Mahindra and Mahindra unveils its armoured vehicles

By Bijaya Kumar Das, IANS

New Delhi : Indian multi-utility vehicle manufacturer Mahindra and Mahindra showcased a range of its recently developed armoured vehicles here Saturday, marking an entry into India’s growing defence market.

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The olive green painted “Marksman”, “Exe” and “Striker” are the new work horses from the stable of Mahindra and Mahindra among the company’s exhibits at the DEFEXPO 2008 – the eighth edition of the land and naval exposition organised by the defence ministry.

Marksman, with a raw power of 105 bhp, is an armoured bullet-proof vehicle with seven crew firing ports, company officials said, adding that it can carry up to six people, including the driver.

The vehicle is equipped with power steering, disc brakes and four wheel drive system and is a good match for the Indian terrain, the company officials said.

“We have manufactured these vehicles keeping in view the requirements of the Indian Army, the paramilitary forces and the police department,” said Brig. (retd) Xeres P. Adrianwalla, the company’s general manager for land systems.

“They have the capability to be used in counter-terrorism operations as well as for more conventional roles,” Adrianwalla told IANS, at the company’s sprawling display at the Pragati Maidan exposition centre in the national capital.

“It’s muscular body design can withstand firing by self-loading rifles of up to 7.62 mm. The rear stowage boxes provide protection to crew when using the rear door,” he said.

“So this can be termed as the safest vehicle in terms of personnel carrier ever available in the country.”

The vehicle can be mounted with a light machine gun on top, giving it the killer look that armoured vehicles are known for. The hard top of the vehicle can also be utilised as a launch pad for other weapons, the company officials added.

The Axe fast attack vehicle is a lightweight, high mobility and high payload combat vehicle. This is available in both diesel and petrol versions.

Mahindara and Mahindra is also looking at the export market for its defence-related vehicles. “The South African army has already expressed interest in some of the models,” a company official said.