EXCLUSIVE: DRDO's planned tracked unmanned vehicle

If everything goes according to plan, by the end of this year DRDO will begin testing a long-needed full-tracked unmanned remote-controlled military vehicle. The 14-ton vehicle will be an armoured, amphibious and air-transportable – its declared functions as of now include nuclear-biological-chemical reconnaisance, surveillance and mine-hunting. The vehicle chassis will be 6.7 metres long and 3.15 metres wide over the track guards (2.85 metres over just the tracks). The vehicle will have an independent torsion bar suspension system. Propulsion on land is proposed to be provided by the 2.5-metre wide tracks with track drive sprockets out front. The final drive ration as envisaged by the Combat Vehicles Research & Development Establishment (CVRDE), the laboratory that will pioneer the vehicle, is 5.5.

According to the DRDO, on hard level ground (while keeping its amphibious capability activated), the vehicle should cruise at a minimum of 65-km/h, with a maximum speed during mission mode of 20 km/h. The vehicle should be able to gun up from zero to 32 km/h in under eight seconds, and brake from 65 km/h to stand-still in about the same time. With a flat cruising range of 400-km, cross-country range of 200-km and a mission intensive range of 150-km @ 5 km/h, the vehicle is being developed to hold 462 litres of diesel.

The lab has also set down its obstacle abilities. The maximum gradient possible for the vehicle will be about 35° at 5 km/h, with the ability to cross a 2.5-m trench and a vertical obstacke 0.7-m high. Its operating terrain conditions should include plains, deserts, semi-deserts, urban areas and river line. Obviously with almost no expertise in armoured vehicle powerpacks, DRDO is in the market for a 400HP liquid inter-cooled four-stroke turbocharged diesel engine,with an electric start and the ability to operate in a minimum ambient temperature of -20°C and a maximum of 55°C. The engine would likely have a drive-by-wire management system, a high coolant temperature warning, shut off mechanism at Low oil pressure, low coolant level and no coolant flow, power de-rating mechanism at high coolant temperature and warning at the fuel filter choking.

Top Photo of BMP-2 model by Allan Yang

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