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AERO India 2021: Indian BMP-II Upgrade Contenders Show Night Vision Proposals

OFB and ADTL Packaged Upgrades

Upgrade options for a proposed Indian Army modernization effort to increase the night fighting abilities of its large fleet of BMP-II and BMP-IIK Infantry Combat Vehicles (ICV) were on display at last week’s AERO India 2021 in Bangalore.

The army issued an Expression of Interest in September 2020 for the upgrade of 811 BMP-II/IIKs with third-generation thermal imager (TI)-based gunner’s and commander’s sights (the latter panoramic), a modernized fire control system (FCS) and automatic target tracking capability. Meanwhile, in June, the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) had received orders worth Rs10 billion (€114 million) for 156 BMP II/IIK to be delivered by 2023 – but with no night vision capability. The BMP-II entered Indian service in 1985 and the fleet is currently incapable of conducting night operations.

On display at AERO India was a proposed OFB upgrade incorporating Tonbo Imaging’s WOLFPACK multi-aperture, multi-spectral ‘see-through armour’ system, which enhances situational awareness via a networked array of multi-spectral cameras around the vehicle generating seamlessly fused 360° panoramic images covering the surrounding area. The commander views the feed via a holographic lens and, once a specific item is selected, the day imager camera can zoom in, providing greater detail for target identification. The holographic display is also integrated with the FCS, which can slew weapons on target.

WOLFPACK features a holographic helmet mounted display, an inertial measurement unit for navigation, AI-enabled target recognition, video stabilization, sensor fusion and threat analysis. The system’s TI capabilities deliver a 50Hz frame rate with 4x digital zoom, while the day imager features a low-lux CMOS with 720p HD resolution, 46°x34° field of view and 10x optical zoom.

Bengaluru-based Alpha Design Technologies (ADTL) also displayed its Thermal Imager Fire Control System (TIFCS) upgrade for the BMP-II, to be supplied as part of an OFB/Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL)-led effort. The ADTL solution sees the installation of a new commander’s panoramic sight on mount, a new gunner’s TI sight, an eyesafe laser rangefinder (ELRF) and day camera and a new wind sensor, all on mounts/hood. 

The crew compartment also features changes to accommodate the thermal elbow and the ELRF, commander’s display unit, electronic pedestal unit for automatic firing of the KONKUR missile and a gunner’s display unit. Also being proposed is a Thermal Imager Stand Alone System (TISAS) upgrade for the TIFCS. ADTL has been supplying TIFCS for the Indian T-72 fleet since November 2014.

Atul Chandra in Bangalore for MON

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