n a chat with us, Brigadier Khutub A Hai, CEO, Mahindra defence systems, spoke about the Axe; why it’s better than a Humvee, and more.
Is the Axe a brand new platform? Has it been developed completely in-house?
The Axe was designed with help from an overseas designer. It’s an extreme terrain vehicle. It’s an absolutely new platform and it has been developed totally indigenously. It’s a light specialist vehicle developed for the Indian Army.
Is it only a soft top vehicle?
It’s basically soft top though we do have a hard top version too. It is custom built for the Indian Army.
Do you have the Axe in both petrol and diesel powertrains?
There are two versions. The petrol version uses a more than 4 litre GM Votec engine (which powers the Chevy Blazer) while the diesel uses a 2.7 litre Ssangyong diesel (which powers the Rexton). It’s an all-wheel independent suspension vehicle. The transmission system is a Mercedes Benz one. We have used top-of-the-line aggregates.
Its USP is its suspension system which gives it extreme mobility. We have developed the petrol version for the special forces of a foreign country while the diesel one is for the Indian Army. The Axe is not cheap but it is competitively priced vis-a-vis the Humvee or Flier.
Have you forged sourcing arrangements with GM and Ssangyong? Will you replace the imported diesel engine with a Mahindra engine at some stage? Will this vehicle be launched in a civillian avatar as well?
We have an agreement with Ssangyong for the diesel engine. As for the GM engine, we will get that when we commercially produce the vehicle. The vehicle will come in a civillian version as well. We hope to have it on the road by 2009 with an automatic transmission.
We will be strapping on a Mahindra diesel engine on it at some stage. We will homologate the Axe for the civillian market and before that we will enter the military version in the Dakar Rally in 2009.