Tata Safari Storme beats Mahindra Scorpio, Maruti Gypsy to become official Indian Army vehicle
The initial order is of 3,192 Tata Safari SUVs, which could be increased to 30,000 over the coming years.
Maruti Suzuki Gypsy has been the preferred vehicle for the Indian Army for decades. But, it only has a payload capacity of 500 kgs. Earlier this decade, Indian Army floated tenders for vehicles with 800 kgs capacity, which eventually replace their close to 30,000 fleet of Maruti Gypsy.
As the Indian Army wished to add new vehicles for use for various military operations, a notice to manufactures was sent out so as to ensure that other models complied with these standards. A lot of manufacturers had sent proposals.
By 2013, only Tata Safari and Mahindra Scorpio were left in the ring. Both Tata Safari Storme and Mahindra Scorpio were put through stringent trials and field tests in the most adverse of weather conditions. Both models were modified to meet defence requirements. These included features such as blacked out lights with convoy lamps, provision for water and ammunition and specially positioned hooks for storage of military gear.
Today, Tata Motors revealed that they have won the Indian Army’s trust. The first order is for 3,192 Tata Safari SUVs. This is the second major deal Tata Motors has bagged from Indian Army in a span of one year, the first being the INR 1,300 crore deal to supply high-mobility military trucks. Speaking about the 3,192 units of Tata Safari’s to be delivered to Indian Army, these will be of minimum payload capacity of 800 kgs. All of them will be 4x4s with hard roofs and air conditioning.
It is not clear as to why Tata Safari was chosen, but it is believed that Tata managed to offer the Indian Army a much better deal than what Mahindra offered. Potentially this is one of the biggest deal bagged by Tata Motors from Indian Army as eventually the Army plans to replace all their 30,000 units of Maruti Gypsy with Tata Safari. This new update is not only a huge loss for Mahindra, but also for Maruti Suzuki.
Commenting on the recently bagged order, Vernon Noronha, Vice President, Defence & Government Business, Tata Motors Limited said, “We are very proud to have received this prestigious order for over 3000 units of the Safari Storme under the newly formed GS800 category. Tata Motors has been a leading supplier of mobility solutions to the Indian Armed Forces and this order is a testimony to our partnership with the country’s security forces. This variant of the Storme has been modified from the one available for civilians with an upgraded drivetrain and significantly modified suspension. The Safari Storme was conceived and designed keeping in mind the need for a rugged, comfortable and reliable vehicle, making it popular with law enforcement agencies. We will shortly commence delivery of these vehicles for the Army and Navy in a phased manner.”