Winter trials for the army's Light Support Vehicles - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Tuesday 19 February 2008

Winter trials for the army's Light Support Vehicles

Here's a family photograph of the vehicles that are competing for the army's requirement of 228 Light Support Vehicles (LSV). These are for the Reconnaissance Platoons of the mechanised infantry battalions.

The photograph is from the recently held winter trials in Ladakh. Gives one a feel of the conditions in which trials are held.

The vehicles in the line-up are (left to right): The Mahindra Axe, the Vectra LSV, the Flyer being fielded by the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), and the Tata LSV. From what I hear, the Mahindra Axe is the best-performing vehicle in the trials, but it is unlikely to win because of the L-1 system. 

That basically means that the cheapest vehicle which meets the GSQR will win the contract, even if there are more capable vehicles in the fray. The Axe is far more capable, but that also makes it more expensive. The Tatas, the Vectra and Ashok Leyland have produced low-capability but cheap vehicles that might just pass the trials, but which certainly will cost less than the Axe.


  1. The L1 system is killing our defence industry.Can't express better tahn this.

  2. Judging by your comments - Axe isn't going to win even though its outperforming the rest; it must mean that at least one more vehicle among the rest is meeting the GSQR till now.

  3. most of them will meet the GSQR. This is one GSQR which is far from ambitious... it'll leave the army with a vehicle that is less than optimal, for a role that the defence services actually operate in EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR.

  4. Hi Ajai,

    Can you tell me more on the (Tatra)Vectra LSV? power/transmission etc. Will there be a commercial vehicle anytime soon? I feel it could be a big hit if the mix is good. It has a hotrod appearance & looks rugged. (Don't you agree it has a slight similarity to the Nissan patrol Y60 i.e.) Pls give me a link if it's possible.

    Also now that Tata has bought landrover can the Defender 110 be added as a latecomer, going from the superb service performance of these in all theatres of operation. They are low maintainence easy to assemble/ disassemble & have a reliable engine - Tdi or the Td5).

    This way we could have the 1st factory setup;)

  5. The much hyped up Axe has not even completed the user trials in Deserts while the other four have finished. It has gone the second time back to their factory for change of engine. It is a good looking prototype only and Mahindras need to put in much more efforts to make the vehicle capable of withstanding the rigours of army use. They have so far not had any competition in supplying jeeps to the Army. Its show time now in the field. The Vectra LSV is the sturdiest and most rugged out of all the competitors.

  6. That Vectra over there, look carefully and it looks just like the Kaiser Jeep M715 used by the american army, and i am pretty sure its got Dana60's for the axles, or its a direct russian knock-off like most of their vehicles are. All in all, this and the Tata LSV are the only solid axle vehicle in the group, but the TATA knockoff is nothing but a disguised TATA407.
    A solid axle vehicle is cheaper, both to buy and maintain, its stronger that an independent suspension system, like what the axe and the flyer have, and it can go places that independent suspensions cannot go.
    The Hummer too has independent suspension, and has been known to break the lower A-arms if the entire weight of the vehicle comes on just one wheel while offroading, and it certainly doesnt have the capability to go where a solid axle vehicle with same size tires can go, and if compares to a portal solid axled vehicle, it doesnt even come close.
    Now why does the army use these vehicles even thought they are expensive and not as tough as solid axled vehicles?? Well, the answer is simple, The military is not and never was intrested in offroad capability. They need an cross-country vehicle, that can carry jawans and mount weapon systems. If an obstacle comes in the way, they have their spades and bridges to overcome it, and make a way arround it. Independent suspension is just fine for this sort of things, but now it has something extra that the solid axle vehicles dont have, and that is the smooth travel that is gives over rough terrain, just perfect for mounting those missile and gun systems and still being capable of firing them while on the move, which would be difficult on a solid axle vehicle coz it would bounce around a lot.
    Still A jonga with 33 tires would be much more capable than any of these vehicles here , when it comes to sheer off-road capability.

  7. The LSV trails have been completed a couple of months back. Only four vehicles completed the trials while the Mahindra has not been able to finish half of its required kms till now. After exhaustive trials in both High Altitude and Deserts the vehicles can be sorted out in three categories. First being the dependable,powerful and basic rugged design Vectra and Ashok Leyland LSV. the second category is the fancy but fragile Mahindra and Flyer. The Tata vehicle's performance has been the worst and it has almost broken into pieces during the trials.

  8. shuklaji,
    any updates on the outcome of the lsv trials?

  9. vectra is by no standards a low capability vehicle. it draws its lineage from the legendary tatras and it is certainly not the cheapest!


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