It was about a year ago when Tata Motors had signed an official contract to supply as many as 3,192 units of Safari Storme to the Indian Army. The Tata Safari Storme beat its prime rival, the Scorpio in order to become the first choice of general vehicle for the Indian Armed forces as per the earlier reports. Tata Motors defeated both Nissan and Mahindra in the tender to supply vehicles to the Indian Armed forces.
The conclusion of selecting the Safari Storme was achieved after more than a year of rigorous testing which was conducted in various terrains across the nation. Tata Motors has now officially commenced deliveries of the Army-spec Safari Storme SUV and have delivered the first batch of the Safari 4×4. The Indian automaker is likely to deliver a total of 3,192 units of the Safari 4×4 in the next few months.
The new Tata Safari Storme selected for the Indian army has been categorized under the new GS800 (General Service 800) vehicle classification, modified as per Ministry of Defence requirements and complying with Request for Proposal (RFP), qualifies to the basic criteria of a capable hardtop vehicle that features air-conditioning and have a minimum payload of 800kg.
According to the pictures that have emerged online of the Army-spec Tata Safari Storme, the Army spec Safari Storme, is noted to sport a matte-green paint that is peculiar to all Indian Army vehicles. The entire SUV has been painted in this unique shade of green and no chrome has been used throughout its exterior to avoid any type of reflection. The former chrome-bits have been either painted in the same green shade or have been blacked out. The vehicle features special blacked-out lamps on the front and the rear bumpers. The plastic part is also in the green color.
The only non-green parts of the new vehicle are the footsteps and roof rails. Exteriors were also noted to feature a pintle hook at the rear along with an antenna on the hood and spotlights on front bumper. The matte green color scheme of the SUV is even extended to the 5 spoke alloy wheels, like the rest of the body. The vehicle also has a unique jerry-can holder on the left rear fender. The alloy wheels are also painted in matte-green, like the rest of the body. The interiors for the Safari Storme are done up in beige, but other details of interiors have not been revealed yet.
Tata Motors had already revealed that the Safari Storme for the armed forces will get an upgraded drivetrain along with a significantly modified suspension setup. The standard vehicle comes with a a 2.2 liter, 4 cylinder, turbocharged diesel engine producing 154 bhp peak power at 4,000 rpm and 400 Nm torque at 1,700-2,700 rpm. The engine is mated to a 6 speed manual transmission with a 4×4 drive system.
With a commanding high ground clearance at 200mm and having ladder-on-frame chassis with 4 wheel drive system, the Safari Storm is ideally suited for use by the Indian Armed forces as it is capable of handling the roughest of terrain. The 4×4 transfer offering by the SUV gives both high and low ratios and shift-on-fly system which can be operated by a rotary knob mounted near transmission gear level that suits the requirements of the Indian Army.
The Indian Armed forces wanted to move away from a GS500 (General Service 500kg) platform, which includes the Gypsy, as there was a need for a hardtop vehicle with a heavier payload-carrying capacity and air-conditioning. As stated earlier, Tata Motors has already started deliveries to the Army and Navy and it will take place in a phased manner. If everything goes well, the Indian Armed forces will replace the entire fleet of over 30,000 Maruti Gypsy with the Tata Safari Storme 4×4 in the next few years.