TATA MOTORS TO UNVEIL ‘WHAP’ AT DEFEXPO 2014
Tata Motors will be unveiling a brand new specialty vehicle, the Wheeled Armoured Platform (WhAP) at Defexpo 2014 next month. The vehicle platform, developed jointly with the DRDO’s Vehicle Research & Development Establishment (VRDE) in Pune, is a mobility platform featuring a Norwegian-built Kongsberg MCT-30-R medium-calibre remote turret sporting a US-built ATK 30mm/40mm Mk44 Bushmaster automatic cannon as a primary weapon and a secondary FN Herstal M240 7.62mm general purpose machine gun. The vehicle also comes integrated with the Raytheon-Lockheed Martin JAVELIN anti-tank guided missile system and a commander’s independent weapon station fitted with a General Dynamics M2HB 12.7mm machine gun.
The Kongsberg turret has been integrated with the Tata vehicle and will be unveiled for the first time at the expo in Delhi. The 22.5-26 tonne vehicle sports an 8x8 wheel configuration, a 600hp engine, a maximum forward speed of 100 kmph, minimum grade climbing ability of 30 degrees and a trench crossing ability of 2,000mm. According to literature shared with SP’s, Kongsberg and Tata Motors have agreed to collaborate to demonstrate the concept of the 30mm remote weapon station on the Tata WhAP armoured 8x8 vehicle. Both companies have investing in technical resources to ensure the smooth integration of the turret to the vehicle, with technical exchanges having taken place at each others factories. Sources at Kongsberg said, “The longterm potential will depend in the end-user requirements for such systems on wheeled or tracked vehicles. This initiative forms part of Kongsberg collaboration plan for India and roadmap to “indianisation”. The exhibition at Defexpo 2014 will demonstrate a joint approach to the Indian user and allow them to study the potential of such an approach.”
The remote weapon system concept affords soldier protection and survivability, enhanced situational aware- ness, and has proven itself over 25 million accumulated hours of operation, with over 15 million hours in real battle environments. The unveiling of WhAP will be projected at three different levels: (a) the product as a whole, as the fruits of three-way cooperation between a private company, a state-owned entity and a foreign contractor to demonstrate that this model works and can be speedily done, (b) as a demonstration of the private sector’s ability to field speciality vehicles for the huge Army requirements, and finally, (c) to show that a conglomerate approach is the way forward for advanced systems. As reported earlier by SP’s, the Indian Army requires 3,500 light bullet proof vehicles (LBPV), 2,500 infantry mobility vehicles, an unspecified number of light armoured multipurpose vehicles, 500-600 light specialty strike specialist vehicles and 228 light strike vehicles — a total of over 7,000 vehicles of various kinds, and will conceivably require vehicles like the WhAP as well.