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Today, India celebrates its 73rd Army Day as the country honours the sacrifice and services of the brave soldiers. Army Day is celebrated every year on January 15 with the origins harking back to 1949. On this day in 1949, Lieutenant General KM Cariappa became the first Army chief. General (later Field Marshal) KM Cariappa became the Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army on January 15, 1949. Also, he was the first Indian to take the position of Commander-in-Chief. Since its inception. Indian Army has been protecting the country from enemies with distinction. From the marshy lands of Kutch to the icy Siachen, the armed forces are always on vigil. To help them in protecting the borders, Indian Armed Forces have advanced vehicles at their disposal. On Army Day, we take a look at the top cars and bikes used by the Indian Army.
Royal Enfield Bullet 500
Royal Enfield is the largest supplier of motorcycles to the Indian Army. It came to India way back in 1955 to supply bikes to the army as it was the only bike in production that was suitable for the harsh terrains of Himalayas as well as border areas. Low maintenance and sturdy nature while high torque at low rpms make the motorcycle suitable for different climatic conditions. Now discontinued, Royal Enfield 500 is used by the highly reputed ‘Sweta Ashwa’ Parade team of the Indian army. The team also holds a Guinness World Record for balancing 48 people on a RE 500. The Classic 500 was powered by a single-cylinder air-cooled 499cc engine. The bike produced 26.5bhp of maximum power at 5,100rpm and 40.9Nm of peak torque at 3,800rpm. The engine was paired to a five-speed gearbox. Last-known price of Royal Enfield Bullet 500 base level variant was Rs 1.68 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).
Royal Enfield Himalayan
In 2019, the Indian Army undertook a gruelling ride to the Karakoram Pass on the Royal Enfield Himalayan. The bike is powered by a BS6 compliant 411cc air-cooled, single-cylinder engine. Performance figures stand at 24 bhp of maximum power and 32 Nm of peak torque with the engine paired to 5-speed constant mesh gearbox. The price starts from Rs 1.91 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).
Maruti Gypsy is discontinued for civilians but it continues to spearhead the flock of Indian Armed forces. Last year only, 700 units of BS4 Gypsy were delivered to the Indian Army. Maruti Gypsy houses BS4 1.3-litre petrol engine under the bonnet. Over the years, it has served with distinction in the mountainous and hilly terrains. The engine delivers 80 bhp of maximum power and 103 Nm of peak torque. Further, the off-roader comes with a four-wheel-drive system and a low-range gearbox. Before its discontinuation, the model used to start from Rs 4.99 lakh (ex-showroom, India).
Tata Safari Storme
Tata Safari Storme is another key vehicle for the armed forces in the country. As per the pact signed between Indian Army and Tata Motors, the manufacturer has to deliver 3192 units of the Army-spec SUV. The vehicle is called the GS800 (General Service) Safari Storme 4x4. The ‘800’ in the name indicates the vehicle’s minimum payload capacity of 800kg. The manufacturer claims that the Army-spec Safari Storme's payload capacity is 60 percent more than the standard model. This could be the reason the Army has taken a liking to the iconic SUV. Before discontinuation, the standard model was powered by a 2.2-litre diesel engine with 154 bhp of power output and 400Nm of peak torque. Transmission duties were taken care of by a 6-speed manual unit. Also, the Army-spec model boasts of features like air conditioning, power windows, ABS and dual airbags among many others. The base-level variant used to retail at a price of Rs 10.97 lakhs (ex-showroom, India)
he powerful off-roader was inducted into the Armed Forces for strengthening the border patrolling in the highly-sensitive Indo-Sino border. First inducted in 2016, it comes with high-intensity radio communication equipment. Before this, no other forces in the border areas ever used the high-end SUV for the soldiers. Considering it was purchased in 2016, the Toyota Fortuner is powered by a 2755cc diesel engine. The SUV delivers 174 bhp of maximum power output and 420 Nm of peak torque. The engine is paired to a 5-speed manual gearbox unit with option for 4-wheel-drive. The Toyota Fortuner Facelift starts from Rs 29.98 lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi).
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