Sunday, September 06, 2020

Fighting Night Blindness, Indian Army To Upgrade It's BMP II For Night Combat Capability

BMP-II - Infantry Combat Vehicle - ICV - Indian Army - 01

In an out of character manner, the Indian Army [IA] has cited the current, sensitive Border situation, in it's call, seeking Expression Of Interest [EOI] for the Armament Upgrade of BMP-2/2K.

It is looking to enhance it's Soviet-designed BMP-II & BMP-IIK Sarath Infantry Combat Vehicle [ICV], making them capable of executing night Combat operations. Eligible Indian Vendors would have to develop a customised solution for implementation it across 811 night-blind BMP-II.

Expression Of Interest - EOI - Armament Upgrade of BMP-22K - Indian Army - 01

Each upgraded Sarath would include incorporation of a:

  • 3rd Gen Thermal Imaging Gunner's Sight
  • 3rd Gen Thermal Imaging Panoramic Commander's Sight
  • Modernised Fire Control System
  • Automatic Target Tracker

Vendors would have to back it up with an Engineering Support Package [ESP] with necessary spares [MRLS] & any special maintenance tools [SMT] & test equipment [STE] needed for upkeep. Any developed solution must incorporate at least 40% of indigenous content, in conformance with the Make-II category of India's 2016 Defence Procurement Procedure [DPP].

You can read the entire EOI here [archive]

Emma-C Thermal Imaging Sight System - Tonbo Imaging - 01

Indian MSME Tonbo Imaging India Pvt. Ltd. manufactures its own Emma-C Thermal Imaging Sight system, for mounting on Tanks & ICV. Scored Export orders on these.

Commander Thermal Imaging Sight System - LRDE - DRDO - 01
DRDO's own Electronics & Radar Development Establishment [LRDE] has developed similar solution for the T-72 Tank & BMP-2.

Need to come up with an indigenous Multi Target Tracking System [MTTS] has been a National priority, expressed in the Army's 'Make In India' endeavour,

"it is imperative to develop a high technology tracking system which not only can detect and track multiple targets but also is able to assist commander to prioritise targets and align the prioritised target smoothly with Gunner’s Main Sight (GMS) to be able to destroy the target"

Plans to upgrade it's BMP-II, to cure it's Night Blindness, has been an Indian Army desire, extending almost two decades back. The Army, around 2004-2005, had first evinced interest in carrying out these mods. A decade ago, the MOD Annual Report of 2010-2011 noted,

"To provide a cutting edge to the Mechanised Infantry, the procurement of Third Generation Anti-Tank Guided Missiles and the Integration of Thermal Imager Sight with all the weapon systems of BMP-2/2K is in process."

Later productions of the BMP-II were integrated with Night operation capabilities from their Plant rollout.

MUNTRA - Mission UNmaned TRAcked - DRDO - BMP-II - 01

During Combat, ICVs enable troops to keep up with the advancing thrust of Armoured set-pieces, piercing through enemy territory. For India, this would be spearheaded by Main Battle Tank [MBT], such as the T-72 Ajeya & T-90 Bheeshma, both of Russian-origin. The indigenously developed MBT Arjun, despite superior performance, has not found a very receptive end-user in the Indian Army [more: 01 & 02].

BMP-II - Infantry Combat Vehicle - ICV - Indian Army - 04
Indian Army's BMP Regiments form part of it's Armoured Brigades. An estimated 2500, currently, operate with the IA, in various configurations.

The BMP-series, itself, had been originally designed from the T-72 Chassis, hollowing out it's innards to accommodate more humans, among other things.

BMP-II - Infantry Combat Vehicle - ICV - Indian Army - 02

India has been license-manufacturing these amphibious BMPs, at it's Ordnance Factory, Medak facility since, probably, the discovery of fire. A recent report announced yet another production run of 156 additional BMP-II ICV for the Indian Army, for an estimated price of $150 Million USD. Efforts to develop an indigenous successor has been plagued by successive roadblocks. Expect more, with the Russians pitching India with yet another BMP-variant.

BMP-II - Infantry Combat Vehicle - ICV - Indian Army - 03

Also Read: Special Frontier Force [SFF] a.k.a. Establishment-22 - Tibet's Army In India