The first batch of the indigenously developed, next-gen Armoured Engineer Reconnaissance Vehicles (AERV) was formally inducted into the Indian Army Corps of Engineers by Gen. Manoj Mukund Naravane, Chief of Army Staff.

Here’s what we know about the new AERVs:

Design and manufacturing

The vehicle was designed and developed by two facilities of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) — the Vehicles Research Development Establishment (VRDE) in Ahmednagar, and the Research and Development Establishment in Pune. The AERV has been manufactured at the Ordnance Factory, Medak, and a number of electronic and sensing equipment have been installed by BEL, Pune. The vehicle has over 90 percent indigenous content.

Capabilities

The AERV is a versatile BMP-IIK amphibious Infantry Combat Vehicle (ICV) fitted with instruments for water reconnaissance, land reconnaissance, navigation and data backup.

It has been designed to meet the tactical and combat requirements of military engineers carrying out terrestrial and underwater surveys in hostile terrains, primarily for the construction of assault bridges for both offensive and defensive operations.

According to BEL, “AERV is capable of measuring soil bearing capacity on riverbanks to determine if they are motorable for military vehicles on Go-No Go basis (critical parameters for bridge laying), dry and wet gaps in day and night conditions, slopes and height of river banks or canals.”

The vehicles rely on the Military Grid Coordinate System to traverse terrains and can store data from various instruments on its control console for further analysis and decision-making.

 General MM Naravane  DRDO
Gen. MM Naravane at the induction of the AERVs

Timelines

Despite the limitations brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Indian Army received the vehicles as per schedule, with as many as 15 units already been. A total of 53 units of the AERV have been ordered and they will be deployed with the individual engineering formations, mainly on the Western front.

What this means for the Indian Army

According to DDRO, “The system will enhance existing engineer reconnaissance capabilities of Indian Army and would be a major game-changer in support of mechanised operations in future conflicts.”

About the induction, Gen Naravane said, “The old reconnaissance vehicles we had were extensively used in various operations. In the changing battlefield, we are acquiring new capabilities and new equipment. It is a matter of pride if these equipment are indigenously manufactured. You can recall that we recently inducted a short-span bridging system developed by the DRDO. These new additions will certainly augment the Army’s capabilities, especially on the Western front.”

 

Image credit: DRDO