Its official, Tata Motors has bagged order to supply 3192 units of Safari Storme 4x4 to Indian Armed Forces under a new category of vehicles- GS800 (General Service 800).
The new deal means, Indian Armed Forces are bidding adieu to the preferred choice, Maruti Suzuki Gypsy after a decade long association.
The Indian Ministry of Defence (MOD) had floated an RFP for vehicles with three basic requirements– minimum payload capacity of 800 kilograms, hard roofs and air conditioning. After test for duration of over 15 months, indigenously developed Tata Safari has been selected as the new vehicle. Mahindra's Scorpio was also considered for the same.
"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," said Vernon Noronha, Vice President, Defense & Government Business, Tata Motors Limited.
The Safari Strome for forces has been modified from the one available for civilians with an upgraded drivetrain and significantly modified suspension. Introduced in 2012, the Safari Storme comes with a 154bhp of power and 400Nm torque. The 4X4 variant also features ESOF (electronic shift-on-fly) technology, enabling engagement of the 4X4 or 4X2 mode on the move. Tata Motors will shortly commence delivery of these vehicles for the Army and Navy in a phased manner.
The petrol powered Gypsy 4x4 was spot on for the Army requirement that demands flawless running in high-altitude, snow-bound regions to deserts and marshy land. In fact, annual order from the Indian Army was one of the key reasons that Maruti Suzuki continued production of the Gypsy. The force now requires an SUV with additional safety features and more power that runs on diesel, a fuel that's more readily available, given its large fleet of trucks and heavy-duty vehicles. And that is reportedly the reason for choosing a vehicle other than the Gypsy.