Very soon, we might see the Tata Safari Storme and Mahindra Scorpio in Indian Army colors as the aforementioned duo has cleared the rigorous trials to participate in Indian Army tenders. According to an ET report, the Army would invite bids shortly for vehicles and the contract would be worth as much as Rs 500 crore to Rs 750 crore. Currently, the Indian Army uses Maruti Gypsy and Mahindra Commander for its works.
Now, the Army has decided to create a new category of vehicles named GS800 —General Service 800. Around two-three years back, major auto players such as Ford, Honda and Toyota participated in the initial discussions, but only Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) have been successfully made it to the final round. The Army is looking for vehicles with hard top and 800 kg payload with an air-conditioning option. The Gypsy and Commander had in the past qualified under GS500 category, which had a maximum payload of 500 kg. The vehicles developed by Tata Motors and Mahindra for the Army are built on their existing platforms. But, they are designed to meet the requirement of the Army with black out lights and convoy lamps, with provisions for water and ammunition. The vehicles have hooks in the rear for towing military equipment too.
Vernon Noronha, head of defence and government business at Tata Motors, said the company has received intimation from the Army that the Storme has passed the test and will be allowed to bid in a tender for more than 3,200 vehicles, expected to be floated shortly. Pravin Shah, CEO of Mahindra's automotive division, said supply of the army isn't new to the company and that since the Scorpio has also now qualified the tests, the company is hopeful of getting new orders. The Army is expected to invite bids within a month for 3,249 vehicles in the first year, with an option to increase the order by more than 50%, industry executives said. Army and government officials couldn't be reached for comment. After completing the technical evaluation, the vehicles were put through field trials in different weather conditions and terrains. Tests included technical and maintainability trials.