The Army has ordered an emergency procurement of M4 armoured vehicles, which were tested in Ladakh during the standoff with China, from the Pune-based defence company Bharat Forge of the Kalyani group.

In a statement released Tuesday, the company said it had “received an order worth Rs 177.95 crores from the Indian Ministry of Defence for supply of Kalyani M4 vehicles”.

According to sources in the defence and security establishment, the emergency procurement is for a small number but they are looking to further increase the number of armoured vehicles in the Army’s inventory.

The sources added that the Army is in need of wheeled armoured vehicles that can transport troops faster and capable of operating in high altitude regions.

They noted that the Kalyani M4 comes with certain extra features than the regular vehicles, but refused to elaborate further on the details.

The vehicle had undergone trials in Ladakh, along with its competitors, in August 2020.

The contract was announced a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed on the importance of private sector participation to develop India’s defence manufacturing base.

Features of Kalyani M4

The Kalyani M4, which will be built at the company’s Pune plant, is a multi-role platform, designed to meet the requirements of the armed forces for quick mobility in rough terrain and in areas affected by mine and IED threats.

It has ballistic and blast protection from up to 50 kg TNT side blast, or IED or roadside bombs due to its design that is built on a flat-floor monocoque hull. With a thrust speed of 140 km per hour, the vehicle has a payload of 2.3 tonnes and an operating range of about 800 km.

The M4 is an original product of the South African arms firm Paramount Group but has been fine-tuned for Indian conditions by Bharat Forge.

The two firms have also signed a deal to join their technologies, capabilities and expertise to manufacture armoured vehicles in India.

In a statement Monday, the Paramount Group said it wanted to position the M4 as the “future of protection” in all markets across the world.