While a production order I still awaited, India’s DRDO exhibited once again its WhAP 8×8, the acronym standing for Wheeled Armoured Platform, at Defexpo, the vehicle having beenunveiled two years ago at the same exhibition. The vehicle on show was the Infantry Fighting Vehicle version, fitted with the BMP-2 turret, however the four axles vehicle was designed to be adapted to numerous roles, such as Armoured personnel Carrier, Reconnaissance and Support, CBRN reconnaissance, Light Tank with a medium to heavy calibre gun, etc.
The vehicle is used in 8×8 mode on difficult terrain, however an 8×4 mode option is available. The Gross Vehicle Weight can vary considerably depending on configuration, DRDO declaring a 19 to 26 tonnes GVW, 24 tonnes being the limit if amphibious capabilities are required, which is the GVW of the Armoured Personnel carrier configuration. In that version a 600 hp Cummins ISXe 600 turbocharged diesel engine is fitted, however two other power ratings can be made available for lighter configurations, DRDO’s aim being to maintain a power-to-weight ratio of over 23 hp/tonne, thus a 440-450 hp solution might be that for the lower weight versions. An Allison 4500SP automatic transmission is fitted, together with a two-speed transfer case, off road maximum speed being 35 km/h while on-road the WhAP 8×8 can speed up to 100 km/h, while in the water it can reach a maximum of 8 km/h; cruising ranges are respectively 500 km and 250 km on- and off-road. The vehicle is fitted with live axles with independent hydro-pneumatic suspensions with front double whish bone and rear trailing arm. The two front axles are steerable, the vehicle being fitted with a power assisted steering system, tires are 14R20 with run-flat inserts, the WhAP 8×8 having a Central Tire Inflation System as standard. The DRDO-developed 8×8 can cope with a 58% gradient and a 36% side slope, while it can overcome a vertical step of 0.6 meters and cross a trench 1.8 meters wide. No details on protection levels are provided, however the double V-shaped floor and the energy absorbing seats show well that the WhAP 8×8 was designed with mine and IED resistance in mind. The IFV version seen at Lucknow has six seats in the rear compartment, to which we must add the three vehicle crew members.
Length and width are respectively 7.85 and 3.0 meters, while height at the hull is 2.3 meters, which is increased up to 3.25 meters when the BMP-2 turret is fitted, providing the vehicle with the typical armament made of the 2A42 30 mm automatic cannon, the PKT 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun and with an AT-4 antitank missile. When the Indian Army will launch the acquisition of its wheeled armoured component is still to be seen.
Photos by D. Fediushko and J. Roukoz