Tata Kestrel is an Indian Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) which is jointly developed by TATA motors & DRDO together. It is developed in a futuristic way keeping in mind the modern day warfare and with the intention of it replacing the ageing old fleet of Soviet BMP-1 & older BMP-2 and BTR APC's which are currently in active service. The weight of Kestrel is 25 tonnes (without weapon and protection systems) and about 28 tonnes with systems installed.
These soviet BMP-1, BMP-2 & BTR are now old and are not very effective or efficient for modern day warfare and challenges.
The APC are an important part of any army's Modern Mechanised Infantry and Indian Army's Modern Mechanised Infantry Regiment which is one of the youngest regiment of Indian Army till now used soviet BMP-1, BMP-2 & BTR APC.
The ideal crew consist of 3 person (driver,weapons operator and the commander) and excluding these 3 the APC can have 9 additional passengers with full weapons gear (9+3=12).
Unlike the BMP-1 & 2 which are tracked infantry vehicles, Tata's Kestrel is a 8x8 wheeled vehicles with hydropnuematic suspension with independent suspension of double wishbone type which enables it to manoeuvre in extreme terrain conditions and makes it extremely mobile. The tyres are bound to have centralised inflation system which will ensue that even if there is a small hole or two in the tyre it still will stay inflated and even if the tyre gets hit multiple times (when even centralised inflation system is unable to withstand) then the tyres also posses a run flat capability which enable it to move even when the tyre is punctured. Also its not necessary that all 8 wheels are needed at all times for working i.e if few tyres fail completely even then.
It is powered by a turbocharged 600 hp diesel engine which it high power to weight ratio.
Also kestrel is not just a ground vehicle but similar to BMP's it is amphibious and can move in water with ease. It can be used in water and floats without any additional design preparations like floats or hoardings. It has water jet propulsion system which allows it to move in water and it can move at speed of 10 km/hr.
The APC's was designed for maximum survivability of crew and passengers even in the toughest of conditions. It offers protection against small arms and ammunition like rifles grenades and snipers, IED's and other weapons.
The armour is made up of welded steel and composites and has provisions for adding more armour like reactive armour bricks etc. The APC is first of a kind with troops sitting in back to back layout with seats attached to roof which provides additional protection in case of blast. The hull is made such that it can withstand large under blasts too and ensure that the soldiers inside survive. The fuel tanks are also separate from the crew space which ensure that in case of explosion or direct hit the soldiers are safe.
Tata kestrel has provisions of various weapon mountings. It's main weapon is a 30 mm automatic canon which can fire multiple types of ammunition. Also a roof mounted remote control turret can be mounted with various weapons like machine guns,grenade launchers, javelins anti armour missile etc.
Also anti tank missiles can be installed on the platform which enables it to operate against enemy armour. The effective range of the main canon is about 3 kms so it can engage targets at a good range and can be used as a versatile platform for anti-infantry, anti-armour etc roles.
TATA KESTREL is currently undergoing end user trials by Indian Army and the trials are scheduled to end this year itself. Till now army has expressed that they are more than satisfied with the performance of Kestrel and they have shown a lot of faith in kestrel by showcasing it in defence expo's etc.
The army has minimum requirement of about 1000-2000 in future APC to replace ageing BMP's and also for expansion of its capabilities.
Tata Kestrel from what we can see looks like a very good APC and till now it has handled everything which has been throw at it. The APC satisfies the present and futuristic demands of Indian Army and it's modern design ensures that it can handle the modern day warfare.
Also we should not forget that this is a joint project of TATA MOTORS & DRDO and with DRDO's knowledge and TATA's quality and efficiency the design was developed within 6 months which is a record in itself. This clearly proves that Private partnership can do miracles when it comes to defence and that we clearly have the ability to develop world class systems and platforms in India.
Tata kestrel is a proof that the MAKE INN INDIA is not just a tag line but a ground reality which can transform Indian Defence.