Text and Images Courtesy: CarDheka

This list of defence vehicles includes armoured personnel carriers with varying levels of protection

On the occasion of India's 75th Republic Day, as the nation celebrates its constitutional milestones, we explore the significant role played by Indian automakers in bolstering the country's defence systems. In this article, we have highlighted the top 5 indigenous armoured personnel carriers developed by Mahindra and TATA, which are currently employed by the Indian armed forces.

Mahindra Armado

Mahindra Armado is an Armoured Light Specialist Vehicle (AMSV) and is a personnel carrier used by defence and military forces. The AMSV is specially designed for counter-terrorism operations, which include patrolling in high-tension areas, border security, and raids in open or deserted areas. It can also be used as a weapon carrier and offers a payload capacity of 1,000 kg with ample storage space.

The Mahindra Armado is propelled by a 3.2-liter 6-cylinder diesel engine that generates 218 PS and 500 Nm. This engine is mated to either 4-speed or a 6-speed automatic transmission, and it features a 4X4 drivetrain. The armoured carrier is equipped with an independent high-travel all-wheel independent suspension system.

The Armado provides STANAG Level 1 protection against ballistics (bullets) and blasts and can be upgraded to STANAG - II Ballistics protection. It comes standard with multi-layered bullet-proof glass, an air filtration and scavenging system and a PA system. Additionally, Mahindra offers optional features such as an automatic grenade launcher, a medium machine gun mount, and a blast mitigation floor mat.

Mahindra Marksman

Mahindra Marksman is also a light Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) which is based on a monocoque construction. It finds utility among defence, paramilitary, and police personnel for patrolling in high-intensity regions, controlling riots, and providing protection for open convoys. The Marksman is capable of accommodating up to six people.

It comes with two engine options, one of which is a 2.2-litre mHawk diesel engine (122 PS and 280 Nm) borrowed from the Scorpio. The other option is a 2.6-litre diesel engine (117 PS and 228 Nm). Both units are paired with a 5-speed manual transmission that distributes power to all four wheels. It can be had in both right- and left-hand-drive configurations.

Mahindra’s monocoque armoured carrier offers a B6 level ballistic protection, i.e., from rifle rounds. It comes with multi layered bullet proof glass, a roof hatch and protection for the engine, battery and fuel tank. Additionally, it also gets a satellite communication system, fire suppression system, remote controlled weapon system, and laser range finder.

Mahindra Meva ASV

The Meva ASV (Armoured Specialist Vehicle) is a pickup-based light personnel carrier designed for both inner-city regions and off-road terrains, and can accommodate up to 11 people. This pickup truck features a heavy-duty suspension system and reinforced off-road tires capable of supporting the added weight of the armour.

It is also offered in both left hand drive and right drive options, while its rear carrier is customisable for fitting in different types of equipment depending on the needs. It has a 4.5-litre 8-cylinder diesel engine which makes 198 PS and 430 Nm, and is paired to a 5-speed manual transmission.

Similar to the Marksman, the Meva ASV also offers B6 level ballistic protection, safeguarding against rifle rounds. It is equipped with multi-layered ballistic glass and a roof hatch with 360-degree access. Additional features include water and fuel storage cans, an electric winch, a blast mitigation floor mat, and a stealth mode. The stealth mode makes the carriers less visible to opponents' radar systems.

Mahindra Meva Straton

The Mahindra Meva Starton, like the Marksman, is a light-armoured personnel carrier constructed on the monocoque platform. It is perhaps one of the most recognisable body shapes for an armoured vehicle. Designed for paramilitary, police personnel and even peacekeeping organisations, it serves purposes such as riot control and convoy protection. With a seating capacity of up to 10 people, its interior compartment can be fully customised for various operations, including an ambulance version.

The Meva Straton comes with three engine options: a 5.6-litre V8 petrol engine (367 PS and 530 Nm), 4.6-litre V8 petrol and 4.5-litre twin turbo diesel engines. All three are paired with the same 6-speed automatic gearbox and come with a full-time four wheel drive (4WD) system as standard. With all that performance, the Meva Straton is perhaps the quickest armoured vehicle on this list.

The Meva Starton provides B7 level protection, safeguarding against snipers and armour-piercing bullets. The safety features of this armoured carrier include stealth mode, infrared lights, and blast-attenuating seats, which protect crew members from injury during blasts.

TATA Armoured Personnel Carrier (With Mine Protection) 4X4

The fifth and largest armoured personnel carrier on the list is from TATA, capable of providing protection against explosive mines. TATA's armoured carrier is utilised by paramilitary forces and state police, offering cross-country mobility for and responding to emergency situations. This personnel carrier can accommodate up to 14 people.

Although TATA has not provided exact engine specifications for the TATA Armoured Personnel Carrier, it is known to get a full-time 4X4 system tested in various weather and terrain conditions.

When it comes to ballistic protection, it can be customised according to specific requirements. Additionally, this armoured vehicle can withstand a blast load of up to 14 kg. Its size allows for two roof hatches, both towards the rear.

These are the top armoured personnel carriers in India, designed and developed indigenously by Mahindra and TATA. Both automakers also manufacture military support vehicles and combat vehicles used by the Indian army. Understandably, we do not have a price list for any of these as they cannot be bought by private individuals, and each order will have different protection specifications depending on the intended purpose. Which one from this list of APCs is your favourite, and why? Let us know in the comments below.