NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Defence on Wednesday issued two Requests for Information (RFI) to procure High Mobility Vehicles (HMV). The plan is to buy 2,150 such vehicles initially, which can be deployed to transport payloads not less than 8,000 kg. These vehicles will get deployed on both the western (Pakistan) and northern (China) borders.

As per one of the RFIs, the plan is to procure approximately 650 high mobility vehicles 6x6 with material handling cranes (HMV 6x6 with MHC). The second RFI is for the procurement of approximately 1,500 high mobility vehicles 6x6 General Service (HMV 6x6 (GS)).

Sources informed that the plan is to gradually induct these vehicles in the units, in place of the older ones. “The requirement is such that these vehicles could negotiate the mountain roads that are narrow, with sharp turns,” informed an officer.

The material handling crane will help in loading payloads like artillery guns to the systems, said the source.

Vehicles of both the categories, says the RFI, will be used for “transportation of heavy equipment, including ammunition, on metalled roads as well as unmetalled, desert and kachcha tracks. The vehicle will be provided with 6x6 drive and will be capable of operating as a high mobility load carrier with a payload capacity of not less than 8,000 kg in cross-country terrains.”

The platform should facilitate modification for other uses, including troop carriage, carriage of containers on the flatbed, and any other specialist role, the RFI added.

They will be employed in day and night conditions for cross-country and off-road operations in “plain and desert terrains as obtained along western borders of the country, and in high altitude, mountain terrains up to 5,000 metres (16,400 feet) as obtained along the northern borders (Eastern Ladakh, Central Sector and North Sikkim).

As per the RFI, the procurement of these vehicles is under the ‘Make in India’ spirit. The RFI is meant for Indian vendors who either have the capability to manufacture on their own with 60 per cent indigenous content or can manufacture in a tie-up with some original equipment manufacturer but with more than 50 per cent indigenous content.

The last date of acceptance of the RFI response is eight weeks from the date of pre-response vendor interaction. Tensions between the Indian Army and China’s People’s Liberation Army prevail along the Line of Actual Control with increased deployment. India has been sprucing up its infrastructure and inducting equipment along the area. The Chinese side has also been improving infrastructure on its side for a long time.

The RFI is a means to seek information from vendors to explore the suitability of products available to meet the operational requirements of the services, and to formulate SQR, maintenance philosophy, and other contractual provisions.