New Delhi: After serving the forces for decades through deserts and mountains, the good old Maruti Suzuki Gypsy of the Army is set to be replaced.

Sources in the defence and security establishment said a Request for Proposal (RFP) is set to be placed in the coming months seeking new 4×4 vehicles with soft-top that will replace the over 35,000 Gypsy cars in service in a phased manner.

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, last week cleared Army’s proposal to acquire Light Vehicles GS 4X4. The Army has received clearance for purchase of 4,964 such vehicles and more would be bought in phases, sources said.

The DAC also cleared the tweaking of minimum kerb weight of the vehicle from 500 kg to 800 kg, the sources said.

“These vehicles will replace the Gypsy. An RFP will be issued in the next few months and then a trial would take place to see which vehicle suits the most,” a source said.

The source added that the Army is looking at a soft-top 4×4 that can be used in plains, deserts and rugged terrain like the mountains. A soft-top allows the soldiers to place rifles, recoilless guns to be mounted besides allowing easy movement of Quick Reaction Teams.

Asked about the possible replacements, sources said it will be an open tender and companies could very well present a brand new vehicle developed based on existing platforms. It is possible that the contract could be split between the lowest and the second-lowest bidder if both vehicles clear the trials.

The Gypsy weighs about 985 kg and is considered as the most dependable vehicle with easy maintenance. While Maruti Suzuki had stopped manufacturing the Gypsy since it no longer met the safety and emission norms, the Army had in 2018 got a special permission to order more of the same.

“The time has now come to replace the Gyspy with more modern and sturdy vehicles,” a second source said.