upgraded in form and function compared to its earlier version. It has a more powerful 165 kW common rail diesel engine that is capable of 800 nm of torque to operate in demanding mountainous terrain. Ease of use is addressed by automatic transmission that is matched to the new engine. The Stallion 6x6 is also equipped with a modern, face-lifted cabin that is ergonomic, air-conditioned with bucket seats and fitted with a driver-friendly information display cluster panel. The Stallion 6x6 can be used as troop carriers, water and fuel bowsers, recovery vehicle, and as the base vehicle to mount communication equipment and command control posts.
Super Stallion HMV 8x8
The Super Stallion HMV 8x8 is the new flagship of Ashok Leyland’s range of logistics vehicles. It has been specially configured to meet the Army’s emerging requirement for vehicles with higher mobility and greater power to operate in challenging desert terrains. It is propelled by a state-of-the-art pow- erful 360 hp (265 kW) Neptune engine, that can crank up a torque of 1,400 nm. Hub reduction axles ensure better ground clearance and grip for its eight wheels in sand and the central tyre inflation system (CITS) enables inflating or deflating tyres even when on the move. Driver comfort has been addressed through air-conditioning, bucket seats in the ergonomic cab and parabolic suspension in front for a better ride. The Super Stallion platform promises the same versatility of the Stallion platform and can be offered for a variety of applications like field artillery tractor and mounted gun with different transmission and driveline configurations.
COLT Light Tactical Vehicle (4x4)
The Colt light tactical vehicle (LTV), jointly developed by Ashok Leyland Defence and Panhard General Defense, has excellent mobility owing to a power to weight ratio of over 34 hp per tonne. It is equipped with a high performance chassis, a unique suspension system and an innovative patented armoured hull. Essentially designed to carry out protected tactical liaison missions, the LTV can fill a large array of roles such as escort, patrol and command vehicles. The product is battle-proven and over 2,000 are deployed across 15 countries.
Ashok Leyland Defence is also engaged in developing a range of armoured vehicles with military payloads ranging from 1.5 to 16 tonnes, on the Colt, Stallion and Super Stallion platforms that will address requirements for light specialist vehicles (LSV), light bullet proof vehicle (LBPV), light artillery machines (LAM), mine protected vehicles (MPV), field artillery tractors, multi-barrel rocket launchers (MBRLs) and other special applications.
Tata Motors has been a strategic partner of the Indian armed forces from as early as 1958. Since then, their mobility-solutions portfolio has grown to include all classes from light to heavy vehicles across the entire defence, paramilitary and police mobility spectrum. Today, Tata Motors partners in enhancing defence, paramilitary and police mobility in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) regions and Africa. Tata Motors offers a wide range of vehicles, in the light, medium and heavy category. These include: logistics vehicles; tactical vehicles; armoured vehicles; buses; chassis; and specialist vehicles. These models are available with multiple applications as well.
Tata Motors vehicles are registered with the Directorate General of Supplies and Disposals (DGS&D) rate contract, offering the customer a wide choice of applications like troop carriers, water tankers, trucks and tippers, ambulances, chassis (light and heavy), CNG, buses, passenger cars, utility vehicles.
Training sessions, workshops and service camps are organised on a regular basis to keep abreast of latest technologies, share technical knowledge and master maintenance methodologies.
Vehicle Factory Jabalpur
Vehicle Factory Jabalpur, which comes under the Ordnance Factory Board of the Ministry of Defence, was established in 1969. It is a dedicated manufacturing unit to meet the ‘transport needs’ of the armed forces. Current product range includes 2.5 tonne LPTA-713, 2 KL water bowser and 5/7.5 tonne Stallion Mk-III vehicles, designed to operate in extreme climate and terrain conditions from snow-bound mountains to sand dunes. Manufacturing facilities include state-of-the-art computer numerical machines (CNC) machines and statistical parametric mapping (SPMs) for manufacturing transmission components, fabricated items, chassis frame and body, etc in addition to vehicle assembly lines. The main products of the Vehicle Factory Jabalpur provided to the Army are: 5/7.5-tonne Stallion Mk-III BS-II 2.5-tonne LPTA 713/32 TC BS-II Water bowser 2 KL on LPTA Water bowser 5 KL on Stallion Kitchen container on Stallion Mine protected vehicles Bullet-proofing of vehicles
Indian Army’s Requirements
The estimated requirement for light and heavy vehicles by the Indian Army, as reported by the media, is huge. The Army has projected a need for 4,000 light armoured vehicles, 1,500 light bullet-proof vehicles, 4,500 light specialist vehicles and thousands of trucks for carrying logistic requirements for field formations. This list does not even take into account the number of specialist light, medium and heavy vehicles that would be needed for repair and recovery of vehicles in the field and specialist vehicles like artillery tractors to be used to tow the guns and howitzers as and when they are inducted. It also does not include the tank transporters to transport T-72, T-90 and Arjun tanks when they move from one location to another in peacetime or during war in own territory.