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BMP-I Light Tank

An expenditure of Rs 26.79 lakh was incurred in modifying BMP (BOEVYA MACHINA PEKHOTA) vehicle as Light Tank with 90 mm turret, without properly assessing availability of BMP chassis for production. It was also stated that the expenditure being incurred on development of Light Tank with 105 mm turret would also prove infructuous as the Army did not have any requirement for the Light Tank either with 90mm or 105mm turret. Despite this DRDO continued with the project for another seven years and closed it in August 1996 after successful trails, incurring a total expenditure of Rs 4.53 crore.

Based on a GSQR projected by the Army in 1976, a project for 'Design and Development of Light Tank on BMP-I' was sanctioned in 1983 at an estimated cost of Rs 2.54 crore. In July 1985, the Army reassessed their requirement and held that no light tank on BMP was necessary. Nevertheless, the development of light tank continued. Furthermore, notwithstanding their earlier stand, the Army continued to be associated with the project. Based on suggestions of Army authorities, in October 1988, CVRDE (Combat Vehicle Research and development Establishment) amended the contract agreement, replacing 90mm turrets with 105mm turrets.

In April 1992, the project was transferred to VRDE, Ahmednagar from CVRDE. In May 1993, eight years after they had first so stated, the Army categorically reiterated that there was no requirement for light tank. In spite of SA to RM (Scientific advisor to Raksha Mantri) also recommending closure of the project in February 1994, the Establishment went ahead with firing trials for another two years. Finally, in August 1996, 10 years after the original PDC (Probable date of completion) and having incurred an expenditure of Rs 4.53 crore including foreign exchange of Rs 2.91 crore, the project was closed.

R&D HQ stated in November 2000 that cancellation of the contract for 105 mm turret was found not economical and hence the project was continued to take it to a logical conclusion. However the fact remained that R&D efforts and money was spent on an equipment the need for which had ceased to exist.





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