- According to sources in the defence and security establishment, a Request for Proposal (RFP) will be issued in the coming months for new 4x4 soft-top vehicles to gradually replace the roughly 35,000 Gypsy cars currently in service.
- "The Gypsy will be replaced by these cars." "In the next months, an RFP will be issued, and then a trial will be conducted to assess which vehicle best matches the needs," a source added.
The good old Maruti Suzuki Gypsy of the Army is scheduled to be replaced, according to sources, after serving the services for decades through deserts and mountains.
According to sources in the defence and security establishment, a Request for Proposal (RFP) will be issued in the coming months for new 4×4 soft-top vehicles to gradually replace the roughly 35,000 Gypsy cars currently in service.
Last Monday, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, approved the Army’s bid to purchase GS 4X4 Light Vehicles. According to sources, the Army has secured approval to purchase 4,964 of these vehicles, with more to follow in phases.
“The Gypsy will be replaced by these cars.” “In the next months, an RFP will be issued, and then a trial will be conducted to assess which vehicle best matches the needs,” a source added.
The Army is also considering a soft-top 4×4 that can be utilised in plains, deserts, and harsh terrain such as mountains, according to the source. A soft-top lets soldiers to equip weapons and recoilless weaponry while also allowing Quick Reaction Teams to manoeuvre freely.
When asked about possible replacements, sources stated the tender will be open, and companies might very well submit a whole new vehicle built on existing platforms. If both cars pass the trials, it’s possible that the contract will be shared between the lowest and second-lowest bidders.
The Gypsy weighs around 985 kg and is regarded as the most dependable and low-maintenance vehicle. While Maruti Suzuki had stopped producing the Gypsy because it no longer satisfied safety and pollution standards, the Army had received special authorization in 2018 to acquire more.
A second source stated, “The moment has arrived to replace the Gyspy with more contemporary and durable cars.” Safari and light strike vehicles will be used in the future. The hard-top Tata Safari Storme ordered by the Army in 2017 is expected to remain in service, according to sources.
While it was thought at the time that the Safaris would take the place of the Gypsy, insiders claimed that this was never the case because the Safari belongs to a separate category.
They claimed that because the Safari was significantly larger and heavier (about 1,800 kg) than the Gypsy, it couldn’t be expected to perform as well in specific terrains. Senior officers of local formations utilise the Safari more for transportation than for specific operation-related responsibilities.
Despite the fact that both the Safari and the Mahindra Scorpio had passed nearly 15 months of testing, Tata was the lowest bidder and was awarded the contract for 3,192 units.
In 2018, the Army bought light strike vehicles from Force Motors for its specialised troops – parachute and para SF. The requirement for these types of specialised vehicles was first identified in 2002 as part of an Army study on Special Forces modernization.
Last year, the Army acquired 27 M4 armoured vehicles from the Kalyani group’s Bharat Forge in Pune, which has a partnership with the South African firm Paramount Group.
Later, the Army agreed to pay Rs 1,056 crore to Mahindra Defence Systems Ltd for the supply of 1,300 light specialist vehicles. Medium machine guns, automated grenade launchers, and anti-tank guided missiles are carried by these armoured light specialist vehicles.