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Armored Cars: Tata Motors LAMV

June 20, 2019

Via Tata Motors.

One of the most promising modular trucks ever developed by an Indian company was the Light Armored Multipurpose Vehicle or LAMV. It was unveiled by Tata Motors in DefExpo 2014 to garner public interest and improve its chances at winning the defense ministry’s tender for a protected 4×4. Several years later and the LAMV, despite its attractiveness, hasn’t entered production nor is there any demand from overseas. It’s a shame considering the effort that went into the original variant.

Influenced by the concept of a lightweight mine-resistant truck, a model exemplified by the Oshkosh JLTV, the LAMV benefited from input by British companies such as Supacat and Morgan Advanced Materials.

The result of this collaborative process was an eight ton model with some remarkable engineering. By applying some of the lessons learned from its SPV400, an air-transportable MRAP meant for the British Army, Supacat had the same “crew pod” mounted on the LAMV’s chassis.This mean the occupants of the vehicle always had superb protection as long as they were aboard. A separate “capsule” for storing equipment is added to the back of the crew pod and is accessible from a rear step ladder. It’s also possible to enter the crew pod from a small swing door tucked between the cargo capsule’s equipment shelves.

Of course, the LAMV utilizes a v-hull and its windows are all bulletproof. To enhance visibility a single camera is mounted above the windshield and the original variant had an EO/IF sight on a collapsible mast located on the cargo capsule’s roof. Details about the LAMV’s mobility were never shared by Tata Motors although an updated variant branded as the Merlin ran on a 210 horsepower diesel engine giving it a 105 km/h top speed over paved roads.

The LAMV’s combat optimization was never enhanced beyond a manned roof turret that had a protective cupola around it. Since fame eluded the LAMV soon after its debut its maker is burdened with enhancing the vehicle until initial orders arrive. The Indian press has been generous to Tata Motors’ defense portfolio anyway, giving it a fair amount of positive coverage. But the LAMV faces competition from other Indian companies such as Ashok Leyland, the Kalyani Group and Mahindra. If Tata Motors were really attuned to the market for contemporary armored cars, its engineers can try an open top and unprotected special forces variant designed to carry several weapons. These off-road gun trucks are all the rage now since traveling over rugged frontiers is a key mission for militaries.

With its British pedigree and India’s gargantuan industrial output, the LAMV has solid prospects if its selling points are handled the right way. A few external tweaks and maybe improvements to the engine type can boost its appeal versus the competition. Offering samples like  a troop carrier fitting eight soldiers; an ambulance with up to four beds; a fire support vehicle sporting a remote controlled 30mm cannon; and perhaps a mobile artillery truck with a 120mm mortar that shoots laser-guided rounds–Tata Motors must not hesitate to portray the LAMV as a “platform” that can pull off any job.

Weighed down by a market with a short attention span, a world of possibilities awaits the LAMV if it manages to find the right end users.


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