South Africa’s Paramount and Namibia’s Windhoeker Maschinenfabrik (WMF) are currently engaged in armoured vehicle trials in India.
A photo has emerged showing a Paramount Mbombe 4 armoured personnel carrier and Maverick internal security vehicle alongside a WMF Werewolf undergoing trials in India near Ladakh late last month.
The Mbombe 4 was badged as the Kalyani M4 – Kalyani Group is an Indian engineering, technology and manufacturing conglomerate that offers armoured vehicles, ammunition, defence electronics and artillery systems. One of its subsidiaries is Bharat Forge, which in February announced it was setting up a joint venture with Paramount Group to explore the indigenisation of defence systems in India, with a focus on protected vehicles and aerospace.
Paramount Group stated at the time that, “Building defence industrial eco-systems through strategic alliances have been the cornerstone of Paramount’s portable manufacturing model and we are excited to develop our defence and aerospace systems technologies and solutions through strong and long-term partnerships.
“We are pleased to partner with Bharat Forge Limited, a company that shares our philosophy of enabling local manufacturing through technology and skills transfer, the indigenisation of defence and aerospace technologies, and the creation of high value jobs that bolster economic growth.”
Bharat Forge and Paramount at the February DefExpo in India displayed the Kalyani M4/Mbombe 4 and Kalyani Maverick.
The vehicles, along with the Werewolf, are believed to be undergoing evaluation with the Indian-designed and built 8×8 Tata Kestrel (also known as the WhAP – Wheeled Armoured Platform) to meet an Indian Army requirement for a new armoured wheeled vehicle. The 25 ton WhAP has been seen undergoing various tests lately, including amphibious tests.
Indian media have reported that the Army is looking to acquire armoured vehicles for troop movement in the Eastern Ladakh area where Chinese forces have deployed in large numbers. The General Dynamics Land Systems Stryker is apparently among possible candidates.
In November 2019, the Indian Army issued requests for information for the supply of 198 wheeled armoured fighting vehicles, with a request for proposals scheduled for mid-2020. Locally manufactured vehicles are preferred under the Buy Indian initiative.
The requests for information mentioned the amphibious 8×8 solution “should be provided with high mobility, adequate armour protection and [an] armament configuration suitable to destroy enemy tanks and undertake local protection”. This includes twin anti-tank missiles.