Beijing: After SUVs and snow scooters, ITBP troops deployed along the Sino-India frontier will soon have all-terrain amphibious ‘caterpillar’ vehicles to undertake patrols and operational movements in the icy heights of the region.
The force has decided to procure at least two such giant rubberband belt rolling vehicles to transport troops on high-altitude deployment, along with their arms and ammunition, along the China border in the Ladakh region.
“We are in the final stages of procuring these vehicles. The trials have been successful and they will be used for transport of troops. These amphibious vehicles suit our requirements in the high-altitude areas,” ITBP Director General Krishna Chaudhary said.
He said the all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are adept at maneuvering at low temperatures and can carry about a dozen troops at a time.
The final clearance, a senior officer said, is awaited from the Union Home Ministry after which the ITBP will place orders for two such giant machines from a US-based firm at a cost of around Rs 9 crore.
The vehicles, called ‘caterpillars’ due to their design, can negotiate treacherous slopes and stay afloat in shallow waters. They operate on four-cylinder engines and have automatic gears — five forward and 1 reverse.