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.

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