The Indian Army has invited expressions of interest from local vendors by October 16 regarding the planned upgrade of 811 of its license-built BMP-2/2K ‘Sarath’ infantry combat vehicles. According to the Janes website, the Indian Army said on September 4 that it requires potential vendors to develop a BMP-2/2K prototype fitted with third-generation, thermal imager-based gunner and panoramic commander sights, a modern fire-control system, and an automatic target tracker.
The Army noted that the upgrades will be carried out under the Defence Ministry's Defence Procurement Procedure-2016, and indicated that all the add-ons will be required to feature at least 40% indigenous content. Each of the shortlisted vendors is to eventually be provided with one BMP-2/2K in which the vendor's systems will be integrated. Industry officials said the prototypes are likely to undergo trials some 24 months after the DAs are selected.
In a rare admission, the Indian Army said that its BMP-2/2Ks have been "night blind" and that their sighting systems, which are based on image intensification technology, are "not fit for modern day warfare". Moreover, it said that the lack of modernized fire-control and automatic tracker systems have "adversely affected" the platform’s day and night-fighting capabilities.