The Maruti Gypsy was first introduced in India in 1985. The low cost and brilliant capabilities of the SUV made it very popular among the law enforcement departments in India. Soon, the model caught attention of the Indian Army and in 1991, the Gypsy was formally inducted into the Indian Army fleet. Since then, the Maruti Gypsy has become the mainstay vehicle of the Indian armed forces. The army has been testing the Tata Safari and Mahindra Scorpio to replace the old fleet of Gypsies – and the Safari Storme has been selected as the replacement.
What is about?
Army has placed an order of 3,200 units of Tata Safari Storme, which could grow by 10 times over the next few years. Tata Safari Storme along with Mahindra Scorpio were being tested extensively by the Army since 2013.
The Indian army has over 31,000 units of the Gypsy all over India and many of them are getting old, resulting in frequent breakdown. The Safari Storme will replace such ageing vehicles.
Is Safari Storme better than Gypsy?
Maruti Gypsy is one of the most agile vehicles in India. It is lightweight and can reach the most difficult spots. The Gypsy also boasts of low maintenance cost and readily available spare parts. The Maruti Gypsy looks like the best SUV for army, that is capable enough and does not come with a huge price tag.
However, the Tata Safari offers few things that will make the life of army much more better and comfortable. The Safari Storme is much more comfortable than the Gypsy. The car has 5 seats of adults and 2 jump seats in the last row. The jump seats would not be of much use by the Army though. The Safari Storme also comes with more powerful engine than the Gypsy.
The Tata Safari Storme comes powered by 2.2-litre, 4-cylinder diesel engine that develops a maximum of 148 BHP at 4,000 rpm and 320 Nm of maximum torque between 1,700 to 2,700 rom. The Gypsy on the other hand is powered by a 80 BHP 1.3-litre petrol engine. The fact that Safari Storme is powered by diesel engine is a major advantage for the army as all other vehicles of army, like their trucks and artillery vehicles, run on diesel and they would not have to carry petrol fuel for Gypsy separately.
Tata Safari Storme also gets better insulation from the outside world. The seats are better and hence, the comfort level is much better than that in a Gypsy. All these factors make the Storme a much better and suitable vehicle for army who work in very challenging environments.
But what are the downsides?
The Gypsy is versatile because of its lightness. It is often carried by helicopters and dropped at remote areas, the Safari Storme is not that light. The Gypsy hardtop weighs just 1620 kg (gross weight) as against 2,500 kg weight of the Safari Storme. Also, Maruti has one of the most extensive service networks in India, the spare parts are easier to access anywhere.
As of now, we are not sure if Army has asked Tata to customise the vehicle. Customisations will add much more versatility and may bring down the weight of the vehicle.