It may have been standard operating procedure for engineers at the Ordnance Factory, Medak, near here. But for villagers of Malkapur, it was an unbelievable sight on Friday when they saw ‘Sarath', an infantry combat vehicle (ICV), rumble out of the factory's gates and sail in an irrigation tank, about 10 km. away.

The Ordnance Factory has been manufacturing the amphibious Russian military vehicles (BMP-II) for some time now, and supplies 120 of these ICVs to the Army. The rigorous testing in the factory about the vehicle's water resistance apart, the Army too does its own field testing.

Villagers amazed

The ‘Sarath' has a top speed of 60 km an hour on the ground, and about 7 kmph over water. This time, the Army selected two tanks at random and took them out for a spin. They were driven out to Malkapur and tested in water for close to two hours.

“Every year, we test these in the presence of Army personnel, who select the vehicles for field trials. Only after they convince themselves, will the delivery and handing over take place,” said Vipin Prasad, Joint General Manager, Planning, of the Ordnance Factory.