Kalyani Group and Paramount Group to jointly produce infantry combat vehicles

According to Atul Chandra in Mobility Outlook, Bharat Forge Limited (BFL), a flagship company of the Kalyani Group with a total worth of $3 billion, is expanding its collaboration with Kalyani Strategic Systems Limited (KSSL) and South African firm Paramount Group. This extended partnership focuses on the development and production of 4x4 and 6x6 Infantry Combat Vehicles (ICVs) for global customers. Paramount Group, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, aims to strengthen global armored vehicle development and production, targeting export markets through a manufacturing hub in India in partnership with BFL.
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In October 2022, BFL delivered 16 Made-In-India Kalyani M4 vehicles to the Indian Army for a UN Peacekeeping deployment (Picture source: Kalyani)

Steve Griessel, CEO of Paramount Group, emphasized the strategic significance of their partnership, which now includes the development and production of ICVs for global customers. Neelesh Tungar, President - Defence at BFL, highlighted that their growing alliance with Paramount underscores India's readiness to be a global "manufacturing capital" for the defense industry.

The collaboration between Paramount Group and BFL was initially announced in February 2021 during the International Defence Expo (IDEX 2021) in Abu Dhabi, leveraging the manufacturing and technological expertise of both companies.

In February 2021, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) placed an order worth INR 177.85 crore with BFL for the Kalyani M4 armored vehicle. Subsequent orders followed, and the Kalyani M4 was officially inducted into the Indian Army's Northern Command in April 2022. In October 2022, BFL delivered 16 Made-In-India Kalyani M4 vehicles to the Indian Army for a United Nations Peacekeeping deployment.

B N 'Baba' Kalyani, Chairman and Managing Director of Kalyani Group, noted that they have received repeat orders for armored personnel vehicles from the Indian Army, indicating the vehicle's success. BFL aims to increase the production capacity of the M4 to 100 vehicles annually.

The Kalyani M4 is based on Paramount's Mbombe 4 armored vehicle, which gained international interest after its debut at

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Bharat Forge’s Kalyany M4 is based on Paramount Group’s 16-tonne Mbombe 4 illustrated here (Picture source: Paramount Group)

IDEX 2019. It was adapted for in-country production in India with modifications to meet the Indian Army's requirements, including enhanced mobility and protection against mines and Improvised Explosive Device (IED) threats. The vehicle, costing around INR 5 crore, offers ballistic and blast protection and can carry 10 occupants. It is powered by a 450 bhp engine, has an operating range of 800 km, and can handle rough terrain and fording depths of up to 900 mm. The vehicle can also be equipped with Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM) and machine guns.

Paramount Group's Mbombe family of combat vehicles includes the Mbombe 8x8, Mbombe 6x6 (in service), and the smaller Mbombe 4x4, sharing 80% commonality in technologies and components.

Paramount Group's Mbombe 6x6 ICV has been ordered by national defense forces in Latin America and the Southern African Development Community (SADEC). In August 2022, Thailand also chose to produce the Mbombe 4. Paramount Group offers a specialized regional variant, the Mbombe 4 'S,' optimized for desert conditions.

Paramount Group operates in 25 countries and has a track record of establishing independent, indigenous defense industrial capabilities for governments worldwide through technology licensing, remote manufacturing support, and meeting defense needs over 29 years. This partnership between BFL, KSSL, and Paramount Group represents a significant step in India's defense manufacturing capabilities, further solidifying its position in the global defense industry.

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The Kalyani M4 was formally inducted into service in the Indian Army in April 2022 by the then Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), General MM Naravane, accompanied by Lt Gen Manoj Pande (who is the present COAS) (Picture source: Mobility Outlook)

Defense News October 2023