Skip to content
Advertisements

Armored Cars: OFB Mine Protected Vehicle Aditya

August 19, 2017

The Mine Protected Vehicle made by India’s Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) is one of the least known armored cars in use today. Its design is based on the proven South African Casspir, the forerunner of current generation MRAPs. On the other hand, the MPV, which is also called the Aditya, was tailored for South Asia’s terrain and the needs of India’s security forces.

After initial prototyping by the DRDO at the turn of the century MPV production commenced for domestic use. The armed forces joined the clientele in 2007 with an initial order for 250 trucks. All assembly took place in OFB Medak, a state-owned vehicle plant launched in 1986 to assemble licensed copies of the Soviet BMP-2 called the Sarath.

The MPV Aditya was originally used for local trouble spots like the Naxal infested “Red Corridor” across Southeastern India. The Naxals are a Maoist insurgency that began as a grassroots land reform movement. The MPV proved its mettle in this difficult theater and there used to be some hope it would find international customers.

The MPV follows a conventional MRAP design and is recognizable for its square grille and high ground clearance. Another familiar characteristic is the spare tire attached to the hulls’ left side, which slopes downward because of the V-shape above the chassis. The MPV scales 11 tons unloaded and offers seating for two crew and and 10 passengers. When configured as a 6×6 it can fit 12 passengers. Jawans have the choice to fight inside their vehicle, since each MPV has multiple firing ports, four rooftop hatches, and a large circular turret hatch for a main armament.

When it comes to mobility the MPV offers a top speed of 85 kilometers per hour with a range of 1,000 km. There isn’t any information on its engine but it won’t be surprising if it runs on a Cummins turbo diesel in the 250 horsepower range.

The OFB aren’t forthcoming about the MPV’s protection level and claim it can deflect 7.62x51mm rounds from all sides at a 10 meter distance. As for its blast resistance, the OFB’s product literature reveals the shock wave from 10 kilograms of explosive can be absorbed by its hull while the wheels can survive 21 kg bomb. The vehicle itself has been subject to upgrades over the years but the OFB remains mum on these.

The MPV’s reputation began to suffer in the years after it entered service. Like insurgencies elsewhere, Naxal rebels soon found out the vehicle had a tendency to topple over when struck by a powerful explosion. Worse, merely enlarging the improvised bomb or mine knocked it out for good, which is what happened in 2005 when 24 paramilitaries were killed in an MPV during an ambush. No wonder the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) tasked with suppressing the Naxals have stopped deploying the MPV on unpaved roads and countryside.

While the MPV’s use has dwindled recently the vehicle is nowhere near the end of its usefulness. The threat posed by militants in Jammu and Kashmir has seen the Indian Army adopt MPVs for convoy protection and patrol missions. The MPVs are ideal for the job since they offer better mobility and armor compared to a Toyota pickup or a locally made jeep.

The MPV in action. Via Shuaib Masoodi.

The MPV’s production is ongoing and 250 new builds were ordered in 2016 for the Indian Army’s domestic use. As its numbers balloon the MPV faces competition from a new generation of locally made armored vehicles that could still find customers somewhere outside India. It’s true there’s no shortage of MRAPs to choose from globally and the MPV in its current form does have its drawbacks. If the OFB Medak emphasizes new features, however, the MPV might enjoy a resurgence of sorts. This is already possible with a remote weapon station for an FN MAG on the MPV’s roof.

A few crucial systems can do a lot to make the MPV more competitive as a potential export. These should include a sniper detection system, an optional CBRNe suite for detecting hazardous chemicals or radiation, smoke grenade dischargers, a remote day and night sight, and optional armor packages–whether additional panels for the hull or robust standoff slats for its windows.

It would be interesting to see if the MPV is capable of supporting either a 12.7mm machine gun or a 30mm grenade launcher on a remote controlled turret. Rolling out variants such as a command vehicle, a UAV carrier, an ambulance, and a self-propelled mortar, even a short-range air defense vehicle armed with missiles, would put it on equal footing with some of the more ambitious wheeled platforms made in Asia.

The world still hasn’t recognized the value of Indian military products. Concerns over quality issues are one reason why but if the market demands an affordable and battle-tested truck for infantry transport, the MPV is worth considering.

Advertisements

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: