The TATA Kestrel was first revealed at the 2014 Defexpo convention. And it was not until April 2022 that the first batch was commissioned for the military.
The Indian Army is a major operator of the BMP-1, BMP-2 and various armored personnel carriers of Soviet origin. Over time, these vehicles have become obsolete and are incapable of meeting the challenge of modern warfare. At the same time, many outstanding designs have developed in western countries. So Tata Motors and DRDO have collaborated to develop a new APC to meet the requirements of the new age military, the Kestrel.
The TATA Kestrel was first revealed at the 2014 Defexpo convention. And it was not until April 2022 that the first batch was commissioned for the military. It’s basically an 8×8 all-wheeled platform, and follows many of the well-accepted lines of contemporary multi-wheeled armored fighting vehicles seen elsewhere. Kestrel approaches modern design in terms of crew survivability, having a degree of resistance to small arms fire, shell splinters and concealed explosives.
Kestrel is designed to provide a common platform for different types of vehicles such as Wheeled APC, 30 mm Infantry Combat Vehicle, 105 mm Light Tank, command post vehicle, ambulance, special purpose platform, 120 mm mortar carrier, or CBRN Vehicle. The armour is made up of applique and composites along with welded steels. Additional armour kit can be applied in heavy firing zones. The hull floor is further strengthened to defeat mines and similar explosives. The seats are attached to the roof for improved blast protection. Fuel tanks are placed outside the troop compartment for additional safety.
The 8X8 wheel configuration is set on a hydropneumatic suspension utilizing double wishbone arrangement. All wheels have run flat capability to allow the vehicle to move even after suffering punctures. There are four axles, the front axle is steerable which minimizes the turning radius of the vehicle. A standard operating crew of two including driver and commander, with a full mechanized squad of 12 members.
Engine is placed at front left. Passengers are placed in the centerline in a back-to-back fashion, each facing a firing port. The Kestrel has high power-to-weight ratio for mountainous terrain and is powered by a 600 hp turbocharged diesel engine. The vehicle is fully amphibious, propelled by two waterjets. It can reach up to 100 km/hr, and a maximum range of up to 500 km.
The version delivered to the Indian Army is equipped with a Norwegian Kongsberg MCT-30-R remotely controlled turret, armed with American 30 mm Mk44 Bushmaster II cannon. This weapon is used on a number of modern armored vehicles. It is possible to convert this cannon to a 40 mm caliber. This cannon fires Armor-Piercing Incendiary, High-Explosive Incendiary and Armor-Piercing Fin Stabilized Discarding Sabot Tracer rounds. This cannon has effective range of 3,000 m. There is also a secondary 7.62 mm machine gun. The Kongsberg turret allows the installation of Javelin anti-tank guided missiles along the cannon.
The Kestrel weighs 25 tonnes and measures 7.8 metres in length, 2.95 metres in width, and 2.28 metres in height. The Kestrel has all of the life-support equipment needed to operate in an NBC environment, which are standard features on today’s armoured platforms.