• 12 June, 2024
Foreign Affairs, Geopolitics & National Security

Kalyani M4 — All Terrain MPV for Army

by Team Chanakya
Thu, 25 Mar 2021   |  Reading Time: 6 minutes
“The need for a robust multirole high mobility cross country armoured combat vehicle has been a critical operational requirement of the Indian Army. Kalyani M4 is an excellent example of Atma Nirbhar Bharat in defence with state of art indigenous technology to fight and win Indian wars with Indian equipment. It promises to evolve into a family of mobile protected firepower vehicles which will also boost the export potential of the nation.”

Lt Gen A B Shivane, PVSM, AVSM, VSM (Retd), Former DG Mechanised Forces, Indian Army

The Armoured Fighting Vehicles (AFV) or Tank in common terms revolutionised the concept of Land Warfare when they first made their appearance in Battle of Somme in World War I,  September 1916. The paradigm shift from Trench Warfare to Mobile Warfare and success of Armoured Divisions in Second World War catapulted development of Armoured Vehicles, its design and development into the next orbit, bringing a number of combat and combat support missions under its ambit.  There are multiple kinds of armoured vehicles designed to fulfill very different missions, such as troop transportation, reconnaissance, internal security, fire support, counter insurgency and peace-keeping operations, medical evacuation as well as other combat roles. These all terrain, high mobility vehicles are decisive during battles as they are critical force enablers for ground forces.  Fitted with robust armour plates and armed with advanced weapons including missiles, these military vehicles are key components of modern-day military forces worldwide.

Infantry Mobility Vehicles or Infantry Combat Vehicles (ICV), a wheeled iteration of Armoured Personnel Carrier, are used to provide protection ground troops in unconventional theaters of land battles. These military-grade vehicles are deployed mainly to transport troops and are fitted with armor protection for self-defense. Moreover, they can also be modified to fit equipment such as Remote Weapon Station (RWS) turret, machine gun or Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs) for attack roles. Thanks to their flexibility, mobility and therefore rapid operational readiness, these wheeled trucks provide ground forces with outstanding logistical support. With better on-road actions, enhanced fuel efficiency and lower maintenance cost, they have a significant advantage over tracked armoured vehicles.

Nowadays, the global deployment of ground forces on peace-keeping, counter insurgency and scouting missions is gaining massive importance, thus raising the demand for light, well-protected and agile vehicles which deliver adequate safety for troops in line with the threat faced.  For instance, Indian Army and paramilitary forces are deploying these highly mobile armoured protection vehicles for troop movements in vulnerable and insurgency prone areas as well as High Altitude terrain.

Moreover, given massive infiltration attempts along Line of Control and border with Pakistan and increasing tensions with China along the Line of Actual Control,  Indian Army is now actively seeking options to acquire these all-purpose trucks to reinforce its reconnaissance, transportation and self-defense capabilities in high altitude areas like Eastern Ladakh where both Asian powers — India and China, locked in a tense military stand-off for months. During this eyeball-to-eyeball, Chinese People’s Liberation Army Ground Force (PLAGF) had inserted significant numbers of their Dongfeng Mengshi CSK 131 light armoured vehicles against Indian Army and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) in Ladakh. In addition to this, PLAGF’s Dongfeng EQ-2050, a Chinese copy of US Army’s HUMVEE off-road vehicle, had also been deployed on the Chinese side of the Indo-China border during Ladakh square off. Both CSK-131 and EQ-2050 are the members of Dongfeng Mengshi family.

Indian Army is not new to the concept of using Troop Carrying Vehicles with armoured protection, as the Cassipir Mine Protection Vehicles were introduced in the early part of last decade to afford protection to troops operating in counter insurgency areas. But Ladakh episode was a timely reminder  that has led Ministry of Defence to quickly address the void in Indian Army’s inventory as regards mine-resistant multirole off-road vehicles along LAC. Consequently, to meet the challenges faced by troops in high altitude areas along the LAC, Indian Army will soon start receiving a 450-horsepower all-purpose beast called the ‘Kalyani M4’ from Bharat Forge, a Pune-based Indian defence business unit of Kalyani Group. By using its emergency financial powers, the Army has placed a 178-crore order to buy a few dozen Kalyani M4 vehicles that will be produced by Bharat Forge under the Modi government’s flagship ‘Make-in-India’ and ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ initiatives.

Kalyani M4, is the Indian iteration of the latest Mbombe-4 next-generation armoured combat vehicle from Paramount Group, a global aerospace and technology firm based in South Africa. At the International Defence Expo (IDEX 2021) in Feb 2021 in Abu Dhabi, Bharat Forge and Paramount Group of South Africa sealed a pact to manufacture this world-class multi-role vehicle in India for Indian Armed Forces. Kalyani M4 equipped with state-of-the-art technologies and capabilities needed for modern-day battle zones and ever-evolving threats, provides tremendous levels of safety, mobility, readiness and flexibility. Speaking to the media after signing of the joint venture in Abu Dhabi, Mr Amit Kalyani said,

“The Kalyani M4 is a fantastic new generation vehicle, and we want to position it as the ‘future of protection’ in all markets worldwide”

                                             Amit Kalyani, Deputy Managing Director, Bharat Forge Ltd

This multi-role Indian variant by Bharat Forge will be capable of performing full spectrum of troop carrier missions in all kinds of rough Indian terrains including high altitude as well as those that are badly affected by mine and IED threats, as it is designed to deliver the best in-class safety against kinetic energy, mine, rockets (RPG) and IED attacks.

The state-of-the-art Kalyani wheeled off-road vehicle offers a perfect combination of best in class capabilities such as technology, protection, agility and payload providing an ideal support solution for Indian ground forces in all operational environments. Overall, it is faster, smarter and safer. The key capabilities of Kalyani M4 troop carrier includes:

Kalyani M4 - MPV for Army

Image Courtesy: Defence Decode

  • The highly dynamic Kalyani M4 is the smallest member of the Mbombe family, and integrates a next-generation multi-mission design, independent suspension, reliable driveline in-service and advanced armour technology all developed by Paramount Group.
  • 16T heavy Kalyani M4 truck is Powered by a 450-horsepower turbocharged six-cylinder diesel engine that transmits an excellent 32hp/ton power-to-weight ratio, which makes it the most powerful 4×4 vehicle in Indian Army inventory, powerful enough to bound through rough terrains and even capable of performing non-stop operations in extreme conditions from -20° to +50°.
  • The new truck equipped with Paramount Group’s unique innovative flat-floor monocoque hull technology, offers crew best in-class protection levels, the entire M4 body can withstand a 50-kg TNT blast from sides, which has STANAG 4569-Level 4a & 4b blast protection. The M4 hull also provides protection from severe mine blast. While both crew and engine compartment have STANAG 4569-Level 3 ballistic protection.
  • Packed with a massive powerpack, the Kalyani M4 can clock a burst speed of 140km/h and a range of 800km, M4 is capable of carrying nearly 2,700-kg weight including troops, supplies and ammunition stock.
  • To enhance the operational effectiveness, the freshly ordered Kalyani M4 highly mobile troop carrier can be rapidly armed with offensive capabilities such as RWS turret, grenade launchers, anti-tank missiles and heavy machine guns.
  • Moreover, the Made-in-India Mbombe 4×4, also, can be modified with Roof Hatch, modern tactical battlefield management system (BMS), Fire Suppression System, add-on armour and protection kits, Central Tyre Inflation System (CTIS), NATO standard Tow Hitch, CBRN protection kit, Vehicle Location and Tracking System, a Driver Assist Camera System, Public Address System and radios as well as intercom systems.

Earlier, Indian Army has evaluated multiple mobility platforms including Kalyani M4 and Maverick, WMF Werewolf, Tata Kestrel, and eventually placed an emergency order for the limited numbers of Kalyani M4 high mobility vehicles. According to multiple media accounts, the Kalyani vehicle has already been tested successfully by the Army in some of toughest Indian terrains. Also, Indian Army has a plan to acquire nearly 200 armoured fighting vehicles for scouting and combat supporting operations in the frontier with Pakistan.

The surge in the instances of cross-border infiltration, Naxalite activities and soaring incidences of asymmetric warfare along  international borders with China and Pakistan, has led Indian military and paramilitary forces to acquire these troop carriers for safer and faster movement in operational areas. Presently, Indian Army alone requires over hundreds of these armoured vehicles in different  terrains including LAC to mirror PLA strength.

Made-in-India ‘Kalyani M4’ vehicles from Bharat Forge can rapidly plug this gap as they are now being produced within the country, and limited numbers of these Indian-made MRMVs can be handy for Indian paramilitary as well as Special Forces units to deal with severe threats in the unconventional sphere of battle. Kalyani M4 is a fantastic modern-age combat solution which is capable of providing best in-class performance in all operating environments. The Indian vehicle manufacturer now seeks to offer its cutting edge armoured vehicles to the export market worldwide.

Speaking at the Aero India 2021 in Bengaluru, Defence minister Rajnath Singh said that aerospace sector will play an important role to reach the targets of domestic defence production of $25 billion and exports of $5 billion by 2025. Kalyani M4 is a modern multi role and high performance armoured troop carrier which can truly realise the Aatmanirbhar initiative and contribute towards India’s Defence Exports aspirations.


The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the views of Chanakya Forum. All information provided in this article including timeliness, completeness, accuracy, suitability or validity of information referenced therein, is the sole responsibility of the author. www.chanakyaforum.com does not assume any responsibility for the same.

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